Pictures of Charleston Rail

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a book about railroads in Charleston with lots of great photographs would be priceless, right? Well with a little help from the folks here in town, and maybe a few spread further away, that is what I am hoping for. I am working with Arcadia Publishing, coincidentally located … Read more

National Train Show and NMRA Convention 2013

The National Train Show 2013 will be in Atlanta, Georgia next weekend, July 17 to 19. This is the annual train show which goes along with the NMRA, National Model Railroad Association, convention each year. There will be over 35,000 feet of modular train layouts operating plus lots of railroad collectibles, model dealers, clubs, etc… … Read more

The Collector – Exercise #19

First off I would like to apologize to all who read my blog as soon as it comes out. I have discovered that the quickest and easiest way to proofread anything I have written is to just hit the “publish” button. Same probably works with email. As soon as you make the work public you will begin to notice all the small spelling errors, incorrect word choices, and mixtures of tense. I try to go back and correct these as quickly as possible, but those of you who get immediate notice of the posting or are Johnny-on-the-spot and read it as soon as I post it online will get to see all my gory and glorifying errors. Really quite shameful. Especially for an English major. We all know that spellcheckers and other such grammar tools cannot find all little errors. It takes time, it takes reflection on what you wrote, and  it takes rereading with a keen eye and ear. None of that seems to happen until I hit the publish button.

Catherine CollageWell, enough of that apologizing and self flagellation. Today’s exercise, number nineteen of thirty-one, is something that is near and dear to my heart, something that drives those who live with me nuts, for today I am asked to describe, “what do you collect?” That is both a dangerous and a broad subject.  We can start with the fact that I am a collector of all things involving around British cars. Not just the cars themselves you understand, but books about the cars, emblems from the cars, models of the cars, publicity posters, videos of the cars and car races, well I think you get the idea. Basically if I run across almost anything that has to do with old British cars I will collect it and try to find some spot for it in my home or office. The more esoteric the better.

If that’s not enough on the large side, I am also a train and trolley collector. Unfortunately I have no actual prototype real-size trains or trolleys (not that I haven’t tried), so I have to make up for that by collecting the same tonnage in model trains. Next week in fact I will be at the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) convention in Atlanta for four days. My wife is going with me, and boy is she thrilled. And as is inevitable with a collection like this, not only do I collect the model trains and track and scenery and buildings that all go together to create a scene, I also collect the aforementioned books, movies, posters, belt buckles, and anything else you can think of that has to do railroading.

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Early Memories – Exercise #13

Memories, “like the corners of my mind.” Or in my case more like the dusty things that get stuffed under the bed and you find years later and wonder what they heck it are. Our exercise for today, lucky number 13, is “your earliest memory.” That goes along long way back. It makes me wish I done this exercise when I was younger when I may have remembered more.

New Orleans Streetcar from AbitaThe funny thing about memories though is that the further away from the actual events we get, the harder it is to tell if the memory is fact or just something we made up. Or something in between. This doesn’t make it any less true, but it does mean it doesn’t necessarily match any one else’s recollection of the event. In fact sometimes I have memories of dreams that on later inspection I can’t ascertain if they ever really happened at all.

What I would assume is my earliest memory is of walking down a short stretch of road with a teddy bear in my arm while pulling a wagon. We were living in the West Ashley area of Charleston, where I have spent most of my life, but we were moving from a house my parents were renting to one they bought. A move of just a few street numbers – only leapfrogging one house. I must have been about 4 or 5 at the time. Now, did this actually take place? Do I only remember it because my parents told me about it, and I combined it with visions of that street that I had later? No idea. Doesn’t matter. It happened in some way and is firmly anchored in my head. It exists.

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