Toy Trains and Pencil Sharpeners

My dad always brought us gifts when he’d return from being overseas, as well as for our birthdays and Christmas. Some of the ones he gave me that stand out in my memory as “best loved” gifts are a wind-up bulldozer (dad recently told me he had always wanted a toy bulldozer but never got one, and he took great pleasure in getting me that one), a friction-powered tow truck, a big gas station/garage made of sheet metal (insert tab A into slot B – I "kind of" remember how frustrated dad got assembling that thing) that had a crank-up elevator to lift toy cars to the roof parking lot, and a Marx H.O. gauge toy train set. The latter is undoubtedly one of the sparks that ignited my life-long interest in trains.

I still have a metal pencil sharpener that he brought back to me from a tour of duty in Japan; although it’s worn and stained and the paint is chipped and it’s missing a few pieces like the slide out shavings drawer and the vacuum cup and the lever to operate it to make it adhere to a surface. But the sharpener still works!

- another excerpt from my autobiography

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