"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon
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Thu Aug 25 08:35:09 EDT 2016
Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with five of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy Birthday card for
Frank Breedlove, VGN Yard Conductor. Frank is famous for having a
conversation with an FBI agent in South Yard during WWII and turned 83 on
Attending with us last was my middle son Stephen. He follows these
reports and brought a small pocket watch to show for my "Jewel from the
Past" segment. Last night was one year since his wife Cassie passed away
from cancer. Stephen bought the Elgin for her and said she would place it
under her pillow when he was away on business and the ticking would help
her go to sleep. Several months after her passing, he discovered that the
watch had stopped at the exact time of her passing.
The Jewel from the Past like those in an Elgin 13 jewel 1890 with a bold
red dot porcelain dial, lever set 14K is from 4-16-09: ''Wis Sowder brought
for Show and Tell a notebook that Jimmy Whittaker made and gave him on his
retirement day. This book contained his employee records started with his
full name: Wister Cornealous Sowder and included his VGN Application for
employment as a Caller, Bulletins of all of the jobs he bid, as well as the
Bulletin of his 'position to be vacated'. On the last page was listed all
of his sick days taken (very few) with a note saying 'Poor guy became
seriously ill with the thought of leaving this fine company'".
For Show and Tell I took my latest ebay purchase "Victoria: Then and Now"
a centennial book about the first 100 years of the town created by the VGN
for a half way point between Roanoke and Sewells Point. Page 57 has a
photo of VGN Superintendent's Office 11-9-59 showing John Fox, J. P.
Strickland and R. R. McDaniel. This book has a fine history of the
beginning of the VGN and would be a great addition to any VGN library. I
dropped it off at R. R. McDaniel's home after the meeting for him to peruse.
Also for Show and Tell I took the Fall 2016 "Classic Trains" magazine.
Page 8 has a photo that some of you may find very interesting. It shows
N&W K1 #107 on the turntable at Shaffers Crossing in 1946 (obviously with
an oil tender) with the caption "N&W converted four K1's to oil to show
miners (on strike) what could happen, if coal became unavailable. Gordon
Hamilton said that "they probably only converted the one to oil before the
strike was over". I also took an NS photo of AC44C6M #4004 DC to AC new
paint scheme with the horse's mane painted blue, to signify the unit was
converted at Juniata Shop in Altoona, PA. Eddie Mooneyham said he thinks
there are two of these units being converted in Roanoke Shop at this time.
Wonder if these will get the blue mane also???
Eddie Mooneyham presented us a nice insulator set he was given by AEP when
he was preparing the SW1000 switcher for shipment to Roanoke (donated by
AEP to the Roanoke Chapter NRHS). This insulator was part of the VGN
overhead electrification to allow coal to be spotted in the plant. It is
from the track that still has the old VGN thawing plant in place at the AEP
Glen Lyn facility that is being taken out of commission. Eddie presented
the insulator to former VGN Clerk Wis Sowder for use in the restored VGN
Station in Roanoke. I have posted a photo on this site of the presentation
under "Skip's Photos".
Then there's this: An old fellow was talking to one of his friends about
how he would like to 'leave this world' and said that he would "like to die
like his grandfather did...in his sleep. Unlike the passengers in his car".
Time to pull the pin on this one!
Departing Now from V248,
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