Traveling by train in the 20s and 30s

So, when we were up in Oklahoma we got to go through their train car they have in the museum.  It’s open a couple of times a year and we got lucky and were there during that time.


Now our guide was rather………. okay, there’s no nice way to say it, he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.  I’ll provide you a mini-rant when I get to the point I was no longer able to remain silent.


Now this whole train car is a private car, and was made my the company’s executives.  This is the equivalent of the lounge car where you can seat about 10 people.  This couch transforms into a bunk bed.  The back moves up to become the top bunk. 



In the back is a speedometer “so the fat cats who were riding in it could tell if the drivers were slacking off and not doing their job, at which point they would be fired right away.”


Yeah……….  I think he might have literally said that.


There was also a call button, which I did not get a picture of.  I will not treat you to the nonsense he explained to us about how they porters were supposed to respond.



Here’s a bedroom.  This particular car had 3 bedrooms in addition to the lounge.  The lounge was able to sleep 4.  Each of the bedrooms was able to sleep 2, which made for beds for 10 passengers and then 2 crew beds.


During the day the room looks like this, there are two roomy chairs and a table in between.  The ceiling above is slightly sloped because that is the bunk bed that pulls down for people to sleep on.



Unfortunately with the holly on the top bunk it’s a little hard to see what it was like.  But, the top bunk pulls down, and those two chairs slide together to make a bed.  It’s rather like RV beds now.


At this point I was biting my tongue really hard not to correct him as he attempted to explain traveling by rail.


Ummm……  I’ve traveled by train, and it had very little to do with what he said.



The dining car was set up with a full course meal, and our guide said the cooks would have to be ready to serve a full course meal at the drop of a hat.


My experience with trains is you have an assigned time to come for your meal and you come then and are presented with several options.  Now this is a private car, so it may be different, but I don’t know of any chef who is able to create a multi-course meal at the drop of a hat.


I might mention our guide was a college student who probably doesn’t cook anything more complicated than Ramen.



And now we come to the part where I totally lost it and corrected him POLITELY.  I was polite.


He said, “The owner of the car was very proud of hiring ex-slaves who had just recently been freed from slavery.  He required them to memorize this whole thing on the rules of ettiquette.  It was very hard for them because it was a lot to memorize.”


REALLY!  REALLY!?!?!  Okay, how many ways can this be wrong?


1.  It was build in 1929.  The slaves were freed in 1865.  RECENTLY FREED?  At most we’re talking about their grandchildren.


2.  Illiterate, I might give you, but the literacy rate was not as bad as he was making it out to be.


3.  Pre-literate cultures are very good at memorizing things.  That is the whole reason we still have the Iliad and the Odyssey.  They MEMORIZED them.  You know the whole hundred page poem.


Okay, end of my rant.  I can feel my heart rate rising in annoyance.


All of that being said, it was fun to tour the train.  I just wish we hadn’t gotten the substitute tour guide, but the older man who was in full conductor costume.

You’re doing fine Oklahoma………

Who wouldn’t love to watch Oklahoma with Hugh Jackman?  Much better to my mind than the original movie version.  And in my white-washed version it’s not so disturbing as it is in reality.

Why, don’t I remember that Rodgers and Hammerstein actually write rather disturbing musicals?  Carousel, check.  South Pacific, addressing racism, and that’s one of the more family friendly.

I always forget about the attempted rape of Laurie, and how Curly suggests Jud commit suicide……  So, I did a lot of distracting as we watched it.


So, what did my kids get out of it?  You can see what my boys got.  They reenacted the fight scene between Curly and Jud.  Boys.

Princess?  She loved the singing, she’s all about the singing.

Other Oklahoma activities:


We read the book “Jingle Dancer,” which is a super cute story about a girl who desperately wants to dance at the upcoming dances, but isn’t able to get a skirt in time.  So, she comes up with an original solution to the problem (I won’t tell it here, but you won’t regret reading it).


Afterwards we made Jingle bracelets.  This works best threaded onto yarn, not pipe cleaners.  They happily threaded lots of beads on, and I tied it shut and we shook them and listened to them jingling as we danced.

And when we were done with the activity I found the bells I had intended to use for this silly project.

And beads roll impressively well on the sidewalk, in case you are wondering.  Very well.

So, then we chased them………

Honestly, most of the books I found were a bust.  But, here’s the pieces I’ll put together later.
9 8

If you want to download the printables, just click on the link and it’ll take you to the page.

And, next I think we’re off to Florida, why?  I want an easy state next.  And the kids pointed to it randomly and asked about it.  Any Florida suggestions?  I remember Superheroes and Princesses did manatees.

And, now head on over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn to see more great Geography/History ideas.

Shibley Smiles

Oh, and someone was nice enough to share this site from Homeschool Share with me at the giveaway, and I wanted to share it with you.

Science Museum, Oklahoma City


Of course when I was talking with our friends about it, they kept calling it something else because that’s what they were used to it being from ages ago. This building is FREAKING huge! We went on a Friday, and of course it was field trip day for the local YMCA and such stuff, but it was still lots of fun. So, here’s our take on the Science Museum.

While I thought the marbleworks display was really cool, Princess and Batman vaguely were interested because there’s nothing for them to touch, so why go there? Come on Mom, let’s go somewhere else. Oh well.

The world’s biggest treehouse was fun to play on for a little bit, but sadly right as we were climbing all over it a big swarm of camp kids started climbing all over, and my kids were seriously freaked out by it. I’m starting to think Princess is scared of big crowds. It does kind of make sense with her being so small.

We tried out the pendulum, next to Batman is our friend’s youngest daughter, who we discovered is an older version of Princess. Seriously they both have the same bad habits. They can both hold a bite of something they don’t like in their mouths for hours.

They had this whole space area where we got to try all sorts of training excercises for astronauts. Princess thought this was the coolest one of them all.

Uncle Marcus tried it also. I don’t quite understand how it works, but you spin in circles when you stand on the thing. It’s a very weird feeling.

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,US Travel
I found a new toy…… Okay, this promises to be fun and time consuming….

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Out West

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Out West

Now, we’ll see how I like it once it’s actually on the blog. But it has great potential for it to not just be here’s lots of random pictures. We’ll see.