When traveling the rails, there were always plenty of soldiers on trains.
In the fall of 1917, during World War I, my mother and I took a train trip to visit my aunt and her family on Thanksgiving Day weekend. Our train was late because the government was moving soldiers on trains. This caused us to miss our connection at a small town in southern Kansas. We spent the day waiting for the next train that evening. I was only 8 years old and it was a long, boring day for me.
The outhouse was down the tracks, and I kept my mother busy taking me to and from it. Finally she told me to go by myself. I did, and somebody came by and saw that the door was cracked open, so they shut and locked it. I could not get out.
I yelled for my mother, but she couldn't hear me. I yelled and yelled, but nobody heard me. Finally, a man came by and heard me yelling. He unlocked the door and took me to my mother. I don't think I went to the outhouse any more that day.
To make matters worse, a few weeks later, I broke out with the measles. There was apparently an epidemic of the measles in the army camps. I exposed the entire country school. I ended up giving the measles to more than 40 children.
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.
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