Railroad Stories: Chicago Railroad Stations Provided Many Jobs

Father worked away from home as a telegraph operator for one of the Chicago Railroad stations.

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Although we lived among the beautiful hills of southern Indiana, my dad worked at one of the Chicago Railroad stations. Tuesday was his day off, so my mom, my brother and I would commute there via the Baltimore & Ohio each week if he didn't come home.

We often went on Sunday and spent the day having a picnic lunch with him in the tower where he worked as a telegraph operator. We had a wonderful view of the yards, and I was fascinated by the sound of Morse Code. I never understood how Daddy could interpret it so fast.

One Sunday afternoon, my 4-year-old brother and I, 6 years old at the time, were playing among the levers that Daddy pulled to switch tracks in the yard. I vividly remember when we dropped a small, brown pencil among the levers. I also remember how excited they got and how fast Mommy packed up the lunch and took us home. I don't think it caused a wreck on the railroad, but it sure caused my brother and me trouble.

Betty Kavanaugh
Laurel, Neb.

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.