Memories From Along The Tracks


I’ve written before, the influence that both of my Dads had on my life.  My real father, the emotional, nostalgic, horseman and trucker. My step Dad, the somewhat gruff, patriotic, no-nonsense kind of guy.  They were both good men and I inherited many qualities, from each.  This entry however, leans towards the memories I harbor of my paternal Grandad, Carl Bowman.  As a little kid, Grandma often allowed me to walk to the corner of  3rd & M Street to meet Grandad as he returned from working at the rail yard.  I remember his face and clothes, covered with the soot of the day as he stepped off of the bus. And I remember the black metal lunch pail, I proudly toted for him as we walked the short block home past Hagans Grocery Store.  I never had the opportunity to thank him for the role he played in my growing up…

Hagans

Hagans Grocery Across The Alley From Grandmas

I always had to wait for him to finish his bath before we retreated to the front porch as Grandma prepared the evening meal.  Most all the “train art” I’ve produced comes from those days on the porch with Grandad.  I guess you could call it “pride” in him and his generation.  Following his return to Louisville after World War II, Grandad went to work for the L & N Railroad, in “the yard”.  While I savored the ice-cold RC Cola Grandma always kept in stock, Granddad would relate “current events” at the rail yard. “…such and such engine was in the round house and she was a sight to behold…”  We sat in the old wooden swing suspended over the porch  of the tiny  “row house” located just a few blocks  from Churchill Downs.  As the wonderful aromas drifted through the front screen door, Grandma putting the finishing touches on the evening meal, Grandad would relate to me details of the engines and trains where he worked.

Along The Tracks print Along The Tracks by dbuckman

I wish my recollections were more accurate, the details he shared, about the trains, his experience and his work at the rail yard.  My only excuse is that I was very young…  Grandads stories did wander at times as he related memories of trains packed with soldiers during the war.  He well remembered the troop train HE was on once he’d entered the military.  It was a train that took him from Louisville after he enlisted, and it was a train that brought him home from the war.  Others who were involved in that war are dying and their memories are dying with them. In fact, according to the VA, WWII vets are dying at a rate of around 680 per day.  I admit that as I worked on some of the train pieces, I think of those men and women as well.

Iron Horses & Iron Bridges Posters Iron Horses & Iron Bridges Posters

I don’t recall what year Grandad finally retired.   It was well before I was sent from Louisville in ’68.   It just seemed that suddenly one day, he was always home, helping Grandma in the garden, tending to the yard or working in the little dirt-floor workshop they had, which backed up to the alley.  He would sit, watch and laugh as Grandma taught me the game of solitaire, and often snuck me an extra quarter to spend at Hagans when Grandma would allow it.  But during every activity, he was able to somehow relate the task at hand to some sort of experience he had with trains.

I remember Grandad seemed quite envious at times when he learned of trips I had taken by train, with my mother in those early years, as I attended and participated in horse and dog shows throughout the country with her.  He was always full of questions about what I saw and heard.  Grandad had a way of making me feel important as I recanted every detail of the recent train ride.

Railyard

The Louisville Train Yard

Grandma outlived my Grandfather by a number of years, and I guess it was after his passing that I learned to listen more closely to the words of the elders as they passed along their memories and words of wisdom to me.  I once had a client who was in the motor pool for General George Patton.  I often sat for hours straight, listening to his stories AND  I plan on putting that experience to paper someday soon….  It’s my intent to continue sharing my own experiences, the emotions and thoughts they bring about…

Recent M Street

Grandma & Grandpas House on M Street (a current photo)

I have no idea who occupies their old place.  Obviously Grandma and Grandpa Bowman didn’t have satellite t.v. and the porch was still natural brick as I was growing up there.  Not only that, someone has changed the siding on the house from what I remember…  All of that being said, I KNOW I wander a great deal, since I started out explaining exactly where the inspiration comes from, with regard to the train art I have done.  “Along The Tracks” serves as the reflections I enjoy as I recall my childhood and the stories Grandad shared…  The other “works of art” are feeble attempts to put to paper, the things my Grandfather and others like him, lived and loved…

Thanks for listening…

This entry was posted in Appreciation, Art & Culture, Art History, award winning art, Blank Greeting Cards, Bridges, Canyons, childhood memories, First Class Postage, Fun Gift Ideas, Interstate Travel, Louisville Kentucky, midwestern artists, Nebraska Travel, Posters Cards Gifts, reprints, retirement party, Summer, Thank You Cards, Union Pacific Railroad, United States Postage, vintage art, Vintage Vehicles, wall art, wall hangings, Western Artists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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