Author Topic: Merry Christmas, Mrs. Pullen  (Read 10615 times)

Roger Whitney

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Merry Christmas, Mrs. Pullen
« on: December 29, 2011, 02:16:48 PM »

        The “up” train squealed to a stop with a hiss of air and a cloud of steam.  Conductor Len Gerrish sang out “Monson Junction!  All folks off for Monson Junction!  If you’re goin’ to Monson this is your stop! Watch your step, its getting’ dark!”
        Dece Pullen got up from her seat and followed the few passengers out to the coach platform, down the car steps and onto the station platform.  She could see station agent Giles Fogg through the frosted up station windows attending to customers. 
   It was just a few steps around the right side of the Junction Station, through the door and then into the station. 
        “Hello Giles!” greeted Dece.  “How’s the family?” 
        “And how are you Mrs. Pullen?” replied the station master.
   “I’m just coming back from Livermore Falls visiting my Mother.  I imagine Fred is needin’ me about now with our three boys. He’s just finishin’ a bobsled for the boys for Christmas. He’ll be meetin’ me there with the team”, Dece replied.
   “Well you’ll be home in about fifteen minutes” replied station master Fogg.  “That will be 25 cents, seein’ you’ll be getting off at Days. And a Merry Christmas to you Mrs. Pullen!”
        “ And a merry Christmas to you Giles!” replied Dece.   
   From the station it was a short walk to the waiting Monson train.  She noticed it was just the locomotive and the combination car tonight.  It was easy getting on the narrow gauge coach. It took only one step up on the car platform, through the door and then a seat on the long bench type seats.  It was warm with the stove in the other end of the passenger compartment.  A kerosene lamp mounted on the baggage compartment wall, shed a dim but warm light through out the compartment.
   Dece spotted her friend Barbara Flanders and sat down beside her and immediately dove into conversation.
   Two toots of the whistle and they were off.  The engine crew blew for the Greenville road crossing and then there was some pretty heavy puffing from the locomotive.  It was a heavy grade from the junction for quite a spell.  But this didn’t concern Dece.  She was already in a deep conversation with her friend exchanging the latest on their families.
   “Good evening ladies,” greeted Harold Morrill conductor.  “Looks like we’ll make it to Monson this time!” This was a good-natured joke familiar to all who rode the train. Some of them had even spent a night at Dece Pullen’s when the train got stuck in the snow at Day’s Crossing. Both ladies surrendered their tickets for punching and Mr. Morrill moved on to the other passengers. Most of the passengers on board had at one time or another not made it to Monson due to heavy snow.   
          It wasn’t long, or so it seemed to Dece who was still in deep conversation, that the train was slowing down. The crew stopped the train right at the crossing where Fred was waiting with the sleigh.  Dece got up, worked her way down the isle and out on the coach platform.
    “A Merry Christmas to you and Hattie, Mr. Morrill!” greeted Dece.
   “And a Merry Christmas Mrs. Pullen and to Fred and the boys!”  called Morrill from the platform.
   Two toots from the locomotive and the train was on its way, disappearing in the dark and swirling snow.  It was good to be home.

Cliff Olson

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Re: Merry Christmas, Mrs. Pullen
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2011, 05:42:15 PM »
My father used to tell me that he and my mother became snowbound on their honeymoon trip to Monson in February, 1923 and had to spend the night at the Pullen Farm.  My mother was a city girl, and it was her first trip to Monson to meet her new in-laws!

The farm is still in the Pullen family and has a great view over the fields to the Monson RR ROW just north of Day's Crossing.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 09:28:47 AM by Cliff Olson »

Roger Whitney

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Re: Merry Christmas, Mrs. Pullen
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2011, 07:36:48 PM »
That's a neat story Cliff!  That is at least the 4th time I have heard of snowbound MRR passengers staying at the Pullen Farm!  J. Record Pullen wrote and Madeline Pullen edited a neat little 16 page book called Growing Up On The Pullen Farm.  Not sure when it was published.  Also Winston E. Pullen wrote The Pullen Farm Revisited 1916-1937 in 1996.  It sold for $12.00.  Some of them must still be around.  Both these books include wonderful stories of the way life was in rural Monson Maine in the first part of the 20th Century. These books are on loan to me by my cousin Wayne Bennett whose historical collection and knowledge of the area is beyond awesome.

Bill Sample

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Re: Merry Christmas, Mrs. Pullen
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 12:57:32 PM »
Great story, Roger - I could almost feel that cold coming up through my boots!

Damian McCarthy

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Re: Merry Christmas, Mrs. Pullen
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 04:21:48 PM »
You can still buy Winston E. Pullen's The Pullen Farm Revisited 1916-1937 from Estella Bennett care of the Monson Historical Society for $12 plus actual shipping.  I sent her a letter late December after reading this post.  The book is softcover and is 69 pages.  Contact info for the Monson Historical society is available at http://monsonmaine.org/MonsonHistory/MHS.html