A First Train Ride (Then and Now)

 

The year was 1987 and I was eighteen years old. Picture a young naive kid, who came from a small town, with a dream to seek out what the big city had to offer. So long ago my mom dropped me off in White River Junction, Vermont, so that I could ride the  train to New York City. It was an exciting adventure, my first train ride, to visit my older brother David in Brooklyn.

 

 

I don’t remember all about my train ride but I do recollect that it was a seven or eight-hour stint on a smooth rolling train called the Vermonter. We rode through humble towns like Bellows Falls and  expansive cities like Hartford, Connecticut. The landscape sprawled before me, scenes  of city cars and buildings everywhere and others of fields and barns. At one point the train started going in the other direction, therefore I had to stifle the sick feeling. I had never rode backwards before! Ugh!

Here is my son checking out the schedule with his dad
Boarding the train on a frigid day. Thank goodness for the sun!

 

Now, so many years later I was reminded of my trip through my son’s first train ride on the same train. Branden is about the same age as I was, with the youthful energy to try new things.  I was so proud of his eagerness to travel, exploring new ways of transportation.

 

The station sits in White River Junction, Vermont nestled on the White River, adjoining the Connecticut. Dating back to the 1840’s the city thrived as a railroad junction and continued until its decline in the 1960’s. Then the highway system became the most important means of travel. Yet the station remains and travelers still take advantage of the passenger train.

 

As Tom, my son and I waited outside the station, a well seasoned railroad employee trudged up to us. He jingled his keys in the bitter cold and apologized for not opening the waiting station sooner. ” Lots to do today. ” he whispered, sending plummets of steam from his breath. Since we were early and the only ones waiting so far, we assured him that it was fine.

 

 

Entering the musty room I was plunged back in time. A boarding schedule stood on the wall, not digital or modern,  but resembling the same schedule I saw so long ago. Wooden benches stood in the middle of the room. It was as if we were in the Planes, Trains and Automobile movie beside actors John Candy and Steve Martin.

 

 

 

It was surprising to me to have many people pile into the station at the last-minute, perhaps holiday travelers going home as it was New Year’s Day. At the estimated arrival time we all stood just a few feet away from the track. The wind whipped against us as we stood in the snow, a true New England boarding experience in January. Finally the train whistle sounded, giving me goosebumps and it hurriedly chugged up to us. Right away the attendants lowered the icy steps and herded people onboard. This was it…Branden boarded for his  first train adventure and we drove home happy for him.

 

Do you have a train ride story?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

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First Snow Sparkle ❄️

 

This is a view of our woods bordering our backyard.

 

 

The first significant snow

of the season pounced on us

Saturday night!

Sunday morning and afternoon the fresh fallen snow glistened

on bushes and trees

as the sun pelted its presence

upon us.

Frosted trees sparkled

with glistening milky snow.

The wind softly caressed the branches

while wisps of sparkling snow sprayed in clouds

and fell to the ground.

The air smelled clean and anew,

a sure sign of new fallen snow.

As I trudged up the dirt road behind our house,

the suns rays shined upon the road

with an angelic like aura.

I’m grateful for coming winter and the beauty

all around.

Welcome new snow!

It will be a white Christmas!

 

 

Our front yard
Beautiful apple trees in our neighbor’s yard.
Along the dirt road I spy our garage

Look at the beauty around me!

Do you have snow where you are?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

 

The Christmas Tree: Real or Fake?

Apparently there is an ongoing dilemma with Christmas trees. The question is do you cut a real tree every year or put an artificial one up? As long as I can remember I’ve had a real evergreen tree. I remember plodding through the snow for the perfect shaped tree. I can still smell and hear the chainsaw cutting it down.

My sister and I posing in front of last year’s tree, a real one

I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl from New England, favoring those steadfast traditions of exploring for a tree and smelling the rich woodsy scent everyday.  The spiky or soft needles brushing against you as you trim the tree gives me goosebumps.

 

I can understand why people choose artificial trees for it’s less of a mess and probably easier. You buy it once and that’s your total investment as real trees cost money every year. My dad and stepmom keep it decorated and put it away as it is.

Which do you favor…real or fake?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗🌲

” A Blast from the Past”

This post is dedicated to all classic car enthusiasts who long for the thrill of restoring a gem to what it once was. 

 

 

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A look at Gary’s gem, a 1965 Chevy Impala SS with a 4 speed.

 

 

 

Spontaneity is the spice of life, don’t you agree? With that said, much of my adult life has been just the opposite. I plan, plan, plan and Tom goes along with it and in the end, we always have fun on our little excursions. About a month ago my son’s girlfriend  Alexis asked us  if we wished to go to a car cruise with them on Saturday afternoon. It was a work of spontaneity and fun! We were excited to jump on board, but didn’t know what to expect, only that there would be classic cars involved.

 

 

 

Gary Schoolcraft, a long time resident of beautiful Peacham, Vermont is the event’s organizer. Lexie knows him and his wife, Claudette and introduced us to him. Gary is generous enough to share his classic car , with Dylan and Lexie, letting them take it for weekends and such. This time he let Dylan drive the 1965 Chevy Impala while Alexis sat in the front seat and Tom and I lounged in the back. The weekend event was another fun excuse to dive back in time. Tom and I wish to thank Alexis and Dylan for asking us to tag along. We also want to thank Gary for his hospitality and making us feel welcome during the ride.

 

 

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This was the poster generated for the event.

 

 

 

The gorgeous 1965 Chevy Impala SS has a 396 engine with a four speed. This red as an apple beauty is completely original including the paint. The interior is a shiny red and sparkling. It rides comfortably and purrs like a kitten.

 

 

I thought of what a beautiful outing this was , as we perched on the vinyl seats with windows wide open to fresh Vermont air. The rushing air through the open window was exhilarating while it caressed my thick locks of hair. What’s the sense in taking a thrill ride  without letting everything flutter in the breeze?

 

 

While we waited for other  cars and their owners, we surveyed the vehicles before us in the blazing heat. The sweltering sun cooked up a hot steamy September day. After about 15 cars arrived at the first stop, we were all on our cruise down route 5 to the next stop, Wells River, Vermont. There many other classic cars  roared in, jumping in line for the parade of sorts.

 

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This is the car that Gary drove, a 1974 Corvette with a 454, a 4 speed. Pretty sharp!

 

 

Passing by little towns like Bradford and Fairlee, we saw people waving and smiling widely. I guess you don’t see classic cars like these everyday and it’s always a joy to be launched back in time! Our last stop before the drive-in movie was at Wings Market in Fairlee where we all parked askew all over the parking lot and raided the ice cream stand. As the line snaked out and people laughed while waiting , a familiar voice came from the crowd. Our nephew, Luke was there! What a coincidence…Luke was driving his friend’s classic car and spotted us in line. You never really know who you will bump into on a given adventure!

 

 

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Another beauty with on lookers including Alexis, Tom and Dylan.

 

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Dylan drove the Chevy Impala for the day. He was an outstanding chauffeur!

 

Arriving at the Fairlee drive-in I experienced a bit of nostalgia from my childhood. My parents and one time my brothers brought my sister and I to the drive-in to see movies. Back then they sold the mosquito coil that you would burn on your dash but they would end up scorching holes in it. The smoke would fill up the car and  yet the mosquitoes still were attracted to us. We would take the old metal speaker and latch it on the windows to hear the show. Now they give you the radio station to tune in to, to hear the audio.

 

 

All the classic cars paraded into the drive-in of all colors and makes. I would guess that maybe 40 or 50 cars were there. You could hear people visiting and laughing and engines roaring in, to celebrate days of old. After a quick dinner of hamburgers and soft drinks, it was time to settle in for the movie. While Dylan and Alexis sat in the front, Tom and I sat like two teenagers in the back in luxury.

 

It was so much fun seeing the movie with the kids and experiencing this day with them. It felt like we were immersed in a time capsule and thrust back to the 60’s for one special day. Riding in such a beauty was a magical experience but what really topped it off was to be surrounded by the nicest people! All the crowd had one thing in common….a desire to gawk at all the amazing automobiles and honor all the work and sweat poured into each frame.

 

 

 

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It was getting dark and we were ready for the movie, American Graffiti. 

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Mary

 

 

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That Sassy Seagull!

 

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Let’s name this guy Sassy Sam, a fitting name for a new little friend that wouldn’t leave us alone.

 

On a mid-September jaunt to the beach

frigid Atlantic waves crashed in

towards beach goers.

An endless canvas of a pale blue sky

mirrored the stretching sea.

 

Mysterious footprints mazed around the sandy beach,

each treading a unique and personal story.

Sea gulls dotted the landscape, some squawking with a deep seated

desire for fish.

Others repeatedly circled beach sun bathers,

searching and snoopin’ for snacks,

any that would curb their cravings.

Perhaps they would stumble upon kernels of popcorn from a plastic snack bag or a

snippet of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a busy little

toddler.

As the sun stood high in the sky and

afternoon prepared it’s reign,

the resting couple from higher elevations of NH

dug their toes in the smooth warm sand.

The male peered in his trusty binocs

at the wide world of sea before him

and skimmed a hunter’s magazine.

The lady breathed the salty air and listened to the waves

soothing her mind.

She read a book quietly

until a nosy and mischievious sea gull

sprung to action!

Sassy Sam snuck

between the metal chairs in a covert operation,

while other sea gull mates stood by to inspect

his work.

With a snap of his beak, he pulled a chip bag

from the beach bag!

The lounging lady followed him

and hung out until he was done browsing

in the sack.

Minutes after Sassy Sam’s persistence shined,

as he tugged with full force on the lady’s towel.

Never underestimate the strength of a hungry

seagull!

 

 

 

A few weekends ago Tom and I ventured down the route 93 into Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was a Friday late afternoon and cars were hustling everywhere, possibly from commutes from work or other vacationers seeking peace on weeks end. Once we pass the majestic metal bridge into Kittery, Maine, we’re home free. It’s about a half hour on a good day and maybe 40 minutes other days up route 1 into York and then Ogunquit, Maine.

 

 

We ate delicious seafood meals and stayed in a little quaint motel called Towne Lyne Motel. There we were fortunate enough to have a private cozy porch off our room, where we watched the river and had little Dixie cups of berry wine.

 

It was heaven exploring the infamous Marginal Way, starting at the Perkins Cove. We parked there and followed the trail above the craggy cliffs and watched breaking waves crashing against the rocks with a vigor that’s unmatched. While walking I greeted most walkers and even talked with a few including a nice couple from Chicago. We reveled in unison of the majestic beauty there and soaked in the sunny day with all our might.

 

 

It was a glorious and relaxing weekend away for us! If you haven’t visited Ogunquit, Maine, check it out! There are quaint antique and unique shops, great restaurants and many accomodations for your needs.

 

Have a happy week everyone!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

 

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Can you tell Sassy Sam just DOESN”T want his picture taken?

 

 

 

 

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What is This?

Does anyone know what this rusty object could be? A few weeks ago I was weeding around a stump in our front yard. I planted flowers there and wanted to clean it up. As I pulled grasses and weeds, I pulled on this object that was immersed in the core of the rotting  stump. At first I guessed that it was a type of bottle opener but the more I study it, it doesn’t seem to be. It was made in Taiwan and almost looks like the narrow end was broken off of something. Perhaps this object was part of a machine but how did it get in a rotted stump?

 

 

 

 

I love a good mystery that’s why I enjoy ancestry immensely! It’s fascinating to wonder about what people did long ago,  especially in our house that was built around 1890. Once I found a few pieces of old China dishes buried underneath my garden. Long ago families dug trenches on their property to dump discarded items and apparently there are several on our property. Last summer Tom found a site where he was building his garage. Coincidentally the old barn stood on the same spot and when it was torn down, many objects were buried there. Tom found old chains, tires, milking instruments, animal bones and a rusted jewelry box to name a few.

 

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I’m keeping this piece of history, even if I may never know. It’s a curiosity that will rest in my garden, keeping me wondering and connected somehow to the past. Let me know what your guess is.

 

An update…I just googled ” old bottle opener” and found this image. Could this be the same?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

The First Time

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Photo credit, Facebook.com/BEGINWITHYES

 

Upon seeing this Facebook post, I sat down and thought about it. Since I’m a creature of habit and don’t try new things all the time, it was a difficult task to recall the last time I tried something new.

About a year ago I attended an art class in my hometown and painted an outdoors scene with birches and scattered rocks. It was an amazing learning experience and my first time I really painted aside from Kindergarten projects. What stays with me is not the painting itself or the class, but the fact that I went alone. I had planned to go with my sister but she couldn’t go in the last minute. Worried thoughts plowed through me and I even contemplated attempting to get a refund. But what stopped me was a need and want to go. I had my mind set that I would have a great class. I’m proud of myself for entering that class of laughing and talking women in groups of two or three and stood alone optimistically. That was the first time that I set my mind to attend something alone and I walked away triumphant!

 

Another first this summer is it’s my first time growing corn! In previous years Tom planted it and I really had nothing to do with it. He got discouraged because of raccoons and other critters ate a lot of it. Now we are trying it again, many years later and God willing, our plates will be full of corn in a month or so.

Think about this, friends. Share when was the last time you did something for the first time?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤