Monday, October 26, 2009

Trains

At Franklin Monroe Elementary School back in the dark ages, all second graders had the opportunity to ride the train. I'm not really sure where it started and ended. I believe it might have started in Greenville and ended in Bradford or Piqua. A great experience for small farm kids.

I remember standing with my classmates and our teacher Miss Gordon. She was a white haired woman who reminded me a bit of my Aunt Alma. Maybe that is why she was one of my favorite teachers. We stepped up the stairs into the train car. Each step for us a thrill. I sat by a window watching farms pass praying I wouldn't get car sick. When we disembarked we were permitted crawl up into the engine. It belched steam, the whistle blew, and we were thrilled.

Our class was once more placed onto the train. This time we headed to New York City for our senior trip. Radio City Music Hall, the Empire State Building, China Town. Most memorable? Our trip to the World Expo. The huge globe reigned over the international courtyard as we visited the world that day. The sky tram took us from Asia to South America. Our small world grew once more.

The return trip to rural Ohio was solemn. In our investigation of the train, we discovered a coffin in a cargo car. A young man was returning home from Viet Nam. As seniors, we foresaw the future after graduation. We knew. We feared.

As a graduation present, my sister and her husband took me by train from Indiana to Chicago. I marveled that we could not see the stars within the city. I wondered at the children who had never seen the night time beauty of the sky. We rode the monorail. We passed through the slums. The ciy teemed with sailors in port before they shipped out to Viet Nam. A restless world in a restless time.

Trains. A history of America. A history of the class of 1965.

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