Column: Remembering railroad cars and Mrs. Calvin Cooper

Last week as I traveled out the Torrington Road, I was once again reminded of the olden days when the railroad workers stayed in the rail maintenance cars, which were parked in the rail yard. Several years ago, I mentioned the workers staying in the rail yard in the sleeper cars where the Palmetto Bank and KFC now resides. What brought this to memory was the fact that each railroad crossing out Torrington Road was blocked all the way to Highway 49 at Wattsville. Anyway, there is nothing now that shows that a rail yard ever existed on west Carolina Ave., but up into the 70’s this was a very active yard. The workers lived in the maintenance cars when work was being done on the rail lines in and around the Clinton area, and I do not know if meals were provided on these cars, but I was once told that showers were provided. (Cold showers only). The sleeper cars were not air-conditioned and they did not come close to the accommodations provided to today’s rail worker. As I was told by one of the new railroad workers, “that was then… this is now!” Now I would like to mention something on a sad note. This past week brought an end to the life of another of the old Lydia Mills family members, Mildred Cooper (Mrs. Calvin Cooper). Mrs. Cooper and her husband, Calvin Cooper, were two of the most well-known and respected people at Lydia during my childhood days. Calvin Cooper was a distinguished gentleman who worked for the Clinton Mills Company for many years and Mrs. Cooper was right there with him. Calvin served on various boards over the years and I am certain that his input was always most valuable. I had the pleasure of re-meeting the Coopers when I started working for the Clinton Post Office. Many days during the warm months, I would find Mr. and Ms. Cooper sitting on their front porch enjoying one another’s company. Calvin and Mrs. Cooper were in the management or upper echelon of the Lydia Community, but they always seemed to blend in better with the average workers. These two wonderful people will always be in my thoughts of the olden Lydia village. And I will always appreciate the times that Mrs. Cooper welcomed my wife and I into her home or onto her porch for a pleasurable visit. Once again I will say that the old mill villagers that I grew up knowing will never be equaled, and my life has been blessed by knowing them. Still remembering, (Tommy Kitchens Lives in Clinton.)

My Clinton News

P.O. Box 180
513 North Broad St.
Clinton, SC 29325
Phone: (864) 833-1900
Fax: (864) 833-1902

 

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