Yes it was, though maybe mostly in memory; the company went belly-up around 1980. Artifacts still remain, however. For the next several years, you’ll still occasionally see freight cars (covered hoppers mostly, but a few boxcars too) left unrepainted for all the years since. They all are in the last paint scheme that touts the railroad as “The Rock”. Brave words even if “The Rock” turned out to be tuft not basalt. IIRC, there’s a 50 year age limit to such rolling stock so congratulate yourself if you see one.
And then there is this promotional ephemera that I rediscovered while cleaning out the hall closet. (Yes, it’s time for that again; I’ll be moving in the next few months as I’m being gentrified… again. Where, you ask? Don’t know yet. Not far I hope.) It’s an eight page booklet with plenty of space for notes on your railroad adventure.
This was given to me by my grandpa, Lawrence Dziekan, probably in the late 1960s though I have no memory of the occasion. Today I feel sad about that but I was remarkably oblivious to adults until I was well on my way to becoming one myself. There’s no changing the past even as it becomes ambiguous with distance.
But one of the things that I do remember about Grandpa is that he was very much into calligraphy. It was Parkinson’s Disease that eventually killed him. This was in the days before l-dopa as a treatment and I have the impression calligraphy was his effort at fighting back. So Grandpa filled a few of the pages with some of his lettering. It’s not his best work but not bad also; I thought it worth preserving and sharing, provided you forgive the one typo.
And there’s mystery as well! Who is “Mrs. Clairie Peiton”, the baby sitter? And those strange feel-good verses! I doubt that I’ll ever know the story nor will you ever know the story. We’ll just have to make one up.
And to end this post, here is “The Rock Island Line” from the Library of Congress’ “Treasury of Field Recordings” with Kelly Pace as the lead vocalist. Now arriving on track 2: