Railroads have been an important part of my life. My hometown was one of many railroad towns. My father, brother, sister, husband, aunt and two uncles all worked for the railroad. Until World War II, railroads employed a lot of people, from call boys to engineers and everything in between.
Trains were our recreation and vacation transportation. Railroad workers and families received free passes to ride the trains. I remember riding "The Dinky" to St. Louis, going to the zoo or to a movie, then riding the rails back home that night.
In the summer, we would ride the train to Arkansas to visit relatives. In the early 1900s, an uncle of mine rode to California by train and kept a diary of the entire trip. Even today, I love to hear a train whistle in the night. The whistles bring back memories of the earlier days.
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.