A War Time Memory

A War Time Memory – My Train Ride

Donald Rogers b. 1935


In 1941 when my grandmother died, my father bought the 77 acre farm from his siblings and we moved from Tampa to Mayfield, Kentucky.

Our house in Kentucky, where my father had grown up, was without electricity and lacked indoor plumbing for about the first year, as I remember.  Our house was heated by a fireplace and portable oil heaters.

We survived growing most of our food on the farm.  We did not have a car initially and made the three mile trip to Mayfield in a wagon pulled by horses.

I entered school in the second grade.  My school did not have indoor plumbing facilities.

Many Sundays were spent with church families after dinner – our noon meal.  We consumed a  lot of chicken and pork along with banana pudding when ingredients were available.  Bananas were in limited supply along with pineapple, sugar, washing powder, and gasoline.  Ladies used feed sacks for making dresses.

While we were living in Kentucky my mother and I made numerous trips back to Florida on trains from Fulton, Kentucky to Tampa.  Many soldiers and sailors were traveling on the trains then.  They smoked and laughed but their eyes were sad.

The “Seminole” was steam engine powered and always late and crowded with passengers.  The “City of Miami,” which traveled from Chicago to Miami, was powered by a diesel engine.

My memorable train ride happened when a train conductor took me up to the engine and I met the engineer.  There I was, riding up in the engine of the “City of Miami” through the Alabama mountains at night!

war time



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