The following excerpt is from Chapter 3 entitled The Night Slot.
My father was the night slot man. That’s a newspaper term. From the time he is a young boy of six or seven in Dust Bowl Nebraska, back in the Depression, all he wants is to work in newspapers. All he wants is to escape, to get to Chicago and be a newspaperman, just like his brother.
My dad’s name is Bob. He idolizes his brother, who is twelve years older. His brother’s name is Dick.
Their father was many things, but mostly he was a switchman and, when called upon, a griever. Those are railroad terms. Their father passes most of his life in the windblown rail yard of McCook, a town barely bigger than an afterthought. Day after day, he couples and uncouples strings of boxcars and then waits for the engines that will come to pull them apart or carry them away.
– After Visiting Friends A Son’s Story by Michael Hainey
Personal note: when I was about twelve years old, I began writing to a Pen Pal (remember Pen Pals?) who lived in McCook, Nebraska. We exchanged correspondence for about three or four years.
Would love to read those letters from this Pen Pal now. Alas – gone.