In the words of Johnny Cash, I’m the “Daughter of a Railroad Man” (a model railroad man).
For three quarters of a century, my Dad played with trains. A halt sign warning, “Don’t Touch Dem Trains” barred my four siblings and me from his upstairs workshop, where he spent hours alone tinkering with locomotives, boxcars, track and trestles. Despite the prohibition, I wasn’t the slightest bit interested. As the years went by, his train collection swelled, filling the house with locomotives, “rolling stock”, brass, wheels, trucks and track that only he understood.
After my Mom passed away, I could see my Dad’s house fill up with stuff as she was no longer there to stem the incoming tide. For years I’d worried about dealing with the house, wondering how I’d ever sort through it all. When my Dad’s health began to fail at the age of 91, he was no longer able to climb the stairs, so he reluctantly moved into assisted living and later, a nursing home. I felt as if a six floor apartment building had suddenly collapsed in front of me and I stood alone at the base of the pile with a plastic snow shovel. I suppose that’s the problem that all hoarders’ children must face eventually: where to start.
Three years later, here I am, selling my Dad’s collection on eBay and writing about the experience. I left the corporate world where I spent most of my career in human resources to take this sentimental journey on my Dad’s railroad.
Aside from my growing interest in model trains (help me!), I enjoy dancing, gardening, Nordic Walking, and watching ice hockey. I live in New York with my husband, a 90 lb. lab/golden retriever mix, and Henry, the attack cat.