The first Christmas I really remember was when I was about 3 years old (maybe even 2). I have no real recollection of what I got – probably dolls or stuffed animals or something girlie. But oh how I remember that my brother Alan got a geniune Lionel train set. It mesmerized me.
Dad had set it up under the tree and it just went around and around and around, all day long. I lusted after those trains. I wanted those trains. I wanted to sit on the floor and play with the boys and get my chubby little hands on those controls. This may be the first signs of my growing up to be an adventurous free spirit or a control freak. (Take your pick).
Whenever no one was looking, I’d sidle over to the tree. Inch by inch I’d creep, wanting, lusting. Never quite making it to the tree much less the controls. Dad would bark out – “Stay away from that! That’s for your brothers. It’s a boy’s toy!”
I’d make a pouty face and cross my arms over my chest and sulk.
Mom would try to offer me toys or candy but I wasn’t interested.
My cousin Tommy taunted me. “It’s not for girls. It’s not for girls. It’s not for girls! Nanananananana!” If I’d have been bigger he would have experienced some slap down. No kidding.
So, I sat on the stairs and watched the boys play with the train forever and ever and ever. Never once getting the chance to touch the controls. Wishing I could be a boy for just one day so I could run that darn train. I think I actually fell asleep on the stairs watching that train. At least that’s how my memory remembers it.
For many years after that the train set became a tradition for many Christmases – somehow it went from a gift to an extension of our Christmas decorations. And I don’t specifically recall when, but at some point it went to the trainyard in the sky – because suddenly it just wasn’t there.
It was probably around the time we stopped having live Christmas trees because Mom started lusting after fake ones in hues of pink and turquoise.
And though there have been oh so many Christmases since then, I never forgot the gleaming, shiney, coolest of cool trains roaring along its track under my first Christmas tree.