Friday, August 28, 2009

Fred Harvey Tour Leaving La Castaneda Hotel ca 1920

When walking through the present day Amtrak station, this black and white photo taken during the hay day of railroad travel, beakoned me back to the times my mom, Margaret Glessner, and her parents, Inez Chase Glessner and Harry Glessner traveled on this line from Chicago to LA. In my Mom's autobiography she pubished at age 83 for her grandkids, she writes
My first trip to California was before I was school age. Some one, probably Grandpa Glessner or Aunt Mary, drove my parents and me to Mortimer, a few miles north of Findlay, where the train conductor of the yelled: "All aboard!" We left on a steam-engined Nickle Plate Railroad train bound for Chicago. There we transferred to the Santa Fe Railroad where we enjoyed a drawing room, playing games and watching the scenery roll by. In the evenings we often sat outdoors on the rear platform of the train listening to the click-clacks of the train going over the joints of the rails. When I was awake in the sleeping berth during the night, I heard the ringing of warning bells at railroad crossings in towns. Disembarking at a train-stop, the strap of my toy bag broke, spilling everything all over. I burst into tears.
For my second trip to California, when I was in the fifth grade, my parents took me out of school. Again we took the Santa Fe from Chicago. The train became uncomfortably hot, but if we opened a window for air we might get cinders in our eyes. At Flagstaff: Arizona, our train car was switched off for a side-trip to the Grand Canyon. Because it was snowing hard, most of the day was spent in a smalL stone lookout building with a warm fire in a large fireplace and a wonderful view of the Canyon. Going through Arizona I had a glance at a large meteor crater as the train traversed its edge. On this, or our earlier tIip, we got off the train to eat some of our meals at Fred Harvey Restaurants next to the train depot. (I suppose some trains lacked dining cars.) " So here is our families recollection of the high times of rail travel. I am blessed by the spirits of Harry Chappelear Glessner and Inez Chase Glessner, as well as that of my mom, Margaret Mary Glessner Weaver, who gave me the love for enjoying travel, and understanding, "whereever I go, there I am" Peace love and joy of the journey of life. I wonder if they just ate at the Fred Harvey place or went on one of his tours...Hmmm. Imagine..:-)

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