He joined the Central Michigan Model Railroad Club at 16. A wunderkind who became the club’s treasurer.
He’s also a bit of a jokester.
“I still live in my childhood home,” David says. “I just kicked my parents out.”
David is the first one in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, and usually the last one to turn out the lights. The club meets in a second story loft in downtown Jackson, Mich. The hours come from the club’s old location at the local mall. It used to be they’d meet on Mondays and Fridays, but David says they started using Wednesday as a “work day.”
Though “work” is always code for “social.”
“It’s more social than anything. This is my social club,” David says.
Gene is 85 years old. He’s been seriously collecting trains for more than 55 years. It all started with a $5 set during the Depression.
He served two tours of duty in World War II and in the Korean War.
“When I got home from the service, I started collecting more.”
Since then, he’s been a bit of everything: pest control, fencing (as in fences), antiques.
He’s been with the Central Michigan Model Railroad Club since the beginning, in the 1960s. It’s the tradition – the idea of keeping these old trains alive – that keeps him interested. He likes the G-gauge trains: “The big ones.”
His set is full of moving parts, like a talking car wash, and a tornado that spins around on an old record player.