In the early 1960s, my family built a miniature world in the basement.
Tiny people, each with their own story, lived in tiny plastic houses or worked in charming little shops or the local mill. Around and through it all, ran the train. Creating that world and inventing those stories was the work of giants, my mom chief among them. Dabbing glue on her feet, Mom told me how Mrs. Yacky was a nosy gossip as she placed her, peering over the Peterson’s fence. Indeed, Mrs. Peterson did seem to be waving a big tool enthusiastically to the red headed milkman coming up the walk. Mr. Peterson, waiting on the platform at the train station, doffed hat to a mysterious lady in green exposing his glossy black painted hair. The man in the blue jacket in the phone booth might be Clark Kent. The volunteer fire department is fighting the perpetual blaze at the old Hotsville Hotel. Out at the lake, Grandpa Peter, was fishing with a redheaded grandson.
The creation was fun, but once the table top was fully developed, and friends had been introduced to the townspeople and the train had made a few circuits, it was just public transportation….
That Christmas in 1963 an Aurora Model Motoring HO slot car set was under the tree. Soon after, Dad removed the train layout, a slot car raceway was built, and the fun really began!
Now, when the friends came over, racing would break out.
That led to modifying the cars to make them faster, which led to collecting tools and supplies and learning to use them on the basement workbench.
By the age of 9, I was repairing and upgrading my own stable of race cars and organizing race contests.
Being one of those odd kids that took care of my toys I still have my first slot cars today: