I Wuz Just Thinking: Life, Boxcar Children, and Me


The only book I really remember and looked forward to hearing the following day was the story of The Boxcar Children.

Today at the Kilgore Public library, I browsed through the donated books that were for sale as a fundraiser for the library.

One area was set up for children’s books and there my eyes caught the title, The Boxcar Children. 

A flood of memories came to mind.

During quiet time in the fourth grade at Eastview Elementary, our teacher, Mrs. Duncan, read to us daily.  The only book I really remember and looked forward to hearing the following day was the story of The Boxcar Children.

Betty Mahurin Baker

The stories are about four orphaned siblings that live in a train boxcar that had been abandoned in the woods. They have adventures and help solve mysteries.  The first book, which now there are about 140, was written in 1924.  The characters were Henry, age 14, Jessie age 12, Violet age 10, and Benny Alden, age 6. They also had a pet dog, a wired-haired terrier, named Watch.

Ever since they had been orphaned, they believed their grandfather, who searched diligently for them, was a cruel man.  Later they find out he is very kind and very rich.  The children move into his home, and he even moves the boxcar to his back yard for the children to use as a playhouse and solve their mysteries.

The first 19 stories were written by Gertrude Chandler Warner. But since her death, the series has been written by other authors.

Perhaps this was the beginning of my thinking of being someone who enjoyed gathering information and solving mysteries.

While working at the Texas Welfare office in Henderson many years ago, an investigative “fraud” unit was formed. Most of the ones hired were police officers from the Tyler police department.

I was thinking that if I could get some experience with a police department, perhaps I would qualify for a job with this special unit.

At the same time, Kilgore was forming a volunteer police officer unit. I was the first female to join.  Afterward, other ladies and men joined.  Night school at the college was provided for training. After getting off work from my regular day job, I prepared dinner for my family,  got the children tucked into bed, then worked patrol at night.

I loved patrolling, serving the community, and working with the other officers.

I never got the opportunity to transfer to the state’s “fraud” unit because Jimmy came into my life. We married, moved to College Station, and I turned in my badge.

Even today, I still love research to solve mysteries. I owe it all to Boxcar Children, as I wuz Jus Thinkin.” 

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