The West Chester Railroad, West Chester, Pennsylvania

John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad

The West Chester Railroad arrives at the Old Market Street Station Site in West Chester, Pennsylvania

What is special about the town of West Chester, Pennsylvania? Most of you would say that you have never heard of this town unless, of course, you live in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It was originally named Turk’s Head after a local tavern. It has a courthouse. Yes, every major town has a courthouse, but this courthouse was designed by Thomas Walter. Who is Thomas Walter? He is the same man who designed this structure known as the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. What other great things are here? In the 1700’s, it was the center of clockmaking. In the 1800’s, a wagon wheel company which later made wheels for automobiles was centered here. In the 1900’s a cream separation company did their operations here, and Commodore computers…

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Army Corps of Engineers in Japan after WWII

Pacific Paratrooper

Osaka, Japan, 1945, canvas tanks of water purification station run by the 323rd Engineers/98th Division

Under the terms of surrender that ended World War II, Japan fell under Allied occupation. U.S. Army engineers faced a daunting challenge in constructing facilities for the occupation forces and rebuilding the vanquished nation’s infrastructure. The immediate postwar standard of living in Japan had sunk to subsistence levels and U.S. Army Air Force bombing raids destroyed much of the nation’s industrial base. Roadways originally were designed for light vehicle traffic and frequently were unsurfaced, and railroads often were of differing gauges. Unskilled labor was plentiful but craftsmen were scarce. Sewage systems were nonexistent. To complicate matters, at the occupation’s outset, Japanese construction firms were not considered financially sound nor did they operate with bonding or insurance.

Under the Far East Command—the ruling authority in occupied Japan—the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers created an engineer district equivalent…

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Not Ready to be Ripe

Rum and Robots

Flash Fiction by Joni Caggiano – Picture courtesy of Vincent Wright – Unsplash (27 second read)

Watching the clock, I knew, as fresh dampness gathered between my breast,

that as the figs began to ripen, on our tree, to him, I would never be in season.

After school, on this screen porch, waiting for him, to see the toss of his head,

the glimmer of green in his eyes, I realized he would not come.

Rivers of red tears stream over my face, cutting slices of my disenchantment.

Unacquainted with the coupling act, for which he had demanded, abandoned was I.

Oh, how I loved him, for two years, like a fresh blueberry jam spread on bread,

baked before the sun spun her wonders, and the birds sang their songs.

Fracturing my heart, I carefully placed the pieces in a blue envelope.

The address was simply,


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God Love’s You Just As You Are ~

CHRISTian poetry ~ by deborah ann

God loves you,
just as you are . . .
each major blemish
every minor scar.

He is aware,
of the battles you fight
He sees the tears
you cry in the night.

God loves you,
He knows your pain
He sees your struggle
is not fought in vain.

He is mindful,
of how you’re feeling
He knows your wounds
are in need of healing.

God loves you,
just as you are . . .
He’s perfecting you
with each little scar!


Psalm 138:8

“The Lord will perfect
that which concerns me.
thy mercy, O Lord,
endureth for ever:
forsake not the works
of thine own hands.”

King James Version
Public Domain

Copyright 2013 Revised 2020
Deborah Ann Belka

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Words we don’t say


And though days go by
without a single mention of your name
you are there…
in words we don’t say…
at the grocery store
when our feet takes us to the pet isle
as if it has forgotten its way,
just to remember this squeaky dog toy
will no longer be yours;
when we miss
our best greeter
to love us with slobbery kisses and barks…
when we close our eyes
and hold on to the memories a little tighter
for they alone heal
this heavy feeling in our hearts.

You are there, everywhere…
for the love we hold
goes beyond the distance we share…
and you my dear Oreo are loved
in earth or in heaven…
Happy Birthday!

image copyright neha 2020

This would have been Oreo’s 15th Birthday. We all miss him very much, this is the first birthday he celebrates in heaven and we send him eternal…

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God, My Truth ~

CHRISTian poetry ~ by deborah ann

God, my Truth,
my Reality, my World
my faith in You . .
is tied up and furled.

For to You I’m tethered,
my heart is trussed
there is no other . . .
in whom I can trust.

God, my Foundation,
my Cornerstone, My Rock
my soul is anchored
on hope’s secured dock.

For to You I’m bound,
locked into Your ways
may Your plans for me
I follow all of my days.

God, my Truth,
my Freedom, My Liberation
thank you saving me . . .
form eternal damnation!


John 8:32

And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.

King James Version
Public Domain

Copyright 2020
Deborah Ann Belka

~ to GOD be the GLORY ~

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Nature’s Notes

Rum and Robots

Poem and Photographs by Joni Caggiano

the blue moon danced full of hope, giving way to the sunrise
whose eyelashes flutter as clouds pass by
an indigo tailed lizard drenched in the warmth of a red brick
orange and black, the monarch liberated from her chrysalis
stirring her freshly painted wings upon a green canvas
underneath leaves, a mantis is praying for her dinner
carefully polishing two bright olive swords
built with two rows of sharp spines, she prepares for the hunt
magnolia blossoms become a trap for a hungry bee
hummingbirds stall with sorrow, forgotten visitors to this family
the red mouth of iron rusted the lone bicycle with training wheels
vines cling with tendrils to the handles hiding signs
of life that once fetched playful notes like bubbles
bringing laughter while singing songs in nature’s chorus

New Monarch From the Chrysalis

An Anole Sunning Himself

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Transformation ~

CHRISTian poetry ~ by deborah ann

is a long process
it takes a lot of work
for it to impress.

It needs to set in,
let it roots grow
before a new heart
can begin to show.

the old into the new
takes a labor of love
for it to come into view.

It needs to learn,
all that it can
about God’s will
His purpose and plan.

can take a lifespan . . .
but God will finish
what He began!


Romans 12:2

And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing
of your mind, that ye may prove what
is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God.

King James Version
Public Domain

Copyright 2020
Deborah Ann Belka

~ to GOD be the GLORY ~

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