The Missus and I (full disclosure - mostly the Missus) came up with a fun project to do for Advent this year: We'd bake Christmas cookies for our neighbors. We were already acquainted with our neighbors on both sides of us, having weathered some pretty severe snowstorms - and even a couple of hurricanes - together. But we haven't been much more than acquaintances, so we thought it'd be nice to get to know them a little better. And what better way than with cookies - and what better time than at Christmas?
Well, what I learned about one of my neighbors came as quite an embarrassing shock.
After knocking on the door and being invited in (we were bringing cookies, after all), the conversation went a little like this:
Neighbor: So, do you live in that house full time? I hardly see you over there - except on Thursday nights when there's a LOT of people there.
Me: Yup - we live there, but we're gone a lot for work. And we have volunteers over on Thursday nights to work on our photo archive.
Neighbor: Photo archive?
Me: Yup - a bunch of us volunteer for the New Haven Railroad Historical Society and catalog photographs from their collection. We've done over 11,000 images so far.
Neighbor: That's very neat - you know, I work on the railroad.
Me: Really?? What do you do?
Neighbor: Well, it's mostly desk work nowadays - I'm about ready to retire - but I used be in operations.
Me: Really??! That's so cool! Were you in engine service? MOW? ???
Neighbor: Tower operator mostly. In fact, I was the last tower operator at Old Saybrook.
Me: (passed out)
I couldn't believe my ears. Here I've been, researching Old Saybrook operations, building an operable model board for Saybrook tower, and am about ready to build a model of the tower itself for pete's sake, and the guy next door to me worked there - and was the last guy to do so before it closed forever.
Suffice it to say, I'll certainly be getting to know this particular neighbor very, very well in the coming months.
So get out and meet your neighbors - don't pass up opportunities to meet new people, especially the older ones. Otherwise, you'll never know how much knowledge they have to share - or how helpful they can be for your modeling!