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In this section I'll be periodically posting excerpts from my journal.
Deb is my neighbor and we have been 1st grade teaching colleagues for many years. She had a great time previewing Hank the Tank Engine with her entire class and some of their comments were published on the back cover of the book. She had seen Hank parked down by the shop and called to ask if she could bring some of her visiting grandchildren over to meet Hank and take some pictures.
Flagg Coal #75 (aka Hank) had about 45 engineers-in-training during the "Hand on the Throttle" event at West Virginia Rails 2010 in Petersburg, West Virginia. He also had the opportunity to double head with #17 from New Hope Valley Railway for a special excursion on the route usually run by the Potomac Eagle. This event was the first traveling the steam crew from New Hope Valley had done with #17 and they appreciated help from John and Barney and Dave Tunison, our trucker.
A big THANK YOU to David Crosby for inviting Flagg Coal #75 to the Electric City Trolley Museum and Steamtown National Historic Site and making the extensive arrangements to facilitate our visit. It was a kind a kind of homecoming since Hank was built by Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre and started his working life in a coal mine in Avoca, both very close to Scranton.
What a delightful time we had in Thomaston, Connecticut, with the folks on the Naugatuck Railroad. Hank performed admirably, pulling passenger trains six miles along the sparkling Naugatuck River. He even became the first steam locomotive to pull the heavy passenger cars up steep grade for several miles and then across the face of the Thomaston Dam!
The weather was better this past weekend and the ridership numbers were up. Sold another 19 books and had an order for 10 copies from a visitor for the Whitewater Valley Railroad Museum. Positive comments are really making my head swell . . .
A mother insisted that her two young boys watch me sign the book for them because "to actually meet the author is a rare thing." I talked to the boys, getting them to tell me their names and what they liked about trains. I'm not sure the experience meant much to the little ones but Mom was thrilled!
Flagg Coal Company #75, affectionately known as Hank the Tank Engine, is running at the LM&M Railroad out of Lebanon, Ohio, for the first three weekends in May. This is the first opportunity to make the book available to those who have come to see and ride the train. It was very well received; there were many positive comments as well as the sale of 24 books.
I had Katie take some pictures of me and the pallet of books so I could put them on Facebook to announce the arrival of Hank the Tank Engine. While I was posting them I got a message from my neighbor Deb asking when books would be available. She and I had taught together many years; the children often confused us for sisters. She had shown great interest in the whole process of getting my book into print. When I sent her an advance copy of the text to review she put the story up on a large screen in her classroom and thoroughly enjoyed the way the children responded to it.
When I signed off on the final revisions and the book was ready to send to the printer I was told that it would take about a month to six weeks for the copies to be shipped to me. I understood that I would get periodic emails about progress and I was starting to get nervous because it had been over three weeks and I hadn’t heard anything.