A Three Year Old Girl

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A Three-Year Old Girl
McAdam Railway Station #3

“I often see her, walking around,
standing in a doorway,
looking into a room.

She’s very curious
but never says a word.
Doesn’t ask questions.

She’s not scary at all,
like some of the others.

There are rooms here
where people won’t go
if they’re alone.

But they mean no harm,
these broken ghosts.

They’re lost, nowhere
else to go, I guess.
Just missed the last train”

Comment: Another story from Elsie, who says she often sees this young child in one room or another. The station is indeed filled with many memories and you can feel warm and cold presences throughout the building. Some rooms are filled with foreboding, while others are warm and comforting. Many old buildings have these qualities as do the old iron age walled camps scattered around the south of England. Maiden Castle and Badbury Rings spring to mind, as do Westbury White Horse, Corfe Castle and parts of Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. Do I believe in ghosts? I echo the words of my mentor and fellow-countryman, Dylan Thomas: “I’d be a fool if I didn’t.”

Fourteen

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Fourteen
McAdam Railway Station 2

“Fourteen years old, he was.
Left school to work at the station.
Pushed brooms, did the cleaning.

Walked into the men’s washroom
early one morning to give it a clean.
Found a man hanging there, dead.

Took out his pocket knife,
cut him down, called for help.

I met him at the station
when he was ninety-three.

He told me all about it,
shrunk in size he did
as he told his story, shrunk

until he was the same size
he was at fourteen.”

Comment:
Another story from Elsie, one of the guides at the McAdam Railway Station and the President of the Macadam Historical Association. A true historian, she is gifted with an uncanny ability to condense a remembered incident into a minimum of poetic words. Thank you, Elsie, for allowing me to access your memory and repeat what you told me. It is an honor and a pleasure to do so.

Macadam: Before & After

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Macadam: Before & After

Yesterday, I traveled to Macadam Railway Station to spend a day with two of my friends, Geoff Slater (artist) and Jessi Green (writer). Geoff is painting a mural for the historic building. It depicts an incident from WWI in which Canadian Railway Engineers and troops rebuilt a railway bridge in Northern France that had been destroyed by the enemy. When I arrived in Macadam, Geoff took Jessi and I to see the then current state of his painting (as shown above, Before). After lunch, Jessi and I would discuss sundry writing topics, including when, ho, and what to revise, as well as our various writing  projects while Geoff continued with his painting.

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On the wall opposite the mural hangs a plaque dedicated to the memory of those Canadian Railway Engineers, probably the best in the world at the time, who made such reconstruction possible. The juxtaposition of mural and plaque make a fitting tribute to the role of the railway in WWI. The Macadam Railway Station is a protected historical site and a work of art in itself . What a pleasure it was to visit there as an invited guest.

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This is the dining room and immediately below you will see photos of the beautiful working bureau, over a hundred years old, and the grandmother clock that hangs on the wall beside the bureau.

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During the afternoon, we were blessed by the arrival of a train. In many ways, it was a ghost train, hauling with it so many memories of the past when railways ruled and train travel was ubiquitous.

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Before leaving, we paid our respects to Geoff’s painting. He had been busy on the top right corner of the mural and had completed the insertion of the military personnel who were working on the new trestle bridge built to replace the one that had been destroyed. All in all, this was a fabulous day in which art, photography, memory, writing, planning all played a part. Some photos to end with: first of all, a selfie entitled Selfie with Coal Scuttle and wow, did that bring back some childhood memories; and then a close up of Geoff’s work for that afternoon Men on the Bridge. I will end by saying that Macadam Railway Station is a ‘must-see’ visit for all train enthusiasts as well as for the train generation who wish to maintain their links with that past.

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