All Aboard: It’s 1964 and Your Travel Adventure Awaits {Part One}

1960s time travel

The year is 1964. The day is April 22. Your alarm clock goes off…

vintage1960's alarm clock

It’s 6:10am and you jump out of bed with excitement. Today you are going on a trip! You have less than an hour to get ready, so you hurry because you cannot (CANNOT!) be late.

Makeup, dress, hat

1960s dressing

Shave, suit, scent…

mens style

Your bags have been packed for days but you make one final check to make sure you’ve got everything…

1960s time travel

It’s all there! A perfect assembly of his and her items all packed with care. It contains her beaded cashmere sweater for those chilly Spring nights, his fedora hat, the Brownie Hawkeye, two dozens rolls of film, her favorite lace slip, his go-with-anything bow-tie, her sunglasses, his pullover, her special occasion pearls, the leather travel clock he’s carried for the past twenty years, the bestselling book that everyone’s been talking about, the shoes, the sundries, the little incidentals…all set!

You head to the kitchen and drink a glass of Ovaltine. You are too excited to even consider eating a full breakfast.


Just before you leave you make the final check… walletpurse keys…


You head out the door but then turn right back around. You left the tickets with yesterday’s mail on the coffee table. Phew! Good thing you remembered before you headed downtown.


You pull into the New Orleans train depot with 15 minutes to spare. You’ve booked your rail travel with Southern Railway which has been running passengers all over the East Coast for 70 years.  Today, you are headed northeast to the small mountain town of Johnson City, Tennessee. From there you’ll connect with Southern Railway’s luxury pullman train, named the “Pelican” and chug further north to your final destination.

Once settled into your seat, you show the conductor your ticket for stamping…


It’s a three and a half hour trip to Johnson City most of which you spend lost in literature. The book you are reading, The Burnt Ones by Patrick White is a series of short stories about


people burnt by society, via various avenues like love, neurosis, natural elements, independence etc.. The poetic and passionate writing makes you understand why the New York Times just recently referred to White’s writing as spell binding and radiant. By the time you pull into Johnson City just before noon, you are half-way through the 308 page book.

Before getting off the train in Tennessee to stretch your legs, the conductor comes by asking for your reservation documentation on the Pelican. You hand him your identification check…


and he, in return hands you the dinner menu for that night’s journey…


It has been a long time since you’ve eaten beef steak but the Ovaltine has long worn off and a big dinner sounds perfect. You spend the afternoon hours walking around Johnson City’s historic downtown taking photos and people watching.


Back at the depot at 5:40pm the Pelican is just pulling in to the station…

Johnson City, Tenn.

and you board for the second leg of your journey. There are 24 hours left to go. By this time tomorrow night you’ll be in the most exciting city in the world, attending one of the most talked about events of the year.

As a Southerner you are pretty lucky to be going at all. Most people attending this event live within a 60 mile radius and indeed you are the only ones among your friend set that are making the journey. When you read some pre-press months ago, it described the whole spectacle as “a circus, a classroom, a voyage, a time capsule and a futuristic peepshow all wrapped up in one.” That’s when you knew you had to go see it all for yourself.

You pass the time as paitiently as possible on a speeding train. The dinner hour comes and goes, you eat your chopped beef steak and your two vegetables (peas and carrots), your bread with butter and your apple pie. You watch each town pass by until the sun sets and darkness fills your window. Even though you had coffee after dinner, you feel sleepy. You close your eyes and dream about city lights.

The next morning, you wake to coffee and a breakfast tray of fruit and toast. The hours pass quickly. You daydream, you play cards, you read, you watch town after town after town roll by.


Lunch comes and goes, afternoon tea comes and goes, an evening glass of wine amplifies your giddiness as the hand on your watch finally marks the the last hour. You are so close! You begin preparing for your arrival. You pick up and pack up and then finally…

…after a 36 hour journey from New Orleans to New York, the Pelican pulls into Penn Station passing dozens of trains coming and going in the process…


You step out into the hustle and bustle of commuter territory. You breathe in the electric air. Everything feels fast around you.. the walking, the talking. The atmosphere is lively, festive, fun. You are swept up in the sea of  passengers disembarking. You hurry along with them, suitcases in hand. As you climb the stairs from the tracks to the terminal, your eyes catch on a poster pasted to a metal beam. It says…


…and you smile from cheek to cheek. You have traveled from the Big Easy to the Big Apple to experience a big event. It is the start of the New York World’s Fair and you are on your way there!

Read more about all the sensational sights and scenes from the Fair in Part Two.