Hi, welcome back…I hope you enjoyed the 16 part tale from my youth. I know, I know, it seemed a bit long and drawn out and I have to admit that it grew into a tale larger than I expected. But I feel each chapter grew into a standalone story and I just want you, my dear readers, to know that I enjoyed the telling of the tales as much as I hope you enjoyed reading them. I am going to say now that part 16 is not the final part of the story of my friendship with Fish and Fin but it is the final part of this tale. Maybe, possibly, hopefully, one day I will move on and finish the craziness and adventures the three of us had together and the events of our separation and why we have never sought each other out since we called each other by our private names… names one day I may reveal to you.
Today, however; I am pleased to announce that I’ve finally moved on. No, I’m not dead… the renovation project for the Children’s Museum of Virginia where I am an Exhibit Technician and where I work primarily as the Train Technician for the Lancaster Antique Train and Toy Collection is less than a week from completion and I’ve moved out of the Administrative offices and into my new office where I’ll be able to work on, repair and operate toy trains for a living. (DO NOT HATE ME BECAUSE I PLAY WITH TRAINS FOR A LIVING. Matter of fact; don’t hate anyone for what they do for a living. I don’t.)
Over the past two years I have packed up, moved, stored, moved again and unpacked almost 10,000 trains and toys. It has been an amazing and crazy experience. Also, I’ve seen my vision of the future of the Lancaster Antique Train and Toy Collection come to fruition. My design for the train layout, train cases and toy cases are complete. The trains run beautiful on the tracks and the toys and trains look spectacular in the train cases. The kids who visit the museum will now be able to not only see toy trains running but also, they will have the opportunity to operate a toy train, in a limited capacity, but they will still be able to experience the wonder and joy that millions of men and women experienced as youths during the 20th century. And I was a part of that. On my death bed I will hopefully be able to look back at my life and see the ripples of my work in the blueprints of time. That thought, and others actually help me sleep better at night.
We, as a human collective, seem to always be striving to better ourselves, leave an imprint or legacy for others to see when we are gone and mostly forgotten. Some people create artistic masterpieces; some write tales of conflict and woe, others have children which bear their name. I have the distinct honor of being the third Technician to the Lancaster Antique Train and Toy Collection… but… but… this is not about me is it? Nope… I owe my job, my livelihood, my family, my present, past and future to a man I only met once. A man, who when I met him was stuck in a wheel chair, stunk of feces, and was unable to control his saliva glands. A man, who for all intense and purposes had lost his ability to feel a sense of pride and honor in the work he had dedicated his life to and the amazing collection he had taken up as a hobby that spanned more than 25 years of his life and the life of his high school sweetheart. A sweetheart that he married built a life and legacy with, which will affect generations to come and also instill in anyone who takes time out of their lives to experience the effort of their labors a joy and wonderment they themselves felt during their time of collecting and amassing a large collection of American toy history.
Yup, Mildred and Arthur “Junie” Lancaster have found a way to pass on to children of all ages for years to come through toy trains and a desire to pass on the joy they felt when they saw kids of all ages visit their old museum in Bennett’s Creek in Suffolk, Virginia.
Now, the dawn of a new beginning is upon us and I have a front row seat where I will be able to observe the joy and the birth of a passion to all visitors to the new museum. I am truly blessed to be in my position for the rest of my work life.
So, I shall now say something that everyone who visits the Children’s Museum of Virginia and the Lancaster Antique Train and Toy Collection should say:
“Thank you Junie and Milly Lancaster for all you’ve done for the city of Portsmouth and every visitor that graces the doorstep of my place of employment."