Letter to the Editor: Kenilworth 1948
I remember Kenilworth, my birthplace, as nestled between three sphinx-like mountains that resemble high priests. The splendor of these mountains changed constantly from dawn to dusk, from spring to winter, but they always seemed to be guarding their flocks of people who resided at their feet.
I remember the dawns which started with sunbathed glory at the tops of mountains, until the whole valley was basking in sunlight. Each home was individually brightened as the sunbeams streaked through old worn shades.
Far down in the flat lands, the steam engine would start to climb up the grade, straining, as it pulled empty coal cars, singing, "Eureka, Eureka, Eureka. I found it, I found it, I found it." As it huffed and puffed up the mountain, it finally came to rest under the tipple. It relaxed. Steam came rolling from its boilers with a bellow, saying, "I made it, I made it." Then the engine whistle cleansed its soul with a shrill scream that echoed from cliff to cliff, saying, "Wake up you keepers of the coal, Wake up. My coal cars await to be filled."
From the houses where the miners came forth lived the Douroses', Stauroses', Pappasus, Kesmases, Ueranakises, Hatsises', Tamolises', Kokinoses', and many other men of labor. Slowly they trudged up to the mouth of the mountain singing songs from places of their birth. The songs were sad because the work was hard, but the coal had to be mined. World War II was upon us.
As the day proceeded toward dusk, the mine whistle suddenly screamed, "Trouble, trouble, trouble in the mine" over and over again. It sent its message through the town. The people from each house trudged toward the mouth of the mine, praying with each step that it was not someone close to them; and hoping everyone was safe. In the 40's, this was a common event. The women sobbed and held their children tight. At when the word came through.
Cave in, but everyone is safe and sound.
On this day, the mine claimed no victim and the women rejoiced, crying with glee, for this day was not for mourning because their hearts were filled with joy and love.
But the mountains were angry, and the winds came up in full fury, bringing thunder, then rain, as if they had been cheated. As suddenly as the storm came forth, it diminished and started to subside. Down from the high mountain came the wind, strong at first, then down to a whisper, with a message to the people.
Peace be with you.
The train coal cars, now fully loaded, started down the mountain to the lowland below, saying, "Good bye. I'll see you tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Wait for me, Wait for me."
So closed a day I remember in Kenilworth in the 40's. But the memories for those of us who left Kenilworth are embedded in our hearts, and are the magnet that draws us back year after year.