Our eldest daughter, Beth, recently reminisced briefly on her blog about a train ride we took the night we left Cleethorpes, on our way into London, England, the summer of 1971. That was a unique trip in that each of our children, ages seven, ten, and twelve, were old enough to have memories to remember it.
Train rides were common during my husband’s and my earlier years. During World War II, we saw family members come and go regularly by train. The depots were in small towns and larger cities. It remained so even after the war for a number of years, eventually giving way to bus, personal, and air transport.
John and I married in January, 1958. We used train travel between Boston, Massachusetts and Bangor, Maine. In order to be near him and prepare things for our marriage, I had moved in with a Brookline, Massachusetts, minister’s family the end of November the previous year. This gave me opportunity to find a job and get to know the area. John had found a job with a sporting goods store as a shipping clerk in downtown Boston. (Loved those Joe and Nemo’s hot dogs for lunch at that little hole in the wall across the street!) We found and reserved a furnished corner basement apartment in a three-story building that went from 89 to 99 Marion Street in Brookline. We were ready to be married!
The weekend prior to our marriage we took the train back to Maine to take care of the necessary pre-wedding legal paperwork. A little bit of time for personal visits with family but soon, we had a train schedule to keep so we headed back to the Bangor Depot and Boston.
The following week we were on the train, once again, heading north on another Friday. Upon learning of our wedding plans, one of the male passengers, felt it necessary ask, “Why get married? It’s a terrible way to ruin a friendship.” Strange…that remark still sticks so firmly today.
Our wedding was small, but love was there. The following Sunday afternoon, my dad took John and me to catch the train at the little town of Newport where I, as a child had said happy hellos and sad good-byes during World War II to my two older USN brothers. This time, though, I was on the train that rumbled down the tracks taking my brand new husband and me off to our married life in Brookline.
A few months later, Beth received her first train ride although there’s no way she would remember it. At that time, she was what is today commonly referred to as “a fetus.” We called her, “a baby!” With the thoughts of approaching parenthood and remembering what having grandparents in our own lives meant to us, we wanted that family fellowship in our child’s life, too. We decided to move back to Maine.
When you hear the term, “kit and kaboodle” that pretty well describes how we traveled back to Maine, by train. By that time we had acquired, Honey, an adorable little honey-blonde Spitz-and-Spaniel dog from the pound. She was leash-trained and allowed on the train along with our (you’re not gonna believe this!) ironing board, packed boxes of household goods, whatever we had. Don’t ask me how we managed it all. I have no idea. We must have put it in a baggage car somehow. Sure wouldn’t get away with such today.
Beth’s next train ride is one she won’t remember either, but if she looks in her baby book, I think she may find a flattened paper cup with the train company logo on it. (And Chip, please don’t start again, about Beth has a Baby Book and you have none! At least you were cared for! And loved! Don’t forget loved!) John had to go to Chelsea Naval Hospital for medical assessment, so we took advantage and made a family trip out of it. I was so proud to take our Baby Beth back to introduce her to the people I had worked with. They were properly impressed with our then five-months old daughter.
One of my favorite co-worker/friends, Mary Pasyanos, a Greek lady, just a bit older than I, wasn’t at work that day, but as I recall left word for us to please come to her apartment. She gave us ten dollars in shiny quarters for Beth. They had some special Greek meaning for a new or, I think first, baby, but I cannot tell now what it is. Perhaps it is written in the baby book. After our visiting, we returned to Bangor…another train ride.
It’s no wonder train travel holds happy memories for Beth. She has had many more miles traveling down the tracks than she likely knew!
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore