Yesterday's Magazette

4 – And Grandma Waited In The Car

And Grandma Waited

In The Car

By Marion Tickner

All too quickly the day had arrived. The end of Christmas vacation and I had to go back to school. On the way to the train station we stopped to pick up Grandma. Mom and Grandma had planned to do some shopping after seeing me off.

All the shops advertise after-Christmas sales. Cards, wrapping paper, and decorations are usually marked down half-price. Mom and Grandma wanted to take advantage of those bargains. Or maybe they had some gifts to exchange for proper sizes.

I was in my first year of college and had looked forward to coming home for Christmas. Of course the professors sent us away with plenty of homework to keep us busy. But my week wasn’t all work and no play. I had a joyous Christmas with family, activities with the youth group at church, as well as time for enjoying the holidays.

As we pulled into the parking lot at the station, it seemed that everybody else had the same idea. The lot was full. Dad drove around until he found an empty spot, even though it was a tight squeeze. I was skinny then so had no trouble getting out of the car. My two heavy suitcases were in the trunk. However, we couldn’t get the door open far enough for Grandma to get out.

She said, “That’s all right. Trains are always late so I brought a book to read. I’ll wait in the car.”

Inside the crowded station I met my friend Martha Kohler, a senior at MTI. Martha had already bought her ticket, but she stood in line with me to get mine. “I hope all these people aren’t going in our direction,” she remarked.

The train was late as usual and Grandma waited in the car.

Finally the loud speaker announced the eastbound train for New York City. Dad grabbed one of my bags and one of Martha’s. Both were heavy with books and homework. It seemed for a week at home we’d not need two suitcases each. But we had Christmas gifts to carry back as well as all the clothes we’d brought home to dump into the washing machine.

The conductor stood on the platform, guiding people into the train.

Although Dad had asked before, he asked again, “Is it OK if we carry the bags on for the girls?”

The conductor nodded and motioned us forward.

Not only was the parking lot full, so was the train. It had come through from Erie, PA, or maybe even before that, stopping at Buffalo. We walked through the car, looking for seats. Nothing. People were already standing in the aisles. Mom and Dad had walked ahead and into the next car. That, too, was full. Finally in about the third or fourth car ahead (or was it back?), I found Mom and Dad sitting. Possibly someone had given up a seat for them.

Martha and I hurried to claim the seat, but that was not to be. I glanced out the window and saw buildings passing by. Oh no, it wasn’t buildings moving, it was the train. We had not heard the “All Aboard.”

Mom and Dad were still on the train and Grandma waited in the car.

What were we to do? Martha and I sat on our suitcases at the end of the aisle, at least until another stop when seats might be available. That’s how crowded the train was.

Soon we heard the conductor’s call “Tickets!” Dad had some explaining to do. Probably that happens more than we realize because the conductor understood the situation. He gave them a pass to the next stop and a free ride back to Syracuse.

The next stop was about an hour away. It would be nearly a whole day later if they waited for their free ride home. They certainly didn’t want to sit in a station all day, nor did they want to take advantage of Utica’s after-Christmas shopping. I don’t know how long they had to wait for the next bus going to Syracuse, but that’s what they planned to do while Grandma waited in the car.

After some quick thinking, Mom called her sister.

“Will you accept a collect call from Utica?” the operator asked.

Before Aunt Dorothy had time to wonder who’d be calling her from Utica, Mom spoke her name. She accepted the call and Mom explained what had happened. She asked her to send someone to pick up Grandma, who waited in the car.

Bio: Marion Tickner graduated from The Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College, Nyack, NY) many years ago. She has been published in several children’s magazines as well as magazines for writers.


1 Comment »

  1. * Comment From Mary G. Armstrong

    I grew up with Marion. She always had a great imagination and even then was writing. I enjoy reading her work and am proud that she has had it published.

    Comment by Ned — January 23, 2009 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

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