Here's Part Two...
My Dad finally called sometime in early November to let us know that he had found a house and was making our travel arrangements. I was very excited when I found out we would be taking a ship from
My Mom and Dad decided to sell our car. In
It’s fun to travel by train. You have a lot more room than you do in a car. You can get up and walk around, you can sit and look out the window, and if you’re taking a long trip, you can eat in the dining car and sleep in a bed, too! The trip from
Train at Peachtree Station
The picture above was taken in 1969 at Peachtree Station, which is where we caught the train to
I really enjoyed riding the train, especially eating in the dining car and watching the country roll by the window. When we were going through open country the train ran about 60 or 70 miles per hour. Whenever the train passed through a town you could see people in the street, kids would wave at the train, and it seemed like everyone was looking right at you. In the old days the train tracks often ran right in the middle of the main street of those small towns. The train would slow down to 25 or 30 miles per hour whenever it went through a town (for safety reasons, I’m sure), and the result was you got a close-up look at the town. I’m sure all that has changed, now. The train also stopped to pick up passengers, mail, and supplies in the larger towns and cities. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and raising the shade to look out on to the station platform. It was very late, but I could see men wheeling baggage carts and people getting on and off the train. I’ll never forget those sights.
As soon as the sun went down the porters began their work. Porters are people that are sort of like waiters or butlers. The porter’s job was to take care of the passengers and get the sleeping cars ready for bed-time. The porter would knock on your door and ask if you were ready to have your room “prepared.” That was the signal for you to step into the corridor while he pulled the beds down out of the walls, tightened the sheets, put the blankets on the beds and fluffed the pillows. The whole exercise was over in about three or four minutes. When you went back into your room the seats were gone and your beds were made for you. It was very cool!
The train passed through northern
We arrived in
My Mom was disappointed, too. She had hoped we’d sail on one of the fancy ocean liners of the day, especially the Queen Elizabeth. Some military families were sent overseas on ocean liners, but not many. We didn’t get the Queen Elizabeth; we sailed on a troop ship.
The Queen Elizabeth in NY Harbor
We got up very early the morning we left and took a taxi to the port. There was lots of processing to do before we could get on board. We stood in lines while Mom turned our baggage over to the baggage people, showed the officials our transportation orders, our passports, our shot records and millions of other things. Processing to get on board probably took two hours or more. A long time for a seven-year-old boy with ants in his pants!!
A Troop Ship
The ship in the picture above is the USS William Darby, and may or may not be the ship we sailed to
Once we were on board we were shown to our cabin, which was VERY small and had three bunks, a small table, and lockers for the clothes we brought for the trip. The rest of our baggage was stored in the hold. Families had cabins on the upper decks and “troops” slept in large barracks areas in the lower decks. The troops were not allowed in the family areas and had their own facilities. There was a recreation room, a very small theatre that showed movies twice a day, a library, a dining room, and several lounges. You were also allowed out on the open decks if the weather was good. Fortunately for us, the weather was good. Crossing the
I’m afraid the trip got to be boring after the first two days, and it took us a week to get from
When we finally arrived in
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