Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Postscript: Trackside with My Dad

When I asked for comments on the previous post, in the form of influences that have made Trackside Treasure readers the rail enthusiasts of today, I didn't anticipate such a large, diverse and most meaningful response. It was great to hear from all of you. In this post, I've included selected responses with a few additional photos - my Dad, sister and me at CN's Collins Bay station in 1973 (top) and Dad with 1201 (third photo below) about to depart the VIA station on its Brockville-Bellamy sidetrip during the September, 1990 Ottawa-Brockville Bytown Railway Society fantrip.

"I've been a railfan since I first existed, and a modeller as soon as I could and that's all because of my Dad, who grew up in Windsor just down the street from one of the mainlines. We've been to countless train shows together, visited many of the same museums and attractions as those pictured in your post, we've even been on the 1201 out of Ottawa twice. In fact, I believe somewhere there is a picture of my Dad and me in almost the same pose as your father and son at the front of the engine. That may have been the same trip, actually.
Your post got me thinking very much about my Dad and part of that is the timing. After a three-year battle with cancer my Dad went into palliative care on December 31st. We were told that mere days remain. 
Part of me worries how my hobby will change once he's gone since he's been such a prominent part of it and true to the spirit, his custom brass model of 1201 (which he snuck into the house due to the price tag) will be there at his visitation." - Jeremy Corke. Thanks to Jeremy for sharing photos of the prototype CPR 1201 and the model covertly purchased to avoid his mother's ire (both above).
"Losing one's parent is an experience that no one but that parent's child can properly understand. Having lost a mother far too early, I would say I understand, but the fact is I don't. It's a unique experience for everyone. But, having said that, I am sorry for your loss.

My grandfather took me aboard a CP locomotive in Windsor when I was but three or four years old. I remember him explaining to me, in a thick French Canadian accent, how the engine worked. I also remember his co-workers being very nice to me and immensely respectful to him. It's an early memory, but still vivid after 30 plus years. I've been a train fan ever since that time. I credit my grandfather for that." - Michael Hammond

"Thank for you sharing your experiences with your Dad. I too shared a train interest with my late father. I realized after he died that I think I was the closest too him in our shared ship & train interests. We spent many times alongside tracks at Brockville, Komoka, Denfield Road bridge, Port Huron/Sarnia, Durand and Ferndale. Doesn't matter what trains we saw, or didn't see at all, it was we spent time together. As a parent now, I understand this desire. Doesn't matter what you do with your child, as long as you're spending time together. Thank you for sharing this personal tribute and I wish the best to your family during this difficult time." - Andy

"I really enjoyed that Eric. Thanks for sharing those photos and stories. It paints a picture of how Trackside Treasure came to fruition. One of my earliest memories with my dad is the trips between our farm and town. I would scan both directions of the CN Assiniboine Sub as we approached the crossing. If I saw the faintest set of triangular lights I would demand we stopped at the crossing and waited. A request that he always complied with." - Ben Alain

"I look forward to reading more about you and your dad in a future post.  My dad sparked my interest in model trains, which naturally led to my interest in full scale trains; there were times where he might have been more interested in buying and running the models than I! With Audrey now being a bit older, I've taken her trackside a few times and she really likes to watch train videos with me on YouTube. She's not picky, just really wanting to watch the choo choos." - Adam Walker

"I was introduced to trains by my grandfather who passed away when I was ten in 1980. My father took over...taking me trackside although he never had a 'love' for trains like I did. In some ways, I think that's impressive in itself in that it wasn't a passion for him but he indulged himself for my benefit. Countless hours at the Dundas Ontario station site and Bayview of course...when you could drive right into the wye. Games of cards, sharing of dreams and ideas, reading of comics, Model Railroader and such with old country music on the old AM radio. Oh, for the chance to go back...even for one day." - Gerry

"Nice tribute to your Dad. When he came to visit us he always prepared for an outing by getting ready to take notes. He would take a sheet of paper and fold it so he could fit it in his shirt pocket. Then when there was something noteworthy he would make  notes on one surface of the folded paper and continue until that was full and then next time he would  fold back the full section and continue on a fresh surface." - My uncle, Wilf Schellenberg who drove visiting Kingston railfans on many trips around Portage la Prairie's yards
A topographic map scan of the St. Andrew's East-Lachute, QC area (above) which includes the St. Andrew's East CN station site shown in the previous post. An original fiddle tune playlist, complete with starting notes penned by my Dad:

Why buy a birthday card when you can make your own? My Dad would often tape two railway-subject postcards back-to-back, then write greetings on the back of one, with viewer activity questions on the other, pertaining to the subjects shown on the postcards. Is it easy to see he was a teacher for decades?

We shared the same view on so many things...

My Dad gave me a great gift. He believed in me. 
Sincere thanks to Trackside Treasure readers for adding their memories to mine. -Eric


Allison said...

Well the p.s. post has even more gems, dear brother of mine! The first photo with us in our Sunday best records a brief period during which I was actually taller than you (and Daddy was taller than both of us). Uncle Wilf's comment about the folded piece of paper for field notes is a great recollection! The fiddle tune list is not only extensive, but looks as though it might be written on the back of a sales slip! The postcard quiz is in the series that also included the famous "How can you tell it's Sunday?" (which I think had something to do with nothing hanging on the clothesline in the picture). It's nice to remember how well he remembered. And the photo of you both at Christmas shows him sporting a sweater we got him in Winston-Salem! I hope you add to the p.s. series from time to time…! AG xo

Eric said...

There are definitely more postscripts to be written on the subject of YF.

Yes, that was a short period when I was shorter.

Fiddle tune list, not surprisingly, written on the back of something photocopied.

Postcard was actually "How do you it is Monday?" because there was laundry hung out to dry behind a passing CPR passenger local, surmised to be Monday - typically wash-day.

Eric xo