There are certain sights and sounds that instantly transport a person right back to her childhood. One of the sounds that does it for me is the distant sound of a train whistle. In my hometown there was a massive, curved, wooden trestle that loomed over the edge of the park. Oh, boy! What a marvelous racket the trains made as they barreled through. They were fast and powerful, and when my friends and I stopped playing long enough to watch one
It was a train that brought me home from college my freshman year, pulling into the station at two in the morning,
where I knew someone who loved me would be waiting.
It was a train that first deposited 13-year old, California-born me in Grand Central Station,
and launched a life-long love of travel.
It was a train that carried my mother and me, twice yearly, into Jack London Square, just a short ride over the bridge to San Francisco. At the age of five, that meant I was headed for the zoo and the cable cars and Macy's Christmas windows. By the time I was 10, it meant visits to museums and tickets to the theater and dinners on the wharf. But every trip meant taking the train. When the train pulled out, I didn't have to wait for our arrival in The City to start my adventures. I could feel my vacation had begun right then and there, right at the point of departure.
On the return trip home, we'd visit the dining car. I can still taste the cherry pie.
Above is a picture of the Southern Pacific Railroad's Shasta Daylight dining car. The Southern Pacific's Daylight was dubbed "The Most Beautiful Train in the World." It was the train I road and the dining car I remember.
This tablescape celebrates National Train Day, those San Francisco trips on the Daylight, and in particular, the visits to the dining car.
Upon sitting down, I saw more flatware than I'd ever seen in one place. To this day, I don't think I've ever been in a restaurant that had a bigger display of knives, forks, and spoons than that dining car had. The waiter would begin to ask my mother questions. "Would you like coffee, Ma'am?" "Will you be having soup today?" With each "no" from my mother, more items were cleared from the table. Our table would end up looking something like this, or more often than not, even more sparse.
The suitcase is the one I used as a little girl. It isn't a make-up case, but rather a regular suitcase sized for a small child. It has leather decorations around its edges and a bakelite handle.
The Daylight Menus were copied from ones I found on the internet.
You can see Mount Shasta framed between the trees.
The YouTube clip below is an ad promoting DVD sales. I only offer it as roundabout reinforcement of a story I heard as a child. My uncle was a railroad engineer (the guy who actually stands at the throttle). He said that Southern Pacific gave engineers poppy seeds to scatter along the tracks as they sped along. There aren't many patches of poppies left these days (The Golden Poppy is California's State Flower), but they were quite plentiful years ago. At any rate, look for the poppies about twenty seconds into the video.
Dinner plates, salad plates, stemware:: Moonspun (1968-1995), Lenox, wedding china
Sterling: Burgundy, Reed and Barton
Coffee server, creamer and sugar: M601, silver plate, Wallace Melford
Cruet set: No markings, gift
I 'm joining
|A Stroll Thru Life|
for the 115th Table Top Tuesday
on the Porch
|. . . off on my tangent . . . for Alphabe-Thursday's LetterY|