Monday, September 22, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Visits to Uncle Joe's

In the 8th installment of my grandfather's story we learn more about his Uncle Joe Hobbs, brother of his mother Ada Merritt Hobbs.



Uncle Joe was a locomotive engineer for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR.  By virtue of seniority he had his choice of trains so he chose the line's top passenger train, the Chicago Limited.  He left home around 5 pm every second day, dressed like a banker, and went to the Scranton station, changed his clothes and climbed aboard the enormous steam engine which stood there, all spit and polish, emitting that familiar "panting" sound as it and he awaited the arrival of the west-bound section of his train which had begun the first lap of its journey in Hoboken, NJ.  When it arrived its engine was unhooked and Uncle Joe backed his in its place.  At exactly 6:20 pm, upon signal from the Conductor, Uncle Joe gently gave it the gun and his train began the second lap of its trip--Scranton to Elmira, N.Y., which at 70 miles per hour it reached around 10pm.  There Uncle Joe stepped down and walked to the RR YMCA and slept until about 4 am when a "call-boy" awakened him.  He went to the station where his engine had been serviced, washed and polished awaited the arrival of the east-bound section of his train which Uncle Joe would then pilot to Scranton.  I don't remember the exact time but he was always back home by mid-morning and was free until 5pm the following day.

Several years later, Uncle Joe purchased a home and small farm in Clarks Summit, just north of Scranton.  There, around 7 pm every second day, Fred, Milton and I stood on a small bridge over the tracks to see and wave to Uncle Joe as his train picked up speed after the steep grade out of Scranton.  He never failed to toot the whistle and wave to us.

Our days at Green Ridge were spent swimming or exploring Nay Aug Park or going to Emily's home (Harrison had built a find new house near the Church of the Good Shepherd)  where we were always assured of "eats".  Some of our time was spent planning what we should do if Aunt Ella gave a bad report when Uncle Joe arrived home as, usually, his first question was "have these young bucks been behaving?"  Our preparation usually involved stuffing towels, pot lids, etc in our pants to protect our bottoms.  Sunday always meant attending the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd as the Hobbs retained loyalty to their Anglican upbringing.

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