Bob O'Neill of our class has volunteered at the MOT for over 50 years - you do the math to figure out when he started! He recently told me he "fell in love" with trains as a very little boy and just never outgrew it. Dave Beardsley has been a devoted volunteer newbie since his retirement too, and they are making great strides in saving, renewing and publicizing the trains held in the Museum's properties. Recently Bob told me they'd received two train cars to use as workshops for their various projects. Earlier in the summer those two great pals helped me move some furniture and I discovered some wood shelving I don't need and can't store. Remembering the new train cars and figuring these narrow shelves would be perfect, I offered the shelving to them & they loved the idea - poof - the shelving disappeared from my life, a good thing. In appreciation for their help that day we agreed they'd give me a tour of their current projects at the MOT and I'd buy lunch. August 22 was one of those days this summer when it seemed like May not August, and it was great to be outdoors. I met Bob and Dave at the MOT and got a great tour of their two new train cars, outfitted with workbenches, tools, storage, toy train parts, the whole works. It's AMAZING what they can take advantage of that others would pitch! The staff was already working hard on the toy train exhibit which will open just after Thanksgiving so I could see some of the "in progress" works. Meantime, Bob had to work the trolley ride for awhile, so Dave & I hopped on and chatted the whole time! Then it was off to lunch at where else than PJ's in Kirkwood...yum. However, I'm still indebted, Bob bought lunch saying he owed Dave a lunch anyway, but that still doesn't get me off the hook does it?
I have a friend who is interested in trains too, so when Bob was telling me about this huge engine and its history and the fact that it's one of the largest locomotive engines ever, I listened. Do I now remember all he told me, well NO, but Dave has a Facebook post that gives a bit of info about Union Pacific and its old, huge locomotives.
Above are Dave and Bob with their huge engine, and there's a canal tender, who knew? It's called a Mule, an electric locomotive which ran alongside the canal locks and which has a winch for towing ships through the restricted spaces; we're never too old to learn are we???
And I'll brag on my son a bit, when he was still in high school Matt automated the MOT's Friends database and early store software in the gift shop. He then supported that software until later technology replaced it. If memory serves, he was working there before he could drive!
THANKS DAVE and BOB for a great day, lots of learning and fun. I am in AWE of the amount of work you do and have done (especially Bob for all these years) to volunteer at this worthwhile Museum and keep the history of trains and training alive. GOOD JOB!
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