Trains and First Christmas – 12 days of xmas #1

 

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.

WC

13 thoughts on “Trains and First Christmas – 12 days of xmas #1

  1. WC – Nice memories from a girly view. I was the boy and got to take control of the transformer. Remember that electric oily smell? The whistle sounded real and you could put some smoking pills in the smoke stack. What kind of disorder to grown men have who still collect and play with trains. It’s not a good thing.

    Thanks, that’s high praise coming from a boy. 😉 I don’t remember the smoking thing – but maybe there was some sort of steam coming out of the smoke stack. And it’s no disorder, it’s luck…men never have to really grow up I’ve noticed. Good for them and boo hoo for us. 😉
    WC

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  2. yeah the one downside to dad, he just couldn’t get over the boy/girl toys syndrome. I remember (two) distinct X-Mas’s when i asked for a “boy’s” toy. 1st was around the age of 5 or 6 i wanted a dump truck sooooo bad, but dad/mom just REFUSED to believe i could want such a toy, but (you won’t even believe who came through for me) Aunt Agnes bought me a green truck with a white (dumper?) i played with that thing for a very very long time, I LOVED it. The second time around the age of 10, my cousins (John & Steve) had gotten a remote control race car (w/track) set and i would play with theirs for hours, but DAD just couldn’t get himself to buy me a “boys” toy, so i think that was the year I got the entire “baby alive” set…..Oh well…….

    l/y
    FC

    LOL! the baby alive set. Oh my what scary memories you have conjured up. Dad really did have that boy/girl gender appropriate toys thing, huh? Well it didn’t work cuz not one of us liked dolls or that girlie stuff. LOL.
    l/y
    WC

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  3. Oh- how I luv Trains!!! My dad had 2 sets of trains! They entertained my for many many yrs. And they weren’t this cheap crappy plastic trains either—–They were Heavy, U could kill someone with one Engine! Ouch!
    8)

    You’re right, those suckers were heavy! LOL – I never thought of thunking my brother on the head to get them away from him. Just as well I guess, I kind of liked having a brother. 😉
    WC

    BTW, I’m having trouble leaving comments on your blog – and Fuzz’s wouldn’t let me either. Could be a blogspot issue?

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  4. I pick “adventurous free spirit.” I think I’m one of the two as well, and this one sounds so much nicer. 😉

    I always wanted a remote control car when I was little, and every single Christmas I’d ask for one, and every single year my brother got one (who never even wanted one in the first place), but I never did. My grandparents thought it was a “boy toy,” so I always go dolls and something sickeningly pink.

    One of my friend’s dad’s loves trains. She said some of her earliest childhood memeries are of sittinng for hours while her dad watched the trains go by.

    Most everyone else in town gets upset when they have to wait for a train to go pass, but her dad would go on “train hunts” looking for them. I do like the sound of trains, though.

    -Kelsey

    Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt, Kelsey – I like adventurous free spirit better too. 😉

    LOL! I guess we were all a bunch of tomboys at heart, eh? I wonder if women writers are all like that as children, lusting for the more exciting toys made for boys. LMAO at the sickeningly pink comment – don’t I know it!
    WC

    PS: My dad loved boats. He would often go down to the harbor just to watch them.

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  5. Trains.
    Ahhh, trains…wonderful trains.
    I had a Lionel myself.
    Actually wrote about it on the way to Boston a while back but I’ve yet to post it.
    At South Station they have a really nice miniature train set up.
    I try and get there early so I can watch it for a few minutes. My eyes and heart fill with the wonder of my long gone seven year old self.
    This was a nice post, Annie, a bit sad in a way but real nice. Thanks for bringing this old-time love of mine into a different light. I hope you get a train for some distant Christmas.
    Add more coal, the train is leaving.
    You’ve seen the Polar Express?
    I pray you have.
    God knows, you have the spirit.
    ~m

    Funny, I had a feeling you would relate to this post Mikey. I think all boys loved their trains when they were kids. Some still do. 😉

    I’m a little surprised you found the post a bit sad – as the memory isn’t at all. I was actually more pissed than anything, lol. You no me, I take no prisoners. You know, I should just go out and buy myself a train. I could actually make one very old dream come true that way, eh?

    Nope, haven’t seen Polar Express. I should check it out.

    Love ya bro!
    Annie

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  6. Wonderful story about your lusting after trains. You had the brothers to taunt you and make the Lionel train all that much more a coveted item.

    The only train set that comes to mind for me was a train set at my uncle’s house. Now that I think about it, I just realized that it must have been my uncle’s train! Because their only child, my cousin, was a girl who was four years older than me. Anyway, their basement contained a very large painted wooden table with little people, houses and buildings. And around the track went the Lionel train. These trains were such a phenomenon, creating their own little universe.

    ~ PG

    Oh yeah I did – and taunting puts it mildly – they were positively reveling as only little boys can. 😉

    LOL! So your uncle was a closet train man, eh? Too cute. Did he wear a little hat? I always wanted a conductor’s hat too. Now you see, this is getting me thinking. hehe
    WC

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  7. WC,

    I could see putting most women writers under the label “adventurous and free spirited,” so maybe it is a “writer thing” to be tomboys at heart.

    I was always jealous of the boys’ toys while growing up. Even their plastic “Happy Meal” toys were better. Girl toys seemed stupid, frilly and pink. Trains and cars would have been so much better. 😉

    -Kelsey

    I’m with you Kelsey – I think boys toys are just more sturdy because the manufacturers know they have to stand up to punishment, girl’s toys are flimsy and sometimes oh so stupid. And even as a little one I wanted the cool stuff – not the sissy stuff. hehe
    WC

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  8. Actually, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a “Tom” boy, I liked the dolls & crap, it’s just that there was some (let say decidedly “male”) toys i wanted alongside the “girly” ones!! (hehehe)

    I was an equal opportunity child!! (hehehe)

    l/y
    FC

    No? Too bad, being a tomboy is loads of fun. 😉
    WC

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  9. I had the best collection of matchbox cars on the block 🙂 I don’t really remember too many christmas’ from when I was little. I do however remember what was apparently my very first one, well a x-mas party we went to anyway! I was only 9 months old. I got a toy iron and santa came on a fire truck..mum can verify!
    Great story..
    Kelly
    p.s did you ever get a train set later in your life? If not, WHY NOT??!

    LOL – no I never did get my own train set. Perhaps I just enjoy the memory of the lusting for one. Sometimes what we don’t get has more significance for us than what we do get.
    WC

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  10. The picture of you at 3 with pouty face and arms crossed is priceless! Makes me want to go out and get you a train set right now 😉

    So, if I cross my arms over my chest and pout, you’ll buy me things? Ooooh, let me think what do I want….? 😉
    WC

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  11. I always got to play with the train sets, the car sets, the transformers, He-Man and all. My brother was too young to manage all those things and he needed my help!

    You lucky girl. My brother was older than me – so I couldn’t pull the age card. 😉
    WC

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  12. I could have written this! I had the exact same experience. One Christmas, my older brother got a spectacular set of Lionel HO-Gauge trains which occupied a huge table in our basement. It had two transformers, which I was not allowed to touch, and mountains and houses and trees and an entire city laid out on that table, But Not For Me.

    Yes, it was “A Boy’s Toy.” I lusted for a chance at that train set but my brother, puffed up with his importance as The Boy, never allowed me near it.

    I still feel a mix of delight and heartbreak when I see trains in a store window, as I did the other day. I went in to see if they were for sale, but they were just Christmas decorations. I watched them for a very long time.

    OMG a sister in train banning! I’m so glad you found me. I loved ‘The Boy’ – lol. I could watch the trains for hours too – something so magical about them, eh? Like maybe just maybe if you shrunk yourself down small enough you would discover a tiny Cary Grant on that train, rehearsing another Alfred Hitchcock thriller. hehe

    Loved your meme on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Very funny!

    WC

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