I Remember Daddy
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I have the best memories of my daddy. He was big, strong and loved his family. He also loved his job. He worked on the railroad. When I was growing up in Las Vegas Nv. it was a railroad town. This was in the 1940's and 1950's before all the casinos were built. Everyone we knew was railroad families. Our friends, and neighbors were all railroad people.

The men were either at work or talking about work. We never knew when Daddy would have to go to work. The railroad crew dispatcher would call any time day or night. When that happened it was "called out". Daddy worked on the "extra board" most of the time. The extra board is a group of fellas that didn't have a steady run. If you wanted to get an idea of how long before you got called it was called" how many times out" you were, or how many men called before you.

Daddy was a brakeman. so he worked on the trains. Some men worked in the train wards, so they were yardmen. There were men that repaired the rails, they were called "gandy dancers". There were other men who work on the trains, the engineers, the firemen, the conductors, the porters. . There were also the railroad police called "bulls".

Sometimes when Daddy was called out, he would be gone 2 or 3 days. That would mean they would " lay over". or sleep in one of the railroad housing along the way. When they would "dead head" that would mean they went and came right back. They didn't layover. When he would come in (home) he would be home 3 or 4 days sometimes.

Mama didn't work so we had her home with us. Mama belonged to railroad clubs for wives and social things they both went to. She was busy all the time.

Daddy would get a call in the night and mama would get up and cook for him and made a lunch to take. We had one car so mama would take daddy to the yards. She would pick him up when he got in.

When daddy was home he was a welcome fella. We were sooo glad to see him. He always had candy suckers or something for us to could get out of his diddy bag.

The down side to daddy being gone a lot of the time was if something happened, mama would have to deal with it alone. Broken bones only happened if daddy was gone. One time mama and I were doing the wash and as I bent over the tub, my hair got caught in the ringer. I tried to pull the hair out of the ringer and couldn't. So my hair was pulled out. I was screaming, mama fainted and all the neighbors came to help. Of course daddy was not home. Soon I was better (bald but better), mama had to lay down on the bed with a cold cloth on her head. My hair grew back, and mama recovered.

We had a good life, no one complained about all the inconvinces or how hard it was. We were not as spoiled as people are today(us included).

One day my daddy went to work and never came home. He had a heart attach was taken off the train and that was it. When he was buried people came from all over where ever the trains ran. They blew the whistles to salute him. When I hear a train whistle in the night I know that my daddy is around.

Well I guess that's it for this time See you soon?


Street Talk

What a beautiful, touching article. Thanks Sharon.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

What a wonderful article Sharon.. and what a treasure of memories you have of a time and place that have changed so much. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks Juan

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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