Two North Carolina-NY trips, one happy, one sad

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Two North Carolina-NY trips, one happy, one sad
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, June 19, 2011 10:22 AM

In 1955 I was a 2nd Lt. at the PsyWar Center, Smoke Bomb Hill, Fort Bragg, NC, about 10 miles NW of Fayetteville on the ACL main line.  A weekend in June, I got a weekend pass, and cleared the western gate of the post,. not far from Southern Pines, at exactly midnight Friday night, just in time to catch one of the three Silver streamliners of the SAL at Southern Pines, with a round-trip, serviceman's rate (traveling in uniform) coach reserved coach ticket.   Someone can look up the OG and tell me which one of the three I used.  I returned to Southern Pines in time to check back in at the West Gate just before midnight on Sunday, and again someone can check to see which SAL streamliner I used . I did have enough clout at the time to stop a train that normally would not stop at Southern Pines (time by shown in the employee's timetable), but I am not sure whether I needed to use that "Protexia".

The weekend was spent completely wtih my Dad  and Mom, Dad at the time was 73 and Mom 63.  We expecially enjoyed a free outdoor Goldman Band concert at the Central Park Mall, with Sousa Marches and Broadway Hits, and a brass- band verson of the Tchaicovski 1812 Overture.   Everything went according to plan.  Trains were on time, food good in the SAL diners, enjoyed watching the engine change northbound at Washington.   It was a wonderful trip, and I appreciated the opportunity to make it.

Especially because a few days later, as I and my four enlisted men were working on some difficult electronic problem in our laboratory, my boss, Lt. Col. Hughes, came in and said, "David, I have some bad news, your Dad passed away last night in his sleep. the funeral is tomorrow morning."  He did not ask if I intended to go, he assumed I would, and already had the orders in his hand to give me to provide emergency leave.   The Secretary to the PsyWar Board called and made plane reservation, and I think it was Piedmont  from Fayetteville to Raleigh, and then Eastern with another change at National to LaGuardia.   I got sick on the plane.   I felt pretty terrible, but was able to get through the Funeral Chapel service, and the proceedings at the Staten Island gravesite.  My mother took the news better than I did.  Other members of the family, mostly my brother-in-law Leonard, who had been a Reform Rabbi, had made all the arrangements.  The services were longer than usual, because Dad's Masonic Lodge had their own special ritiuals to add to those of a Reform funeral service.   Now, how to get back to Fort Bragg?    Since Mom was in good hands with my two sisters, brother-in-law, and my aunt and uncles, I decided I needed some change of conversation and environment to recover my spirits, and the best way would be to find out what ACL train Jim Masters was Matre D' on and shedule my return on his train.   Which I did, and I think it was the West Coast Champion.   I enjoyed dinner and breakfast on the train, and let JIm know what the purpose of my trip was just before leaving the train at Fayetteville and going out to the airport to pick up my car.   I was very pleased that I had made the trip the previous weekend..

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