Grandpa and the Railroad

My grandparents came from Dundee, Scotland. And even though I was very young when grandpa died, I still remember his tall, lanky form, and his fondness for bouncing me on his knee. He was a hard-working man who helped create the rails for the railroad near Altoona, PA. He’d been in this country for five years before he could scrape together enough money to bring my grandmother and their children to join him.

railroad museum Aunt May

Several years ago my Aunt May took us to visit the Railroaders Memorial Museum and Horseshoe Curve in PA. My grandfather is part of a large mural on the third floor of the museum. If you look at the picture of Aunt May, you’ll see she’s standing in front of the wall-size photo. My grandfather is the third from the right with an open-at-the-neck shirt and a cap. Below is what my other aunt wrote on the back of the picture.railroad museum back






Of course, while we were there Aunt May had to take us to Horseshoe Curve. This was a very important stretch of rail that connected our county, and had been a marvel of technology in its day.  We even took the Funicular up to the track for a spectacular view.


The Horseshoe Curve was so important that the Nazis had it on a list to be destroyed during the war. At one point, the threat became dire and my grandfather was asked to join a line of men that stood within arms-reach of each other at night to protect the curve.  Each man was issued a Billy Club, and my husband is now the proud owner of that bit of weaponry.

We never know what part we’ll play in history.  My latest story is a time travel romance, set in the Highlands before the Clearances. The heroine comes from our time, and she does what she can to help the Mackays before they are driven from their homeland.

I hope you’ll read Highland Yearning. It’s the first book I’ve written where I include a dog, a West Highland Terrier-mix named Scruffy. He may be a little, white dog, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in personality. Find my books at





2 thoughts on “Grandpa and the Railroad

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I have fond memories of grandpa, even though I was little. I’m still amazed that he had the gumption to leave Scotland and come over here for five years by himself to try and make a better life for his family.

      They do a great job at educating people about Horseshoe Curve at the museum, and it’s beautiful up by the tracks. If you get a chance you should stop and see what they’ve done.

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