Boxcar brings back memories for WWII vet

I met David and Denise Parsons on Thursday in front of the Merci Boxcar at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. David, a Sparks resident, served in the U.S. military during and after World War II and was one of the men transported in the boxcars from France into Germany.

A driving force behind getting the boxcar refurbished, David said he wanted people to remember Nevada's military history.

He met his wife in France, where she was working for the canteen.

"I knew she could cook," he said.

The couple moved to Northern Nevada in the early 1950s and Denise spotted the boxcar out in front of the Nevada State Museum.

"We had a picture of me in front of the boxcar, but we don't know where it went," she said in her lightly accented English.

Dayton's business district is booming with at least two new construction projects under way. We may soon see dueling sandwich shops in town. A sign announcing a new Subway has been up next to the 76 station for about a year now, but work is beginning on a new foundation.

A sign for a new Port of Subs in the lot next to Comstock Pizza went up just recently, and work is also moving forward.

My sympathies go out to the family of Virgil Millard, who died Wednesday at the age of 70.

I met Virgil when he came in with his barbershop quartet and serenaded me in the guest area of the old Appeal building.

It was around Valentine's Day when Chorus of the Comstock members traditionally raise money and the awareness of their artform by singing to sweethearts.

Virgil was a great singer and will be sorely missed by his group, the Partners in Harmony.

I was gone last week when Appeal political columnist Guy W. Farmer's wife, Consuelo, passed away.

When Guy was the capital reporter for the Associated Press, Consuelo worked at Murdock's Department Store in downtown Carson.

When Guy joined the Foreign Service, Consuelo traveled with him all over the world, but Carson was always their home.

They returned to Carson in December 1995. I met Consuelo at the Thai restaurant that was flattened to make way for Lowe's.

She impressed me as a wonderful woman, which was confirmed by her volunteer service at Friends in Service Helping's Ross Medical Clinic.

Former Appeal photographer Lisa Tolda sent photos of Sadie Jo Smokey and her boyfriend. An intern and reporter with The Record-Courier, Sadie Jo worked for the Gazette-Journal while she was attending UNR's Don Reynolds School of Journalism. She is presently working at the Arizona Republic as a reporter.

From the stories I read online, it looks like she's hitting the food and entertainment beat.

I must have had a weird Valentine's Day last week, because I read back over my column and decided I was whining way too much.

Unlike many Nevadans, my parents live on the same property they purchased in 1965. I drove past both my other boyhood homes during the weekend.

I was surprised to see the College Inn Mobile Home Park still standing along Lake Mead Boulevard in northeast Las Vegas.

My dad says that when we moved to Vegas in 1962, we lived there alongside police officers and college professors. We owned a pink Pontiac Chief trailer, which we later moved across the valley to the Ann Road property where my parents now live.

Every time we go to Vegas I go by the house where I lived on Alta for three years from 1968 to 1970, before we moved back to Ann Road.

So, apparently without regard to growth or time, I can go home again.

Kurt Hildebrand is former managing editor of the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at 887-2430, ext. 402 or e-mail him at


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