|The train station near the German town where I was born|
There I was, just a little girl, holding the hand of my grandmother as we stepped onto the train.
The train cars were filled with all the people I knew: aunts and uncles, cousins. As the train left the station the scenery changed. Cities with tall buildings and crowded streets changed to pastoral scenes with cows grazing in the meadows. There was even a castle in the distance. Night came and then the dawn. Sometimes the train engineer would blow his whistle and we would pull into a station.
At the first stop my uncle got off. Uncle Angus always brought me bars of chocolate when he came to visit. He was just a young man when he stepped off the train. Some other people got on and took his seat.
The trip continued and soon my beautiful Aunt Maria had to get off. She was as beautiful as a movie star. I still remember her with a scarf tied around her blonde hair, wearing a pair of dark sunglasses, driving her convertible.
Further along the trip my grandmother finally got off. She didn't say good-bye. I saw her walking through the train station wearing her fur coat and hat and carrying her handbag, a little old woman, barely five feet tall.
Still more people filled the cars, familiar faces, friends and relatives. We talked and laughed and cried.
At one stop my brother-in-law got off, leaving my sister and her baby to continue the trip alone. At the next stop three of my cousins left the trip early.
Still, I was enjoying the trip. My car was filled with my mother, my husband and our children. But soon my mother had to depart the journey. We were sad to see her go. It was hard to enjoy the scenery with my sweet mother not with me any longer.
Further down the line my husband had to leave the train unexpectedly. We hugged him and said good-bye and watched him walk away.
And before long I said good-bye to another uncle and an aunt and other relatives who stepped off the train when I wasn't looking.
The cars were practically empty now. But soon the train pulled into a station and little children got on board. They made me smile and kept me company.
And the scenery was breathtaking.