As a young child I oftened stayed at the shoreline at my grandparent’s Hollywood Restaurant.
Opened in the 1940’s they served $2.50 plates of spaghetti with or without meatballs and other specialties such as veal and chicken cacciatore.
The “restaurant” had two rooms in the back for summer residence that began for my grandparents in early April until October when my grandparents transplanted to South Beach, Miami, Florida.
My room had a green wicker seat rocking chair that is still in our family. I spent many hours rocking in this chair while my grandparents worked up front, my grandfather cooking and my grandmother washing the dishes.
Not far from the restaurant are train tracks where on regular basis freight trains passed and I could hear the heavy locomotive engine sounds before I saw it.
I loved to count the train cars and read the sidecars to see where the trains were from and what they carried. I was always sorry to see the red caboose car that meant the passing train was soon gone.
But my fondest memory is the click-clack of the night trains as they lulled me to sleep on cool summer nights, outside my open window.
The passing trains were a soothing lullaby for my five year old, often homesick, after only the first one or two days away from my city home.
I now have that same night-time click-clacking sounds outside my open window on cool summer nights in my Westchester County, NY home. My ability to fall asleep has different difficulties associated with my everyday concerns of the current economy, approaching and reaching part-time retirement, and the daily news I carry inside my head as I try to fall asleep.
The night trains do not disappoint. They continue to be my comforting lullaby as they bring me “home” again as I slip into the night in restful sleep, thankful for their presence and the memories they bring as I am off to sweet dreams.