Note: This historical post was first written in December, 2018.
Today I turned ten years old. This would turn out to be a pretty important and influential year in my life. Age ten was pretty big for me.
At this age, I was very interested in airplanes and space travel. One of my birthday gifts, one that ended up staying with me long into adulthood (it is still sitting on my book shelf, here in my office where I am writing this update, in 2018 with all of its series mates) is the Guide to Airliners that Mom and Dad gave to me. This was the fifth book of the series that I got, and thus completing it.
I found this article in 2013 and decided to fill in a little gap in my history. Today I make the honor roll at Pavilion Baptist School and it was printed in the Warsaw local newspaper. I’m sure that that newspaper has been gone now for a very long time. I am, at this time, currently in the last half of my third grade year at Pavilion Baptist School in Pavilion, New York where I attended from kindergarten through eighth grade. I turned nine just two days earlier.
Growing up south of Rochester, New York, one of my regular childhood memories is of the tests of the Emergency Broadcast System. I would hear these on a very regular basis over the radio as well as on television.
Today, for the only time during my childhood, the Emergency Broadcast System sounded with “This is not a test, I repeat, this is not a test.” As a child I did not really understand the importance of the system. I was not yet, at the age of six, acutely aware of how close we were, throughout my childhood, to serious war with the Soviet Union (USSR.) This alarm was not because of a military warning. This was an alarm triggered by a steam leak at the reactor at the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario, New York just east of Rochester.
The leak at Ginna lasted only for 93 minutes but, for many of us, the event would stick in our memory. I had not been aware before today that there was even a nuclear power plant in the Rochester area. It is not something that I would forget.
Today my family went down to Arcade, New York, in the southwestern corner of Wyoming County, to ride the historic Arcade and Attica Railroad. Today was my very first time ever riding on a train and it was a real, working steam engine.
We rode the railroad with our friends the Hobbs. Amy Hobbs is one year older than me and we pretty much grew up together. I was five and she was six when we went on this train ride.
The ride on the train goes through a very rural piece of western Wyoming County. It is actually not far from Buffalo but far enough out that the route is nothing but countryside. You can learn more about the railroad on the Wikipedia: The Arcade and Attica Railroad.
If I remember correctly the train still traveled up to North Java at the time that we road in in 1981. It is 2009 as I write this “Looking Back” and I am not sure how far the train ran in my childhood. Today it runs only to the very first station only a few country “blocks” away to Curriers, New York which is nothing but a country crossroad with an old train depot sitting along the tracks for the tourist excursions. The train no longer even runs between two villages for passengers which is quite sad. The line stopped running between Arcade and Attica in 1957 due to flooding so even though Attica is in the railroad’s name the village itself has not seen the train arrive in fifty-two years (in 2009 and twenty-four years in 1981.)
The line is still used for freight today hauling mostly agricultural products from the Arcade area up to North Java where it hands them off to Norfolk Southern to take out of the county. The line was first formed in 1917 and was only used for freight until 1962 when passenger excursion service was begun. So in 1981 when I first rode on the ARA line it has been taking passengers for only nineteen years.
The steam engine, shown above, is ARA #18 and is an ALCO 2-8-0. In 2002 it would be taken out of service but returned again in 2008 on Memorial Day.
This afternoon I was glued to the television to watch the news as America’s first space shuttle, the Columbia, landed at Edwards Air Force Base in Calidornia. This was the first ever reentry and landing of a space craft and quite a significant event. The Columbia touched down, without incident, at 10:21 am, local time which was 2:21 pm on the east coast from where I was watching.
Today we knew for sure that the space shuttle program was successful and American’s presence in space was reaffirmed. The 1980s were to be America’s decade in space.