Category Archives: family history

WHAT SAYS “NEW ENGLAND” ?

My model layout wanders it seems

Away from cherished themes…

What for you

Says “New England” too,

Beyond operational schemes?

 Does NISSEN BREAD,

MOXIE, barns red,

SPAGS and stores

With “colonial” decors,

Monuments to Revolutionary dead?

Dairies and granite quarries

In earlier days held stories…

Ice cream and views

Along the Turnpike count too,

And whaling ship stories!

Broad “a’s” in speech,

A Kennedy’s reach…

Where Plymouth Rock stays

And Sturbridge Village ways

Are preserved to history teach!

So for my small train set,

What industries are best…

Beverages and rock salt

Metals, food stuffs sought,

And historic touristy nests?

Gravel still travels by train,

Lumber and minerals same…

Environmental ire

Has dampened coal fired

Power plants, but garbage still flames!

A water-powered mill

And museum of trains fit the bill…

For small excursions

Of rich incursions into filling the local till!

Do you think I’ll have enough room,

I figure some things will die soon…

New England gives

And takes to live,

But survival cannot be assumed!

–Jonathan Caswell

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TRAPPIST FOODS

When J. J. NISSEN folded,

My image of a bakery molded…

Its replacement too big

So I had to dig,

To see what research “beholded”.

My past is in two places–

It one ever traces–

The lines of “me”

Diligently

For personal data chases!

Massachusetts, New York State,

My two major windows of fate…

Born here

But raised over there,

Memories in both are great.

One of my faves was Monks Bread,

A Trappist Monastery did…

And still does

The bread funds their cause,

Producing jams, jellies, plus all kinds of bread!

A model flat against the wall,

Leaves hardly space at all…

Have to use what I have

Of plastic walls saved,

Modeling a bakery et. al.

So I thought of TRAPPIST FOODS,

A catch-all title to use…

Producing bread

And conserves, I said,

Switching different train cars is a ball!

Specifically, flour and fruit,

Corn syrup and sugar to boot…

Isn’t enough?

They brand other stuff,

The question of a brewery—moot.

MONKS BREAD  from Western New York,

From that Trappist Abbey of course…

A college friend

Heading toward that end,

Found a wife and went in another!

–Jonathan Caswell

CHANGING TREE TANKA

CHANGING TREE TANKA

Colors start to pop,

Trees shut down their leaves’ supply…

Green leaves turn colors:

Morphology is working

Just the same in ev’ry year!

–J.E.C.

People come from far

And near…”peeping” foliage…

Brighter is better:

Bus loads come en mass to shop.

Local business harvests crops!

–J.E.C.

A final push all

Benefit from folderol…

Festivals light skies:

Candied apples and brown bread

Folks ready for winter dead.

–J.E.C.

Railroad excursions,

Northeast woodland incursions…

Train cars filled with joy:

Steam or diesel pull the trains,

Nostalgic commerce makes gains!

–Jonathan Caswell

AUTUMN HAIKU HERDING

AUTUMN HAIKU HERDING

Fall plantings are in,

Cabbages, hardy mums bloom…

Autumn colors glow!

Warm days–cooler nights

Ushering those southward flights…

Noisily birds fly.

Harvest time each year,

Dresses and skirts lower hems…

Less yield for the men!

Snow birds fly or drive,

Commuting to stay alive…

Rubber tires fly!

Children play in leaves,

Hot chocolate sales go up…

Deserted beaches!

Eggs and produce come

Veggies come from foreign lands…

Locally–now!

–Jonathan Caswell

SUSQUI-TRICENTENNIAL…UH-HUH.

SUSQUI-TRICENTENNIAL…UH-HUH.

Three hundred fifty years, from 1639,

To the year we were married is fine…

Caswells in America–

A little piece of clerica,

Another cheer for 1989!

Like the start of the Space Are,

Other things took center stage…

In Eighty-nine we married

And on honeymoon tarried,

Two weeks…in this day and age!

So it wasn’t til later

That I realized to celebrate her…

And my family’s time

In this U.S.A. clime,

Although for family it wasn’t a high rater.

I’ve collected Bicentennial  cabooses,

In N scale to do what one chooses…

Re-letter mine

“1639”,

Unless one caboose refuses.

Then run a special train,

(I have history on the berain),

Around my train track

And then run it back,

I run it every year again!

–Jonathan Caswell

HANDS-ON…MY HISTORY

HANDS-ON…MY HISTORY

I took a fabled RS-1* into the living room

On a tray to try doing some work…

I wanted to replace that body shell with one bought new,

Then progress was caught up with a jerk.

It was the Two-Fourteen I had in my hands,

Numbered for our first letter exchange…

February Second completed the first round

As our relationship grew strong and aged.

The “214” is painted silver with red-white-and blue

Stripe around both hoods (old AMTRAK stock)…

Maybe I’ll just finish changing this one’s couplers’

Putting one of three “NEW HAVENs” on the body shell changing block!

–Jonathan Caswell

*NOTE:

All of these locomotives are N scale models of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) model RS-1…in the author’s collection.  Some of his units are lettered and numbered for important life events….like when he and his wife exchanged their first letters (#214)  or the date they were engaged (#5388…for the date 5/3/1988).

THE STORY…OF TOBERMORY

THE STORY…OF TOBERMORY

I see a smiling kitty and I think of Tobermory,

Dad and Mom’s cat in later life…

They picked him from a shelter to take him to their home,

Saving him from further caged life.

Dad took him to the vet. for his shots,

The vet thought Toby’s life the life of Riley…

His cat face formed just so,

The vet nick-named him “Smiley”.

Tobermory stayed til my parents were both gone,

Then my brother took him home…

He and their animals seemed to get along

And from that loving house he’ll never roam.

Jonathan Caswell