I wasn't quite 15, but still on the hunt for a part-time summer job.
Even though I had pitifully few skills, my quest didn't last long.
Because a friend of mine told me the Railway was looking for hostesses to work on a vintage locomotive for their new tour. They needed a couple of girls to greet passengers and serve food on the two-hour excursion running twice every Sunday from May to September.
We sewed flattering overalls with flared legs, bought matching red and white shirts, red bandanas and received official railway caps from the company to finish off our look.
Hey! We were girls! We could greet people! We could serve food!
Yes, the requirements for the job were demanding. Still, surprisingly we were both hired.
Yes, I said "Groovy". It was the 70's after all...
Before the first trip, we decided to make our own uniforms. We searched high and low, finally finding the proper grey pinstripe fabric collecting dust at the back of an ancient store in, of course, the worst part of town.
And in true 70's fashion style, we also added lenticular eye buttons to the hips. A tad bit naughty I fear, as we swaggered up and down the aisles, "winking" at the customers as we passed.
For years I worked on The Prairie Dog Central, a steam powered train from 1882. I became a master of the "weave"; the gait you must perfect to counter-sway to the movement of the train, lest you spill your sweet treats all over some unsuspecting tourist.
My favorite memory was the day of the Great Train Robbery.
The passengers didn't know what was planned.
And *I* wasn't informed on everything that was going on either, unfortunately...
During the ride out to the countryside, a group of horsemen burst through the trees, galloping alongside the train, fake guns a-blazing. The locomotive came to a halt as the passengers wondered what the heck was going on. Soon the Engineer and Fireman got out with their hands up in surrender as the robbers seized their bags of booty.
But before they departed, one cowboy grabbed me from the coach, swept me up onto the back of his horse and sped off back into the bush while I held on for dear life.
Shocked at the surprising turn of events, I watched from the gang's hiding spot as the train left without me. Then we bolted off for the end of the line, the thick woods providing cover.
And were waiting to greet old Number 3 when it finally came chugging up.
The looks on the faces of those kids was priceless when they saw me safe and sound, laughing with my "captors"!
even though my daughter may think that yes, I AM that old.
It was NINEteen seventy-five, honey.
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