Passenger trains during WWII

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by Inkstainedwretch, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch One Too Many

    United States
    When I was growing up my family would every few years get together in New Orleans. We always stayed at the Hotel Monteleone, in those days the only hotel located in the French Quarter. A few years ago we did it one last time. All that was left of the family was me, my brother and our elderly aunt, about 89 at the time, plus my wife and a family friend. The first evening we all sat in the Carousel Bar in the Monteleone . My aunt got to reminiscing about trips to N.O. during WWII.

    At the time she was working in Houston. On paydays, she and her friends would collect their paychecks, go home, get themselves dolled up and meet at the train station. Because of gas rationing, trains were very heavily used, but she said that they never had trouble getting on because servicemen and their wives boarded first. You'd latch onto a soldier, sailor, airman or marine and be assured of a seat. They weren't fooling anybody. The station master would call, "All aboard. Servicemen and their wives board first. Only one wife per serviceman."

    The party started on the train. As soon as the train was under way, bottles came out of purses, duffle bags and sea bags and they were all well lit by the time they got to New Orleans. They'd hit the French Quarter about midnight, party all night and all day Saturday. New Orleans being a Catholic city, it locked up tight on Sunday so they sobered up and went back home on Sunday. God knows how they got any work done on Monday.

    We always talk about how hard the Greatest Generation fought and how hard they worked. We seldom hear about how hard they partied. But they partied like there was no tomorrow and for too many of them that was exactly the case.

    My aunt died a few years ago at 91. I've wondered if she was the last person who remembered those trains. Does anyone else have family stories to share about riding on the trains during wartime?
  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    New York City
    ⇧ That's a great story. I have no similar story about train partying "back in the day" but plenty of drinking / partying "too" much stories from my dad and my girlfriend's dad. No really new information here, but partying (drinking) hard was not invented by the "Animal House" generation.
    Stearmen likes this.

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