A Portal Into My Past

It is July 3, 1972, in Brewster. I had just purchased my first single lens reflex camera, a Nikormat by Nikon, and was taking my first few rolls of Agfachrome slide film. In less than a year, I would move on to Kodachrome.

Back then a release was easy to get, and Brewster was filled with locomotives built by Fairbanks-Morse, Alco and the Electro Motive Division of General Motors.

I took this slide and have looked at it perhaps two or three times since 1972. 

A few days ago, I discovered this slide in one of my boxes. Now I can appreciate the scene. It is not a far away FM H12-44 image as much as a portal into my past.

I’m looking east. The big building in the background is the Norfolk & Western office building which was built by the original Wheeling & Lake Erie and is now used as the main offices of the modern W&LE.

As long as I did not cross tracks, go into the shops, or wander into the yard, I was free to photograph where I wanted. I even had permission to cross tracks to photograph in the engine facility.

Such freedom is almost unheard of now. I can truly say that I have been blessed.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

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