One Christmas, when I was about 9 or 10 years old, we were visiting my grandparents on the Southside of Chicago. Next door lived my cousins and we stopped in to visit with them.
They had a model train under their Christmas tree. It was a an O guage, I think, with a three rail track. This was the first model train I had ever seen up close. Usually I only saw these kinds of train from a distance, or behind Plexiglas like at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
I kind of lost my mind in the excitement of being so close to such a cool toy. It wasn’t long before I broke their train. I don’t remember how I broke it but I never forgot that and still feel bad about it to this day.
When our oldest son was born in 1996, my wife and I decided that for his first Christmas we would get a model train to put under our Christmas tree and have had one ever since.
We are on our third set (no, I didn’t break the other two, they just don’t make model trains like they used to). And when I get the train set out from under my bed – where it stays the rest of the year – the level of excitement among my three sons reaches near-astronomical heights. When they were younger, I had to ask them several times to move away from the tree so I could put the track together.
But I won’t because I’m still a kid at heart and get just as excited to put the train together as they do!