Stories

Lifetime Memories

by Avis Forsman

Reviewing my comments I see that I may have included railroad lines that may not have been the Union Pacific, but for me Union Pacific was THE railroad. When I was five, or maybe six, I received a "thank you" note from Mr. Jeffers for a picture I had sent him. My great aunt, Mabel Krogh, was working for the Union Pacific then, perhaps in accounting, and continued to work there for a total of maybe 20 years.

Like many others, in 1939, my Mom dressed us kids in period clothes she made and my Dad grew a beard for the celebration surrounding the premier in Omaha of "Union Pacific."

Later, I represented my grade school in handing out oranges to soldiers at Union Station. Soon after that, I went on the train with my mother, sister and brother to visit my grandmother who was staying near my uncle, Mark Hirsch, at the Des Moines Veteran's Hospital. Mark had been paralyzed by shrapnel at St. Lo. It was difficult to see so many injured men.

In 1948, my parents took us down to see President Truman during his "whistle stop" reelection tour. It was early and cold as I recall. Also in 1948/1949, our senior high school year, my friend, Bonnie, was stalled on a train in the snow in Green River, Wyo., for several days. Bonnie's father, Mr. Ellington (I never learned his first name - we didn't call our elders by their first names then), worked for the Union Pacific. Later (I don't remember the year) I stopped briefly in Green River early one cool, crisp morning while traveling on the Zephyr to visit my sister who was ill in California I marveled during this trip at the closeness of the rocks and the effort that had been required to cut the track access through the mountains.

I don't remember the year, but when we were helping to move things at my parent's home, we found a bugle -not something we associated with my parents. Surprisingly, my father, Leonard Clapper, said it was his when he belonged to the Drum & Bugle Corps. He did not elaborate and I was never able to confirm that it was the Union Pacific Corps, the only Corps I was familiar with.

Wanting our children to experience a train ride, we took them to Lincoln for a day - so different from the '40s when a train ride was noisy and dusty. Now, I take my children and grandchildren to the Durham Museum where they are especially fond of the old rail cars, as am i, and to the Lauritzen Gardens to see the great locomotives.

Thank you to Union Pacific for sticking with Omaha, for your contributions to the city, and for a lifetime of good, sometimes mixed, memories.

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1936-2012
Passenger Trains, Community
Omaha, NE
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