As a kid is the 60’s we had this story book about a handcar that ran through Hoboken, Weehawken and Troy. In the 70’s when got my license, or my freedom or my wings, however you want to look at it, I was driving somewhere, I don’t recall where, I looked at the map and saw we were going to be near Weehawken. Imagine my surprise. That may have been when I realized there must be a lot of things I thought were made up that were real.
Today I’m leaving for Hoboken. For real.
– “Hank was a happy little handcar who led a straight and narrow life on the track of the Weehawken, Hoboken and Troy railroad … Mr McGlincey … was tall and thin and had to reach `way down to pump the handcar … Mr Blump, who was short and wide … had to reach `way up. Every day they would start out happily. They always clicked along for about five miles, then they suddenly stopped. Hank would stop being happy, because he knew the big locomotive was coming up behind them, and they had to get off the track.”
But one day Hank decides NOT to get off the track!
And this is where the story REALLY begins.
Mr McGlincey and Mr Blump pump as hard and fast as they can, trying to run ahead of the on-coming locomotive that will NOT stop … until eventually Hank realises this is hopeless and he jumps off the track.
By the time they come to a stand-still in a bushy ravine, they are lost.
“Oh, dear,” said Mr Blump. “We’ve got to find our way back to the track.”
Mr McGlincey decides to ask a passing cow. “Beg pardon, ma’am,” he says, bowing low. “Can you tell us where to find the Weehawken, Hoboken and Troy?”
And so it goes.
Again and again their inquiries — their quest for their beloved Weehawken, Hoboken and Troy (can you detect a whiff of Homer’s “Odyssey”?) — lead to an unusual railway:
“This is an odd sort of track,” said Mr McGlincey.
“Probably some improvement put in since we left,” said Mr Blump.”
I think they ended up in a child’s park on fake tracks giving kids rides. Hank get flowers planted on him, I remember that much.