Archive for April 25th, 2012

April 25, 2012

“Even though I didn’t know it, we were as poor as a church mouse,” Pop Pop said as I was pulling his toy train off of the shelf.  It was a little dusty and the bottle cap wheels had began to rust, but the toy still looked the way it did 80 years ago.  “I was fascinated with the first train I remember seeing- I was probably 4 or 5 years old.  I wanted one but Santa Claus couldn’t afford one,” he said as he shot me a smile.  My grandfather told me before that his Christmas mornings usually consisted of an orange, a handful of nuts and one new toy.  “So, with no hopes of getting a train, I made one myself.”  Check out the bottle caps he used for wheels!

When he was about 13, his dad (Fred) had a good oyster season.  “That Christmas morning, I was surprised to find a train that Santa left.  It was a windup, spring driven one because we didn’t have electricity out in my area until I came out of the service.”  He still has the box it came in…

“Airplanes also fascinated me.  In the 30′s someone gave me a Pan Am flying boat (pictured right).  They flew over the Pacific and took passengers to Hawaii.”  My grandfather said that it was rare to see a plane fly overhead in the country, so when he did spot one he was in complete awe.  “Then I decided to make my own airplanes.  Tissue paper airplane kits cost about 5 cents so I used wood until I got older.  It was about 1939, and with the war coming on I could have my own battles.”  He said that it usually took a couple days to make his wooden airplanes.  He painted them red and scribbled ‘Wetipquin Maryland’ across the wingspan. :)

He used to fly them into forts he said, so the wooden ones always lasted longer.  Below are a bunch of toys he made- including a wooden king he carved. :) Even Hitler’s 109 Messerschmitt couldn’t defeat the Wetipquin Squadron… :)

When he was sixteen and with the war was creeping up, he made a submarine.  He still represented his hometown. :)  These toys are so special because they didn’t have money back then to buy toys and he had to use his imagination come up with entertainment.  Soon I’ll show and tell you about his Charlie McCarthy doll he made and how he finally got a real one. :)