Two lessons learned during my memorable childhood in Dunsmuir

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Submitted by Marilyn E. White

I was 3, almost 6, when I thought my dad got lost on the train. He was to bring the Shasta Daylight, # 10 in a Sunday afternoon. This scheduling business didn’t happen very often, because he didn’t have the seniority to do the “right” jobs, but luckily he took the passenger train home that day. . And had a scheduled time to get home.

My mom helped me cross the street and helped me walk the three long blocks (which seemed like long blocks at the time) to the depot to wait for him to enter. She told me exactly where to sit and stay there. Not having the slightest sense, I did just the opposite. I was just a kid, though. What was she expecting?

After all, there was so much to get a child’s attention. Like the smell of Chinese food from Motto’s across the street. I could smell the soggy chow mein smothered in “bug” juice, just like I had the time my mom was called in as a juror and it was daddy to feed us. Boy, have I grown to love jury duty, because my mom seemed to be on a limited Rolodex and was called out several times in my youth. I loved Chinese food from that point on, but none have ever tasted as satisfying as Motto’s soggy chow mein. There was also the large circular fountain with huge trout swimming in it. Talk about an animation committee! These trout were endowed with entertainment for a small child! My mom didn’t give me any coins to throw in the fountain, so I looked for rocks and added my contribution and watched them settle into the turquoise background of the circulating fish house. Didn’t they feel dizzy? They were swimming in circles. I never thought they could all be brain damaged by non-floaty stuff thrown by little kids like me hitting them on the head. Now I know better. MDR. In addition, there were the decorative pipe railings that surrounded the yard landscaping of the depot. They begged to adorn themselves with climbing and hanging children performing acrobatic feats while waiting for the train. And the tracks! I loved doing somersaults on grassy slopes that ended abruptly on the train platform. You had to be careful not to end up suddenly on the asphalt. Either way, you didn’t have to worry about dog poop there. It seemed like a dog poop free area. And those stairs leading down from the terrace to the flat railway line! I could have fun for a long time on them and it turned out that day I did.

Time was passing. A lot of time ! It seemed like hours for a child’s fragile schedule. The train was late. My mom got worried and came to the depot to pick me up and take me home, but I wasn’t where she told me to stay, was I? Oops! I was sitting at the bottom of the stairs, out of sight of the road, having just finished a make-believe game of “Button, button, who’s got the button?” ” alone. Did I mention I have an elephantine imagination? Well it keeps growing day by day as you can see. But with the stairs there … they just lent themselves to the game that I had played many times, but not usually on my own. This is what made me so concerned and kept me invisible from the road.

Anyway, after what seemed like an eternity, a familiar member of the crew dispatcher’s office, Charlie Taylor came out and found me, thanks to my worried cry for help. mother. I cried and cried, thinking my father was lost, not realizing that the train had nowhere to go except this way. When it finally happened, I was so relieved that my dad was okay. I was especially happy when I saw his face light up when he saw me. So after he got “tied up” we came home for a fried chicken dinner on Sunday with mashed potatoes, gravy and peas and probably peach cobbler. My mom was a world class shoemaker.

I learned two things that day. To stay where I was told to stay! And thank God for the Southern Pacific Railroad for bringing my dad home safe and sound that day and every day after that. And I would also thank him many times since for my memorable childhood on the streets of Dunsmuir.


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