I was an aficionado of HO model trains as a kid. I continued that horrendous fixation with 1/78th scale worlds long into my extended juvenile immaturity (I was an unmarried teacher of middle school students until 1995.) Even after I was married, my wife allowed me, to a very limited degree, to continue to be a train man.
I spent a good deal of time over the years building building plastic model kits of buildings, painting and repainting plaster model buildings, and collecting engines, rolling stock, and trackside details. Painting little 1/78th scale people is definitely an exercise for steady hands and a zen-like, highly focused mind.
But that all reached an impasse when we moved to the Dallas area. I had to tear down my train layout, box up my trains, and put everything on hold until I had another place to build and create my HO model-train world. So, while it was all boxed up and transported to first, a house that we rented from my brother-in-law, and then a house that we bought, it got shifted around and stacked inappropriately, and grandma put some really heavy items on top to crush and mangle my treasures. It also spent a night outside in the rain when my brother-in-law’s water heater had to be replaced in the garage where everything was stored. I was not a happy camper for a while.
Now, a decade later, I am still taking the tiny items and trying to glue the pieces back together. I have basically given up trying to get the trains to run again. But I can use the bits and pieces of Toonerville to make pictures like these. It makes the art-parts of my psyche and soul a little happier.
Old number 99 had to have the front part where the headlamp is located reattached and restored. It gave me something to do this weekend while I was down with a bad back and breathing difficulties. It would be neat to put the train table back together and get things set up once again, but there is no space, and no unlimited funds, and less and less time. So for now, the train man comes back to me to rebuild in photographs and in my imagination.