My Home Page features a photo
of the 819 Steam Engine. This is the Steam Engine that for too-many years, sat abandoned in Pine Bluff's Oakland Park.....where it was vandalized, stripped of its dignity, put-out-to-pasture and forgotten, like a once-proud race horse. To me....it represented
my Father, my Grandmother, and my Brother. It signified all the years they worked for the Cotton Belt Railroad in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
The Steam Engine stood for so much goodness
in my life-----including the gifts I received from the Cotton Belt when I was Miss Arkansas. One gift was a beautiful Lady Hamilton wrist-watch (money donated by all the employees). The other gifts were "on loan" from railroad executives
and consisted of two private cars----one to escort me to the Miss America Pageant-----the other to return me home-----when the Pageant ended.
Most of all....the 819 Steam Engine was a monument
to my hometown of Pine Bluff....and to the Railroad that provided the town's citizens with steady employment, medical insurance, and family security.
YES, I AM THE PERSON responsible for getting
the 819 out of the Park and to its original home in the Cotton Belt Shops....for restoration. For years, many talked about the need to rescue the engine from the park but no one did anything until the day I visited the City Park, recognized the desperate need,
and took action! I immediately took steps to activate my plan, contact the right people, and the dream became a reality. I “Put The Steam of The 819, Back in Pine Bluff”. This is a fact....not a fantasy or a boast...simply, The Truth.
WHY DOES IT MATTER? Because I take pride in knowing that my life and my efforts stood for something; that during my lifetime, I consistently worked to help others and to make dreams come true, not only
for me---but for those who mattered----like my father.
Shortly after the 819 made its successful journey "back home" ....the Southern Pacific Railroad---by way of their PR Director, Jim Johnson---handed
me the ORIGINAL (1937) BLUE PRINTS FOR THE 819 STEAM ENGINE.
Jim Johnson also wrote a letter to the editor of my hometown paper, which stated, officially: "Sally Miller, alone, was responsible
for rescuing the 819 from Oakland Park". That letter means the world to me; documentation is vital to my life, to my writing. It’s not about praise, or ego, or self-importance....it's about THE TRUTH.
"Riding on a train, moving down the track, listening to the wheels going clickedy-clickedy-clack......and the whistle….. I love to hear the whistle!
way he's leaning on the horn, I know the Engineer loves the whistle too!"