Happy Mother's Day to all of the 'Mothers of the Rails'. We'd like to share the story of one #MississippiRailroadMother that deserves more than one day of celebration.
A GOLD STAR RAILROAD MOTHER - Enterprise Journal, McComb, Mississippi; May 2nd, 1939
"The Illinois Central Railroad Company should place the name of Mrs. Julia Alvarez upon the list of its honored heroes and heroines. She has made a great contribution to the task of railroading.... has paid the price that only pioneers know how to pay.
Mrs. Alvarez came to McComb during the pioneer days of railroading. The Illinois Central Railroad at that time was in its infancy. Railroading was dangerous. But this danger period had to be bridged in order that civilization might enjoy the comfort and safety of modern railroad transportation.
Here is the contribution which Mrs. Alvarez paid to the growth of transportation. Her husband was a brakeman on this division. One day he left home safe and sound. Shortly after he was carried back to her mangled and crippled. His life for a time was spared. For months he lingered on crutches...Then he moved along with the caravan, a victim of the after effects of that railroad accident.
Her son Samme joined the railroad forces. One day, at the adventurous age of twenty-five, he went out on his run on the Louisiana division of the Illinois Central. THey brought him back to Mrs. Alvarez in the same way that her husband had been brought back... on a stretcher. But Sammie was dead.
Then came Grover. Undaunted by the fate of his father and brother, he too, joined in the thrill of conveying freight and passengers from one city to another. He too, was at the romantic age of twenty-five, a gay, handsome young man. A train turned over in a wreck near Tangipahoa...And Grover, like his brother and father, was brought home on a stretcher by fellow workers who watched the tears stream down the face of this courageous mother when they told her that Grover had gone to join the other railroad pioneers of his family.
Mannie was another son. The railroad called to him. Then came that terrible day when he was brought home on a stretcher. But Mannie got well. He was fortunate in only losing a foot...But Mannie somehow was unable to linger long with his mother. Now he too, is with the railroad pioneers of the Alvarez family.
C. Haffen, a son-in-law of Mrs. Alvarez, lived under the same roof. She loved him as she did her sons. Then came the fateful day when he went off in the cab of his engine. Two engines ran together, and there was a vicious cloud of steam that thundered from a bursted boiler. Again, the stretcher was brought to Mrs. Alvarez's door, and fellow railroad men told her again the tragic story of how another son had moved along to join the host of courageous men in the skies.
There were five sons and three daughters who originally joined Mrs. Alvarez and her husband about the table. Now there are but two of the daughters to join her. Two years ago the oldest son, Louie, escaped accidental death on a railroad, and died of natural causes. Today her youngest son, Willie formerly a brakeman on the Louisiana division of the Illinois Central, is covered with the flowers that loving friends placed upon his bier.
This terrible toll...and yet this Christian soul can look into your face in the midst of her sorrow between the tears, smile and say, "God has given me strength to withstand tragedy." It is amazing to see the depth of this good woman's philosophy. The years of sorrow have mellowed her soul. her faith is an inspiration; her courage a challenge. Her life is an example... and her disposition is like a star that stands out to itself shining in the firmament.
Here is a woman who know life. Despite the repeated tragedies of her years she is not cynical. Instead she is sweet like the spring flowers that bloom again despite the cold storms of winter. At eighty-four she stands out as a pioneer mother with that rugged spirit with which this nation was made. She is in truth a gold star mother...a gold star railroad mother...a mother with many stars in her crown."
Wow, is truly all we have to say. This story shook us to our core and reminded us of the family sacrifices that were made founding this country. #FoundedOnTheRails #MothersDay2021 #HappyMothersDay #RailroadMom