It was a slippery slope from the beginning. Dad hired out with the Mopac in Jefferson City in 1950 but was told he'd be working in Osawatomie, Kansas. Mom remembers her and Dad getting out the map of Kansas to see where Osawatomie was... My father was in the Signal Corp in WW2 and hobby was Ham radios. He was hired into the Communications Department initially installing radios in cabooses and diesels. He later installed the railroad's telephone and microwave systems. He later took promotion to Kansas City and then to the General Offices in St. Louis. Mom's parents had a dairy farm outside of Jefferson City so we'd ride the Missouri River Eagle on a family pass quite frequently to visit. She also had a sister and her family living in Colorado Springs so we'd take a Pullman on the Colorado Eagle to vist them every other summer. I still have memories of the oily, steam smell as you walked by the passenger cars and trying to walk between the cars as they traveled down the tracks as a kid. 

After I got into management in 1975 and was transferred to Ft. Worth I got interested in painting some Athearn dummy diesels for Mopac. There was a train shop in Ft. Worth where I bought a set of Microscale decals and on the back of the instructions was the address for the MPHS. Sent my money off to an address in Webster Groves and have been a member ever since. In late 1976 was transferred to St. Louis and called the editor of 'The Eagle' to see more of 'the operations' and what else the MPHS had to offer a newbie. Bill Hoss invited me over and the 'slippery slope' became even more so. Bill introduced me to Art Johnson's photos, Joe Collias' books (and later Joe), Ray Curl and Ed Hawkins. Bill got me interested in writing a few articles but more importantly got me into the more serious side of doing research. For a Mopac fan working in the General Office was somewhat like a going to Mopac Reseach Heaven. Vergie Barnhart was in Public Relations and would let me go though the negative files to have prints made, Ray Curl was in the Mechanical Department and would pull painting diagrams out for reproductions to be made and Bob Sponsler was the archivist in the basement who helped me find various AFEs and BoD minutes for articles. It was the best of times....then December 1982 came and the PR negatives went north, Ray retired and the basement files went north too. 

The MPHS network of friends has always been strong, it's probably because modeling the Mopac took more effort as nothing was available 'off the shelf'. I heard recently of the SPH&TS having their president and several board members resign, the RI group has had a tough few years, the MKT group struggles. I look back at the MPHS Joplin meet and everyone was enjoying themselves. We have a great magazine, a growing web site and models we never thought we'd see in our favorite roads. The MPHS is stronger today than it was in 1975, you can't say that about many railroad historical societies.