The Picture of Death
by Carla Williams
(Boynton Beach, Florida)
April 2002 I visited my mother in Pennsylvania as she was sick with lung cancer. While I was there I decided to go to the what is known as "The Horseshoe Curve". I loved going here as I traveled up the mountain side to see the trains come around the horseshoe curve track and to be in the nature of all things around me, it was so serene.
After coming down from the incline I decided to visit the gift shop to see what kind of things I could take back to Florida for friends and family. Upon shopping around I found a picture of a train titled "The Spirit of Altoona" by Joseph W. Woltcheck. I just had to have it and the price was right. I sadly returned home to Florida tucked away my picture still in the tube in my closet thinking one day to get it framed. Two months later I received a call to return back home to Altoona as my mother took a turn for the worse. My family and I packed up and arrived at her side 2 hours prior to her death.
A year went by and the holidays came upon us, me and my siblings were really not in the festive of moods, as my mother loved Christmas and she always made it so nice for us. That Christmas I received a large gift from my husband and couldn't think of what it could be. He had taken the train picture out of my closet and went and had it beautifully framed. While at the Gallery the gentleman told the story of the picture to Ken. It turns out that Joseph W. Woltcheck had made 1,050 of this same picture.
That's all fine but the kicker of this story is the fact that I had bought number 611. My mother passed away on 6/11/2002, two months after I purchased the picture. This story has been told to many and it never fails to bring chills and a tear.