Train Whistles & Granddaddy Alexander

Train Whistles & Granddaddy Alexander

(Like Wikipedia, I welcome people to add names & pics… I will add things as I find them).

 

steamengine_TVA

(Thanks, TVA for the pic.. this is a restored, 1904 engine that ran on Southern Railway!) 

William Oliver Alexander : May 15, 1875 – June 29, 1935. Southern Railroad Locomotive Engineer.

Friday evening September 28, 2018 location = Collegedale, Tennessee, Collegedale Greenway 

I was jogging beside the railroad track headed toward’s Collegdale’s Southern University, and I heard a train coming: Sometimes it’s a CSX train, and sometimes it’s a Norfolk Southern train. Traveling at about 35-40 MPH a Norfolk Southern diesel locomotive comes barreling into the clear. I smiled, kept jogging, and I waved. Of course, trains blow their whistles at the crossings, and the engineer had just passed the College Station Crossing. I had no idea if my waves would illicit a friendly blow, but THEY DID …. “Toot, Toot…. toot ,  toooooot”: I smiled from ear to ear and continued jogging. Granddaddy Alexander whom I never met (he died 31 years before I was born) immediately came to mind…. However….

Join me  the summer of 1988.

My dear friend of  mine, Loraine Morgan Hammontree (February 2, 1913- May 13, 1989) , and I had been cultivating our awesome, Varnell friendship, and she had said, “Uh, Haven, would you like to visit my sister (Ralph Morgan, I’m tracking you down for her name! LOL) in Dalton. She can tell us some stuff about Varnell from our childhood.”  Loraine’s sister was several years older than Loraine and she couldn’t drive, and neither could Loraine who had heart failure. I rearranged some of my busy, summer schedule (I was in town for the weekend from Lipscomb University Summer Semester where I was just about to finish my last year) , and we drove to Dalton. Loraine’s, sister was so hospitable and so sweet, and charming. I fell in love with her lovely demeanor immediately.

 

Loraine: Haven, I was just a kid and I don’t remember, but my sister remembers living in the Alexander’s house in Varnell. (Turning to her sister) Tell Haven about living there and Mr. Alexander.  Mr. Alexander was Haven’s great-grandfather.

Loraine’s sister: (With a huge smile). I didn’t know that! Let me tell you.  You know , Mr. Alexander had a fixed schedule, and we always kind of knew he was coming. He would begin tooting the whistle as he entered Varnell, and we would run down to the track. The train went right in front of the Alexander house, and he was going slow. Depending on what he had, he would toss it out to us kids. Sometimes, it was candy wrapped in sacks and sometimes it was bags of coal we needed for our coal-burning stove. It was like having Santa Claus!

Loraine: (Turning to me with a huge smile.) Yeah, just like Santa Claus, that’s just what I was thinking.

The visit was perfect, and I had spoken with someone who knew Granddaddy Alexander personally. I took Loraine home with a full heart and lots of joy.

Before I finish this Santa Claus tale of  Granddaddy Alexander, I ‘ve got to share one more thing (I could be dead tomorrow, and I want Carter & Ammon to know) LOL ….

Trains (Steam engines in the 1900s – 1930s) were steam engines and so different from the powerful diesels of today. The trains stopped at every “pig trail” in those days. Granddaddy Alexander’s route took him from Atlanta to Chattanooga. When stopping at the “pig trails”, boys from the local area would bring stuff (nuts, berries, live animals such as baby squirrels or baby opossums) to sell to him. He would buy whatever for a few pennies. On up the line, while stopping for water, coal, or passengers, he would let the animals go free. He sometimes would even take a baby squirrel or a baby opossum back to his house in Atlanta for Nanny, Madeline, and Florence to play with!  In a few weeks he would put them back in his pocket, take them to Inman Yard where his engine was then carry them back up towards Chattanooga where he would set them free.

Back to September 28, 2018-

As I turned around to face my jogging destination, I was overcome with emotion, and tears came unexpectedly into my eyes as I started sobbing  with happiness about Granddaddy Alexander as I trotted onward.

No one is ever perfect, but William Oliver Alexander was a good, caring human with a wonderful heart.  His girls (Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor, Gloria Madeline Alexander Kirk, and Florence L. Alexander Sheeley) adored him. Nanny always shared how he loved life, loved to joke, and loved nature.

With my memories and the wonderful avenue of the Internet and/or writing journals, I can keep Granddaddy Alexander and his story “alive”.

-Happy Saturday to all- Haven

Thursday January 14, 2016: Educator Reception/Author Discussion

"Parenting Strategies on the Go" -Haven Caylor, Ed. D.

“Parenting Strategies on the Go” -Haven Caylor, Ed. D.

Raffle Tickets for the 12 Noon Drawing can the purchased the DAY OF the event: January 14, 2016-Thursday 11:00 AM -12 Noon. $200 Barnes and Noble Gift Card (Show your Barnes and Noble receipt of Parenting Strategies on the Go , get a ticket, must be present to collect your gift certificate if your name is drawn)

2100 Hamilton Pl Blvd #315, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Phone:(423) 893-0186

It’s Educator Appreciation Week at Barnes and Noble . Bring or rendezvous with a retired, semi-retired educator/mentor who has made a positive impact on your life for some refreshments and fellowship. Treat them to a new book from Barnes and Noble, take them out to lunch afterwards on Thursday January 14….

Homeschool parents, ANY PARENT if you are available, Grandparents, check out Parenting Strategies on the Go: to help create plans of action for teaching your children as you travel in 2016. One thing I would like to emphasize from the book is learning with Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.

Along with a discussion on teaching strategies from me, there will be special refreshments for everyone and activities for the students. Children 11 and under have the opportunity to become a Bookseller-For-A-Day and learn the ins, the outs, and the behind the scenes of how Barnes & Noble Hamilton Place runs. 12 and up will have the opportunity to work with a variety of electronic and coding workshops.

Carter & Ammon Shine in a Personal Courtesy Interview

Carter and Ammon Shine in a Personal Courtesy Interview

Volkswagen & Children

“Ich heisse Carter.”
“Ich heisse Ammon.”
“Ich heisse Catharina.”

I stood grinning ear to ear. Carter had initiated our introduction with Catharina Mette (Volkswagen of Chattanooga, Tennessee Plant Communications ) a native German who is now living and working in Chattanooga, Tennessee our home town. Carter started with “My name is Carter.” Then Ammon and Catharina followed with sharing their names. I was so pleased that Carter and Ammon were practicing their interpersonal skills without any prompt from me. We had been working on interpersonal skills for over two years, and now they had combined both interpersonal skills and speaking German.

I wrote to the Public Relations in the middle of September, and explained how Ammon and Carter were homeschooled, were studying the German language, studying the German culture, and needing to practice their interpersonal skills with a simple interview. I asked if there was a native German in personal relations with whom we could conduct an interview. They graciously agreed to an interview with Catharina Mette with whom I soon arranged an interview date and time. I was honored that someone from this multi-billion dollar industry was taking time to spend with two 5 year olds from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Catharina personally greeted Carter and Ammon at the visitor’s check-in station with a warm smile and greeting. There was an immediate bond between the three. We were then ushered into a visitor reception room. Carter and Ammon gave her the red roses we had purchased for her as a “Thank You”. There were comfortable chairs, tables, and a mini-theater with a huge flat screen television on the wall. After initial greetings and a review of Carter and Ammon’s travels to Germany, Catharina interjected, “Let me show you two a couple of videos on the history of this Volkswagen plant.”

Roses for Catharina

We all sat comfortably in the mini-theater where we viewed two videos.The first video was on the history of the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant. It was so professional and personal to our hometown in which Carter and Ammon are so proud. “Wow, Chattanooga!”, Carter whispered to me. The video ended with a focus on how the Passat (the plant’s car) won Motortrend’s 2012 Car of the Year Award, and it all connected to the hard working team at the Chattanooga plant. The second video was only 3 minutes, but it showed a 12 -hour time lapse of how a Passat is fabricated. Ammon and Carter sat riveted. When the video finished, Carter exclaimed. “Wow, they made that car fast!”. We all giggled.

Rivited

“Now, I understand that you two have some questions for me.” , Catharina said while leading Carter and Ammon into their interpersonal interview.

The four main questions Carter and Ammon had created were regarding the cultural areas of food, clothing, types of shelter, and the composition of family units in Germany. Ammon and Carter took turns asking questions.

Ammon and Carter love to eat pretzels, and we had studied that pretzels were a favorite snack tradition in Bavaria, eaten them during our vacation there in 2012 ( http://bit.ly/ZvyR7c, http://bit.ly/13CXrSZ) and made them in our home during the study. Through questioning, they found out that German pretzels are not traditional snack foods from the region of Wolfsburg, Germany, Catharina and Volkswagen’s hometown.

Carter then asked, “Do you have lederhosen?”, “No, Carter, lederhosen is a traditional style of dress, once again, from Bavaria. I do not have lederhosen.” Ammon then took her cue for the next question with, “Does your house look the same as houses here in Chattanooga?” “Well, kind of….,” Catharina said continuing with, “…we have more rock and brick houses.”

Carter then asked, “Do you get to see your family in Germany?” “Well, yes, I return home to see them several times a year. As a matter of fact, I just returned last week.” , Catharina stated.

Our meeting ended splendidly with Carter’s free question, “Do you have a Volkswagen like this one (the Passat)?” Carter inquired. “
Catharina quickly replied, “No, but I have a Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s like a van.” We then Googled an Internet photo of a Tiguan. “Oh, that’s nice!” Ammon exclaimed.

We then agreed that our questions were over and that Catharina had to return to work. We snapped photos, and Catharina had the reception desk make Carter and Ammon Volkswagen Visitor badges. They were so proud! We then departed with smiles and hugs, and a few “Auf Wiedersehen” .

Thanks to Catharina’s personal courtesy, Ammon and Carter’s interpersonal interview had been a huge success.

If you made it this far (LOL), please learn more About us and give me, Haven Caylor, a Google. Thanks to all!

Ash Wednesday

Genesis 3:19. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

ash_wednesday

Luke 9: 23:  “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Ash Wednesday

I love, appreciate, and admire those Christians who wear their ashes in such an outward manner today!  By no means does an outward form of appearance show what is in the heart of a person, but it is one of the few times in the year that people in droves of numbers actually show that they are followers of Jesus Christ as they go out and about with an ash cross on their foreheads. Ammon and Carter understand the tradition, and they understand wearing ashes to show their faith in Jesus the Christ.

Non-Christians, maybe take a few minutes today to “google” Jesus Christ, or Ash Wednesday. The event isn’t found in the Bible, but it is an event that many use to remember Jesus as a human and his sacrifices. This is the first event in a Christian “season” that leads up to Easter over 40 days from now.

ash_wednesday-1

Christians in Chattanooga, I know the Episcopal, most Methodist, and Presbyterian churches will have Ash Wednesday services: usually morning, noon, and maybe an evening service as well.

Peggy, Janie, Kelly, & God…thank you all!

prayer-for-friend

Friends & Family

There was a chain reaction that started with Peggy Lamb (Carter and Ammon’s aunt) helped me get in contact with a local author, Janie Dempsey Watts (You need to read her Moon Over Taylor’s Ridge Moon over Taylor’s Ridge ). Janie gave me the suggestion to head to Barnes & Noble to speak with the manager Kelly Flemmings. I have been so blessed that these wonderful people have helped me to write. I now have 2 books! It took 2 years, but I did it.

 

My parenting/travel/memoir is Parenting Strategies on the Go , and I had a great “kick off” book signing at Barnes and Noble in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

My other book is Christmas Hawk

 

Granddaddy/Grandmaw Stone

September 10th (yesterday) would have been my
granddaddy’s 94th birthday. Once again, his name was Troy Dewitt
Caylor. He was born on September 10, 1917, and he died on March 29, 1979. He
was one of those grandfathers that could almost be an ideal cliché: He smoked a
pipe, he could do carpentry, was an excellent farmer, loved yard work, could
fix anything that had an engine, could make crafts and holiday sceneries, and
most of all, he loved his family. I was almost 13 when he died, but I have so
many cherished memories of that man. I loved him dearly, and he loved me. As I
have said before, he showed all of his grandchildren so much love. I have
someone else to add to my “Happy Birthday” to Granddaddy message. I simply know
her as Grandmaw Stone.

My granddaddy’s
family was hit hard by the Spanish Flu of 1918. Granddaddy’s parents and four
siblings were gravely ill, and, unfortunately, one of his older sisters, Billie,
died. The family lived in Varnell, Georgia. Granddaddy’s grandparents, the
Caylors, lived there as well. However, afraid of the flu themselves, they did
not enter my grandfather’s house for fear of catching the dreaded disease. They
would bring food and supplies to the house, but simply leave it all on the
porch and return home. Grandmaw Stone did not live in Varnell. She lived in
Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was Granddaddy’s step-grandmother. My great-grandmother Mattie Stone Caylor’s mother had died when she was a young girl, and her father remarried the woman of whom I am writing, Grandmaw Stone. Well, the family was “falling by the way-side”: They were all sick, and Billie had died. Enter Grandmaw Stone: A woman of faith, courage, and love of family.
She had other children and grandchildren
to worry about, but she left her “disease-free” home in Chattanooga, took the
train to Varnell, and walked right through the front door of my Granddaddy’s
house. She took over! She nursed my great-grandparents and Granddaddy’s three
surviving, older siblings, cooked food, cleaned the house, and started the
laundry. When everything had calmed down, she found my Granddaddy who had been “tucked away and forgotten” basically resting peacefully in his crib without, praise be
to God, the flu. She picked him up, changed his soiled clothes, and fed that
boy. She told my Nanny Caylor years later, “That boy was just about starved to death!”

My Nanny and Granddaddy were married in 1938, and I know
Grandmaw Stone was still alive then. My Nanny loved her! Nanny said she was so
kind, loving, and had lots of pep for a lady her age. Nanny said one thing
Grandmaw Stone always said for the years left that she knew her was that when
she saw Granddaddy, she said, “There’s my boy!” She had several other grandsons
and nephews, but no one else was “her boy” but Granddaddy because of that bond
they shared. So, thank you, God, again, for Granddaddy, and thank you for Grandmaw
Stone . Oh, my, the admiration and love I have for Grandmaw Stone, and she died
many, many years before I was born.