Railroad Stories: Rode the Train Five Days a Week

As children, we rode the train to and from school every day.

| Good Old Days

When I was a child, in the mid-1920s, we lived in an oil camp in Canova, Ark. This was before the days of school buses, so my brother and I rode the train back and forth to school everyday. My parents entrusted my brother with the train fare, which was five cents apiece each way, because he was a couple of years older than me.

One day, after school, when I was 10, my brother was late getting to the train, because he was playing ball. I could hear the train coming and began to cry, thinking I would never get home to see my mother again. Well, lucky for me, a lady from the Salvation Army met the train daily to greet the departing passengers. She saw me crying and asked me what was wrong. I told her my sad story, and she gave me a nickel out of her tambourine, so I could get home.

When I got off the train, Mom saw I was crying and didn't see my brother. She thought something terrible had happened. Of course, I told her, with flowing tears, that it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. My brother ended up walking the five miles home and got a good tongue lashing from my dad, who informed him that it had better never happen again.

This did not pacify me, however, so I kept the tears coming, and to make me feel better, my dad said I could start carrying my own train fare. Well, the next morning, I had fifteen cents in my pocket - ten cents for train fare and five cents to put back in the Salvation Army tambourine.

Now, when my brother and I get together, we talk about our childhood and have many good laughs. This story is just one of the many wonderful memories I have of the "good ole days."

Esta Wills
Wichita, Kan.

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