Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Train Show

In my recent grappling with current events types of things, the events seem to be getting the better of me with more and more ease, so I am going to step back from them for a few days. I also realized I hadn't done any pictures for a while for this page, and I had a good series lying near to hand of the most limited general interest, but that I still liked, so I figured I would put them up.

These go all the way back to Thanksgiving--being behind is one of my trademarks--and as I wrote about either last year or the year before when I went to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, the local model train society always has a display of their goods on the Saturday of that holiday weekend in a defunct station in the neighborhood. The last time we went I was not armed with a camera, but the case was different on this occasion.

My family lives for the most part in Cheltenham/Abington/Elkins Park, Pa. Last weekend the New York Times wedding page featured a bride from Elkins Park, which was described as "a Philadelphia suburb of historic stone houses and artistic families" where the bride "learned the art of composure". This is not entirely a lie, I suppose, except for the bit about composure, which doesn't make any sense, but it is not any way I would ever have thought to describe it. It certainly does not give an accurate flavor of the area as a whole. This is a good reminder to me of just how exaggerated most stories exalting the kinds of people the NYT approves of probably are. These are the kinds of people are geniuses at writing resumes, and this kind of thing is nothing more than an extension of the type of resume which a person inhibited by any sense of modesty or realism about the quality of his accomplishments would not be able to put forth with a straight face. But I digress. This area, though a crowded suburb, is an old suburb, and has pretty trees and some dignified architecture, as well as a light which especially in autumn and winter I have always felt to possess what the food experts call perfect amplitude. Below is the view of the old Ogontz Station from the bottom of a hill.

Son Oscar looking like a recognizably thinking being in the parking lot before the show.

The approach to the station. The trains still run past all day long, they just don't stop here anymore, so while the station is forlorn, it is still surrounded by industry and vital beauty.

Another view of the same, more wires and sky, which are the kinds of things I have spent a good many hours of my life gazing and pondering upon, so that the image is always a powerful one to me, appears in dreams, and so forth.

Inside the show. The model landscapes are taken after iconic Pennsylvanian features and scenes. Rugged mining and industrial towns, mountains, tunnels, massive ironwork bridges far above the ground, lots of railroads, mini cities a la Philadelphia/Bethlehem/Scranton that have rather pinched, dowdy, down at heels airs about them.

Amusement park, 1950s era.

This is supposed to be 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, I think. I don't know whether there was ever a parking lot like that in front of it (there is an expressway where that parking lot would be now).

A lot of people used to work for the railroads in Pennsylvania, among other lost occupations, and passed their lives among such scenes as this.


Well, I have my first post ever that has generated as many as five comments. Of course none of them are real comments, but we have to start somewhere. Reading over that old post I am struck that it is pretty awkardly, even unlikeably written in places, though the sentiments are more or less what I wanted to say. I am the kind of person who needs to do ten or fifteen revisions and rewrites minimum of everything before I submit to the press, which doesn't make me a good fit for the blogging medium, or, I suppose, most of what comes under the heading of professional or advanced amateur writing; even though all the experts exhort you to revise, revise, revise, I don't think they expect you to need 20 revisions to report accurately on where you went on vacation, or what your general impression of a book was.

No comments: