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The Last Resort - Chapter 05|
Well after all the goodbyes were said and a few tears shed, we boarded this beautiful train, we were all so hot and tired as we had been on our legs nearly all the day. It was such a relief to get a nice cool wash and sit in a cool train. I’m sure my little boy was dead tired as I know I was. We boarded the train around five o’clock in the afternoon and it was almost eight o’clock before all the passengers were accounted for and the train was able to move. There were four Red Cross nurses and one Caption to look after us besides endless porters and waiters. When everyone was settled in their selected seats, a porter came and told us that dinner was being served in the dining car.
My word, it was a wonder the porter and everyone else wasn’t trampled to death in our rush to get to the dining car. We were all so hungry as it had been so long since we had eaten. The wait was certainly worth it. The food was out of this world! The tables were laid with beautiful white tablecloths, napkins and shiny silverware.
The porters and waiters were helpful and courteous. I am sure lots of them had mixed feelings about the trainful of war brides of 1946! I am certain that some of us would never be looked after as well as we were on the ship coming over and the train from Halifax. Everyone went out of their way to make our journey comfortable and enjoyable. It must have been very difficult for the personnel with so many people to look after. When we had finished out wonderful meal, we made our way back to our coach.
Imagine our surprise when we saw beds instead of seats! We had no idea how far we were going or how long our journey was going to take. Somehow, I had never expected to sleep on a train. I had never slept on a train before so this would be a new experience for me. We thought that sleeping on the train was wonderful but after two nights and days we began to wonder if we were ever going to get off that train. I was remarking to our captain about how beautiful the trees were and how large the lakes were. He said he was glad that I was enjoying the scenery and to make the most of it because we only had two more days of it!
We were all as anxious to get off the train as we were the boat. it seemed as if we had been travelling for weeks and all we had seen was the sea and now lakes and trees. Surely there were towns somewhere! We must pass them in the night.
We did something that made us laugh. We saw three men stand outside a log cabin and as we had never seen a log cabin before, that was very interesting. But not was interesting to us as the funny little hats that these men were wearing. They were small rounded little hats with a peak at the front and tied at the top with laces. We had never seen anything like this in England so we laughed our silly heads over these little hats.
There really wasn’t anything else exciting for us to see. We began to wonder what sort of place we were going to.
One girl was going to Yellowknife and one was going to a reservation in British Columbia. We tried to imagine all the animals that we should see.
One young girl was going to a place called Sioux Lookout. The conductor, who took great pleasure in teasing us, asked the young girl who was going to Sioux Lookout if she knew that it was an Indian Village. The Indians would be at the station to meet her. If they liked her, they would do a war dance around her but if they didn’t like her, the would scalp her. What a terrible thing to tell that poor young girl! In fact, we were all a little scared and I don’t think that girl had a fingernail left when the train stopped in Sioux Lookout around 2 am.
Needless to say, we had all stayed awake to see what terrible thing was going to happen to that poor girl but all we saw was a group of people and a young man that came and took her in his arms and kissed her. We all felt like cheering and when we saw that conductor again, we told him off. He only had a good laugh and went off to tease some other poor girl. The conductor told me that the next stop was Hudson and for me to get ready as we would soon be there. I quietly got dressed and then woke Richard and got him dressed. Poor little boy -- I expect he couldn’t understand what was happening. At last I was about to reach my destination. No more travelling for me for a long time!
The next stop was Hudson and I was as nervous as a kitten. What if Arthur wasn’t there to meet me? Whatever would I do? All sorts of fears began to form in my mind and by the time the conductor said we were in Hudson, I was in a state of panic. The Red Cross Captain came and waited with me and you can well imagine our shock when the train went rushing by the station. Now I was really sick. No one there to meet me. Whatever was I going to do? The Captain himself was looking very worried. We felt the train slowing down and then it stopped. It began to back up until we finally reached the station.
There was a very worried-looking Arthur waiting for me. How thankful I was to see him and how different he looked in a blue suit instead of the khakis I was used to seeing him in. He was also wearing one of those funny looking hats which he quickly took off as soon as he saw me. I looked to see if anyone was watching from the train and I made sure that Arthur never put that hat back on until the train was gone. I said goodbye to the Red Cross Captain and the porter who wished me well in my new life.
Arthur introduced me to this pretty little girl, Lillian and her boyfriend, Eddie, who had also just returned from overseas. They looked so young and I couldn’t believe that they were old enough to be engaged. Arthur left most of the luggage at the station to be picked up later and we walked up the hill to Eddie’s home where such a lovely spread of cakes, cookies and fruit were awaiting us. What a lovely welcome was given to little Richard and I. I thought that was so kind of them to go to all that trouble. I knew already that I was going to like this place call Hudson.
After a lovely lunch and a very nice visit, Arthur said that we had better get going back to the house where he had rented a room for us. We said goodnight and started to walk to my new home. I couldn’t believe that I was walking along the street in Canada at four thirty in the morning!
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