A Next-door Neighbor and his Favorite Joke

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Milepost 1282


Through the years, we all collect cars. locos and other model railroad things that have a special meaning to us.  This is the case with this Deep Rock tank car.  It was a car that ran on the model railroad of our neighbor, Andy Bartok, when I was growing up.

The car itself is plastic but has several features that one seldom finds in today’s offerings.  Note that the wheels and trucks are metal.  And note also that the trucks are actually sprung.  The lettering itself is kind of faint and not as sharp as what one sees on today’s models.  I did change out the couplers when I got the model; I don’t remember what was on it prior to that.  When Andy & his wife moved to California, he sold the house and the layout.  The new owner knew that I liked trains so offered me a few pieces.

Now Andy was quite the modeler himself.  He was an electrician at the local steel mill so you would NEVER find a short circuit on his pike.  His layout filled a spare room that was probably in the range of 15×15 and for a kid like me, was quite a sight to see.  It seems he was always fussing & fiddling with his locos and rolling stock and all were top-notch performers.  While I was too young at the time to help him much, an annual Christmas must was to get Andy “something for the layout.”  I’m sure it was well appreciated and he was sure to point out where these new items went the next time we visited.

Anyway, Andy had a favorite joke that he always liked to tell newcomers to his railroad.  It seems that there were these two drunks wandering down the streets of new York one evening and, one of them, not paying attention, happened to go down the stairs to a local subway station.  His buddy didn’t even notice that he was gone until he saw him coming up the stairs on the other side of the entrance.  “Where you been?” the one slurred to the other.  “Well, I don’t really know…” the other one slurred back.  “But I think I was down in some guy’s basement… and you should see his train layout!”  With that, Andy would share his infectious laugh.  He was quite the guy.




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