Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Whose Toy Was It, Anyway?

I asked my brother if he had any particular Christmas memory he could share. He described a train set he received.
When I was a wee lad about 2 or 3 my dad bought an American Flyer train set for me. It ran around an oval shaped track, had no spurs, it just ran in circles. It did have a section of track where one of the cars could go on it and two springs on either side of the armoured car carrier came in contact with raised sides. When you stopped that car on that part of track and if the button was wired to that part of track, you could press the button and the platform on the railroad car would swing to one side because the armoured car was heavy enough that it tilted the ramp and the armoured car would be discharged. There was a coal tender on this train. It was a 4-8-2 configuration with Pennsylvania marking on the side. As I remember, there was a switch. In the off position nothing happened, in the on position the train made a chugging sound like a real train would make. Outside of those two features, it was a model electric train.
He continued the story with this memory from when he was about 5 or 6 years old and told what happened to the train in later years:
Anyhow, this particular Christmas my dad and Grandpa Meinzen got down on the floor and started playing with it. I tried to get involved and was told that THEY were playing with it and when they were done, I could then play with it. I remember feeling hurt somehow by that. After all, it was my train, not theirs. They were grown men. Why were they playing with my train?

I can't recall how long that event took to transpire. I can't remember the exact day it took place. I think it was Christmas Day, but I'm not sure. Why this memory sticks in my mind I don't know.

In subsequent years the train was again put up around the Christmas tree for awhile. Later, it was relegated to a box and put in storage.

Years later, as an adult, I got it out. It still worked but the body of the train was starting to disintegrate and the draw bar on the engine would not pull the train. I tried to glue it back together but more parts broke off.

Eventually, I sold the train to a collector, thus I no longer have it.
Poor kid. I hope they didn't play with it too long.

Do you have a memory of someone else playing with your toy?

Opening image from
Randy Moody's website
Second image from
American Flyer Trains Horizontal Rules

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