I have to say that growing up in the 60s was the best experience for this young farm lad.
I look back on Christmas with great fondness. I remember my dad enjoying this time of year. He did a lot to make Christmas time fun and special. I remember checking the mail box for the Holy Grail of all catalogs. Of course, it was the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalog.
My brother, Ed, and I shared the same room. That catalog headed straight to our room. You think sugarplums danced in our heads? I don’t think so.
It was the toys. Boy, did Sears and Roebuck have the list! They had Tonka toys, earth movers, graders and cranes. They were so cool! They also had bikes, lots of bikes: 5 speed, Sting Rays, 3 speed 26” Schwinn, the big red ones. Cool. But, no, none of those would do.
Looking through the whole toy section, I found the Godfather of all toys — the Lionel. Oh my God! The Santa Fe 3-engine Super Chief with a Pullman car and three passenger cars, too!
Wow, what a train set! If someone could drool over a toy, that was it. I remember my brother and me setting up in our beds looking at the catalog for hours. We would talk about building a train layout with several trains, and a train yard with working switches. And having Lionel train crossings with working lights and bells, as well as working docking cars that unloaded their cargo.
When we were told to turn out the lights, we got under the covers and would take a flashlight and look at the catalog until we got in trouble again. I remember those times as a kid with so much great joy!
We had a very good childhood. We grew up on a farm and didn’t have much, but we really didn’t realize it. Our parents made the best out of what we had. Our dad was a big kid during Christmas. Once he even nicely wrapped up a corn cob with an electric cord stuck in one end. And he and my sister had a contest for who could find the most little outhouses to give each other. You never knew what you might get from him.
There are so many good stories to tell. I would not change anything from my childhood!
A few years ago, I decided to build my childhood dream that my brother and I had planned. I hate the fact that my brother passed last January. He knew what I was doing. But, he never got to see the finished layout. This story is in honor of my
brother, Ed. Love you and miss you.
Loren Pool is a retired Delaware County deputy sheriff.