Railroad Nostalgia

by Margaret Blanchard.

After the trains stopped coming to the Beach in 1 962, one tended to look back on that era with a certain nostalgia, forgetting the days of work it took to ready ourselves for the train ride. We had to pack the trunk, and there was the intricate job of timing, so it would be ready and locked when the cartage man came to carry its bulging and creaking weight away to the train.

Even the struggle to get a wary and recalcitrant dog into a crate, especially if one had a large dog, which we had, loses some of its frustration in retrospect. Invariably the people who had small dogs were always there ahead of us and got the large crates while we ended up trying to push our large dog into a crate which would have crowded a small cocker spaniel. Coming down to the Beach on the train with the aforementioned dog, a mother cat and five new, mewing kittens and to round out the family of livestock, a bowl containing two turtles, had its problems. Once, for one awful mo- ment of weakness (or strength, depending on the point of view), we contemplated a partial solution: leaving the turtles in the taxi which carried us down to the station. But the moment passed and the turtles continued on the journey with us.

Instructions were given to the children to “stand right there and watch the luggage," while Father went to get the tickets. Then the final rush to the train, suitcases bumping against our legs, children out of breath, that moment of panic when we were sure that it would start to glide away without us aboard.