I’ve Been Working On The Rail Road
By David Holland
This story starts back in June1984 ina city calledWinchester, located in the Common wealth ofVirginia.Winchesteris a sort of sleepy city with a lot of history dating back prior to the Civil War. The reason it starts here for me is that my ex wife took my children and went on a vacation to her mothers house inWinchesternever to return. Deep down I knew she had no intention of returning to me orLong Island. After several months of torturing myself and drinking heavily I wound up quitting my job and departing forWinchesterto reclaim my family. Unfortunately this was not to be and I wound up being cast out and sleeping on the streets for approximately eight months. Then the unthinkable happened; I was given legal custody of my two children. This is a wonderful story, but for another publication. After sitting around for about a week or so I became extremely homesick and had the strongest desire to return to Long Island where I was born and raised and had family. I decided that this was what I was going to do and put my plan, “Operation Long Island” into action. This consisted of a bus ride fromWinchestertoWashingtonD.C.where we picked up an Amtrak train toNew York City. Once inNew York, we jumped on theLong Island Rail Roadwith our destination being Port Jefferson. This was all done in one day. And might I add that it was quite an exhausting endeavor considering I had my three year old daughter Shannon and my two year old son Lawrence, a large suitcase and my briefcase. Somehow with Gods assistance, we arrived at our destination and “Operation Long Island” was accomplished.
What’s ironic about this part of my story is that here we are standing on the platform in Port Jefferson meeting up with my grandmother whom we were going to live with, and little did I know that approximately fifteen years down the road I would be working for theLong Island Rail Roadand stationed out of Port Jefferson. It’s truly a small world.
Well we moved in with Grandma in her two bedroom mobile home located inWadingRiver. It was here that I started my career as Mr. Mom, and might I add, that this was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. I tip my hat to all of you moms out there, you are truly a deserving group that should receive much more gratification than you actually do. After several months of plying Mr. Mom, I decided that I wanted to go back to work. I was going stir crazy just sitting around the house raising two children. When I started watching soap operas I knew I was in trouble. So I started combing through the classified ads in Newsday looking for some sort of employment. All this was a lesson in futility. After a while I came up with the brilliant idea to call my dad, whom I hadn’t spoken to in ages and plead with him to get me a job on theLong Island Rail Roadwhere he worked. He said he would see what he could do, and onDecember 2, 1985I became an employee of theRail Road. My title was Car Appearance Maintainer, a fancy name for car cleaner. I was happy as could be and was walking on a cloud. Life was beginning to take shape. I had my two children whom I adored and now I had a great job to support those children.
Little did I know that working for theRail Roadwas going to open the door to many memorable experiences. Most people go to work in either a store, restaurant or office building. My office wound up being all ofLong Island. I literally worked fromManhattanto Montauk during my 25 year career. It was amazing that whatever my work locale was, no two places were ever the same. The job itself was the same, but because of the people and the experiences, each location was uniquely different. For instance, while working inManhattan, the city that never sleeps, literally everything you could desire is available seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Then we travel to Speonk. I don’t know if you have ever been to Speonk afterMidnight, but you better have enough gas in the tank or you’re screwed. During break time it was decided to go for coffee. Mind you now this is now2:30in the morning. You have on option and only one option. You have to drive ten minutes toWesthamptonBeachwhere there was a 7-11 open 24 hours. You either did this or you did without.