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Don Stinson's Band Organ Notes
Stinson Band Organ notes are authored by band organ architect and builder Mr. Donald Stinson. Stories includes experiences, past and present, encountered during design and repair of mechanical band organs, along with Don's unique experiences during his early days with the New York Central Railroad.

As this chapter about life in the organ factory is being written I ampreparing another service call to Mexico. If you look back at a previous issue (June1999), you will read of my past experiences in this country.

At the end of that article I left room to continue some of the otherthings which happened after the episode where my hotel room was sold out and I had noplace to go and could not speak the local language.

To start where we left off I was escorted over to a hotel which,according to them, would be much finer in quality. This hotel was only two city blocksfrom our work location but I was told by my friend not to walk there unless he was with meas it might not be safe even in daylight. The hotel indeed was much different when Iarrived. The rooms were ample and they were equipped with a king size bed, large tiltedmirror and a very nice television which featured programs both from the U.S. and Mexico.The first night I was there the long cover from a four foot light fixture mounted at thehead of the bed fell off and conked me on the head leaving a nice goose egg which stillstared at me the next morning.

That evening after work I decided to try the hotel food and entered therestaurant. No one there could speak English so after much search they found a menuprinted in good old American. I ordered a rib eye steak and to this day I have no ideawhat it was but it was not what I ordered.

After the meal they offered some very good entertainment in therestaurant and the performer at the piano was very good, which seemed to be the rule withentertainers throughout Mexico. I did not have a good seat and some people at anothertable who could not converse in English used sign language asking me to join them bymoving my chair to their table. The rest of the evening was very nice and I felt I hadmade friends even though no words were spoken. When they ordered additional items

I was included and we had a very nice time together.

I have always found the people of Mexico to be of this nature includinga gentleman by the name of Juan who was assigned to assist me with the repairs.

Now Juan was a member of the common people and had no money and veryfew possessions he could call his own. I gave him some money the first day and the nextday he came back with a very nice blanket and said it was a gift for my wife. Even todaywhen I look at the blanket I think how Juan put other people ahead of his own needs.

Back at the New York Central, I remember the time when Old Baldy, whichI have written about in earlier issues, got caught up in a situation of his own making.Baldy was an old boomer and traveled from one boom town to another to find employment onany railroad which offered work. When he arrived at the Bellefontaine shop he settled downand remained here until his retirement.

In the old days most employers were much more lenient and it was goodfor Baldy as he decided to take some time off to have a vacation in Tennessee. He told thegeneral foreman his mother had died and he had to get back home at once. They gave him thetime off and sent flowers as they always did when a member of a family had passed away.

About two years later he again entered the office and gave the samestory about his mother and again they gave him the time off and just to be sure sentflowers again.

At a latertime his mother did die and they gave him time off again.When he returned he entered the office with tears in his eyes and told them he found outwhat the people at the shop thought of him as they sent no flowers to his poor oldmother’s funeral. The general foreman simply looked at him and said the people herelike you but we sent flowers to your mother when she could enjoy them. Baldy agreed thatthey were right and left the office.

And so it was in the old roundhouse.

Next Band Organ Note No. 12, November 1999
Previous Band Organ Note No. 10, September 1999

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