Friday, June 19, 2009

Great-Grandpaw Rode The Freights

An excerpt from “History, My Way,” also known as “Jim Carten’s Meanderings Over a Second Cup of Coffee.” Maybe available soon at a Barnes & Noble near you, where he drinks coffee, reads and often falls asleep.

“As kids we spent hours pouring over history in school, memorizing places, people and dates and for the most part finding it a bit dull. What did I care about the Blizzard of ’81 or the Liberty Bell, but Jim Bridger, Sublette and Lewis and Clark stirred some kind of emotion in my innards. You know, they brought an image of adventure and being in the wilderness and stuff that kids dream about during history class.

“My great-grandfather, George A. Youngs fought in the Civil War and here hanging on my wall is his discharge, the original, dating back to 1865. While on a trip I stopped by Madison, Wisconsin, the state where George was raised, and found the Civil War Museum. I ultimately was able to put my hands on a document in which all the skirmishes of his company between the dates of which he was posted were listed. They will print out these facts for you.

“George Youngs, well here is a fellow that I want to talk to sometime in the hereafter. I would have loved to have been in his tent for a three-day weekend. Know what he did? He got discharged and two years later rode freight trains from Wisconsin to Philadelphia and then somehow made it to Stratford, Ct. This is my kind of history. What a great afternoon we could spend together discussing his life from 1862-1921.”


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