Railroad Stories: Boy Fascinated By Diesel Engine Train
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While stationed in Japan, I had to take a train to the other end of the island where we were stationed to deliver supplies and mail to a soldier at the outpost about 90 miles from the Russian border. I had a whole passenger car all to myself; no one else was allowed in. I stayed with the soldier for a few days in his three-story building, which he had to himself.
I was glad to get on the train to come back to the United States of America for discharge. The train was so long, it took three coal smoker engines to pull it. I had to cook on the train, since I was an Army cook, and we couldn't fill the pots more than half-full or they would spill over. When we got ready to serve the food, we had the soldiers line up and come through the kitchen car, holding their mess kits down beside the pot with the mashed potatoes. We scooped a large spoonful and about that time the train would jerk and the potatoes would land on the floor.
We came to a place out West, where a large pile of rocks had fallen on the tracks. The train crew got mad because the soldiers wouldn't get off the train and help move the rocks. Our commander said that it wasn't our job. We almost ran out of food before we got to the next town, because we sat there for a whole day before the rocks were cleared from the tracks.
In 1949, I decided to make a career of the Army. In 1950, I married the girl of my dreams. We had a son, who now lives in Jacksonville, Fla. I still like trains. In fact, I have a couple of model trains I made from scratch. They are mounted on the wall.
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.
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