We were work-camping in Benson, Arizona, several years ago, and Steam Locomotive No. 844 train stopped briefly outside of town. It stayed long enough to get some pictures of the last steam locomotive built for the Union Pacific Railroad in 1944. I took a million pictures with my little Kodak! I am posting a few of them and will post more later. It was a chance of a lifetime!
It was the high-speed passenger engine. If you want to learn the complete history, google No. 844, the living legend. When diesel engines took over all passenger train duties, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service.
The engine has run hundreds of thousands of miles as Union Pacific’s ambassador of goodwill. It has made appearances at Expo ’74 in Spokane, the 1981 opening of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans, and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Los Angeles Union Station in 1989.
Among railroad enthusiasts, the No. 844 “Living Legend” is widely known for its excursion runs! Especially over Union Pacific’s fabled crossing of Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming.
Creating worlds, characters, and wielding power like a madwoman, making my characters happy, sad, angry, and some of them with no redeeming qualities. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I sometimes laugh out loud when I am writing a scene, and I have been known to cry when one of my favorites has to die.
I am a left-handed Gemini, what do you expect?
Reading bedtime stories to my two children until they fell asleep or until they just told me to go away, was fun. Making up wild stories for my grandchild, and creating Halloween costumes from Cowboys to a Dragon, was another favorite thing to do. I missed that so much when they were grown, that I started writing.
My yearly newsletters frequently were drafted third-person by my Love Birds, Miranda our motorhome, and by Sir Fit the White Knight, our faithful Honda.
Throughout the years, some of my creative talents centered around writing letters of complaint expressing my displeasure with services or products. One crucial, at least to my Son, was a note to our local school bus driver petitioning her to allow him back on the bus. He was kicked off for making an obscene gesture at his buddy. I reminded her that it was not directed at her, and that “obscenity can be in the eye of the beholder,” kids use that gesture as a greeting. He rode the bus until he graduated.
I loved driving my English teacher crazy. Leaving a “continued next week” at the end of my five handwritten pages required each week. He was one of many people that suggested I “do something about my writing.”
I graduated from the School of Hard Knocks at the top of my class.
After 30 years, in the trenches as a Real Estate Professional, I have found that truth is stranger than fiction. My books are filled with characters I met in that profession. Their names were changed to protect the guilty. Others were from people we met traveling around the country in Miranda, our Motorhome.
I am married nearly 60 years to the love of my life, Shirl, and partner-produced two exceptionally talented children, and one grandchild who is our pride and joy.
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