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Edition #226  July 15, 2014

Developing a Friendship Over the Space/Time Continuum

Photographer: Tom Gildersleeve

                                                                                  Photo by Tom Gildersleeve


Developing a Friendship Over the Space/Time Continuum

As a member of the Yahoo Observation Car Forum, in 2009 I noted a posting by member Sam Carlson regarding some problems he was having scanning and manipulating images. I felt I had some expertise that might be useful, so I contacted him. We developed an e-mail friendship and, as it turned out, much more got discussed than technical photographic matters. Sam lived in the Chicago area and had grown up there, and had fond memories of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee in the few years before it's abandonment in early 1963.

In the course of our discussion I told him that I had been in the Air Force stationed near Dayton, Ohio, in the early sixties, and that I had photographed the North Shore on a number of occasions. Of particular interest was that I had taken some photos in the Mundelein area during that time. That immediately piqued his interest, as he grew up there. I further told him that I had been there in December of 1962 photographing the Mundelein local just a month before abandonment. That really piqued his interest and he wanted to know when in December I had been there, particularly the dates that I had photographed the Mundelein local. I came up with this photograph taken late in the afternoon of December 23, 1962, and he got really excited. Sam had been a 12 year old kid at that time, and this was his Christmas vacation. He had been riding in the car I photographed, and his uncle had been the motorman! Literally a 12 year old kid and a 25 year old first lieutenant in the Air Force had been within spitting distance of each other at that time but never met. We had to wait another 47 years for that to happen, and that was via the internet. To this day we have never met face to face. As another minor aside, his mother used to bowl in the bowling alley to the left in the photograph, and she now has a print of that picture to remind her of that bygone era.
Tom Gildersleeve

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