Apprentice, Banana Boat, Boxing, DL&W, Engineer's License, Gunther, Pacific Ocean, RR Yard Tower, Steamship, Yardmaster
He is a quiet one – – – that Gunther is.
Not all the time; just quiet about his past. Never uses his first name. He is just “Gunther.”
Doesn’t much care for anyone to call him “Mr. Gunther” either. It seems as though he wants everyone to be on even ground.
He is an enigma. He is always open to discussion and open about the rail yard. Yet on the other hand he never speaks about his past. I will never understand his reason for this.
Not that he isn’t clear about directions or what to do next. He is always in command. Never in a terse way, but his directions are clear and concise. I think that is why we all love working for him. There is no wasted effort.
Gunther is the Yardmaster for the Scranton Rail Yard. Most of us don’t see him very often. He sits in an elevated platform and has others signal for him. He is busy watching all the yard traffic.
There is a big window that Gunther surveys his dominion from. There are side windows that the signal men wave their various flags from. The switch men down in the yard follow directions from Gunther’s platform and the engines move from one set of tracks to another.
We are held in amazement at all the information that Gunther holds in his mind and makes decisions about. He does this all day long, six days a week. He allows his apprentice to take over on Sunday.
One of the fellows in the yard knows Gunther from years ago. He said that Gunther was an engineer on a steamship. He was the apprentice engineer for the whole engine room.
He also said Gunther had run away from home at fourteen years of age and signed on to a banana boat that worked the Pacific.
This guy said that he didn’t know much more about Gunther other than he was also a boxer. They had boxing matches on the steamship to break up the boredom. The yard guy said Gunther was the best boxer he ever saw.
You would not know he was a fighter other than his physical condition. Gunther is quiet. He is lean. He combs his hair with a part and it lays flat except for a few waves. He always wears khaki shirts and pants. His signature piece is that canvas belt with the large brass buckle. You would never see him without that belt. He has a command presence. Gunther walks everywhere. He doesn’t ride the trolleys like the rest of us.
Like I said, we all like and respect him.
We often discussed the idea of who could get him to tell us about his past.
None of us ever had any luck with that.