Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's still there!

In the fall of 1971 I was driving through western Oklahoma, and came across the Santa Fe's Waynoka to Buffalo (Buffalo District) tracks in the town of Freedom.  At the time, it appeared to be a disused but well-kept rural depot, probably still in service as a depository for railroad supplies for the rusty and seldom used branch line.

A little history...the line was built in 1920, for predominantly agricultural purposes. (Note the grain elevators behind the station in the second picture...I seem to remember framing the first picture to deliberately eliminate them and enhance the rurality (is that a word?) of the scene.  But as time passed, rail business fell off, and when I took this picture, the line had only about 11 years of life remaining.  In November of 1982, the ATSF filed for abandonment.
Needless to say, being a ferroequinologist from 'way back, I couldn't resist grabbing a shot of the depot, and tracks leading almost to the horizon in front of it.   Notice the Santa Fe logo and the small city name lettering.

Being curious as to the continued existence of the town depot today, I went to trusty old Google Maps.  The railroad right-of-way has most assuredly gone back to nature, but it left its permanent mark, in the form of a diagonal slash through town, which sort of shows up in the part of the picture, on the left side of the depot.  On the right side, you can see an old ATSF caboose, on the only District rails remaining visible on the map.

In the picture below, notice that the ATSF logo is gone, and the lettering size for "Freedom" was increased in one of its subsequent repaintings.   Would love to know if the caboose came in on the last train, or was delivered by flatbed trailer...odds are on the latter!

Very sad.  But at least the station still exists, in good condition, and is being used by the local Chamber of Commerce!  That's a brighter future than many old depots have faced.

During a recent visit to the hair salon to get my by-then-very-obvious gray roots touched up, a pregnant woman (due August 8) brought in her two kids, a boy age 2 and girl age 3-1/2, "for a trim."  And while they were waiting, both kids waved at me as though they knew me.  Then they started acting like 2 (and 3-1/3 year olds), coming up to me to say hi, and chasing each other around the shop.   Finally they put the little girl in the stylist's chair and Mom held the boy to keep him from running around.

The woman was standing there with the little boy in her arms as the stylist led me past them, to get the color washed out. I paused for a few seconds and asked the little boy how old he was and said how much better he will look with his "trim," before heading to the washout room.  He was waving, and smiling. It actually kept his attention for a bit and he didn't seem at all shy.

Their mother seemed really pleased that someone had finally distracted him, since he had obviously moved into the "boys will be boys" stage.  And she didn't seem to have a problem with my androgynous-to-feminine appearance (shorts and my open toe sandals - the cape allowed only my "bare legs" to show, at least from the front.)   Did the kids think I was a girl?  Possibly.  Did their Mom?  Probably not.  But I kept the little boy busy for a few moments, and that made everything right.   However, these kids were definitely not as well behaved as Miss Paula's daughter at the nail salon...

And for those who wondered whether my silvery finger nails would remain after the next fill...they didn't.  Due to circumstances, I had a different tech that day, and they honored my request to leave my nails shiny and pink after the fill, omitting the silver.  I'm not entirely convinced that Miss Judy would have done that.

That's all, folks...till I return from a visit to the sunny south, where we will meet our son's fiancee's parents.



  1. Happy travels and I wish you a good time with the folks down south. Perhaps you may get to visit an old southern RR station while you are on the trip.

    1. Hi Pat,

      Just got back today...had a great time, even though dressed more "androgynous" than femme. Hopefully I'll be posting again in a few days!