Ahh! The Joys of Travel!
The following is an excerpt from a letter I found recently inside an envelope postmarked Fort Myers, Florida, June 23, 1912. It tells of the writer's trip from Macon, Georgia, to Fort Myers. I think you'll find it interesting.
"Of course my train was late leaving Macon so that it was two o'clock [am] before I ever left the depot. When the train came in the sleepers were dark and they didn't even open the doors so I went into the day coach and put my baggage down and then went into the Pullman to look for a berth. All the lowers were taken so I had to take an upper and the last one at that so I considered my self lucky and decided to make the best of it and somehow I did manage to rest very well and I was the very last one in the car to wake up, or rather to get up, for we were actually on the outskirts of Jacksonville [Florida] before I got up then I hustled because I knew we were late and the connection, with the A. C. L. [Atlantic Coast Line] train southbound, would be close and I had to get another ticket in Jacksonville because the young fellow, he wasn't much more than a boy, at the ticket office in Macon couldn't find his mileage table so that he could sell me a ticket on over the A. C. L. So I was just ready when the train pulled into the station and I lost no time getting my ticket and just had time to get a sandwich on the way back to catch the train so I called that breakfast then as as soon as the train started I got a bottle of CocaCola and the man charged me a dime for it. I told him he was certainly the coolest holdup man I ever saw but I had to pay it and when I finished with the bottle I thru it out of the window instead of giving it back to him as he expected. I didn't mind the amount, but the principle I certainly did mind! And as long as those fellows are charged with two and a half cents for every bottle they lose I felt provoked enough to enjoy his discomfiture when he learned that I had considered that I had purchased the bottle as well as it's contents and felt that it was mine to do as I pleased with it and as it was mine and I chose to throw it out of the window it was none of his business, however that was the first time and the last too that I'll pay ten cents for a bottle of CocaCola.
"When I reached Sanford [Florida] I had just enough time to catch the last car out to Sister's. That was about three in the afternoon and you can guess that I was hungry by the time I reached there for dinner about three thirty. I had to stay out there all the rest of the afternoon and night but caught the early car in so I could get a note off to you on the first mail that was going north. That was Thursday and after eating dinner with Dr. Philips I went back out in the country and it just poured down all that afternoon and night so I ahd to stay in the house. When time to go in to catch the train came yesterday I was certainly glad for I was tired. You see I have two nieces and one nephew there and I am altogether to well liked because they wanted me to frolic with them all the time and when not doing that I had to allow them to climb up on me and they couldn't stay still if they had to. So you can see how I wasn't sorry to go when the time came.
"It was about eleven when we reached here last night and Mama was about tired out with the ride: it was so hot, because the rain was so hard that all the windows had to stay down. We ran about ninety miles in continuous pour.
"I spent the morning getting my trunks unpacked and things somewhat straightened out in my room so I can find them when I want them. Some of my clothes were a sight though, for they managed some way to get shaken loose and certainly did get mashed up. This afternoon I have been down town shaking hands with my numerous friends (that's right) and I took a walk out on the wharves to see the different steamers come in.
"Was out on the one that Bard has his boat shop on and saw him for a few minutes. Every thing seemed very busy there."
Posted March 21, 2000
Editor's Note: In 1912 much of the freight still moved in and out of Fort Myers by boat. The Calusahatchee -- Calusa River -- was a main artery into the center of the state as well as up and down the coast to Tampa, Key West, and Havana.
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