Last Saturday as we walked the Kendrick Trail where the railroad bed has become a walking /cycling path, I was reminded of a day long ago when I rode that route on a train.
When my mother grew up in the village of Orofino, Idaho – back in the nineteen tens and twenties – the train was an important means of travel. In fact, even in the early ‘50s, I remember going to the depot with my parents to pick up this or that relative who traveled in by train. The passenger train soon disappeared from Orofino, and then we were left with a rickety old bus that no one wanted to ride.
In the summer of 1962, the railroad announced that passenger service between Lewiston and Kendrick would be discontinued. It was meaningless to me, but my mother wanted us to experience the train one last time and bought tickets for as many of the family as she could arrange. For the life of me, I don’t remember if we rode Kendrick to Lewiston or Lewiston to Kendrick. (I think it was the latter.) We only rode one way, and my dad and my sisters’ spouses were there to greet us after the ride.
From the vantage point of 50 years, I appreciate how my mother felt. She wanted to give her children a little part of history, a little of what she remembered of a way of life that was coming to a close. In reality it was already closed. Mostly, she wanted to experience it again for herself because she knew she could never do it again. Silly what seems important, isn’t it? She hadn’t ridden the train in years, and if she’d been told she had to, she probably wouldn’t have been happy about it. Mother loved the independence that her car gave her. She loved knowing that she could go anywhere she wanted to whether she wanted to or not.
As memories go, though, that train ride is a good one. My dad took the picture above. Back row, l to r: Harriet holding baby Rachel, Mother, me (Kathy), and Nina; in front: Becky, L.J., and Polly. Nina's baby Shann was about a year old and didn’t go with us. Nina said it was silly to take him because he wouldn’t remember it. KW