Visiting Relatives in Wisconsin

Louie’s first story reminds me that our lives are similar, but unique. We both grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota, with our childhoods spent near the steam-powered railroad. In this story, Louie talks about trying to take the train to visit his relatives.

Goose at station

Gas electric locomotive – “Goose”

My parallel story involves the same train, the Galloping Goose. These little gasoline powered motor coaches carried mail, passengers, freight, and milk to the small towns near Jamestown. My uncle and aunt lived in one of those little towns, Pettibone. When I was ten or eleven I’d take the Goose to Pettibone to spend a week with my cousins in the country.

The uniqueness of my story, compared to Louie’s, is that I got to visit the relatives. He didn’t. The other unique feature stands out compared to my children’s and grandchildren’s lives. Louie got his butt whipped.
I may have paddled my kids once? Maybe twice, or maybe never. It just didn’t happen. Did the difference in discipline make a difference in how he and I turned out?

Grandpa Guy Havelick



Louie writes:

When I was the ripe old age of around 6, I had a good idea that it would be nice to visit some of relatives in Wisconsin.

I went to the railroad depot and got on board what was called the “Gallopin’ Goose.” It was actually a gasoline driven locomotive that they used on one of the branch lines going just north of Jamestown only traveling about 75 miles.

The conductor wanted to know where I was going and asked for my ticket. Not having a ticket started the trouble. The conductor tried to take me off the train. I started to rant and rave, it did cause quite a commotion.

This commotion drew the attention of the engineer. His name was Chris Frandsen, named after my Grandfather and was my uncle.

Uncle Chris called my brother, “Tiny”, at his place of work. He came to the depot, got my by the ear (that is why one is longer than the other), took me away from the people that had congregated to see the action, then he proceeded to paddle my butt.

He drove me home in his Model A automobile, told my Mother what I had done and of course I lost some more skin off of, you know where!

My first train ride was when I was just 6 months old, and it was to Wisconsin. Guess I already had railroad in my blood by the ripe old age of 6 years.

A ride on a train, especially the old steam engine pulled trains is a thrill and I am glad that I eventually had lots of those rides in the future.


Louie Letter 003
Originally published 2014-10-22
Updated 2016-10-25