Friday, July 10, 2009

The Trestle & The Pill Factory

In eighth grade we began to expand our geographic horizons. We moved further afield from the woods by Clay Hill, venturing past the Lentz's house all the way to the railroad trestle. This hike required we cross a huge downed tree and it passed an area of the creek where you might actually be able to swim. There was one home with a huge German Shepherd that you would have to sneak by. The trail ended up in an area we called Boy Scout Island. It wasn't an island but occasionally the different scout troops would do overnights there. Just past Boy Scout Island was the trestle. The trestle was huge and loomed far over our heads. The creek itself had it's only "white water" as it rolled over rocks from the construction of the trestle.
We'd scale the trestle from the bottom or simply walk up the sides and then venture out on the trestle itself. None of us knew when a train might come so this was initially terrifying. We later learned we could move off to a side area of the trestle and wait till a train passed if we were trapped in the middle when one came through. But in the beginning we were too stupid to figure this out.
After spending a beautiful Fall afternoon dodging death we'd walk down the tracks throwing rocks at the telegraph wires to hear the weird sounds they'd make. A high whine. After a bit we'd drop down the grade and pass by the Pill Factory. By the time we were kids the Pill Factory was abandoned but for years it had been one of the few industries in Wenonah. Now it was a scary abandoned white building. As I recall we were too frightened to go inside but I could be wrong.
We'd end up by the Mecholsky's and then back home. Another day of artificially induced terror and adventure. Four or six or eight teenagers lost in their own little world.


Jim Maddox said...

If I had lived in Wenonah and was hanging out with you I would have been a spoil-sport. Being the son of a railroad man I had it drummed into me that one NEVER played anywhere near railroad tracks. My Dad had to supervise the clean up of the remains of people unlucky enough to have a close encounter with a train.

Jim Maddox said...

I don't remember if it we were in Ninth or Tenth Grade, but guys from Woodbury Heights went over to Wenonah to play football against you. We walked along the railroad tracks to get there, and even though I was older and wiser, and the line was barely used anymore I still felt uneasy about doing it and I could still hear my father's warnings in my mind.

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