This is a true story.
It happened back in the spring of '34.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My mother had just graduated from the University of Georgia's School of Journalism and had taken a position as a reporter for the "Commerce [Georgia] Chronicle".
She shared a room at the local boarding house with another young lady.
The boarding house was located within sight of the Seaboard Railway station.
This proximity to the railway didn't bother mother; she'd grown up near the station in Winder [Georgia], where her father had been the station master for many years*.

This particular evening was typical of Georgia spring nights, warm and pleasant.
The girls had their window open to the night sounds and scents.

Around one in the morning, Mother awoke, knowing that something was amiss, but unable to find the cause.
Since it was a pleasant night, and she was awake anyway, she went to the window seat, sat down and gazed out across the courtyard and street at the train station.

Then she realized why she had awakened; off in the distance she heard a train whistle.
Soon, the train came into view.

Then she became very excited. Clearly visible on the engine was the name of the train.
It was the "Nancy Hanks", a passenger train that absolutely had NO business coming through Commerce!
It's normal route was from Atlanta to Washington.

She woke her roommate and had her come look at the train. Her roommate was not as closely connected, as it were, to trains as was Mother, so she simply looked at the train, acknowledged it, and went back to bed.
All the while the train rumbled through town, windows lit and people visible within.

From long habit, Mother knew the schedules of freight and passenger trains on this track, so she knew there must have been trouble on the line to cause the "Nancy Hanks" to be rerouted.

Excitedly, she began her "story" in her head for the paper.

Before breakfast the next morning, she was at the train station to see what had happened.
The station master gave her a blank stare, and told her that no train had come through town last night, and that the "Nancy Hanks" had wrecked, killing several people.
The wreck occurred outside Baltimore at about one in the morning.

It wasn't even in the state at the time she saw it. Mother then questioned her roommate, who said she did see and hear the train.

This was a "story" Mother declined to write for the newspaper.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*My grandfather served as the Station Master
for the Seaboard Railway for more than 50 years in Winder, Georgia.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~