December 26, 2011–long ago horror

For the last several weeks she has been referring to something that happened long ago.  Strong emotions have seemingly popped up out of nowhere:

“They wouldn’t put up a warning, even though the neighbors had complained for years!”  (said with great anger and agitation)

“We didn’t have a choice, and my mother was worried.  But what could we do?”

And then, during a Christmas concert early in December, uncontrollable sobs so much so that I had to wheel her chair out into the lobby.  After a soup and sandwich supper (we were at a local church), on the way home, she couldn’t remember where we had just been. Two days later she commented on how much she had enjoyed the concert and didn’t remember at all about being upset.

Last night as I was driving her home, I commented on how pretty the fog was, hovering just a few feet above the warm ground as the air was quickly cooling.  Then the whole story came out.

She was a sophomore in high school (winter of 1930) waiting with  her older step-brother/cousin, Bob, for the school bus on Sheldon Road near Rocky River Drive.  There was a short stretch there where two school bus routes overlapped, theirs, and another that went the opposite direction, crossing a railroad track to get to the elementary school.  In spite of years of petitions and complaints, the railroad company refused to put a warning at that crossing “because the major crossing was so close.” (at Front Street)

That morning the fog was so dense they couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces and they had been laughing and joking about it.  Suddenly they heard a horrific crash.  They immediately thought of the other bus.  Bob told her to tell their driver to wait for him, and ran to the crossing to see if he could help.  It was too late.  The other driver had stopped and looked, then started across.  He and several students were dead in the mangled wreckage.  One student survived.  All were from neighboring families.

The railroad was unapologetic, as she remembers.

I did a Goggle search and found the story:,-oh-train-wreck,-jan-1930


About estherfromolmsted

written and maintained by Tina
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