The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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When I was 5 years old, my grandfather and grandmother took my cousins, brother, and me to the Franklin Institute. We went to train exhibition room where a Baldwin 60000 Locomotive really moved down a 12 foot track. My grandfather, always the jokester, told us we were going on long journey even though the ride was less than one minute long.

As we boarded the train it was dark and crowded. Grandpop’s warm hand held mine tightly as we wended our way through the crowd, trying not to get knocked over.  We managed to find a gap near the railing and looked out to spot Grandma with her camera. Grandpop stood behind me with my brother and two cousins. I felt like a sardine, packed up against the railing trying not to step on Cousin Bobby’s toes.

The loud whistle blew and my grandfather leaned down to tell me we were about to head off, his mustache tickling my ear. My excitement grew as the train started up and I could feel the rumble vibrating through my feet. “We’re going on a long journey kids. Wave goodbye to Grandma, we may never see her again!” my grandfather yelled over the roar of the coal engine and then laughed. I stuck my arm through the railing, waving to Grandma, making sure she could see me.

My heart leapt as the train jolted back and I bumped into my brother, Artie. He pushed me off of him and said “I’ll put a booger on you if you don’t stop falling on me.” Sighing I tried to ignore Artie’s mean comments and focus on the buzz and excitement around me. The train had started moving and I couldn’t wait to see where it would take us.

30 seconds later the train stopped and then slowly chugged back to the same place we started. I looked around, wondering what went wrong. “We’ve ended our long journey.” Grandpop laughed. That’s when I realized he had tricked me. I actually thought we were going for a nice long train ride and almost worried about having to stand the whole way. I pouted as I clambered down the steep train steps. “Grandma! Grandpop lied to me! We didn’t go anywhere!” My grandmother just laughed and shook her head. “That Grandpop, he’s just a big old teasing meanie isn’t he? Let’s go see the rest of the museum now.” As we headed out into the hallway I could hear Grandpop telling the boys that we were going to take another fantastic trip on an airplane. This time I took his promise with a grain of salt.

The Long Journey

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Summer 1990
Franklin Institute Train Room

When I was 5 years old, my grandfather and grandmother took my cousins, brother, and me to the Franklin Institute. We went to train exhibition room where a Baldwin 60000 Locomotive really moved down a 12 foot track. My grandfather, always the jokester, told us we were going on long journey even though the ride was less than one minute long.

Recorded by Katrina Croul on June 6, 2014
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