spun around in excitement, taking in all the sights at the Netcong/Stanhope
station. Living in nearby Port Morris, he had seen trains his entire
life, but this was the first time he was to ride one without his parents.
"Is this our train comin', Pa? Is it?"
Pa was at the ticket window talking with the agent, so Emily, Josh's
older sister, took him by the hand to keep him still.
the next one on that track is ours." She pointed to the shining
rails near the concrete station platform. "Now be still while
he gets our tickets."
Pa came over
with the worn satchel and bent down to hand a ticket each to Emily
and Josh. "Here you are. Now keep hold of them until the conductor
Josh and Emily
took the tickets, but their heads were turned toward the approaching
steam engine chuffing up the rails to the station. An automobile putted
across the tracks before the gate keeper lowered the crossing gate.
The train whistle began sounding.
The ground trembled
as the engine slowed and passed by, bell ringing and steam hissing
from the cylinders as the pistons pushed the big driver wheels around.
The black engine
was followed by the tender, carrying coal, then by a dark green baggage
car, and finally, by a pair of dark green coaches. The word 'LACKAWANNA'
was painted in gold above the row of windows. When the train stopped,
the conductor, dressed in a white shirt and black suit, stepped off
of the first coach and began assisting passengers from the train.
Pa stood up and
walked to the conductor waving for Josh and Emily to come. "Morning
to you sir."
said the conductor.
Josh looked the
conductor up and down, admiring the gold pocket watch on the long
shining chain on his vest.
my children's first trip on a train alone," said Pa. "I
wonder if you could keep an eye on them?"
I can do that," said the conductor glancing at his watch.
happy to help. Where are they getting off?"
to Branchville to see Aunt Martha," Josh said.
whispered Emily pulling him back by the arm.
smiled. "It's all right, miss," he said. "He has a
right to be excited."
Pa bent down
to them and adjusted his brimmed hat. "I want you two to behave
on the trip. And be good for Aunt Martha. She'll be meeting you at
the station when you get there."
Pa," they said and each kissed him on the cheek.
you'd better be getting aboard before the train leaves you here. I've
got to get back to work at the store."
Josh and Emily climbed the steps of the coach and Pa handed them the
satchel. Emily, hefted it in with them as they went to find a seat.
The inside of
the coach was painted a cream color and the seats were wicker. Emily
chose a seat at the end of the car by one of the open windows and
plopped the satchel down beside her. There were few passengers in
the car, so Josh chose the empty seat in front of his sister.
A moment later
they heard the conductor yell,"B-o-o-o-a-r-d!"
The train's whistle tooted twice and their car lurched forward on
its way as the conductor entered the coach.