a life well lived

Sunday, July 6, 2014

the sage covered hills of wyoming 07/06/00

It is very early here at Squirrel Haven - 6:30 a.m.  I just woke up to a deliciously cool morning.  Very different from the oppressive heat and humidity we sweltered through on the 4th.  It puts me in mind of something that I talked about with Carole and Deno the other night - a train trip out to California I took in 1931 with Lynn Asplundh and her children Babby, Bee, Elsa and Sonny.

We picked up the train at North Philadelphia, which was a hustling bustling, major  train station back then.  Everyone was so excited!   This was before everyone took to the skies, when train travel was THE way to go.

Lynn had a drawing room for herself and the two little kids - Elsa & Sonny - while Babby & Bee shared a berth over mine out in the sleeper.  

The drawing room, large enough to sleep four, served as headquarters on the trip, but I preferred sitting out in the regular car.  It seemed some exciting.

It was a hot trip getting hotter.  This was before air conditioning.  A traveler had two choices - keep the windows shut and swelter or open the window and get gritty with soot.  I chose the soot!

It felt like our train stopped at every whistle stop and chicken coop on the way.  When I woke up the first morning, it seemed we must be on the far side of Ohio, we had been traveling so long.  We had just pulled into Pittsburgh - I could not believe it!

Lynn arranged to have breakfast in her fairly spacious drawing room.  Well, the kids considered this a gyp - they did not want to eat by themselves in the drawing room, they wanted the excitement of the dining car.  That was the last meal we took in the drawing car; all others were experienced in the dining car. 

What a dining car it was.  This was back in the days that railroads had topnotch chefs, good china and crystal, and superb service.  I was glad the kids had kicked up a fuss - I preferred the dining car, too.

The closer we got to Chicago, the hotter it got.  All of us - especially the little kids - were wilting from the heat.  It was a blistering 98F when we pulled into the not-so-Windy City.  Not fun.  The only thing that made it bearable was knowing that California and the Sierra Nevadas were down the track.

On our 3rd night, I went to bed, once again wishing I could climb right out of my skin, it was so hot.  I slept with my feet on a small shelf at the end of the bed to allow the air to circulate under my legs. 

A strange thing happened in the early hours of that morning ~ I found myself reaching for the blanket at the end of the bed.   Still more asleep than awake, I became aware of something unexpected.  Cooler air.  I opened the curtain next to me and gazed out upon the beautiful sage-covered hills of Wyoming.

This morning, feeling the cooler air over my body, more asleep than awake, I half-expected to open the curtains next to my bed and see those sage-covered hills once more.

 Keep cool!  Love - TechnoGram

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