I wasn't the first train in Jonathon's life. The first was Stacky. He came in bits and Jonathon had to `Stack him together'. Stacky had a piece of string attached and Jonathon would pull him round everywhere he went ... through the house ... across the lawn and down the gravel driveway. Where ever Jonathon went, Stacky went too! Whenever Stacky went over large rocks, down steps or not quite making it round corners, Stacky would become "unstacked" and Jonathon would have to stack him up again over and over again!
After awhile Stacky became unpopular because Joey, a kid at school, had a Wooden Train set and it didn't require `stacking' or to be pulled around. It had it's own tracks and could be pushed around by hand. Jonathon wanted a wooden train set bad! he pulled out a loose tooth and stuck it under his pillow and asked the Tooth Fairy for a Wooden train set just like Joey's but it didn't arrrive. He wrote to Santa at the North Pole too, but it didn't come. A school mate told him that Saint Eucla, the Protector of Eucalyptus Trees, would surely put in a good word for him if he prayed. HE DIDN'T listen either!!!
Then came his birthday and with it came me ... Woody the Wooden Train! Jonathon was thrilled! I wasn't as flash as Joey's train set, but Jonathon didn't mind at all! I had a circle wooden track and had a little mate, trailing behind.Jonathon would push us round, and round, and round the track day after day! Meanwhile poor old Stacky sulked in the Toy Box, but I didn't care ... I got all of Jonathon's attention now!
I was the last Wooden train at the Toy Shop and the Wind-up Trains said I would never find a home! The Battery trains always made fun of me too. The Electric trains said I was as thick as two planks and would never have a home of my own! They were all wrong!
Jonathon loved me and spent hours playing with me. Jonathon painted me different colours, in fact I never knew what colour I'd wear from one day to the next! Could be red, white, blue or black or a combination of them all! Even old Stacky found the constant colour changes amusing! However, Jonathon's Mother did not! There was paint on his clothes, the carpet, his bedspread, even his pillow! Mother was NOT amused! She made this quite clear, and often! en his pillow!
Jonathon got the bright idea to join Old Stacky and I together with a piece of string and pulled us around. First inside his bedroom, then in the lounge room and finally outside! Old Stacky was delighted! Clemmo the Engine Driver was excited too! I was quite nervous because it was the first time I'd been off the safety of the tracks, let alone outside! And it was so dirty and dusty! I'd never been subjected to such dirt and grime in all my life! But Jonathon enjoyed playing with his old friend Stacky and I didn't mind tagging along for Old Stacky's sake. Before too long though, Jonathon tired of this and Old Stacky was returned to the Toy Box.
One day when Jonathon was walking home from school an elderly gentleman told him that if he were to help him shift some rubbish he would pay him for his effort. First though he had to get his parent's permission. Jonathon ran off and was thinking about all the things he could buy all the way way home. He told his mother about the job offer. His Mother knew the Elderly gentleman and gave her permission, provided Jonathon did a good job. There would be no doubt that he would do a good job because Jonathon realised that if he did perhaps other people would ask him to do chores for them too! And he could buy more things for his train set!!!
He was correct! Other people did seek his help and they paid him too! Before too long he had quite a sum of money saved and he knew what he wanted to purchase too!
Buildings, bridges, a little town complete with animals, people and trees! And a castle too! Even a Log Cabin where he'd pretend he was taking a holiday! Before long I was pulling new carriages and wagons; going through tunnels; over bridges; into towns and cities and most exciting of all, I went into a Castle!
Now as I sped along there were people standing by the track waving at me; signals would say "GO" or "Stop", and cows, dogs and other animals would watch me go by! Clemmo the Driver was so proud that we had trouble shutting him up! He would rave on and on about how he drove into a town, a city and especially the Castle! There were only a couple of carriages and five wagons, but as Clemmo told it you'd believe there were hundreds! Five wagons became fifty overnight! Two carriages became twenty. One town became a whole city with suburbs! Clemmo certainly understood the power of exageration! But the other Toys loved his yarns and ignored his exagerations. "Why let truth get in the way of a good story", said Old Stacky!
However, the enlarged train set got Jonathon into trouble! His mother complained about objects left in his pockets that she had to remove prior to washing. Pieces were left over the floor for
people to trample and trip over. Some were left on the window ledge. Some were caught up in his bedding and would fly out at his mother when she made his bed.
One day he came home from school and standing in the centre of his bedroom stood a large table! It had drawers and everything! Clemmo said it was for us so we wouldn't get our wheels dusty from the floor. I guess he was right!
We soon found ourselves wizzing around within the confines of the table. Jonathon got a lecture about "keeping his room tidy" and that "We don't run a Pig Sty, you know!" Clemmo reckoned we were too dusty and it was our fault we now had to stay on the table! We certainly had more room on the floor but the Table saved Jonathon from getting into trouble about the "Mess" in his bedroom!
The lid of the Table was modified so that it would open up and become a "table top". It had two fold up legs. This meant Jonathon could extend the track area.
He installed a special overpass which raised the level from the old table level to the "table top". It was real fun going up and over and then over and down! Jonathon would make a sound like a racing car as he pushed me, going faster and faster. Sometimes he would get a bit carried away with his enthusiasm for speed and knock objects over with his hand. This would frighten Clemmo! He didn't much care for things that fell around him at high speed. Especially in front of him! Jonathon would cause a sudden stop, reposition the objects and then we would be off again at break neck speed! A little too much for the likes of Clemmo! He'd complain all night long about Jonathon's lack of consideration toward him. Afterall, he'd moan, "I don't have any brakes and any accident is down to him and certainly NOT my driving"!
One day Brian Mac paid the family a visit. He heard the sound of a racing car coming from Jonathon's bedroom and took a look. His eyes lit up when he saw the train set! Brian is quite an authority on trains, especially Signalling and could not help giving Jonathon the benefit of his knowledge and experience. In fact he soon had the track laid out according to regulations.
Something Jonathon never thought necessary in a Home set but Brian liked things "according to the Book". "Why bother with a crummy Wooden set?"
He asked. "Why not a Wind-up or an Electric set?"
As it happened Jonathon had been offered an old Wind-up set by a friend at school. The lad had recently acquired an Electric set and no longer had need for the Wind-up.
It was then that those of the Wooden set had their worst dreams come true! Jonathon acquired the Wind-up Set!! We soon found ourselves bundled up and ceremoniously dumped inside the Toy Box!
Thank you very much, Brian Mac!!!
We could hear the noise of that confounded Wind-up Engine going round and round in circles day after day, hour after hour.
To make matters worse, Jonathon used some of the Wooden set for scenery!! Clemmo was angry with Jonathon for running an Engine without a Driver! One day Wind-up came to a halt and Jonathon
attempted to wind him up when the main spring broke! Jonathon was extreemly upset!
He took Wind-up to Mr Jacko the local repairman. "Broken in two pieces, I'm afraid! Nothing I can do to fix it! Common with this particular model! Sorry!!"
A couple of days later the Wooden set was reassembled! We were ever so happy! Even Clemmo forgave Jonathon about the driverless Engine! However, Jonathon never seemed to get over the disappointment of that broken Wind-up Engine.
We heard him ask his parents about an Electric Set. "We'll see!" Was his answer.
It was approaching Christmas and Jonathon had high hopes of an Electric Set in his Christmas Stocking. We were hoping he never got one, of course!
Christmas day arrived and Jonathon opened a large package and inside was an Electric "Thomas the Tank Engine"! And his rotten friends!!!
The Wooden Set were devasted! This would surely spell the end of us!
Many months had now passed and we were used to being ignored, and having to put up with the whirring drone of Thomas' Engine. Then one day it all stopped! Accompanied by a dreadful odour and a "OH NO!" from Jonathon.
"Sorry, The Power transformer has blown ... and has taken the Engine Motor with it." said Mr Jacko.
We had never seen or heard Jonathon cry before and it was terrible to see him so hurt at the loss of Thomas. We all figured Jonathon would give up trains forever. We seemed to be correct too
because many months went by before Jonathon even bothered to look inside the Toy Box. However I must say it was wonderful to see Thomas and his friends thrown inside the Toy box though. One thing Jonathon never did to us was to throw us!
He always took great care!
Jonathon was told to "tidy up his bedroom" and whilst doing so he happened on his Toy Box. He looked inside and took me out, dusted me off, and sat staring at me for quite awhile.
I was wondering what this was all about when he suddenly got up, put me inside "our Table", then
gathered all the Wooden Set and reassembled us to our former glory! The smile on Jonathons face as he ran us over the tracks was wonderful to see! He had not smiled like that for a very long time!
"They can keep their fancy Wind-ups! And their fancy Tank Engines! I'm sticking with these ... no main spring to break ... no stupid transformer or Motor to blow up ... nothing ... nothing at all! And I don't care what they say either!
We were often put on display for young children to see and even adults enjoyed pushing us around
over the Tracks. We were appreciated for what we were; objects of pleasure to gladden the heart and fire the imagination! We are a Wooden Train Set ... and proud of it!