Dan E. Andrews, Jr. (DA) and Mary McCormick (MM)
MM: You grew up in the Dust Bowl and during the Great Depression. Can you tell me the scariest moment when you were a little boy?
DA: It was during the Christmas vacation. And it was really, really a cold winter, and the snow was really heavy. That year it stayed on the ground clear till April. And uh, my friend, his name was Joe. I would help take of his little brother and Id help him pick up coal along the railroad track. And one day, I went by his house to get him and we wanted to play in the snow and his mother says no, says, you’ve gotta go get coal. And what he did was, he would walk along the Frisco tracks starting at the station and when the engine was about to pull out of the station the firemen would throw a lot of coal into the boiler to try to get the engine going. And he would just shovel it in and shovel it in and some of it would fall on the floor into the right-of-way. And, uh, Joe would take a bucket and walk along the track and pick up that coal and take it back home. But now to tell you about the experience.
We were walking along the track but all the coal had fallen down into the snow and we couldn’t find very much. So on down the track a little bit farther was a trestle that crossed a big gulley. It was a beautiful trestle made out of steel but the floor was made out of big timbers and the timbers were a few inches apart. And so he said maybe theres some on the other side, lets go ahead and cross. Now we had never walked on the trestle and we really knew better but uh, the train had already pulled out of the station, so we felt secure, you know, in doing that. And we started walking across the trestle, and suddenly we could feel the tracks shaking, and we heard the train whistle, and way behind us was an express train that was coming through, and we didn’t know about it. And it was whistling like crazy, and so he grabbed his little brother’s hand and started to run, and the little brothers foot slipped and fell right between the crack. And here we were in the center of the railroad track, and his little brother had his foot stuck. Joe kind of panicked and ran off the end of the thing. And I got down and I tried to pull the little boys foot out, and I lifted him up until he cried because his leg hurt, and I realized, my goodness, this is desperate. And, Suddenly, it occurred to me to unlace his shoe! And so I looked down, and there was just one end of the shoelace was showing. And I pulled on it, and miraculously, the bow came apart. And they were high-top shoes with real stiff soles. And I took my index finger and I scrubbed at the shoelaces and loosened them and pulled his foot out and grabbed him up and took him in my arms, and I ran off the trestle, and we got down the side of the hill. And just as the train went across, the steam from the engine showered us. And uh We were Boy. If you don’t believe that there’s a guardian angel.
MM: You saved his life.
DA: I was so thankful.