Count your blessings

  • I've often heard parents complain about their child's fascination with trains (real or model). When I hear "I just don't know what to do with him," I always feel compelled to tell them my story.


    I was fascinated by trains since before I can remember; my mother told me that when she asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my 2nd birthday, I replied, " A TRAIN cake!" I got an American Flyer train set for Christmas that year (the child development books said electric trains were more appropriate for 6-year-olds & up, but what did they know?).


    Fast-forward to age 14: we're visiting family while on a vacation, and Mom tells Great-aunt Rosalie that she just doesn't know what to do with me. After all, I'm a high school student, and here I am still reading model train magazines and playing with trains. Aunt Rosalie said, "You ought to thank your lucky stars that that's what he likes to do! If he's not at the dinner table, you know he's up in his room with the trains, not hanging out on some street corner getting into trouble! And he's reading magazines with pictures of trains, not some kind of hootchy-kootchy girls* ! Just count your blessings!" I said, "That's right, Mom! Thanks, Aunt Rosalie!"


    And now I tell everyone, "Don't discourage him! There are worse things he could be doing for a hobby!"


    (This would probably apply to spouses, too, as if your husband is not at the dinner table, you know he's doing something with trains, not having an affair with someone; and if he's a serious model railroader/railfan, he won't have enough disposable income to develop a drug habit).



    *footnote: the first time I told this story to my wife, I quoted Aunt Rosalie as saying "...magazines with pictures of naked women." My wife immediately said, "Oh no, I don't believe your great-great-aunt ever uttered the phrase 'naked women'! She probably said something like 'hootchy-kootchy girls'!" I believe she's right.

  • Scott Olson and terry rothe like this
  • dave flood
    dave flood Since we see "Q" equipment on your Avatar, you couldn't help it. From age 9 'til my 13 birthday, spent at least 1hr/week in an O-1a cab (4976,5061,5102) while they drilled the house track. Didn't quit at 13, but the O-1a's did. That day GP-7 246 took over...  more
    July 8, 2013
  • Joseph Antosiak
    Joseph Antosiak I would have been doing the same thing, as we lived about 2 blocks from the Aurora Division main line... but as a well-brought-up child, I knew not to talk to strangers and not to bother grown-ups while they were working, so it never occurred to me to ask...  more
    July 8, 2013
  • dave flood
    dave flood Resented it bad at the time, raised on a"Q" branch built to main-line standards. No strangers in the Boondocks, everybody knew each other! After GP-7's took over & got older, often rode 24 miles east with them (once in waycar, others on motor), then retur...  more
    July 8, 2013
  • Matt Jackson
    Matt Jackson That sums it up pretty well. I figure If I wasn't "playing with trains" I'd probably be sports car racing.
    July 20, 2013