|Dad, my brother Joe and me|
By the time we moved to Des Moines in 1960, a ping pong table in the basement provided the perfect base to set up tracks, buildings, tunnels, people and animals, trees, etc. The trains were not left up year round, so it was like discovering a new toy every time dad set them up.
What I love most about the picture is the sheer joy on my face. My dad worked hard to provide for my mom and my three siblings, so to have him down on the floor playing with us such a treat. I think he got as big a kick out of the train sets as we did, though he certainly must have experienced some moments of sadness each time he put them together.
When my daughter was in 6th grade we attended a literacy night at her school. Her English teacher had a group of parents and students in the cafeteria talking about poetry. He threw out the writing prompt "childhood memory" and gave us five minutes to compose a poem. Here is what I came up with: