“I can still see that man …had a damn rod as thick as my arm over his arm…he was laying there, couldn’t move. Both engines were lying in the ditch. Then the Doctor hollered. “Does anybody got some whiskey??? Come on get some! If you got nothing, get some! We’ve got to have whiskey for this guy.” They poured the whole pint in him. He was suffering…. It took all day and all night… It was 35 to 40 below. You don’t ever forget those things….”
My grandpa remembering a train wreck just south of his farm near Langworthy Iowa January 1929
I (DM) have been working on a local history book this Winter. Decided to see if I could find any more information about that train wreck in the archives of our local paper.
I hit pay dirt within 20 minutes after I narrowed down the year and the month.
“The accident resulted when the train consisting of a double-header engine, mail car, and coach van ran into a heavy snow drift. the train left Cedar Rapids at 8 o’clock Friday morning and was stalled at various times until it steamed out of Anamosa at noon. the derailment occurred when the front engine jumped the track when hitting an unusually heavy drift. Both engines were thrown to the left side of the track. Engine number one ran up the side of the bank and then turned turtle. when it stopped, the steam was still on and the wheels turning….
Roscoe Stevens of Marion was penned under a wrecked locomotive for more than three hours and suffered the compound fracture of one of his legs. Both legs were badly burned by hot steam . Mr Stevens suffered seriously from shock and exposure in addition to his other injuries. It was necessary to use a large jack to raise the locomotive sufficiently to get him out….”
While looking @ weather data for the state in January of 29 they experienced record snow fall amounts, (over 34 inches) combined with temperatures averaging -3, which created snow drifts as high as 10 feet, hard as a rock…hard enough to stop a train.
That phrase “turned turtle” stuck with me this week.
I spotted 3 flies in a window sill yesterday morning, all of whom were coming out of hibernation…all three had turned turtle.
They were thrashing around on their back, going nowhere.
I like that phrase….turn turtle.
To Turn Turtle: To find one’s self upside down, on your back.
Not dead (yet) but unless something changes, your long term outlook is pretty bleak.
You need intervention.
You have turned turtle.
Sometimes I turn turtle.
Every few years something enters my life that totally bamboozles me.
To turn turtle is to be human. But because we are proud folk, we thrash around mostly in secret, hoping no one will notice. I am tempted to think, my set of circumstances is so unique, such a convoluted knot of a mess, things are just unfixable.
And Iwould be wrong.
I may not know the right person with the answers (yet) but they are out there.
They may not live in my town. May not even live in my state, but somebody, somewhere has a jack big enough to get my engine back on the track.
That jack can be something as simple as a book. Sometimes it’s been another couple we knew who was just a little further down the trail than us. Multiple times it has involved calling to make an appointment with a counselor. It has even involve talking to someone 1/2 way around the country until I had a breakthrough.
First step is to ask for help.
1929 train wreck Grandpa told me about