With a name like Elmer
Fulwider, you're bound to end up in a lot of stories, right? Read
about him sticking his foot in his mouth here,
or go back and check out the first Mormor post, so you
know who Mormor was and why I am sharing her almost-100-year-old
stories with you. And here is a story from about 1918:
Mormor -- Esther -- just a couple of years older than the time of this tale
I finished elementary grades in a one-room, one-teacher school at South Fork, which was about a mile and a half from the ranch if one walked the railroad track. This school had no fenced yard, so we wandered about in the noon hour more or less as we pleased.
One noon two of my classmates suggested that we go down to the railroad wye to see Elmer Fulwider who was wiping an engine near the school. Elmer said he had finished and now was going to take the engine down the wye to face it in the opposite direction so as to be ready for the night's run. He asked me if I'd like to be his engineer on that trip and you can bet I would. So I climbed up into the cab; Elmer showed me how to move the Johnson bar ever so gently, the wheels began to roll, and we were off down the track. When we returned in about five minutes, there stood my two classmates wondering why Elmer picked a mere girl to ride in the engine when he could have chosen either of two capable boys.
My father didn't look on this event with any great favor so that ended any future engine trip.
(Photo stolen from this guy)
Mike [Laurie's cousin] said he'd bet he had the only grandmother who had driven an engine, even a short way. I answered that I wouldn't bet any money on that.
Women did not yet have the right to vote, but no one had apparently set any rules about girls driving trains.