Thursday, January 6, 2022

A Few Words About Wordless Wednesday #380 - Christmas 1982/Birthday 2022

Hi all and Happy New Year from the Valley Local!  Here's hoping you and yours are safe, healthy, and happy despite all the current craziness.

Doing fine here, all things considered. Just not getting enough layout time lately (though who really does?). But all due to good things - lots of cool activities kept us busy in December, along with visiting family in South Carolina over the holiday, and even getting to celebrate my birthday with them - albeit a bit early.

Which leads me to today's post...

Since posting this photo last week, I've received a few comments and questions about it. So here's the rest of the story...starting during Christmas, 1982. . .

That was our first Christmas in Connecticut, after having moved up from West Virginia. I was 13 years old and got my first computer that morning - a Timex Sinclair 1000. And my kid brother Jeff - having turned 8 years old the previous summer - got a Campbell's Soup Train set by Life-Like.

I was quite a history buff even then and my great-grandmother was spending the holiday with us. The train set prompted recollections of my great-grandfather's (and great-great-grandfather's) career(s) on the railroad and I found the combination of family history and modeling pretty compelling. Suffice it to say, the computer faded into the background as my dad & I "helped" Jeff with his train set. And when he lost interest in it, I quickly adopted it.

The following days and weeks saw my dad and I searching out all the local toy stores and hobby shops (remember them?) for additional track and equipment. I even remember picking up my first copy of Model Railroader (January, 1983 issue - Whit Towers' Alturas & Lone Pine on the cover). I still have that magazine. Seeing all the fantastic modeling showed me what could be done with that train set - and I was thoroughly hooked.

As you might have noticed . . .

Fast forward 39 years to Christmas, 2021.

The only thing left of that old train set is the power pack which I use (perhaps appropriately) to power the Christmas layout I display every year. The engine & cars were long since traded off, sold, or upgraded to newer, better equipment. We only spent that one Christmas in the house with my first layout (Atlas' "Super Pretzel"), but the hobby survived moving, college, marriage, law school, and career.

On the last night of our visit with my folks, just a couple days after Christmas, we celebrated my birthday a little early and I got one big present from my mom & dad. As you may have already guessed, it was the Campbell's Soup Train set you see in the photo which my dad found on eBay. After I opened it - and the initial shock wore off, and the significance soaked in, I joked that this gift might just spark a life-long hobby.

Heh - it certainly did.

Thanks mom & dad for my very own train set - and thanks to my kid brother for letting me take adopt his almost four decades ago.

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