Alver "Pee Wee" Powell
As Union Pacific celebrates 150 years - what a wonderful opportunity to remember the dedicated past and present employees whose dedicated service brings Union Pacific to this monumental year!
Dad's years of service encompassed so many cherished memories as a switchman. He never drove a car, in fact, he never owned one - which meant walking - to and from work daily.
Since our home was adjacent to St. Pat's High School, that meant a lot of walking, but Dad loved to walk!
The necessity of walking to and from work nearly cost him his life during the '40's blizzard. Dad became disoriented so could not distinguish his location due to the blowing snow. He often recalled, "I finally saw a stand of trees I recognized, and knew where I was!" What a loss it would have been had he not seen those trees!
Dad was very direct - there was no question on where he stood on issues. His stance with people was the same. He often said, "If I like you, you'll know it. If I don't, you'll know that, too." I admired his honest directness. There were no superficial mind games with dad.
Because Dad walked to and from work, it meant getting up and around very early. I recall Mom fixing breakfast and lunch around 5:00 a.m., so dad had time to make the journey. He loved to recount an incident he had one morning on his way to the railroad. Because he had so far to walk, he had a "short cut" across an empty lot near downtown. As it was so early, the grounds were still quite dark and a carnival had set up on the lot. Unexpectedly, a policeman appeared with the usual "battery of questions." Dad of course answered with the reason for his crossing the lot, but finally had had enough. In fact, more than enough. He then had a question for the officer, and in Dad's unmistakable tone, "Why do you keep asking me where I work, when you're the one keeping me from getting there?" Enough said.
Written by his daughter - Karen Kramer - North Platte, Nebraska