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Thursday. September 8, 1977 The Daily Tar Heel 5
UNC writer, prof
seeks fresh prose
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Tar Heel Trains carries
remnants of railroad lore
By DEBORAH MOOSE
"This train is bound for glory, this train," according to the Woody Guthrie song.
However, most trains in America today are bound for extinction. Few people can
recall the sound of a distant train whistle at midnight or the puff of steam and
cinders that could darken an afternoon sky.
A small part of the lore of trains lives on in Carrboro at Tar Heel Trains, a store
devoted to the hobby of model trains. The store, which is located in an old train car,
carries all of the paraphernalia necessary to set up a model train in one's own home,
including miniature buildings, bridges and trees. It also handles related items, such
as books on the history of trains and even engineer's hats.
Janice Poe, manager of Tar Heel Trains, said that the smallest size train the store
carries is the N-gauge, and the largest is the 0-27 gauge. The N-gauge trains (or, as
Poe calls them, "coffee table trains") are about one inch high. The more popular O
27 gauge trains are about three times the size of the N-gauge.
Poe said that at one time the store handled antique trains, which are the largest,
model trains, but there was not a great demand for them, so she no longer stocks
them. "But if we don't have something someone wants, we can get it," the manager
said. She also repairs trains and buys used ones.
During the year that the store has been open, business has been steady in the
spring and summer, but as the Christmas season nears, "I can't keep stock," Poe
commented. "In the winter, fathers come in to buy trains for their sons but they're
really getting them for themselves," Poe said. She plans to open branches of Tar
Heel Trains in Raleigh and New Bern later this fall.
There are four working trains set up in the store for customers to operate. They
chug through tiny towns complete with cows, orange trees and gates with flashing
lights. "There used to be a bridge that went up and down, but people liked to make
the train wreck too much, so I had to take, it down," Poe commented. Her favorite
train set is the one she calls the "Soda Pop Special." Each car has the logo of a
different soft drink.
Most of the people who buy model trains at Tar Heel Trains are collectors,
according to Poe. Through her advertisements in hobby magazines she has
attracted collectors from as far away as New Jersey. Some collectors deal in a
particular historical period and only purchase trains that fit that period. Although a
beginner can get a basic set for about $40 to $60, "if he's a collector, there's no limit
to what he will put into the trains," Poe commented. She said that in addition to
enjoying the trains as a hobby, collectors see them as an investment that will
increase in value over the years. Collectors prefer the large 0-27 gauge trains.
Poe recalled that her interest in trains began as a child in a small coal mining town
in Kentucky. "I remember the clickety-clackety sound they made as they went by,"
she said. The manager said that she enjoys selling model trains because she likes to
talk to the people that come into the store. "I want to find out what kind of jobs they
have that would cause them to be interested in model trains," she said.
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Staff photos by Fred Barooui
Located in Carrboro, Tar Heel Trains offers a wide selection of model trains for the
enthusiast. Store Manager Janice Poe, above, takes a paint brush and dusts off one
of the models.
THE Daily Crossword
by Ann D. Rhoades
ACROSS 26 Devilish 50 Remnant
1 Aficionado 30 Signal 51 Italian
5 Silkworm's blockers girlfriend
state 34 Affirms 54 Blind pig
10 Want confidently 59 Thirties
14 Certain 35 Racing symbols of
solo divisions liberation
15 Alpaca's 37 - set 61 Principal
. cousin 38 Camera part 62 Hoofbeat
16 Other, in 39 Seats for sound
Granada judges 63 - Dame
17 Creed men: 40 Divorce 64 Silkworm
suff. capital 65 Crags
18 Thirties 41 Unit 66 Thirties
coiffeur 42 Hockey's coiffeur
20 Late-comers' Sanderson accessory
spot 43 Right-hand 67 Parents
22 JVe page
Carol - 44 Proper DOWN
23 State: abbr. 46 Biased 1 -out of
24 Box-score 48 Greek (abandon)
item valley 2 Bear: Lat.
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1977 by Chicago Tribune-N.Y. News Synd. Inc.
All Rights Reserved
5 Star in
8 Game fish
9 Ms. West
10 "I meant
11 "L' -,c'est
27 Genus of
29 Jazz age
31 Throw out
33 Got up
40 Melted down
42 Dull, to
43 - and file
45 Opens a
49 Is (prob
52 Venus de -
58 Votes in
Shoney's is now open 'til 3 a.m.
Thursday, Friday & Saturday
Free coffee 12 midnight-3 a.m.' with breakfast
For $1 29 You can get . . .
2 Eggs, any style, Grits, Bacon or Sausage
and Toast, whole wheat or white
3 Pancakes with Bacon or Sausage
Cut Me Out
Hot Fudge Cake, Free!
with any combo or dinner, when
you present this coupon.
Good thru Sept. 14
132 W. Franklin St.
By ETTA LEE
Doris Betts' first attempts at writing were
as a pre-school child, dictating poems to her
Although Betts now laughs about those
early works, she believes a child's honesty
and clarity are the ingredients of successful
As she said in a ticvcl. Tall Houses in
Winter, "The author seeks to reawaken the
child in each of us, by replacing us in a
universe where nothing is either trivial or
Betts. who has been with the English
department since I966, is director of UNCs
freshman and sophomore English program
and a creative w riting teacher. Her goal, she
said, is to make students care about the way
they write. Basically, there are two ideas the
writing program tries to convey.
First, students are taught the objective of
prose is not to impress others with flowery
language. "Most students come to Carolina
thinking that teachers only care about
grammar." Betts said. "They've heard they'll
make an F is there are any misspelled words
and so they fill their papers w ith long words
all spelled correctly, but their style is
"You don't dress in a certain way to make
others feel inferior.
"I tell students that good grammar is like
dipping up your pants before a party or not
spitting on the sidewalk. It's a matter of
being civilized. Students need to learn about
being truthful, honest, clear and brief."
Writers also need to rid themselves of
general, abstract words and jargon, she said.
"A favorite freshman word is 'things.' I tell
them if they listed all the 'things' in the
universe we would be here forever.
"Another problem is that students write
like public school principals. They use
undefined terms, passive voice and jargon
and don't say anything."
Passive voice, which she called the favorite
tool of Watergate politicians, is particularly
a problem. "The passive voice assumes no
responsibility. When you say. 'Acts were
committed,' no people are involved.
"When writing is not in the interest of
being exact, it become propaganda."
At the end of this semester, Betts will leave
her post as director of freshman and
sophomore English in order to devote more
time to writing fiction and teaching.
She already has plans to publish a new
novel. It will be set in the West rather than in
Stoneville. the small N.C. town that is the
setting of much of her fiction. "I'm getting
away from the South," she said.
After leaving her post, she would also like
to teach freshman composition classes.
"Freshmen are nice to teach. They are fresh
and they're not cynical. They're responsive."
She wants to convey to students the
importance of written communication. "In
the long run, writing not only affects our
communication of facts, but also , our
understanding of one another."
People can communicate with one
another through facial expression and
touch, but language is needed to describe
issues and feelings. "Without language, we
regress to the level of chimpanzees."
Sltt photo by I C Barbour
Mrs. Betts began writing seriously as a
student at UNC-Greensboro. "When I say I
began writing 'seriously,' I mean I developed
a willingness to revise. It isn't easy to step
back from something you've written and see
it needs changing."
By the time she turned to fiction-writing,
she had written for many publications.
Her fictions works have included
collections of short stories: The Gentle
Insurrection and Beasts of the Southern
Wild, and novels: Tall Houses in Winter and
The Scarlet Thread, both of which won the
Sir Walter Raleigh award for best fiction by
a Carolinian in the years they were
li1 EAST FRANKLIN STREET L
An epk fantasy
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