Edward P VanDame
Anyone who had any contact with the north end Monon Railroad trains during the 1950s and 19660s had to have met Edward P VanDame. Ed VanDame was an engineer for many years and he was a really nice man. Just about everyone has an Eddie story. I read the story that Dave Randolph wrote about Ed and I agree with every word of his story. Cookie has more than one EP story. I just have a couple of additional stories to relate.
I like to tell people that I grew up in Monon but “in the middle of the railroad tracks”. I don’t have many specific memories of talking to him. Usually, it was just a strong wave from me and a wave and a smile from him as his engine went by. I remember talking to him in Michigan City one time. I don’t remember why I was in Michigan City or what he said to me. I just remember laughing and talking with Ed. That’s the way a 72 year old woman’s mind plays tricks on her.
Shortly after I retired from the federal government, I spent a few years having fun in my spare time, performing periodically as a clown. One of the clown jobs that I enjoyed the most was entertaining at the local Christmas parade. We would walk the street for a couple of hours before the parade started, entertaining the kids on the street before the parade came by. It meant walking a distance of 6 city blocks a couple of times. One year, who would come by at the head of the parade, Grand Marshalls Ed Van Dame and Jim Gilliand, a retired north end conductor. I had to tell him who I was but he laughed and shook my hand. I don’t know who laughed the loudest but I do know we had a real good time.
After Ed’s wife died, he continued to live in his home as long as he could. Before long his health required that he enter St Anthony Nursing Home. I know Cookie was a regular visitor to St Anthony’s to see Ed. I could not go as often but one visit I do remember was to celebrate his birthday. I bought a small fruit basket that I got at the local Marsh supermarket and took it to Ed.
By Sharon Eberhard
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