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Entries in Martha (2)


Remembering Steam and Martha

As I sat in the numerous hospital waiting rooms while Martha was battling time, I recalled all of the cool stories that Martha had shared with me about her love of trains and the numerous trips she had taken aboard them. Whenever I returned from a trip chasing steel Martha would ask if she could see my photos.

In particular, she shared the stories of the steam engines that she remembered from her childhood which were prelevant during the 1930s to the 1950s, so as we waited and wondered about the prospects of her recovery I worked on the following images of the former ATSF No. 3751 to feel a little closer to her:

The Santa Fe 3751 leads the southbound San Diego Steam Special II into a curve in Encinitas, CA on May 1, 2010 .

The Photographer - On May 8, 2010, National Train Day, the 3751 poses at Los Angeles Union Station and drew quite a crowd of photographers.

The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society’s former Santa Fe 3751, up to pressure and raring to go, is the star attraction in the early morning hours of National Train Day as she waits for departure to San Bernardino, California.


Martha's Sunset

Martha B. Ramirez

It is with a heavy heart that I write this entry regarding my beloved mother-in-law, Martha Ramirez. At 9:45 PM on Friday, October 8, 2010, Martha succumbed to the various ailments that had gripped her body but not her spirit.

Born in January 1924, Martha lived her 86+ years in love and warmth. She was always full of grace and tenderness for those around her.

She was born in the central valley of California and raised in Santa Paula, California but eventually settled, married, and raised a large family in Los Angeles, California.

Perhaps a lesson for us all, some of Martha’s favorite acivities were the simplest things in life - sitting on the porch and watching the sunset, going out to eat with her family, and long drives.

Martha has been a part of my life since 1993 and a daily part for the last ten years. One of my seldom mentioned favorite remembrances I will always have of Martha is how she would greet me when I came home from work. Tired and beat down by long hours at the office and tired from my commute, once I got home I would walk down the hall to change my clothes.  In the process I would pass Martha’s bedroom and I would see her there reading the bible or watching Rachel Ray on TV and I would say “Hi, Martha.”  Even though she was frail and struggling with a body that she was outliving, she would respond in the sweetest and most cheerful voice that I heard that day, “Hi JOE!” It made my day. I admired her spirit in trying times.

When I first learned that the prognoisis for Martha was not positive, I got home from the hosptial and passed by her bedroom - now empty except for her spirit which greeted me again. I walked out front to contemplate the heaviness of the news we had learned as the sun began to set. As I took in the sunset in the spot that Martha would often do, I thought “Martha, this sunset is for you.” I grabbed my camera and captured the moment in hopes of one day showing it to her again. I never got that chance. So here is your eternal sunset Martha that you and I shall forever share.

(Even though Martha has a large family, most of them live modestly and have very little means. If you are in a position to and are so inclined, you can contribute to help cover Martha’s expenses by donating any amount through the PayPal account linked to the donate button below. Her family and friends thank you very much for your generosity.)