Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bio #25 - Silk Trains and Apple Cider

Silk Trains

Silk trains were very special. They carried millions of dollars' worth of pure silk in skeins from Vancouver to Montreal. Very few stops were made on these trips and they would go through Medicine Hat at 90 miles an hour. The silk came from Japan and the trains were guarded. Dad used to tell us when a silk train was to go through and we would watch from the kitchen window to see it go by. All lines were cleared for them. One time one train was wrecked outside of town. I still have one of the silk skeins from that wreck. I don't know how Dad had it, but he did. There was supposed to be enough in one skein for a woven material dress.
I discovered a number of books written about the Silk Trains online.
I saw that skein of silk many times as a child, but somewhere long the way, it disappeared. The silk trains themselves disappeared in 1933, as nylon and other synthetics became available. Read more.

Apple Cider

Dad decided to re-roof the kitchen one summer, so I said I would help him. It was very hot weather, and Mom had some apple cider for us to drink. She had made it years before, and it had got sort of strong. I guess between the heat, the work and the cider, Dad and I were singing our heads off in no time. Mrs. Sproule, next door, came out to see what was going on. We were both half lit I think, but kept right on hammering. We didn't know life was so funny for the on-looker.

This might have been the only time my mother was ever drunk. She told me another story, once. Her mother made some kind of berry wine, and when it was ready, threw out the fermented berries in their back yard. A flock of sparrows found it, and next thing, the sparrows were staggering around, completely drunk, unable to fly.