Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jack McCarley

I love my newspaper. Have always loved time alone in the ken, settled in my green chair, with my paper. There will never be anything like reading a newspaper. Modern times lure us all to our computers to catch up on the news, play games, look for sweet deals at our favorite stores. But nothing can compare to holding and folding the paper, fingertips gray with ink.

And I usually read it from front to back, methodically pulling out each section, occasionally ripping out articles that I want to Google more about (OK, I do live in 2009). And one section that I read with much thought and sentiment is the Obituaries. It's not that I'm at an age where peers are passing on. It's merely that there are stories there. I love seeing a picture from the 1940's of a man who has died in his 90's, wondering how the family chose that photo to depict him. Were they happier times? Is it his wife's favorite picture of him?

And then yesterday I came across this one of the late 76-year-old Jack McCarley and my heart sang with celebration of a man whose life story was summed up in this picture of him as a young boy. How dear is this face? Is he just the all-American boy straight out of the Little Rascals. His flannel shirt, hair combed to the side, perhaps for a school picture. I'm sure he had on a pair of dungarees with the hem folded up, and Converse sneakers. But doesn't his face tell so much more than of just a school boy.

The obituary talks about his love of the railroad, from the time he was a teenager. At 16 he began work at Tilford Yard, a train terminal in Atlanta. It goes on to say that ". . . he enjoyed going to work every day that he went." His life started in Alabama, his parents divorced and he, his mother and brother moved to Atlanta. He was in the Army Medical Corps and earned medals for service with his unit in Germany. After serving he returned to the train work he loved.

The obituary goes on to talk about how disheartened he was by the decline of the passenger rail service. (This struck a chord with me, taking me back to the train trip that Harleigh and I took up to Baltimore.) Here's another link about our trip.

Glad to have known you, Mr. McCarley, if only in this short snippet of your life story. And the railroads in heaven are lucky to have you on board.


Denise said...

Same here! I read my newspaper from cover to cover! Every evening after dinner! We learn so much from the articles that we would not have known otherwise.


Christine said...

I'm in agreement with you about the history of people.
You have a big heart and it shows.

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