Sunday, November 13, 2022

Jane Summers Milwaukee Road Work History

Jane and I corresponded for a time back in 2012. She told me her work history via email. 

I remember the name (Monte Holm)but didn't have anything to do with his stream engine. Except, did he get to use the Mosey line between there and Othello once in awhile? That sounds familiar. I think it was once a year he got to use the line and it was a big deal. Am I remembering that right?

I got hired on at Othello and did my break-in there then never saw it again. Worked extra board All over the East side and into Idaho until I the Chief Dispatcher, Wayne Smith called me to come to the Coast Divn. as there was no way I could hold a station on the East side - no one retiring there., He said I could get my date on the Caost the next morning and so I went over and did that. Then worked until I was senior to all the sons of RR'rs who didn't join the union. My date was 7:59 a.m., then there were a rash of others at 8:00, 8:01, etc. but way too late they were.

My grandfather was a RR policeman for the UP and was beaten, shot and stabbed. His info is on the "Fallen Hero's site" on the internet. My mother was 13 when he was killed. I'll tell you the story sometime.

We moved to Othello in 1957 after the bacon siphon was put in and drew first one and then two farms. The first one grew rocks so we turned it back and drew again. We were farmers already from the Key Peninsula near Belfair where we farmed with a team and 1 draft horses.

We "pioneer" farmed like so many who came to make irrigated farms from dry-land. Many didn't make it. We did with lots of help back and forth from and to neighbors. We were the lucky ones. Only two kids and then only one after four years. It was hard work. We didn't have indoor plumbing until I was a sophomore because we didn't get our well until then. We hauled water from the Milw water tank to our place where we had a cistern to bring cold water into the house.

We lived the first winter in a pre-fabricated by my folks cabin which they set up the weekend before we moved there. We left paved road south of Othello, then left gravel, then dirt, then road entirely. Our place was in block 45 off of what is now the Bench road if I remember right. It was Mobray and Shive when we moved thre. After the first year, we built our daylight basement, then the upper house the next year. We had a new Monarch wood stove with hot water heater on the side and warmer above where we had yeasts, sourdough, buckwheat, etc. Interesting times.

I graduated in 1966 and went to work at Boeing, then the Milwaukee as a telegrapher, station agent, train order operator. They wanted me because I could maintain the teletypes, I'm sure. I can fix anything mechanical and for more than 30 years, electronic. After the Milw went back east I made my living working first at the Irrigation district in Othello as a Data Processing Manager, then was drafted away to another company, lumber this time, then to California (Silicon Valley) to TRW microwave. Nine months there and I came back to Washington a Computer Consultant. Giggles!!! Nothing changed for me at all by being in CA except the reputation Silicon Valley gave me.

I did work every depot on the Coast and up to St. Maries to the East and Metaline Falls to the North in Idaho and NE Wash. I worked on the Peninsula and at Hoquiam once but can't remember why I was sent there now. Farthest South I remember is Centralia/Chehalis where I had to throw the "Plant" to move rail over a mile away. No one else had to do that but they didn't want me there and so that was hazing. It took me 45 minutes to throw it but I did and the agent who was laid back in his swivel chair watching said, "Well, I'll be damned. I've worked here 15 years and I haven't seen anyone throw that plant." Jerk. He didn't know I was a farm kid.

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