Old 49, p.1
Old '49, p.1Wilson Ayinbangya Amooro
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For my beloved Clairee
I miss you more each day
With the babysitter asleep in the den,
Not knowing when her parents would come in;
As quickly as she possibly dared,
Patti quietly made her way up the stairs
and into the attic, with its secrets galore.
She switched on the light and closed the door.
She began to explore the secrets abound,
All the while she made not a sound.
Nothing in particular did Patti seek.
She only went up there to take a peek
at treasures she'd heard were stored in the place,
And so many treasures there were in such a small space!
Mom’s ballerina shoes, tucked away with care,
Weren’t those Dad’s Scouting badges over there?
There were paintings and dolls of every description,
Sparking Patti’s imagination.
Until something in particular caught her eye,
Up on a table, way up high.
She moved a chair over, taking special care
not to disturb the sitter downstairs.
She climbed up so that she could see,
And how her heart filled with glee
at the sight of her Grandfather's old railroad line,
His favorite train set, the one he called Old ’49.
She picked up the box, placed it down on the floor,
Spilled a few pieces then glanced at the door;
She had not disturbed the sitter downstairs.
So she began putting track together with care,
Until she had the track all laid,
And for the train a path was made.
Then she took the engine, all shiny, like new,
Followed it with cars of coal, a few,
Passenger cars were what came next,
Then the freight cars were all there was left.
The whistle even worked, to boot,
But, oh, no! What's this? There was no caboose!
Patti searched the box and then the table,
Crawled all over, as far as she was able.
She looked high and low and all around,
She looked until she heard the sound
of a car door, and then she knew,
Her parents were home, before they were due.
Under the table the train set she hid.
Do you know what Patti then did?
She crept down the stairs, the back way she knew,
Into the kitchen, grabbed an apple on her way through.
As the babysitter stretched and woke,
Patti made sure she was the first who spoke,
“I just wanted an apple before going to bed.”
And that was all that Patti said.
But that night, before falling asleep,
Patti counted train cars, instead of sheep.
She remembered her Grandfather, how happy he looked
When the train, on a bridge, sped over a brook.
Patti remembered some things, but not all,
These memories were made when she was quite small.
Sleep came with those memories of the railroad line,
And she dreamed of the bright red caboose of Old ’49.
Next morning, with mom and dad well on their way
to work, Patti started her day.
The sitter before the television set,
Had no idea what Patti was up to yet.
She was a good sitter, make no mistake,
If you could get her away from the tv, for Heaven’s sake!
Patti crept back into the attic again,
And began her search there and then.
Behind the paintings, beneath the table,
She looked everywhere she was physically able,
Among the Scout badges, midst the ballerina shoes,
But nowhere could she find that caboose.
Patti sighed with a heavy heart,
Without the caboose, the train she could not start.
Without the caboose, it just wouldn't be fair,
It would be like the whole train wasn't even there!
There would be no “All Aboard” this railroad line,
Not without the caboose of Old ’49.
Later that day, it began to rain,
But Patti thought of nothing but the train.
It brought back so many memories to her;
Her Grandfather's face, his happy laughter.
On rainy days, his face would shine,
Running that train, the Old ’49.
“Hold on to your dreams,” her Grandfather told her,
“Most people forget to dream, when they get older.
No matter what you grow up to be,
Remember this is what Old ’49 means to me.
It was a dream of mine,” he would often say,
“To run a railroad line someday.”
Days went by, Patti continued to seek
Old ’49’s caboose, so bright and so sleek.
But that caboose just could not be found,
Even though Patti looked all around.
Although she gave up on ever finding it,
Every day, the train in the attic she would visit.
Then one day when Patti went to the attic,
Old ’49 wasn't where she had left it.
Patti's heart began to race
As she began to look all over the place.
Under the table, on top of it, too.
It wasn't there, oh, what should she do?
With a heavy heart, Patti went to her room.
She needed to be alone with her gloom.
Would her parents be angry? No doubt that they would.
Patti must tell them, she knew that she should.
Was Old ’49 stolen? Had it been lost?
Taken and then sold away for a cost?
Oh, dear, now Patti worried and fretted,
Then she soon regretted
The day she found the old railroad line,
Her Grandfather’s train set, Old ’49.
The door to her room opened just then,
Patti was frightened when her mother walked in.
“What’s wrong, little Patti?” her mother said.
“It’s Sunday and you're still in bed.”
Patti took a deep breath. “I have something to tell you.”
“Before you say it,” mom said, “I have something to tell you.
“There is a surprise for you in the den,
You must come and see it and then
We’ll all have breakfast out somewhere,
And you know breakfast out is very rare.
Some come, little Patti. Come and see.
Don't be afraid. Come along with me.”
So Patti slowly got off the bed,
She reached up and took her mother’s hand,
And wondered, what could be in the den?
They walked down the hallway, and spoke not a word.
But Patti knew that sound she heard.
A whistle! The whistle of that old railroad line,
The one her Grandfather called Old ’49.
There it was! That whistle again.
Patti’s heart was so happy as they reached the den.
There it was on a table set up on the track,
Old ’49 racing forth and back.
Patti ran to the train as her mother turned loose,
There on the end was a bright red caboose,
A caboose riding at the end of the line,
The bright red caboose of Old ’49.
“It’s this way, dear Patti,” her mother explained,
“We noticed how much you love this old train.
Your love for it was really no secret.
The sitter spied on you one day in the attic.”
Patti was amazed for, as far as she could see,
The sitter’s whole life was nothing but TV!
Patti thought, as the train sped past,
She thought some more then asked at last,
“Why give the train set to me today?
Why not at Christmas or for my birthday?”
Her mother and father looked at each other,
But it was Patti’s mother who gave her the answer.
“Today is Grandparents Day,” she said, a tear in her eye,
“Please don’t ask me, for I don't know why
Grandparents are given to children, so many,
But, dear little Patti, you haven’t any.
So we gave you Old ’49 in honor of Grandparents Day.
We know that your Grandfather would want it that way.”
Patti looked at the train as it sped ’round the track,
And all of those memories came flooding back.
Some made her sad; the Grandfather she missed,
The pat on her head, his goodnight kiss.
But most of all, she remembered his words,
And in her head, his voice she heard.
“Hold on to your dreams, no matter what you do,
Someday you'll learn dreams really do come true.”
As the whistle blew on that railroad line,
Patti waved to the caboose on Old ’49.
From the Author
For as long as I can remember, I have loved trains. Not these new-style, high-speed trains. Old timey trains made of steel, racing along tracks with smoke billowing from the stacks.
And the beloved red caboose.
My Grandfather lived not far from a railroad track in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Many a time I walked the quarter mile from his house to the tracks to watch the trains go by. At that time, trains still had a red caboose with a lone occupant on the end, signifying a train had passed by. And it never failed: if you waved at the man in the caboose he always waved back.
Gone is the red caboose and long gone are the days when trains were the primary mode of mass transportation. In a world with mass production, mass communication, and a massive number of people, old trains are quickly becoming a memory, fading on the horizon.
The significance of the train as an American institution has also passed by.
But the red caboose will always be a symbol of the end of the line.
About the Author
Bitten by the writing bug at the age of ten, Pen is an avid reader in addition to being a prolific writer. A native Georgian she lived in Hollywood, California for a year and a half (pursuing Film Studies – an interesting distraction) and six weeks in Asheville, NC (attempting to get herself together).
Influenced by the world around her, Pen writes whatever comes into her fuzzy little red head (currently Vidal Sassoon Merlot Vibrant Red). She writes in no specific genre as she has a variety of interests and passions about which to write.
Pen has suffered from Hidradenitis Suppurativa most of her adult life. However, she was not diagnosed with this affliction until 2012 due to the ignorance of the medical profession. She hopes to receive medical treatment soon for Stage 3 HS.
Pen resides in the Atlanta, Georgia area where she spends as much time as possible writing. She is currently awaiting adoption by a new feline/felines.
She may be contacted via the contact form on her website www.pensen.wix.com/neros-fiddle. You may also visit www.penspen.wix.com/hswarrior.
From the Author
I suffer from an affliction known as Hidradenitis Suppurativa, also known as HS or Acne Inversa. You’ve probably never heard of it. That’s okay. Neither have most doctors.
HS is a foul skin condition where huge lumps form beneath the skin in sensitive areas: beneath arms and breasts, along the groin and buttocks. These lumps can grow to be as large as golf balls. They drain constantly and are painful to the point of limiting mobility and debilitation.
HS is not contagious. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. Currently, there is no research being conducted into finding a cure.
This malady not only attacks on a physical level, it assaults a person’s emotional and mental states as well. Embarrassment, shame, guilt, depression, isolation, loss of self-worth and self-esteem prevent many people from even discussing their illness.
Conservative estimates state that between 1% and 4% of the world’s population suffers from HS. That doesn’t sound like much, until you crunch the numbers: anywhere from 74,000,000 to 296,000,000 people. To put this into perspective, the population of the United States is 318,000,000.
Theoretically, HS has the power to cripple an entire nation.
I state the estimates are conservative because many people are misdiagnosed due to doctors not understanding or even knowing about Hidradenitis Suppurativa. And there are people too embarrassed or ashamed to discuss this condition with their doctors.
There is no test to determine HS because there is no research. There is no research because there is little awareness of HS among the population and little compassion for HS patients in the medical community.
And it is a vicious cycle.
Despite the debilitation of this illness, many of us HS sufferers do our best to maintain some semblance of a normal life. We go about our daily routine despite the pain, not only from our own determination, but because it is expected of us. For whatever reason, many people refuse to believe how painful and debilitating these lumps are. They don’t understand how we may not appear sick but inside we are exhausted and in pain.
We call ourselves Warriors because we fight daily to have as normal lives as possible.
There is a good chance, dear reader, that you know someone who suffers from HS. And yet you may not even be aware of it.
Please learn about this affliction. And if you do know someone, please offer them compassion and understanding for what they are enduring.
And be thankful you yourself do not endure it.
Because I wouldn’t wish HS on anyone.
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To learn more about Hidradenitis Suppurativa (a debilitating affliction I and millions of others struggle with daily), visit
Old '49 by Wilson Ayinbangya Amooro / History & Fiction have rating 3.4 out of 5 / Based on17 votes