Wilfred-vs William Passmore

 Found on the Internet  ( Kitty)

Stories by "Bertrande"

from the Syracuse (N. Y.) Post Standard
 
 
Syracuse Post-Standard, Aug. 29, 1948
 

Just Around the Corner

By Bertrand H. Snell
 
 
“- And this the sorrowful story,
“That’s told as the twilight falls;
"While the monkeys are walking together.
“Holding each others¹ tails!"
 
       --Kipling
 
I wish I knew what has become of my old friend, Wilfred Henry Passmore. And, if any of you folks, out there, know where he is, show him the above quatrain and he’ll immediately recognize it as our ‘theme song’ during the years we were together.
 
I first met ‘Passy’ in Ansonia, in 1905. He and I went to work for the old Fall Brook division of the New York Central on the same day in October of that year.. At that time he as about 23 years old, a trifle above six feet in height; a fine figure of a man with no excess flesh - slim-waisted and broad shouldered.
 
A lover of good literature, he was - and, I hope, still is - a well-read man; a trifle on the reticent side among strangers, but perfect companion among friends. For something like two years, he and I worked together.
 
Indeed one of the other boys with a rather slim smattering of the classics always referred to Passy and I as “Diamond and Pythagorus!”
 
Through the years - as too often happens - we drifted apart and I have not set eyes upon him since the summer of 1928, although vague news of him has drifted in to me from time to time. His last address known to me is Lindley, Steuben county, N.Y. - although I know he’s no longer there. And I have heard that he was living in Corning during World War II.
 
Here’s a bit of a story about my buddy which may help explain why he was always a good guy to take along:
 
We’d been working on the Fall Brook for only a few weeks when I was assigned to a little telegraph office at Pine, along the banks of Pine Creek. Right out in the wilderness - that was. No highway, no habitations; nothing but trees, mountains, a single-track railroad - and solitude!
 
On my first night at this job, Passy went along with me. He had no assignment for that day, and he wanted to look over the new territory. It was November. The air was cool, but not too crisp, and traffic was light.
 
Along about 9:30 p.m. the Corning train dispatcher found that No. 83, the crack southbound fast freight, was losing time and was likely to arrive late at the Newberry Junction terminal. So, he decided to put the northbound passenger train, No. 10, on the siding at Slate Run and let 67 pass them there without stopping. In those days it was not unusual to side-track, a passenger train for the fast freights, which carried perishable goods in refrigerator cars and frequently, had faster schedules than the passenger trains.
 ( 2014--2015 -Somethings never change- This can still happen to Amtrak passenger trains.) "Kitty"
 
So the train dispatcher called me at Pine, and the operator at Cammal, some 30 miles south, sent us the following train order:
 
“- No. ten (10) eng. 2834 will take siding and meet No. 83 (83) eng. 3216 at Slate Run.” Both telegraphers repeated this order back to the dispatcher and he gave us the okay for delivery. As I finished the order, No. 87 was reported ’n the block: from DI tower, three miles north of me, so I sent my semaphore red, grabbed delivery hoop, inserted the flimsy in the metal clip and ran out to the track to hand the order to the engineer as he passed by at full speed!
 
During this time, Passmore had been busy at the office stove, fixing up some brandy sauce to garnish a big can of plum pudding with which we were about to regale ourselves. As the freight thundered by, he came over to the telegraph window and watched me deliver the train order to the fireman, who stood in the locomotive gangway and ran his arm through the big wooden hoop, with the order attached.
 
All this time there had been a vague sense of something wrong lurking in the recesses of Passy’s mind. As he explained later, he “had a hunch.” He had listened as I copied the train order, and he had also heard it repeated by myself and the operator at Cammal. Suddenly as he stood watching the freight cars jolt by the window, the elusive error came to him in a blinding flash - and he knew what to do!
 
With this partner of mine, to think was to act! With a quick sweep of his long arm he snatched the red lantern from its hook on the wall and burst through the door of the little shack just as No. 87’s caboose was rolling by. With a full, vertical swing and a wild yell, he let go of the burning lantern. It sped true as a wall-shot arrow and crashed through a window of the caboose!
 
As I stood, scared, speechless and bewildered, Passy spoke sharply:
 
“Wrong meet! - get in there quick, an’ tell Blackwell tower to put th’ red on ‘em - in case this don’t stop ‘em.”
 
-And he pushed me toward the door. I managed to stumble to the telegraph desk and followed instructions, while Passy stood outside and watched the disappearing tail lights of the fast freight.
 
The “rear shack” had scrambled to the caboose deck and was running forward, frantically “swingin” ’em up” with his lantern. At long last we heard the staccato “two short” engine whistle which announced that the engineer had seen the signal. T he little red tail lights grew no fainter - and at last the train stopped.
 
In the meantime my companion had explained:
 
“All the time you were completing that order I thought something was wrong about it, but I couldn’t straighten it out in my mind. You see, that damn ham at Cammal repeated the order wrong. He made the meetin’ point Cedar Run instead o’ Slate Run -and those two trains would have come together, sure as hell, somewhere between them two points! Or if I’m wrong about it, you’re in a hell of a pickle, right now!”
 
He tapped the key on the “block wire” and called Cammal. When he got an answer he asked:
 
“Where does 83 meet 10?”
 
And back came the reply, just as Passy figured: “At Cedar Run!”
 
Then Passy grinned at me and continued:
 
“You see, boy, I was right! Now here comes the con an’ the rear shack - so you listen to me. YOU noticed that wrong meet; You throwed that lantern through the cab window. YOU, my long-haired friend, are the hero o’ this here great occasion - and don’t you forget it!’
 
“But,” I gasped, “it wasn't me. You’re the guy that caught the error. I didn’t even notice anything wrong. I won’t -”
 
“You¹ll do as I say,” interrupted my mentor, “and no back talk, either. I’m not workin’ here tonight; I’m just a caller, and I never did a thing - that’s what I’ll tell the super when he investigates; so don’t make me a liar out o’ yourself for nothing!”
 
And at this point the crew of No. 87 stormed in, demanding an explanation of the late goings-on.
 
So that’s the way it was, folks. I became a three-day hero, while Passy lurked in he background, grinned happily and lied himself black in the face to keep me on my unearned pedestal!
 
Now, that’s just one of the many reason why I’d like to know just how my good old pal, Wilfred Henry Passmore, is doing at the moment. I was a fool to lose track of him in the first place

I have a feeling that Wilfred Passmore and William Passmore are the same person.  (Another article by this man says William Passmore was from Gillette, Pa which is near Troy, Pa.)



The following notes are from Dick Riffle's Memoirs about the Morgan Creek  Road residents that he knew . (This was posted  on the LP  Blog August 9, 2009 )
Next to (Bill Ayres) was Bill and Mary Passmore. He was the station agent at the Lindley railroad station. Mary was English and proudly called attention to her English Coat of Arms hanging on the wall.Rutty was their only child. Mary was very protective of him and never allowed him to leave the yard. This became an aggravation to him and at the age of 14 ran away from home. The police found him in Washington,D.C.. Shortly after high school,Rutty began to publish a newspaper called the " Bi -State Express". I helped him by getting paid ads from the local merchants in Lindley and Lawrenceville,Pa.

                                                     Glenwood Cemetery   Troy, Penna.

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