The trains kept crashing near my house. No one could figure out why but I knew. Someone should just have asked Dave the eight year old.
I was sleeping soundly the night when the train crashed in to my neighbors back yard. The time was approximately three a.m. The trains always roared past our houses at all hours of the day and night. The neighborhood would rock when the trains passed by. I was used to it though.
The trains were always long and loud, its funny ya know, after living there all my life, Id never really hear the roar unless I focused my attention to it. Life is that way at times it seems.
I and the whole neighborhood were awakened by the tremendous crash that morning, or uhhh ma-by it was more of an explosion I think. Mom and Dad were up right away and I was too. It seemed that everyone in the neighborhood was up and running towards the railroad tracks, still in their pajamas. Well...at least I was and my brothers were. A carnival like feeling filled the atmosphere as all the neighbors lights turned on and everyone rushed to the scene. The trains ran north and south on____________(train track name) they traveled to and from the city's of Detroit Michigan and Toledo, Ohio.
Came right through my home town of Wauseon and past our house at 102 west chestnut court. The trains carried anything from glass to automobiles to ummmm food. Yeah, food. Food was on the train that night, and no one in that neighborhood would ever forget that especially me cause the food that I'm talking about is called Nabisco! and we all know what Nabisco stands for. Cookies, cookies, cookies!
The southbound train was heading away from Toledo and through our town. Our house was at the south end of town, so usually by the time the trains reached our house, they were traveling at a pretty good clip. 40 to 50 MPH. There was an investigation into what had caused the accident, im sure, but it actually took two more bad accidents in the same spot before they finally figured out what was causing them to happen. No. this isn't a confession. he heh, but I knew. As an 8 year old, I knew what happened. All they had to do was ask me......he heh!
I remember this train wreck above the others because of the fact that for the next few weeks, all of us kids from the neighborhood were climbing all over the box cars and wreckage. Some were upside down and some were actually on top of others. One of the cars was carrying stocks. they were the butt stocks for rifles. Early stages.
The stocks were shaped, but not finished. anyway. Our neighbor (a middle aged man) gave us kids a dollar for each gun stock we could find. Id give you his address, but he doesn't live there any more..
Another box car was filled with nothing other then 100% bonified keebler and many assorted Nabisco cookies, cakes, pop-tarts,and these cinnamon swirl things which I loved, there were a lot of those. ohhhhhh maaaan. My three brothers and I made a killing. For the next couple of days, we went through those broken box cars id say 20 or 30 times each to do some friendly scavenging.
Well , we had this big floor freezer in our basement. I mean "it was Big" We filled it to the top! Couldn't fit anymore. For the next 2 months, all we kids begged for, stole and ate was cookies and pop tarts and those cinnamon swirl thingies. By the time the freezer was almost emptied out, I was sick!!! of those Un Godly cinnamon things they were the last to go and the most hated, we had so many.
Let me tell you though......for an 8 year old, that train wreck, as bad as it was, was heavenly to be sure. (as long as no one died) Simply Heavenly!
As an eight year old, I would have likened it to Willie Wanka's chocolate factory on wheels, well, maybe not on wheels any more. The box cars had actually snapped in half kinda and cookies flew everywhere. The worker men yelled at all of us neighborhood kids. They told us that all the cookies had sharp metal pieces in them and that we were to NOT eat them, but we knew better. We would just wait till they all left. it was like 3:00 p.m. (I think they were all union workers)..hehehe...cause the train stayed there for a good 2 or 3 weeks before it was finally and completely picked up.
When the workers left, it was open season for cookie hunting! I remember everyone going through those cars.
I think they have a new word for what we did that day. I think it is called Looting. These days??..shit, we would all have been sent to, then released from jail on $100,000.00 bail and a must show for court! Well maybe not me, I was only eight! hehehe. We never thought about that, at least I didn't.
When the men left, it was like "the rats coming out after the fair had closed down for the night"......heavenly indeed!
Okay your dieing to know why the trains kept derailing right beside our house?......oh I could never tell.....okay I will.
There had been 3 big accidents in that same spot within 2 years or so. I guess for the first two, they obviously couldn't figure it out because there was a third. They finally got wise to what was happening though. All they really had to do was ask David the 8 year old, I knew it all along. Although I never comprehended it till later on in my life.
As the trains would be heading towards the south end of town, they would be picking up a good speed as they approached and passed the houses on chestnut ct. The trains, usually very long, would begin to sway back and forth. I guess that the tracks were a little un even at an inter section about a mile up the tracks. The accidents were always southbound. You couldn't tell just by examining the tracks though. (of course I never tried) The swaying would intensify until the Cars would actually lean just a little bit to much and colllaps to one side or the other......I knew it all along cause I was always up at the tracks throwing rocks at the train cars as they rushed by.
Tim Hollingsworth and I would hide in the trees.... and wait for the engine to pass, then for the next 5 to 7 minutes, it was open season on train cars......it was especially fun when the train cars were carrying automobiles on them. They never had walled car carriers in those days.
I remember though many times, all the time. The box cars would sway back and fourth wildly never thought about it much at the time, and I never actually saw the wheels come off the tracks but I do remember the cars getting close to toppling. It was a little scarry standing so close. hehe.
Don't ask how an eight year old could end up beside the railroad tracks throwing rocks at a train. To keep Mom from getting all of the blame, I will say this, she always told us to stay away from those Damn! Railroad Tracks. I received a few spankings for going up there but I didn't care, unless it was Dad doing the spanking. eeehhhh, then I cared a lot. Something about Dads and spankings .....ewwwww
Me and Tim Hollingsworth would go to the mill pond or the pig pen to play, at least thats what I told Mom . We always seemed to end up at the tracks with Rocks in our hands...
(The Train Wreck Part 2)
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