Linda sent pictures with her message. I have uploaded them to the web
rather than forward them to everyone. The pictures are great and can be
I'll let her message tell it all without further comment from me.
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "L. Wendelaar" <email@example.com>
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2001 17:16:20 -0400
Subject: Lost Caboose
Dear Mr. Hensley,
My name is Linda Wendelaar. I am hoping that you can help me locate a
model caboose. Let me start at the beginning.
My uncle, Ralph Wendelaar, lived in Spruce Head, Maine, and was a model
caboose builder and member of the National
Model Railroad Association. His Pennsylvania Lines Cabin Car NEA No.
997482 won the coveted "Brass Lantern" award at
the 43rd annual NMRA convention in August, 1978, in Dearborn, Michigan.
He also won a second place award for his Erie
Caboose No. 04732. As of 1978, he had hand built 123 cabooses. In
1979, he made a dollhouse for me from scratch. It
sits on a table behind me as I type this.
My Uncle Ralph passed away suddenly in December, 1983. My aunt,
needing the money, sold his vast collection of model
cabooses to an antique dealer in Rockland, Maine. She never informed my
father of her decision, nor offered him any of the
models. I don't know whether she was too embarrassed to tell him that
she needed the money, or what her motivation was.
My father found out months later on his visit to Maine to see her.
Years later, in a visit to Maine, my older brother, Bill Jr., located
the Erie No. 04732 in an antique shop!! The dealer was
asking alot for it, but gave my brother a discount when he found out the
history behind the model. It proudly sits in his living
The reason I am writing to you is that my father has wondered now for
years what happened to the Pennsylvania Cabin Car,
my Uncle's pride and joy. I have the newspaper article from "The
Courier Gazette" dated Saturday, August 19, 1978, that he
sent us showing him and his caboose.
I would love to solve the mystery of who owns the caboose today and
where it is located so that I could tell my Dad.
I would be eternally grateful if you could pass this e-mail on to any
members that you know of who may know where it is. I
have scanned pictures of the caboose, and of the newspaper article.
I know it's a long shot, but in this day and age of e-mails, perhaps it
could be located. I would be thrilled to tell my Dad and
my brothers that I found it.
Thank you so much for any help you can give me.
11 Mott Drive
Vernon, New Jersey 07462