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Monday, May 4, 2015

15 - Diary From the Train - 2 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile has been planning her trip to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She has all her plans made and schedule set.

Finally the day arrived when Grandpa Alois and her young daughter Betty drove with Grandma Cecile to Salem to the train station where she departed. It took her until the second day on the train to settle down, gather her thoughts and begin to write. 

Being frugal, she conserved paper by writing in a continuous block, no paragraphs, no line spaces between dates, she just kept writing. To make it easier for you to read, I have inserted breaks, but I have not changed her words. In the image shown at right, you will notice a question mark over "(1936)" and a page number in right hand corner "1." Those marks were added by Sr. Agnes Beitel when she made her copy of the diary. 

If you are unfamiliar with the initials J.M.J. at the top of the page, it is essentially a prayer, it stands for "Jesus, Mary, Joseph". We used to put it at the top of all of our paper work in Catholic Grade School. Grandma put it on the first 34 pages of her journal.

Here is Grandma's first diary entry: 
Top of first page of the diary

JUNE 2 Can’t realize that I am in Idaho. I want to begin writing down the happenings of my trip. After I left poor Betty and Papa, I felt like I lost the whole world, but I prayed God should help me and on we went. 

The conductor came‐‐ a friendly man, which is almost second nature of the S.P. employees. He looked at my ticket and said— “Aha, this is going to be a nice trip for you lady.” After a second he had found a companion already, an elderly lady going to London. He introduced us. 
Front of the train schedule, folded

 In Portland I certainly got a shock. I always thought I would go with the U.P. [Union Pacific] and my ticket was written to the Northern Pacific. So they directed me to my train which stood on track 7.
From the train schedule
When I came to my berth, my suitcase lay on my bed. They took it out of my hands and took it here long before I came in. I wanted to go to bed right away because I was tired. I heard a lady say, “Well, this is the standard of yesterday.” I think she meant, because we were in the tourist car, but everything is just as nice as it can be. 

I slept the biggest part of the night and dreamed there were 4 horses hitched to a railroad car. They pulled so hard because it seemed they were deep in the mud. 

It is raining here and it is dark, just like at home yesterday. We are passing through a rather nice valley. The train goes at a pretty great speed. It makes writing difficult. We are not transferred until Chicago. To think I wanted to see Weisers [Dan and Bertha, one of Alois’ sisters] in Columbus [Nebraska]. Now I am going south of New Rockford, N.D. [Alois’s sister, Mina and her husband, Frank Allmaras lived in New Rockford]. 

From the Train Schedule
 I had breakfast in the diner; a bowl of oatmeal, a soft boiled egg, some toast and coffee — 68¢. For supper last night I had a bowl of tomato soup (15¢).

Pg.s 5&6, Portland to Chicago, read from bottom up

Pg. 23, Portland to Spokane, read up

Back page of the train schedule, unfolded

NP routes map

Grandma Cecile mentions that she had thought of seeing Weisers in Nebraska (along the way), but the route she was on did not go through Nebraska. To get to Nebraska, she would have had to take a side trip off the northern route around Billings, Montana. She may have gotten that idea from the Beitels' train trips moving from Nebraska to Salem, Oregon in 1909, then back to Nebraska and finally back to Stayton, Oregon, in 1915. It is likely that those trains went a different route, more directly through Nebraska, perhaps that is the way Union Pacific went, which she was expecting to be on. Without the Interstate highway system, travel was much easier by train. 

John, Grandma's oldest son and my father, told a story about their moves. The train was the best way to get back and forth. If you traveled by train, so did your possessions. One toy he brought along from Nebraska was a little wooden wagon with iron wheels. My sister-in-law now uses it as a side table with a glass top over the little wagon box. That little wagon has a lot of miles on it!

One other thought about travel, since the big hydroelectric dams were just under constrution at the time, how different did the Columbia River look? Were the train tracks in the same location as they are now, or were they moved? 

Some of the towns have changed since the days of Grandma Cecile's train schedule. For instance, two early "flag" stops out of Portland are Cape Horn and Prindle, Washington. Not much there today in the way of train stops, perhaps a siding at most. The stops listed are on the Washington side of the Columbia River, not the Oregon side.

Story to be continued...... 

To read Post "16 -  On The Train - 3 June 1936 Click here

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