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Tuesday, December 16, 2014


From the time that I was little, trains have mystified me and stirred up my imagination. My male cousin had a train set—got it for Christmas one year and I was there at his house looking at it and lusting for it. Each car was different and oh how I loved the engine as well as the caboose. As my uncle set up the train set and placed it on the tracks, I just stared in wonderment. My eight year old eyes were transfixed on it. And I wanted it.
Girls were not allowed to have trains sets: That was the norm when I was young. I never did have the guts to ask my parents for a set for I knew that they would laugh aloud at me. And so I kept my inner desire for one stored in the back of my mind.
My love for trains goes way back to about the time I was three: My mom worked for a coal company as an executive secretary. If there were anything C&O related, she bought it for me. I was the proud owner of many “Chessie” things even at that age. “Chessie” was C&O’s logo and he was a cat. Their main logo was “Sleep like a kitten.” Of course having a tabby cat linked to a train company did more to stir up my love of trains.
As I got a little older, I received a Chessie handkerchief, calendar, a red plastic train that was a bank and on and on. Yes, I was fortunate that my mom worked for a coal company. I knew a lot about trains from her but only in the way about how much coal each car carried.
When I was with my parents and we were stuck in traffic due to a train crossing, I’d just stare at each car with wonder. Did I wave at the man the caboose? Every single time. It made me feel special in thinking that he was just waving at me—well he was but then he waved at everyone behind us which at that time I had no idea.
Aside from staring at trains either in motion or just being on the tracks, I loved the noise that they made. If you know that noise, then you know what I’m talking about: It was a feel good noise but also one of loneliness as well. And once you heard it, it was a noise that you would never forget in your life time.
I also remember hobos—men that jumped on trains for a free ride. Those men, who got off of a train somewhere in town, would frequent my grandparent’s neighborhood looking for a food handout. Each hobo had a bandana tied up to a big stick with things in it. What things I always wondered as I watched my grandmother hand out sandwiches to the hobos. How would I then know that hobos marked houses where people handed out free food? I certainly didn’t know it then.
I used to wonder about the people I saw in the train passenger cars: Where were they going? What were they doing? And oh how I wanted to ride a train. My wish would come true when I was twelve. My grandmother, mother and I rode a C&O train from here to Cincinnati. Just stepping up onto the passenger car took away my breath. It was nirvana. I was actually on a train.
The three of us sat in plush seats and even had lunch served on a table that was set up in the middle of our seats. The table had a white linen tablecloth on it, a rose in a vase and of course, C&O dishes with their logo on it. As I sat there admiring it, I couldn’t understand why the dishes and that vase didn’t go crashing to the floor but they didn’t much to my amazement.
The only thing that moved was the train on which we were on. But there was one bad thing that I well remember for I had to go to the bathroom and it was in another car. My mom took my hand and led me through our car to another one—fine I thought until I looked down and saw the coupling as well as the train tracks. Terrified me. Terrified me twice as we had to come back to our car. I tried not to look down that second time.
Forever that train trip to Cincinnati is etched in my mind. I loved going there and coming home on it just as much as I loved being in Cincinnati staying at a fine hotel and shopping. The three of us had a spectacular time. Such wonderful memories of the past.
About twenty-eight years or more, neighbors of mine were moving. They were older and I had also known them from going the same church. The woman called me to come over to her garage and there sat a mass of antique toys, games and a train set. I just stood there floored to the nth degree. She told me to take what I wanted and you bet that I took the train set first and then other things second. The train set belonged to her husband whom I knew and was thrilled to have it in my hands—cars, track and the key.
I couldn’t believe that I finally got a train set; granted it wasn’t like my cousins but it was even better. Yes, I have it up but not on the tracks. And in today’s world, girls can actually have train sets: It’s not just a boy thing thank heavens. Took long enough. It took a long time for my wishes to come true but it happened. And as for that train trip from long ago? I’ll never forget it ever: It was my first and last time to ever take one.
There is nothing I don’t like about trains except maybe being stuck in traffic while one with a hundred cars passes by but then I get to stare at them and every past memory comes rushing back to me. For the love of trains, there is nothing like them ever.
Sherry Hill

*C&O trains were the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad's trains.
Copyright © 2014
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved


With doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I am so sorry that I haven't been on here. It seems as if it were just Halloween and now Christmas is on its heels.

If you're anything like me, I am sure you realize that time has a way of passing by too quickly--it's as if it has wings.

It wasn't like this when I was young: Time seemed to stand still. Seasons lasted for what seemed like forever. Now they fly!

Wherever you are, I hope you are well and  happy. And I do have a story to post on the next blog post.

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Greetings from far far away. Just posted a story but wanted to let all of you know that I apologize for not being on here of late. Too much chaos happening but it seems that the older one becomes, the more chaos ensues. 

It seems impossible that it's December and yet it is the second day. Why it was just Halloween. Time has a way of flying and I can't keep up with it. Do you have that problem as well?

Yes holiday decorations are out and I wonder if maybe I should have put them out a lot earlier or made some kind of combination every holiday ever display. But then that would no doubt look tacky and no, don't think that I will even find one much less buy one if I could.

Hoping that your December is off to a great start and that time will hold still for just a little.

Have a great day!

Sherry Hill


When I was four and not in school yet, I would coerce my grandmother into buying me a fake watch from the dime store. Must have been pretty cheap but it looked so cool on my wrist: It had a big rectangular face and a black stretchy band. Had a dial on the side but it didn’t work. No doubt it was a takeoff on an adult female watch but it made me feel ah.
From that age until age seven, I think I must have gone through at least twenty of those fake watches. They didn’t last long from the putting on and taking off of them but it was a grown up feeling. Girls did not get to wear real watches until they were in the fifth or sixth grade. And those watches were cartoon character ones—not the expensive type that mothers wore.
Telling time was not taught in grade school and up till the fifth grade, I had no idea how to tell time by looking at a wall clock or a watch. Digital clocks and watches had not been invented. I will never forget my mortification at Highlawn Grade School, when I was coming downstairs and ran smack into the principal. “What time is it?” she asked me. I looked at my fake watch and said “It’s 4:30.” She just stared at me and went on her way.
I was in utter shock and felt that hot feeling going down my back. Here I was all of eight years old and couldn’t tell time. 4:30 would have been way after school was out for the day. It was so embarrassing. The next day, I saw the principal and she said nothing to me. Whew for that.
I will never forget my first real watch: I got it for Christmas when I was 9 and in the fifth grade. It was a Mickey Mouse one and I was so thrilled that when my dad put it on me, I didn’t want to take it off. Wanted to wear it forever. “If you get it in water, you’ll ruin it” my mom told me. And so, I took it off and stared at its beautiful red band and that face with Mickey on it.
“Can I go next door and show it to the neighbor kids?” I pleaded. The weather was extremely warm for Christmas that year. “Go ahead” my parents told me and off I went holding onto that watch as if it were made of pure glass. As I bounded down the street and made it to the next door neighbor’s front door, I rang the doorbell. My friend Linda, who was a year or two younger than me, came out and just stood there in awe looking at my watch.
“It’s a real watch” I told her. “Wow” was her remark. How did I know that trouble would be looming but it was and it came out the front door—it was Linda’s brother. “She got a real watch!” he screamed at his parents who were inside. He went inside and I thought he was staying in there but all of a sudden he came out on the front porch with a hammer, grabbed my watch and smashed it to smithereens right there. Horror washed over me. My parents were going to kill me. I just knew it.
The dad came out and apologized to me and spanked his son and ordered him to go inside and stay there. Linda just stood there with her mouth open staring at what used to be my watch.
Picking up the pieces, I ran home and showed my parents what was left of my brand new watch. I’m not sure what ensued after that but I do remember that my dad went next door. My heart sank for it was my first real watch, it was Christmas and yes, I had other presents but nothing as spectacular as the Mickey Mouse watch.
For two days I mourned over that now smashed to pieces watch. On the third day, when my parents got home from work, my mom was holding a gift wrapped package. ‘Could it be another Mickey Mouse watch?” I thought to myself. When they came inside, she handed me the package and I ripped it open to find an exact copy of my ruined watch. “Thank you!” I screamed. It was incredulous but it was right there in my hands.
“Don’t go showing it around” my dad told me. “Leave it on your wrist unless you’re getting your hands in water.” That night I slept with my Mickey Mouse watch on my wrist and stared at its beauty.
That was so long ago but I never forgot how it got smashed nor did the boy that did it—I have reminded him for a long time. Didn’t carry a grudge because I realized that he was young and apparently mad because he didn’t get one for Christmas. But oh he knows.
I did learn how to tell time that year and would go on to own many real watches—so many so, that I have lost count of how many. Some were very expensive and some were on the cheap side. It was just that when I was young, the only watches that girls could wear were the fake play ones or a real cartoon character watch. And I learned that if I had a real watch, I needed to learn how to tell time as well as not to take it off and show it off.
Lessons learned the hard way but aren’t they all?
Sherry Hill
Copyright © 2014
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved