MEMORY TRACKS: DIARY OF A DEPOT – Chapter 5 & 6 – The 1950’s & The Arrival of The New Owners

Editor’s Note: Finally getting back to the Diary … We left this story just as the depot was undergoing some big changes. The story continues, through the decades of the Rockaway Beach Train Depot – the 1950’s. Missed the introduction, Chapters 1 through 4 – see below for links.

By Virginia Carrell Prowell

It is hard to believe it is 1950. Where have the years gone? It seems only yesterday the steam engines were bringing throngs of people to my door step and the bands were belting out those good old jazz tunes on the platform to greet them. Now some of the tunes coming from the radio make me wonder what this country is coming to. For instance “Down in the meadow in a itty bitty pool, fam fee little fiddies and a momma fiddie too. Boop boop didum dadum wadum chew.” And this is being sung by adults? Oh dear, I long for those great jazz sounds again.

The good old steam engine has been replaced by those smelly diesel engines. There used to be something romantic about the old steam engine puffing down the track and the steam whistle crying out the arrival of the excited passengers. Those diesel engines just don’t have that same mystical sound … no romance there at all.
Well, that is the past and this is the present, I’d just better be glad they didn’t demolish me when the passenger trains stopped running. The summer season was a good one for the Martins and for me. I was feeling better about not being a railway depot and I really enjoyed the summertime activity all around me.
Everything seemed to being going just great for the Martins until one day Grace noticed that John wasn’t acting his energetic self. She was very concerned about him, but he insisted he was alright. As the days went on, she realized he had suffered a stroke. This was a terrible blow to both of them. Grace did her best to keep the rentals going but it became increasingly difficult for her to care for John and keep the business going too. The only alternative she could see was to sellout and move to Portland near her daughter.
One day in 1951, her prayers were answered. Mrs. Steiner had sent a couple to her because there were too many in the party for Mrs. Steiner’s cottage. Willard and Virginia Carrell and their two small daughters rented the middle apartment for two nights.
Willard left early in the morning on a fishing trip. Virginia and the girls got up later and sat on my front porch, enjoying the beautiful morning sunshine. Sun in the morning is not a usual occurrence on the beach this time of the year. Much of the time it is foggy until afternoon; however, this was one of those great days that all the cottage owners pray for. Virginia admired the lovely fuchsia that graced the side of my porch and the pinks clustered among the Shasta daisies. She thought how it looked like an old fashioned garden. The two little toe-headed girls chased each other around the yard and giggled in a delightful child-like manner.
Grace in her friendly way, ask about the age of the two cute little girls.
“They are three and four,” answered Virginia with a smile of pride. “Sure is beautiful weather, do you get a lot of weather like this?”
“We do get nice weather in the summer and fall but it is not always this nice early in the morning. Where are you from?”
“We live in Southeast Portland.”
“Oh you do? I have a daughter who lives in the Southeast part, too.” Do you know anyone in Rockaway?”

“No, we just came down for the weekend. My husband and father-in-law and brother-in-law are out fishing. My mother-in-law and my son are staying at a cottage up the street so I’ll go up there soon for breakfast and then take the kids on the beach. They are looking forward to playing in the ‘big sandbox’.”
“My neighbor in Portland has a mother who lives down here, I can’t remember her name … she said she owned some rentals here in Rockaway. Her name is, Marie Schramm, but that is her married name and I don’t know her maiden name.”
“Did you say Marie Schramm?”
“Yes, do you know her?”
“Well I guess I do, that is my daughter’s name. Where do you live in Southeast Portland?”
“On 118th and Stark.”
“Well, I just can’t believe you know my daughter. I sure would like to move in there close to her. My husband has been ill for about a year and taking care of this place has become quite difficult.”
Grace and Virginia had a good laugh about the coincidence, and then Virginia took the girls and went up the road.
In the evening, Virginia, Willard and the two girls returned to spend the night. Virginia tucked the girls in the roll-away Mrs. Martin had furnished them while Willard built a fire in the wood cook stove. The evening air was just a little chilly and besides, Willard thought a wood fire would give the room a cozy feeling.
“Why don’t you make a pot of coffee? See if you could be a pioneer woman and cook on a wood stove,” he said teasingly.
“Sure, I could make a pot of coffee easy on a wood stove if I had some coffee but all the food is up at the other cabin with Ma and Dad, smarty.”
“Well, maybe I’d better go up and get the coffee and put you to the test.”
“Never mind, we don’t need any coffee, and besides, I’ll never be cooking on a wood stove, so I don’t need testing. Anyway, it is time for bed unless you want to take me for a midnight stroll on the beach.”
“Too bad, the kids are asleep and no one to stay with them. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow night.”
Lying in bed, Willard remarked about my high ceilings and wondered why they had been built that way. He thought it would be a real waste of heat.
“You’ll never guess what happened today,” Virginia told him about meeting Marie Schramm’s mother. Willard wasn’t too sure who Marie was, he didn’t seem to remember which one of Virginia’s friends she was talking about.
“You know, the one who said her mother lives in Rockaway, this is their place and she said they want to sell it and move close to their daughter.”
“Oh isn’t that justice for you, we want to live at the beach and they want to live in Portland. Too bad we couldn’t just trade places. Well, let’s get to sleep, I have a date with a fish in the morning, goodnight Sweetheart.”
The next morning was another beautiful day and Virginia was out enjoying Grace’s garden when Grace came out to join her.
“Good Morning, did you sleep well?”
“Yes, we surely did. We started a fire last night to take the chill off but we slept nice and warm. My husband has gone fishing already. I was telling him about Marie being your daughter. He said it was too bad we couldn’t trade houses. He loves it down here and so do I.”
“What kind of a house do you have?” Grace asked, excitedly.
“It’s a three bedroom with a full cement basement. We just recently built on the two bedrooms.”
“How big of a lot do you have?”
“It’s 75’ by 100’ and is fenced in the back, plus we also have a garage. Well, I’d better take the kids up to the other cottage and get them some breakfast, See you later.”
Grace went in the house and thought about what Virginia had just told her. “John, that young couple that are in the middle apartment lives near Marie.”
“Oh, do they know her?”
“Yes, the lady does and she was telling me that they would like to live down here. What would you think about us moving to Portland near Marie?”
“No, no, no, you know that we can’t sell this place, we wouldn’t get enough out of it to buy anything near Marie”
“But what if we could trade it to that young couple. They want to live here and we want to live up there.”
“No, it could not be done. This place is paid for and their place is probably mortgaged. No, no it just wouldn’t work.”
Grace didn’t argue with John anymore. She just sat in her rocker and thought about it. Since John had been ill, it was hard to reason with him. She didn’t want to irritate him so she just thought to herself.
Later in the day when Virginia came back to pack up her things, Grace was waiting to talk to her.
“You know what we were talking about this morning, about trading houses?”
“Oh, yes, well that would be nice but I don’t know what my husband could do down here to earn a living.”
“What kind of work does he do in Portland?”
He works for a cement company right now. It is really hard work for him and it seems each winter they shut down and he’s out of work for two or three months.”
“Well, I don’t know of any cement companies down here but there is a mill in Garibaldi, just about 5 miles from here and I’m sure he could get a job there.”
“Oh golly, I don’t know, I’ll tell him about it and see what he says. I know he would love to move down here but there is so much to consider. I’ll let you know.”
“Here, let me give you my phone number. You can call me and if you want to come down to look over the job situation, you can stay here for nothing. We have some spare beds upstairs so just come on down whenever you want.”
I’ll bet that young woman’s head was spinning when she left here. I wonder what her husband will say when she delivers all that news to him.
I didn’t have to wonder very long, they were back the next weekend to talk to Grace and John. In the meantime, Grace had convinced John that it was possible to make a trade. She had contacted one of the loan officers at the First National Bank in Tillamook and he assured her it was a very workable idea.
Grace was so excited they had come back. She hurried around and made lunch for them and told them to go down to the First National Bank in Tillamook and ask for Carl Ben (something).
“What was that name again?” Virginia asked.
“Carl Ben (something).”
“Did you say Bensomething? How do you spell that?”
“Here let me write it down for you. I just don’t like to say his name, it sounds like a nasty word.”
On the slip of paper she wrote CARL BENSCHIEDT … Virginia looked at it and smiled. “Oh, it’s Carl Benschiedt, he must be of German decent.”
“Yes, yes, that’s his name. Well you go down and talk to him but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow so you can stay here in our apartment, and we’ll sleep upstairs. Do you like to play Pinochle?”
“Oh yes, we love to play cards, but you don’t have to give up your bed, we can go upstairs.”
“No, no, we don’t have that part fixed up yet, you stay here.”
The young couple didn’t argue, they accepted their hospitality and played a couple games of pinochle before John decided it was time to retire.
It was an excited young couple that slept in my room closest to the railroad track that night. They were making plans and counting the money they would make renting out the rooms. Willard saw the possibility of putting an additional building in the empty lot to the south.

They had just drifted off to sleep and I could feel my timbers quaking, that good quaking feeling that meant the train was coming. The train came rumbling past and Virginia leaped out of bed, her eyes wild with fear, she ran to the middle of the room looking around in shear panic.
“What’s the matter with you?” Willard asked.
“What on earth is that noise? What is going on?”
Willard just roared with laughter, “Come back to bed you nut, that was just the train.”
“Just the train, it sounded like they were coming through the walls. I don’t think we want to buy this place.”
Willard grabbed her and hugged her and told her she would get used to it.
Sounds like he is intent on buying the property. That will make the Martins happy but I’m concerned about that young couple. They are city people land I wonder if they could survive this kind of living … Oh well, time will tell.
The next day Willard and Virginia went to Tillamook to see the banker. They bid the Martins farewell and thanked them for their hospitality. “We’ll call you later and let you know what we found out. In the meantime, wouldn’t you like to come in and look at our house?”
“Suppose we should, however, I talked to Marie and she said it was just what we needed, but we will come in soon.”
Later in the week, Grace received a call from Virginia. She said she had to send some papers to the bank and then the bank would let her know where to go from there. Grace was elated. They were really interested and she was sure that they would be able to swing the deal and then she would be back in Portland near her children.
Only a few days later a man from the bank came to inspect my structure. He crawled underneath me and started poking my understructure. I know he was impressed with the soundness of all my 2 x 8’s and 2 x 4’s. He told the Martins that the old building was surely in good shape. I knew I was … I was built to last.
“John, I think we had better take the bus to Portland and see the Carrell’s house. We can stay with Marie and be back in a day or two.”
“Yes, we had better, you never know, it might just be a shack they are wanting to trade.”
“Oh John, I’m sure it is a nice house, Marie wouldn’t want us to move into any old shack.”
John and Grace locked my doors and left. It was unusual for them to leave in the middle of summer. They were always home during the summer season to rent their rooms. It was the middle of the week, however, and they were back in two days. I just hate it when the doors are all locked. It makes me think about the days when I was locked up for so long.
About a week later Willard and Virginia were back to sign the papers. John and Grace left for Tillamook to meet them at the bank. She was so excited, but John was a little apprehensive.
“I hope they have enough money to pay us off.”
“Don’t worry John, the bank wouldn’t have us come in to sign papers if everything wasn’t in order. We will have their house out in Portland to take the place of this house and it will be paid for just like this house is. You liked the place when we went out there didn’t you?”
“Well yes, it was alright. It was a little close to that busy street but it seemed to be in pretty good shape and the new furnace they have will be nice. I won’t have to chop anymore wood. It will be good to keep our car in a garage, too.”
I’m sure Grace was thankful too because she had carried many loads of wood while John was ill but she didn’t mention it now.

Chapter VI

On the 15th of September, 1951 Willard and Virginia and their three children, arrived in a rented U-Haul truck and their car. Willard had told the Martins she would use the same truck to take their things to Portland. It was quite a day moving in and moving out all at the same time. The Martins left the furniture for two apartments but Virginia and Willard were going to live in the opposite end of my structure so they could use the upstairs for their bedrooms.
When they started unpacking all the big furniture, I almost shook my timbers but I didn’t want to scare them off. I wondered where they were going to put everything. They did manage to get it all inside but they only had narrow paths to walk around.
Willard’s father had driven down in the truck with him along with the 5 year old boy, Danny. Virginia came later in the car with the two little girls, Susie and Claudia, their pet black Cocker Spaniel, Wiggle Tail and their good friend Harry Tomlin.
It was quite a nice arrangement because Willard’s father and Harry drove the truck back and Martins followed them in their car.
The young couple hurried around to get some beds set up and a fire built for their first night at their new beach home.
I couldn’t help wondering how it was going to be with three youngsters and a dog running over my floors all the time. This was going to be a new experience for me. One thing for sure, there shouldn’t be too many dull moments with all this activity.
In the next few days, Willard had obtained a job at the mill in Garibaldi. They were thrilled that he had found work so fast even if it did mean he would have to work the graveyard shift. He was hired to pull on the green chain but I guess for a fellow who had been hauling cement, this wasn’t too difficult a job. The only problem came when Virginia tried to keep three children, ages 5, 4, and 3 quiet in the morning so Willard could sleep. They found the beach a big attraction and spent many hours down there. The month of September was beautiful and even into late October, they frolicked on the beach.
The Danins were very friendly to the new owners but their first meeting was truly amusing. Mr. Danin called to Virginia, “Young lady, come here.” She went across the street to the garage where he was cutting wood.
“Hello,” she greeted him.
“What be your name?” he asked.
“Virginia Carrell,” she answered.
He looked at her and with his hand, smoothed his white mustache and beard, smiled and then said, “What be last name?”
“Carrell,” she answered.
The old man chuckled, shook his head and then again ask, “What be given name?”
“Virginia,” she reiterated.
Again the old gentleman chuckled, then said, “Ya, ya, what be husband’s name?”
“Willard,” she answered.
“Ya, ya, then what be husband’s last name?”
“Carrell,” Virginia patiently answered.
Again he shook his head and looked puzzled.
“HA, by golly all the time you tell me first name. Now tell me married name of you and husband.”
“No, I told you my name is, Virginia Carrell, my husband’s name is, Willard Carrell, we have three children, Danny Carrell, Susie Carrell, and Claudia Carrell. Our last name is Carrell, spelled C-A-R-R-E-L-L.”
The old man sat down on a stump of wood, slapped his hands against his knees, “Oh by golly, ya, ya, I see now, ya, ya, I see. All the time I think you telling me first name only. You come upstairs and meet Mama, she have cookie for little ones.” Then looking back, his eyes twinkling and smiling through his Santa Claus-like beard, he said, “Maybe Mama have cookie for you, too.”
It wasn’t long before Virginia and Mama Danin were close fiends. The Danins made her feel welcome and helped her through the first year in a town of complete strangers.
A school teacher, Elise Getchell, who taught in Garibaldi, was a frequent visitor of the Danins and an avid card player. They would often invite Virginia over to make a foursome. Virginia would put the children to bed and while they slept and Willard got some more sleep, she would play cards.
Virginia was impressed with the people of Rockaway. When she would come back from grocery shopping she’d tell Willard, “The people in this town are so friendly, everyone says ‘hello’ to you on the street like they know you.”
“Well, you always seem to know everyone you meet, maybe that is why they speak to you.”
“Maybe in Gresham I did know everyone, but here I don’t know a soul.”
Willard chuckled, “Just give you a month and you will know half of the town.”
“Well, I might know half of the town, but you will for sure know all the fishing holes within 40 miles of here.”
They both laughed at each other and then embraced one another. They did a lot of that, Willard always leaving her with a pat on her rear.
One of the stipulations of the mortgage agreement with the bank was that cement slabs would be put under my footings. Willard was well experienced in this type of work, so he undertook the job himself. He crawled underneath me and put those darn house jacks under me again. That brought back some cold memories. He built the forms and then after putting some gravel on the sandy base, he mixed his own cement by hand and took it under me by bucketfuls. He knew what he was doing alright but it took him several weeks to complete the job alone. It was lucky for him and me as well that the weather stayed so nice without any high winds.
With Willard working nights, sometimes swing shift and sometimes graveyard, Virginia spent many evenings alone with the children. She had found an old concertina in the attic one day. It had a few holes in it but she taped and patched them and then learned to play it. She didn’t have any music for it, for that matter, I don’t think she could even read music. She discovered that by pushing in, one note would come out and pulling out gave another note. She practiced with the keys and finally she picked out the tune of “On top of Old Smokey”. She’d play for her young and captive audience by the hours. She’d tell stories or read to them before putting them to bed.
One day when Willard was home, she told him of her accomplishment, “I’ve learned to play ‘On Top of Old Smokey’ do you want me to play it for you?”
“Sure,” he answered, “If you’ll go up there to play it.”
“Up where?” she asked innocently.
“Up on Old Smokey, then he laughed and the kids mocked him.
He was a great tease and enjoyed getting her goat which this definitely did. She threw her concertina down and went upstairs with the laughter of the kids and Willard echoing in her ears. She never played for them again.
The nice weather finally came to an end and the blustery weather with those infamous Southwest winds starting to blow, beating the rain against my walls. I was used to it after all these years, but poor Virginia had never experienced such high winds. One night when Willard was working, a good old Southwester came up with 60 to 70 mile an hour winds. It really shook me around pretty good but no worse than other years. Of course the lights went out. This wasn’t unusual either, but to this city girl with her small children, it was a traumatic experience.
She decided the best thing to do was to go to bed. With a flashlight, she directed the children upstairs and tucked them in and then went downstairs and crawled under the covers of their bed. She lay there listening to the wind and as it hit my structure, I’d shake under the pressure of the wind and she would pull the covers tighter around her. Every few minutes she ran upstairs to check on the children who were sleeping soundly, disregarding the storm.
Willard was working swing shift this night and she could hardly wait until he got home. Unlike the children, she was wide awake when he came through the door. She was on her feet immediately running to greet him.
“What are you doing up in this storm? How do you like the wind?”
“Who can sleep in this kind of weather? I was so scared, I didn’t know whether to go upstairs and sleep with the kids or bring them down here to sleep with me. I think the roof is going to come off any minute.”
“Oh calm down, this old place has been through worse storms than this, it isn’t going to fall apart” (he knew quality when he saw it).
“I’m not so sure about that, I don’t think there is a nail in this house that is in the same nail hole. The whole house has been shaking all night. I’ll bet half of the shingles from the roof will be in the next county by morning.”
“Boy, you’re sure nervous. Come on let’s go to bed, I love to listen to the storm and hear the rain beating on the roof and the windows. We can’t do anything about the shingles or the nails tonight, I’ll check the roof tomorrow, but I’m sure it is tight.”
Virginia did as he suggested but she lay awake until the wind died down. Willard drifted right off to sleep.
The winter months passed more smoothly for this family than I had expected. Willard was either working, cutting wood, fishing or sleeping. He brought home lots of fish for the family and kept busy getting firewood.
Virginia took to the woodstove cooking quite well but she did get flustered now and then at the close quarters in the kitchen. She would lie awake nights staring at my walls of the bedroom that separated the kitchen and bedroom. One day she approached her husband with a suggestion of removing the wall and making the bedroom a dining area.
“What are you talking about woman?” Willard blurted, “Do you want the ceiling to come down on you?”
“Well, no, of course not, but that short wall wouldn’t make any difference.”
“Oh yes, it would, you don’t know anything about building, that is a support wall.”
“Well, then what about taking the bed out of that room and put our dining table in there? We would have more room to eat and we could sleep upstairs.”
“Nope, we need that extra bed for company; you know Ma and Dad come down all the time and your sister and family come down to. No, we’ll leave things the way they are.”
Virginia didn’t argue anymore, but you could tell by the look on her face that the issue was not settled in her mind.
About a month later, Virginia was just about fed-up with what she considered too close quarters. Without saying a word to her husband and waiting until he was at work, she started dismantling the bed. She put the mattress, springs and headboard, and footboard up against the wall. Then she got out the screw driver and set about putting her dining room table together. It had been propped up against the wall since they had moved here. She took all the chairs that were lined up in the living room and put them around. She even got out one of her tableclothes and spread it over the table. Standing with her hands on her hips and smiling to herself, she muttered, “There, we’ll see how he likes that.”
It had been quite an undertaking for an evening all by herself so she fell into bed exhausted. She had intended to lie awake until Willard got home, but sleep overtook her. The next thing she knew, she heard, “What in the Hell is going on around here?” It was Willard, he had come home and not wanting to awaken Virginia, he was trying to get into bed without turning on the lights. He stumbled over the chairs and table and his mood was far from congenial.
Virginia ran down my stairs to try to explain but it wasn’t of much use at this time of the night. “Well, I just got tired of being so cramped up all the time.”
“Never mind, we’ll talk about it tomorrow.” With that, he stalked upstairs to bed with Virginia smiling and following behind.
About a month had passed and tempers had calmed, Virginia again approached Willard about taking the wall down. “After all,” she pointed out, “that cross beam between the living room and the bedroom will hold up the ceiling.” She might not have known anything about building but she did have a good argument. Finally Willard gave in, at least partially. “Well, I guess I could take out part of the wall and make an archway into that room.”
Out came the crowbar and saw and the painful noise of one of my walls being ripped out began. It wasn’t really a weight-bearing wall, but Willard tried to convince his wife that it was. He wasn’t one to finish a job completely, especially since it wasn’t his idea in the first place.
Virginia was delighted with the half-completed project. She had more room to move around in her kitchen now and with the wood cook stove used as the heating source as well as for cooking, the heat was distributed more evenly.
The company sleeping arrangements were quite simple. Virginia made room upstairs for another bed and when company came, she shifted the children around and made more room. This happened quite often on weekends. These young people have so many relatives and friends, there seems to be a different bunch every weekend, especially during clam season. They enjoyed their company and Virginia loved to fix them all the seafood they gathered.
In April of 1952, Virginia’s brother, Bob, came for a visit on Easter weekend. Virginia was excited to see him. She hadn’t seen him in many years. He was in the Army and had been overseas much of the time.
One day while Willard was working, Bob asked Virginia about the unfinished wall. “Well, I’m lucky to have that much out. I wanted him to take out the entire wall but he says the ceiling will fall in.”
Bob started examining my structure, and then said, “Do you want the rest of this wall out?”
“Sure, if the ceiling won’t fall in.”
“Hell no, it won’t, do you have a crowbar and a saw?”
Virginia was out the door in a flash and back with the tools.
Oh boy, here it comes again. Screech! Crash! Bang! And the rest of the wall came out, leaving an ugly strip across the floor. Of course the ceiling didn’t fall down but Virginia wasn’t sure there wouldn’t be a hole in the ceiling when Willard came home and saw what had been done.
Fortunately, Bob softened the blow when Willard saw what he had done. “Looks like you’ll have to buy some new linoleum now.”
“Ya, I was going to do that later anyway,” Virginia turned and grinned to herself.
Virginia told Bob how much she liked it here at the coast. “You know, the weather is so mild. We haven’t had any colds all year. It didn’t even freeze and it didn’t snow either. I don’t think they get snow here on the coast.” I guess she had forgotten about the wind storm that scared her out of her wits, but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about as far as the freezing and snow is concerned. This has just been a mild winter.
The next morning, Bob and his wife, Evelyn, were getting ready to leave. “Say Virginia,” asked Bob, “Are your kids shaking the pillows out the windows upstairs?”
“Of course not, what makes you think that?”
“Well you said it never snows here and there is something white coming down out there, I thought it must be feathers.”
Here it is the day after Easter and did we have a snow storm. It didn’t last very long, but Bob left right in the middle of it.
The snow didn’t last and spring was just around the corner. Willard was getting excited about the approach of Spring Chinook salmon fishing. I think that man would rather fish than eat. He was a successful fisherman though and on some occasions he would take his young son with him.
This freckled-faced lad was all boy and emulated his father in his actions and play. One day while Virginia was busy doing her household chores, Danny asked, “Mom, can I go out and shoot some ducks?”
“Sure, but put on your hat and coat and your boots first, and be careful you don’t shoot anyone’s pet ducks.”
“Ok, I’ll be careful, don’t worry.”
Virginia watched and smiled as the young would-be hunter clad in his coat, hat, and boots strutted out my door with his trusty pop-gun propped over his shoulder. Outside, he called to their pet Cocker Spaniel.
“Come on Wiggie, you can be my hunting dog, but don’t bark, you’ll scare the ducks away.” Getting down in a crouched position and his gun poised in front of him, he crept around my corner, carefully stepping in every mud puddle along the way. He looked across the forbidden street before he crossed it, then he seemed to have a second thought. He ran toward my door and burst through. “Hey Mom, if I see a duck that has a sign around his neck that says ‘I don’t belong to nobody’, can I shoot it?”
Looking up from her ironing and trying not to laugh at his seemingly serious question she said, “That’s a good idea, just shoot the ones with the signs.”
With her approval, he bounded back out my door and Virginia slumped in a chair in laughter.
The children were a continual delight; you never knew what they would come up with next. Like all kids, they loved the train. No matter what they were doing, when the train whistled down the track, they would yell, “Train, train, the train is coming.” Out my doors they would ago, lining up on the wooden sidewalk and waving at the engineer, each box car that passed and jumping up and down when the caboose came by. The trainman on the caboose got to know them and was always on the right side to return the wave.

Here are the introduction, and Chapters 1 through 4 …