I’m taking a break from the usual dating stories this week. I wanted to tell the story of when my sister and I went to the biggest toy train show on the east coast to sell off our collection of antiques. I loved writing this almost as much as I loved spending a few days with my sister. Her birthday is next week so this is my gift to her. Happy Birthday, Jan!
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this ever, but my parents have passed away. Lost Mom four years ago, and Dad two years ago. My father was a huge toy train collector. His collection was brilliant. I’d say it was even nicer than the collection at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
But since Dad has passed, we’re stuck with all of these sets of trains that we don’t know what to do with. We kept the sets that had intrinsic value to us, but we’re going to sell the rest. What am I going to do with a bunch of toy trains? My daughter Lorelei isn’t interested in them, and neither am I. It was my father’s thing. It was fun running the trains around the tree at Christmas when I was a kid, but once we got our toys, we didn’t touch them again.
I have three sisters. Janice, April, and Gabrielle. Jan is 18 months older than me, April is 4 years younger, and Gabbie is 8 years younger. So Janice has been the Matriarch of the family for several years. She’s a school teacher, and is very organized. She’s the type of person that if shit’s going down, she’ll hold it all together for everybody and be fully prepared. Like, if there was a zombie insurrection, she’d have all the weapons, the transportation, the place we’re going to hide mapped out, and she’d even bring sandwiches in case anybody got hungry from killing the undead all morning.
She’s really that good.
Janice goes to our house at the shore. She packs up 31 sets of antique trains. There are many more sets, but these are just the antique trains. (The really old ones) She brings a price guide and finds the current value of each set and prices it into a range where we could sell them based on their value and condition. I will just say, all of my dad’s stuff is nice. He never bought any “rats” as he called them. Rats are beat up old trains that are not in good shape. Like comic book collectors, most people want stuff that’s really nice.
She asks me if I can go with her to the biggest train show on the east coast to try to sell some of the trains. I leap at the opportunity. She knows I have mad selling skills and will blow out as many sets as possible, and we’ll make a nice chunk of change. Plus, with someone else there with her, it just makes the day better.
Many years ago, Janice would go to York with my father. My Uncle would go with them as well. It was like a big party. They’d get a table and buy and sell trains. My dad and my uncle loved toy trains. Janice loved my dad and was instrumental in helping him acquire some of his collection. I never went to York until this final trip. I had no reason to. I would have been bored out of my mind, and besides, I had zero interest in toy trains. (However, I loved my late Uncle. He was my dad’s brother and was one of the coolest, funniest, and smartest men I’ve ever met.)
The show runs for 3 days. A friend of the family and fellow train collector, hooked us up with three tables, so we can fit a load of trains on them at the show. Janice has thought of everything. She wraps all of the trains in paper and packs them into big plastic containers for easy transport. Her husband loaded it all into his SUV and even included a hand truck so it would be easy to roll all the boxes into the hall when we got to the fairgrounds in York.
Janice lives an hour or so away from me in New Jersey. The SUV was packed the night before. She wants to be in York by 9:00am. She leaves her place around 6am and then drives up to Philly and picks me up at 7:00am. So she’s already been up for hours by the time she reaches my place.
She texts me that she hit a bunch of morning traffic coming up Route 42 in Jersey. This adds another 25 minutes to her trip, but the show doesn’t start until 10am. We’ve got some wiggle room. By the time she gets to my place it’s 7:30. Her vehicle is packed with so much stuff I have to jam my suitcase behind my seat. There was literally nowhere else to stick it.
I’m happy to see her. Janice lets me know that we can stop anytime I need to and she has snacks. (Prepared for my usual travel anxiety!) I tell her I’m all good, and off we go to York!
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