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Choo, Choo, Charlie...

Story ID:8032
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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Choo, Choo, Charlie…
By Chuck Dishno

A short time ago, someone, I think it was Fred sent me a video clip on a huge model railroad layout. That got me of thinking of my almost 70 year relationship with model trains.

When I was a lad of about 8 or 9, my parents bought me my first train, a Lionel, O 27. It was a starter set with a few straight pieces and enough curves to make a large oval. It also included a steam engine and a few pieces of rolling stock. Over the next few years I added many accessories such as a coaling station, switches, more box cars and anything else I could afford. When I was about 15, hunting took precedent and I traded my layout for a Marlin 22 rifle. As girls were not yet on the horizon, hunting and fishing were top most on my list. Bly was also a great place to plink gophers and magpies.

I didn’t have any trains for a few years until I got married. In 1960, my first wife, Marge, bought me an HO gauge train set for Christmas. I had told her of my early experience with the hobby and she thought it would be a great gift that we could all participate in. This worked great for a few years but as with all model railroaders, the set began to grow and grow. It wasn’t long before I had miles of track, dozens of switches and a large layout that took over most of the garage. This didn’t seem to be any problem and my kids and I spent many hours there.

A couple of years later, Marge wanted a divorce and took me to divorce court. I don’t know too much about how divorces work now but in those days you had to have a reason such as mental cruelty or infidelity or something like that. To my knowledge I had done nothing wrong so she really didn’t have much to say when the judge asked her the reason for wanting a divorce, Marge said, “He plays with trains.” The judge looked at her and said, “So do I.” In those days, though, the woman usually had the upper hand and the divorce was granted. It took a year before the divorce was final and in the mean time I had met Rosalind. We were married shortly after the divorce was final.

Roz thought what the judge said was funny and started me back in model trains. Of course I still had the entire track and stuff from my first marriage so we began to add more track switches, engines, lots of rolling stock and out buildings.

It has been several years since I had set up a layout but the desire is still there. Being physically handicapped prevents me from perusing my old hobby though. I take comfort in the years that I had in this great hobby and the wonderful love of Roz who made me so happy.

I am sure that someday I will reside in Heaven where my Maker won’t be concerned that “I played with trains.” Perhaps He will say, “So do I., welcome to the Heavenly Club.”