Bosco Di Jockamoe
The Whimsical side of the U&B R.R.
And a true story of an Italian Immigrant ?
*This is also what you get to do when you build a model Railroad layout. You get to make up silly stories like this and have people look at you like your insane.
Well go ahead and be insane because this is a lot of fun .
This is the true story of an Italian immigrant named Bosco Di Jockamoe, a farmer from the hills of Carlentini, Sicily. Bosco's parents had 9 boys and 7 girls, they were Catholic. They all lived on a small farm of only 105 acres, which was mostly crop land. Bosco's father promised all of the boys that when they reached their 25th birthday he would give them 10 acres of his farm to get started as farmers. As Bosco turned 25 his father made good of his promise and gave him his 10 acres. Because Bosco was the youngest of the nine, his 10 acres where not the prime of the farm, and his crops where small and poor in nature and it was very hard to farm.
Bosco farmed his 10 acres for 5 years and each year his crop never produced any more than the year before. Bosco was disappointed to say the least. After his last harvest Bosco went into town to the local pub and sat with some friends. As the conversation picked up, one of his friends said he had a newspaper article on how you can get a free homestead of 50 acres in the USA, just by farming it for 5 years. Bosco asked to see the article and his friend gave it to him. Bosco must have read the article a dozen times or more that night and was very intrigued with what he read.
Bosco.s head, fast filled with wild dreams, of going to America, and being the farmer of the year with his 50 acre plot of land. And having his picture on the International Farmer's Gazzette's front cover , with a two page article on his farming abilities.
Bosco went home and could not sleep all night. He was so excited it could hardly contain himself. At breakfast Bosco talked to his family and said I am going to America to be a farmer. They were all glad for his ambition to farm, but would greatly miss him. Bosco sold his 10 acres to all of his brothers and went to the port of Palermo and secured a one way ticket to New York City. He boarded the Sicilian Prince and would be in the USA in about 3 or 4 weeks or so. As Bosco began his new life he thought it would be best to learn the language and be a good immigrant and learn to speak English, as he should, remembering the old saying, 'when in Rome do as the Romans do'. So for the next few weeks on his long voyage he learned English and spoke it fairly well before he arrived at Ellis Island, with a slight Italian accent of course.
As the sun broke on a crystal day he could see Lady Liberty welcoming him to his new country. Once there he checked in at Ellis Island, the way he was supposed to do, as all good law bidding immigrants where supposed to, and got processed very quickly and jumped on the short ferry ride to New York City, and his name was forever locked in history.
As his ferry docked there where about 200 immigrants on the ferry, all from different countries with their own big dream's they wanted to come true. The docks where covered with hundreds of people, some holding signs reading Irish, German, Russian, Polish and so forth. There were welcoming committees for the new arrivals. On the other side of them written in all those different languages where signs that said, "go home Italians, Germans or who ever. Bosco could not figure out why someone would want him to go home so soon. Bosco asked the policeman in the street where the train station was, and went there immediately. He purchased a one way ticket to go west. He didn’t know where he would end up because his ticket was good all the way to San Francisco, California.
Bosco was so excited he was going west to find his dream. He boarded a wood burning 4-4-0 steam locomotive and would soon be off to the west. After a couple of days on the rails Bosco saw mountains to prairies, rivers and lakes, towns and large cities, and he could not believe how big and vast this country was and he was only half way there.
After about 4 days of riding the rails the train pulled into a small mountainous town called Butnot. What a strange name for a town, Bosco thought. Here the passengers would have to de board because the locomotive had to be serviced and would take the rest of the day and half of the next day. Bosco was told where he could get a nice room with amenities (if you know what I mean) by climbing the steep steps right behind the train’s depot that lead straight up to the Maddie Rose, a Brothel, casino, dinner, billards, bath and a shave, and nice rooms with a view of Butnot, and everything else, could be found at the Maddie Rose.
After Bosco got a nice bath and shave for 15 cents, he went down to the dining room and ordered a 50 cent steak. Yummie. After that Bosco went into the casino bar area and sat down trying to observe all of the action, it was very crowded,noisy, and smoke filled. This was the place to be at night in Butnot thats for sure. It looked like everyone in town was there including his traveling companions from the train. He sat down at a table by himself and heard some locals talking about Bill the farmer, who just passed away a couple of weeks ago. They were all very concerned, because Bill was the only grain farmer for miles around and his farm produced the winter food for Butnot, and then some. As they talked among them self’s Bosco heard them say that Bills place was up for sale if someone wanted to farm it. Well Bosco’s ears where as big as the train he rode in on. Bosco could not believe what he just heard, was this for real, the dream he was looking for, jumping up, and biteing him on the nose. He knew exactly what he was going to do first thing in the morning. Bosco had a couple of drinks, watched the gamblers, and went up to bed. But because he almost could not control his wild dreams of owning a farm, his excitement was more than he could handle, he tried to sleep. but tossed and turned all night as he visioned his dream of him walking behind his horse drawen plow.
The next morning Bosco got up very early had breakfast and headed over to assessor’s office. He went and introduced himself to the assessor, and asked if he would explain the situation with Bill’s land. The Assessor was more than glad to tell him about it. He said that Bill had 5 years on his land contract, and only lived 4 years on it, so it comes back to the state because of the 5 year Homestead Act in which you must live there for at least 5 years, and farm the land. Because they were in such need for a farmer the assessor told Bosco he was going to give him a golden goose. Bosco had no idea what he just said. And wondered what he would do with a golden goose. He said, "Bosco my man you look like you would be a good asset to the town, and I will give you Bills farm, and all you have to do is farm it for 5 years. You get Bills 3 cows a horse, and a dozen chikens, and some farm equipment, including a house and a small barn. Bosco was so excited he almost soiled himself. And after 5 years everything is yours, free and clear, that is you get all 50 acres and everything that goes with it. Bosco jumped up stuck his big hand out, and the deal was struck. The assessor said let me get my buggy and I will be glad to take you to your new home, and Bosco thought not a new home, but the American Dream.
When the assessor and Bosco arrived, the crops have already been harvested beings it was early November. After a brief tour of the farm Bosco got busy and moved right in. Bosco felt the little barn was a little small and since the crops where already harvested, that didn’t give Bosco a lot to do, so he decided, until spring he would add on to the barn, hoping to fill it with barnbuster crops. With a very heavily wooded forest right at the edge of his fields this should not be an issue for the wood he would need for his project. And Bill had all the tools a farm would need at that time. This worked out as perfect as possible and Bosco didn’t even have to spend any of his money leaving him in a very good financial position. That night Bosco got on his knees and thanked the Lord for this huge blessing, and asked the Lord to always be with him, and bless him on this new farm.
Spring came roaring in like a huge Mallet locomotive, Bosco plowed and planted all 50 acres, and in the fall Bosco completed the harvest. He loaded up his wagon and went to Butnot to deliver his grains as promised. The towns people where very excited and happy that Bosco was a man of his word and brought the grains in for winter, for all of Butnot. This fast became a yearly tradition, and Bosco was liked by all of Butnot because his crops seemed to be a little better than poor Bills where. I guess it was the Italian touch that did it. 5 years came and went and Bosco received the deed to the farm.
This was truley a night to celebrate, and with more money than he needed from the sale of his crops right now, bought everyone at the Maddie Rose a drink, and stregthened his freindship with the towns people.
After several years of this prosperity, disaster was approaching like a Big Boy Steam Locomotive, and would soon strike. Bosco put his seed in the ground as he has always done and shortly after the crop broke ground a large hailstorm rolled over the farm and totally destroyed the entire crop. So Bosco replanted and after this crop broke ground this time, the rains seemed to stop and his crops where wilting and suffering from a lack of water under the hot dusty sun. As the season went by the drought got worse and worse. His grain crops withered to nothing. It was way too late to replant. When it came to harvest the only thing that survived was the pumpkin crop and it was not very large crop, and the pumpkins were not real big either. Bosco was very upset and disappointed because he knew how Butnot depended on him. So poor Bosco picked his pumpkins and loaded them into the wagon and off to Butnot he went.
As Bosco approached the town he could see everybody with their baskets waiting for him for their winter grains. As he got closer the children ran out to meet him and jumping all over his wagon started yelling with joy, "o boy pumpkins" they cried. The town’s people looked at each other in total dismay. What, pumpkins? Where is our winter grains, they said among each other. Finally Bosco pulled up and stopped his wagon in front of the hardware store, the towns people gathered around and looked inside his wagon and saw only pumpkins. Is this a joke they said, and Bosco stood up in his wagon and explained the hail storm and the drought that stole his crops.
Arguments soon broke out and the people where starting to get very restless, and started becoming mean and angry not knowing where they will get food for the harsh winters they endure, being's they were so high in the mountains. Finally, Clyde, a very big man grabbed Bosco and drug him down off his wagon. He started pushing and screaming at Bosco and the town’s people soon followed. The whole town has now turned against their beloved and reliable farmer friend, Bosco.
Bosco was now in fear of his life as the people became more and more rowdy and irate, and they started pushing him out of town, and Bosco started running for his life. The men took his pumpkins and started to throw them at him. Bosco’s horse being a true friend started to follow Bosco out of town. As he did this, the people kept taking the pumpkins out of the wagon and throwing them at him, ( some freind the horse turned out to be) screaming and cursing him. Because the drought was so severe, the pumpkins were very small as pumpkins go. Finally Clyde took the largest pumpkin he could find and threw it at Bosco hitting him hard enough to knock him down. As the people gathered around him they began kicking him and stomping on him causing great injury to Bosco. Bosco grabbed the remains of that large pumpkin and put it over his face to prevent any more injuries to his head. After the towns people beat him severely, Clyde stepped up and with his big right foot, and smashed the pumpkin on Bosco face with the heel of his boot, cursing him saying, "you bring us pumpkins we can’t eat, so wear this on your face, so you will always know you betrayed the town of Butnot, cursed are you. With blood and sweat running down Bosco’s face all he could do was lie there and take the abuse the towns people gave him.
As the people started to leave they left poor Bosco lying on his back and he was now semi unconscious with a smashed pumpkin on his face. As Clyde walked by his wagon, he smacked the horse, which caused the horse to jeer off and run Bosco’s left leg over, and with the thin heavy wheels of the wagon, it cut the lower part of Bosco left leg off leaving him to bleed out and die.
There was poor Bosco all beat up, a pumpkin smashed all over his face, and part of his leg is now gone, and he is now bleeding to death. The town’s people just left him to die in the hot sun. After some time of lying there dying in that hot dry sun a stranger wondered by and picked up Bosco’s head and gave him a drink of water. The stranger picked him up, cared for his severed leg and put him in the back of his wagon and took him back to his farm. As they went down the road Bosco regained consciousness and was now sitting up in the back of the wagon. He noticed that his face felt real funny and had a very bad smell to it. And that his leg was all bandaged up from the stranger but was in agonizing pain. As they got closer to the farm they saw black smoke rising from where the farm house and his barn should be. When they got to the farm all of the animals were scattered in the field and in the woods, and the house and barn where burning with angry aggressive flames, and would soon collapse to the ground in a pile of cinders and ashes. Bosco was completely shocked over this, wondering how his friends could be so mean to him after all of the great years he provided there grains, and now they made him homeless as well as making him a one legged man. That is to say Bosco would never farm again.
When Bosco spoke to the stranger he noticed that he wore a very fine full length black robe, and his head was covered by a very large hood. When Bosco spoke to the stranger he thanked him, and asked what his name was, and the stranger replied, in a very deep, slow gravelly voice, "I am Mr. Reaper, and I think I can help you". Bosco did not know what that meant but soon fell back to sleep as the stranger turned the wagon around and headed it toward town again.
Bosco finally woke up a few days later, and noticed that he was in a cave with a small fire burning, and there sat across the fire was Mr. Reaper, still in his black robe. As Bosco looked at Mr. Reaper he noticed that all he could see where two fiery red eyes, no face but only those 2 large red dots inside that big black hood. Mr. Reaper offered a glass of water to Bosco and as he stretched his arm over the fire he noticed the robe did not catch on fire and that his long slender fingers where all that stuck out of the cuff of his robe. His fingers where all of bone, with no flesh, and his third finger had a massive ring on it with a skull head in the middle surrounded by large red gleaming stones, Bosco thought to be rubies. When Bosco went to drink his lips felt very funny and the glass did not conform to his mouth and he spilled all of the water. In total shock Bosco went to touch his face and could not believe what he was feeling. It felt like a pumpkin. As he kept touching his face he noticed that he no longer had a protruding nose but just 2 small holes flush to his face. He also noticed that his eyes felt triangular and he had no eye brows or eye lashes. He then rubbed his whole head and he felt no hair and felt no ears. Bosco was now panicking. He started to scream, "What has happened to me", over and over again. Finally Mr. Reaper intervened his screaming and said. "You have been cursed by your town to wear the pumpkin on your head for ever; you are now the Pumpkin Man of Butnot. Bosco finally screamed himself back to sleep.
Some days later Bosco awoke again and found himself still in that cave and Mr. Reaper still sitting there looking at him in that big black robe. Bosco noticed his leg did not hurt anymore and that Mr. Reaper made Bosco a wooden peg for his left leg and mounted it on this severed stump. It is time to raise Bosco, for we have a lot of work ahead of us, said Mr. Reaper. Bosco stood and took his first steps as a peg leg, it was very awkward, but he was comfortable with it
Mr. Reaper told Bosco to follow him, and they started walking deep toward the back of the cave. As they moved deeper and deeper into the cave, Bosco noticed that they were climbing upward very quickly. After a short while they came out of the cave on top of a small mountain that over looked the town of Butnot. There Mr. Reaper explained his plan of revenge on the town of Butnot. He told Bosco that he would remain as the pumpkin man for the rest of his life and to except it and follow him with his revenge plan for the town. Bosco was all too anxious to follow him, after all that has happened. The first thing we must do is build you a house on this mountain top so you can watch the town.
It was now very clear as to whom Mr. Reaper was, he was, The Grim Reaper, out to secure souls for Hell, and to bring the boogie man into all of their life’s, and that suited Bosco just fine. So they built the house and build a hand rope elevator to bring items that they stole from town, to his mountain retreat. Mr. Reaper showed Bosco how to build a night vision telescope from items they stole, so he can watch the town at night beings Bosco no longer had the need to sleep, and could keep his eyes on the town 24 hours a day 365 days a year reassuring the town that he was now their worst nightmare.
Shortly after he finished his house he got uninvited guests showing up. Since he could not have companionship with humans anymore he gladly took in the uninvited guest and gave them names from his old country The first to arrive were the bats and with so many he did not give them names. Then came a pair of rats that he named Guido and Vito. And finally an armadillo he named Joseppie. Then, came the buzzards, not as friends but as his garbage collectors to eat the remains of his slaughter. After some time a witch flew in named, Botzenia, and she came every full moon. She was an elderly woman who was so butt ugly he had a hard time looking at her, but soon remembered he looks no better than her, and they became friends. Then one fall toward Halloween he noticed a black horse, higher up the mountain on a ridge barely visible by all of the trees, with a rider on his back wearing a large black cape with no head, but he had a large pumpkin in his hands and would scream, "I am the headless horseman from Sleepy Hollow", and shake the pumpkin in a distressed, angrily fashion over his head. He would show up every night until Halloween and the he would disappear until next year
As time went by Bosco accepted his new life and soon became the fear of Butnot, with him stealing anything he could from the town’s people at night and lifting it up in his basket to his house, including pigs ,chickens, and goats. He would butcher them on his front porch and let the blood run down toward the town to feed himself and his friends. Soon there was a permanent red stream running off of the mountain side. Butnot soon became known as the, bloody haunted town of the Goom Wa Chee Forest. Every so often at midnight the grim reaper would re appear and stand in front of Bosco’s house on top of the railroad’s timbered portal, and would scream, howl, and curse in his deep whaling, gravelly voice at the town for turning their backs on Bosco, for several minutes at a time. His deep, blood curdling, howling voice put fear in every man woman and child. No one in town felt safe at night in Butnot and would not come out after dark. And the Maddie Rose and the entire town of Butnot suffered greatly in prosperity. Bosco, stole, haunted, cursed, and tormented, the town of Butnot until the winter of 1951,
And then he died.