This is the second in a series of flashbacks of my life…..to read the first, click here.

We settled into a routine with the new house fairly quickly.  The first few weeks were rough though….the trains took some getting used to.  Especially since the rail-line we lived close to wasn’t just a track or two, but a main switching yard and repair/maintenance station for Santa Fe railway consisting of around 15 tracks.

There was an old steam whistle that marked the start time for the workers every day.  Being jolted out of bed at 7am to a very loud steam whistle tends to help teach young children to become morning people pretty quickly.  There was another blast at 12:00 noon to mark the lunch hour and the last whistle blew at 3pm.  That whistle blew every day that we lived there and for years later.  I hear they finally retired it – that makes me sad.

The trains rumbling by would rumble the house also.  Mom learned not to hang anything on the wall that was valuable unless it was attached really, really well.  The elementary school that began at 8am was on the opposite side of the tracks and the 7:45am train would always delay us, regardless of what time we left the house. That dang train never could come at the proper time!!  The days we’d leave early, it would be early.  The days we’d leave late, it would be late.  And there was no way around the crossing unless we went 10 miles out of our way to the only over-pass that was available at that time.  Brother and I got really good at counting to 100 by counting the train cars while we were on our way to kindergarten and first grade.  Thankfully, the school had enough sense to not count us tardy all of those days since most of the teachers had the same problem with being late.

Fall turned into winter and the real fun began…..with no insulation, we froze our tails off that first year.  With three space heaters for a two story, 2000+ square foot house, and 10 foot high ceilings, nothing we did warmed us up.  Mom and Dad woke up to busted water pipes every morning for almost 2 weeks straight.  Breakfast was eaten upstairs in front of the only space heater for the entire floor.  Our breaths could be seen coming out of our mouth from the moment we woke up.  Water left in a cup on the bathroom sink would be frozen solid by the next morning.  I remember all of this – with fond memories of my childhood.  My parents, not so much……

Winter finally turned into spring and Mom got the energy to rearrange their bedroom.  One night, as the winds were howling at the rafters, everyone was trying to sleep, a strange sensation kept Mom from sleeping but frozen, without moving, in bed.  Finally, she could stand it no longer:

“Dear……are you awake?”  ……yeah?…..

“Do…..do…do you feel what I feel?”  …..maybe…..

“Is this bed moving?”    ……ummm…….yeah……

Their bed was on casters, positioned in just the right way, and the wind was blowing just hard enough that the entire second floor of the house was swaying in the breeze…..

Stay tuned for my next installment……

By the way – I am currently out of the country on vacation and will reply to any and all comments when I return.  Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read these, I hope you enjoy this series.

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