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Friday, January 27, 2017

Barbara and Tom Versailles Wedding Cake Train Yard

Barb and Tom Versailles - South Tamaqua PA

Last week Lulu and I visiting Richmond - Washington - Hegins - Tamaqua. We like to see as many people as we can. We were only there for 48 hours - and saw so many people. But one that I was looking forward to the most was the home of Barb and Tom Versailles - and their fabulous train yard.

When I was a kid - Tamaqua was a big railroad town. Not only were millions of tons of coal taken out of the area - but many trains passed through town on the way to New York City and Philadelphia. On Christmas - every kid had a train yard. Usually it was just a 4x8 sheet of plywood up on two saw horses - with brick colored paper around the bottom. Others were more ornate - some kids had enough room to leave it up all year. To me - the joy was setting it up and building it. I remember the boxes smelling like an odor one can only replicate today at Harbor Freight. It was intoxicating.

When I heard that Tom and Barb set up a yard for the grandkids - I had to see it. While Lulu was visiting with the Cousins 4 - I sneaked down to South Tamaqua by Leiby's to enjoy a couple hours of friendship. Barbara graduated at THS with me. I recently saw her at the 50th class reunion - a yearly event that she helps plan and manage.

We call it a Florida Room down here in  Florida - but up North it is a closed-in porch. Tom had limited room - so he designed the most clever "wedding cake" layout. It is a series of 5 train yards stacked on top of each other - held together by gravity. Each layer has a different motif. Some are O gauge - others are HO. When Tom fires them all up - it is a roar one never forgets. Everything stays on the track - it is just a Coal Region work of art.

We sat at the kitchen table - had tea and cookies - and just gabbed about our parallel universes. We all love being with the kids and grandkids. We talked about jobs - schools - travels - hobbies.

Tom is a little older than me. He graduated from Marian in 1962. Funny how he looks so much younger. Barbara was always this tiny young lady with the latest and nicest wardrobe one could imagine. Not flirting Tom  - she still has the prettiest blue eyes - and carries herself well - how is that?  I did not know that when Tom was a boy he lived about 10 houses up the Lehigh Street - where the Hotsko Family lives today. Next to the Tamaqua Tulip House.

We visited many more people on this  trip up - but they are separate stories

Five layers of trains
A couple of teenagers in their Florida room

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