Flora wrote in 1988:
My uncle John Royer was night foreman of the Cincinnati Railroad Terminal Roundhouse. He was able to get me a job wiping the soot off the huge old steam locomotives. I would go to art school from 9:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. and then work in the roundhouse from 5:00 P.M. until 1:00 A.M. It then took me an hour and a half to get from work to my furnished room and to bed by 3:00 A.M. I was always yawning from lack of sleep.
Besides sleep deprivation, the job afflicted Flora with black spots on his lungs. Late in life, he could afford to be nostalgic about the railyard, secure in the knowledge that he could ride through it—and artfully render it—without ever again having to work in it.