Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tossed On The Interstate Train At Age 4

When I was four years old, my parents gave me a one-way ticket, stuffed me on a train to somewhere and took off. Trains became my first love from then to now. The lure of the tracks, the mighty couplers, the EMD locomotives.

Well, it wasn’t quite that way. Yes, I was four and, yes, I did have a one-way ticket from Bridgeport, Conn., to Brattleboro, Vermont. But I wasn’t alone; my eight-year-old brother was there and we had relatives waiting for us at the other end.

And I also think that’s when my fascination? love? obsession? with trains began. It has never ended. I can still sniff out a creosote-soaked tie half a mile away – further, if it has been baking in a hot July sun. My memories of the now-gone Victorian Bridgeport railroad station are as clear and vibrant today as they were when I hung out there with my mother 50-55 years ago.

When are the biggest and best memories imprinted? At four, perhaps? An important age for the imagination, for new and exciting things, for escaping the backyard, the neighborhood, even the safety of the parents. They stick you on the train and you have the confidence that comes from their faith in you.

“Cousin Clyde and Mil will be waiting for you at the station,” they say. “We’ll join you tomorrow.” And on that day, or the day after, my father took a photo of us (one exposure) that has wowed people for decades.


Blogger Scott said...

You are the best

March 21, 2009 5:15 PM  

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