Friday, June 10, 2011

A summer vacation many years ago

So I was walking over to the train station today to pick up the whale that I left there yesterday morning when I took the train to work.  I drove home from work yesterday evening in the Stratus because I have drill this weekend and a 120 mile round trip is best done in a 26 mpg vehicle with an automatic transmission for the inevitable stop and go return traffic rather than in the dauntless Jeep that gets 20 at the best and 15 in traffic.  So anyway I was walking to the station and reflecting on a summer vacation that my family took many years ago.  I don't know where we went or how old I was (probably less than 10) but it has stuck with me forever.  We stayed in a neighbor's vacation cabin that was near a small river.  A train line ran behind our cabin and others all in a row. A train bridge crossed the river (probably more like a wide creek) and my mother warned all of us kids to stay off the bridge because a train could come when we were on it and we would be hit and killed.  Some teenagers were supposedly on the bridge and all killed when the train came.  Of course we went straight to the bridge and discussed whether we would jump into the water if the train came or try to run to the end and jump out of the way.  A man came along the track each morning on one of those hand cars that you see in silent movies - the kind that you move along by pumping the lever up and down.  He would deliver stuff to the people in the cabins; milk and newspapers and the like.  I don't think we ever got anything though.  Once a day the train would go by, moving slowly and the train crew would wave to me.  I think it was a steam locomotive but who knows for sure with so much time passing.  It was a intensely exciting time for me as a small boy and I loved every minute of it but I think I was the only one who did because we never went back.  It is funny what sticks in a person's mind.  I'm sure we did things on that trip that I do not remember but the sight of the man on the handcar and the train slowly trundling by with the engineer waving to me will be with me forever.  My parents gave me a gift that summer that I have treasured for over 50 years.

Added on Monday:  My brother (who is not a grouch like me) emailed to tell me that the vacation I remember happened in 1959.  I was five years old!  He also remembers the train and the hand car.  How about that!

1 comment:

  1. It really is incredible the things the mind remembers (and forgets)! I can't remember much of high school, but distinctly recall a day in Michigan, getting off the school bus and Morgan (as a little puppy) putting his front paws up on the first step to greet me. I thought it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. I have a foggy memory of Colorado, playing on a sand playground and losing a shoe (maybe it was Marla, but the lost shoe sticks out). Other than that, Michigan is when the memories start for me.

    I'm glad you shared that memory, I've never heard it before and was a wonderful glimpse into your childhood!