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Road to MMR | Articles
Durango & Silverton RR Shots |About Me
Portrait of the railroader as a
young dude. It's me at age 5,
complete with the Lionel train around
the tree. Note the Trainmaster
transformer -- it's still working, and
powering the detection and auto-
reverse circuits on the current layout
Man, you really must have some time on your hands if you've opted to go this deep onto my website. So I won't disappoint you if you're looking for sleep material.
Me in a nutshell: For 13 years I was Creative Director, Vice President, Copywriter, and part-owner of M&H Advertising, in downtown Minneapolis. In April of 2003 the economy forced us to close our doors. I'm now Creative Director and Writer at an ad agency in Minneapolis named J.T. Mega. Previous to M&H I worked as a writer and Creative Supervisor at Campbell-Mithun Advertising in Minneapolis. I have a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, and a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota.
On January 16, 2005, I was awarded Master Model Railroader certificate #346 -- something I'm extremely proud of. The certificates I earned to get it were: Model Railroad Author, Master Builder - Scenery, Master Builder - Cars, Master Builder - Structures, Civil Engineer, Electrical Engineer, and Association Volunteer. I'm currently editing the Thousand Lakes Region's newsletter, "The Fusee," and edited the Twin Cities Division's newsletter, "The Crossing Gate" for three years previous to that.
I got interested in model trains like mostly everyone else: when I got an around-the-tree set at Christmas, way back in 1957. It also got my Dad interested, and, for a while, he had a Lionel layout on a table in the basement of our two-flat in Chicago. When we moved to suburban Melrose Park, he traded in a pile of O-scale stuff and walked out of the hobby store with a single Tyco HO starter set. After buying a guy's layout, my Dad and I (then, about age 10) started setting up an HO empire in our basement. Unfortunately, he never had much of a track plan (or any track plan, for that matter), and never got very far. All the trains were packed away and forgotten.
Fast-forward the clock to 1977. I'd just moved into my first house in South Minneapolis, having decided to stay in town after graduate school at the U of Minnesota. During one of my trips back to my folks' house, I stumbled on a 1964 hardcover book my Dad had gotten along with the stranger's layout, "Scale Model Railroading" by Leslie T. White. I looked through it. The bug struck. The first model I made was a scale reproduction of my house.
A year later I'd built a very crummy layout in the attic, the "BVD" (I called it "the shorts line" Ha ha. The joke got old in about a minute.) Two years and a ton of Model Railroader reading later (current stuff and archival stuff found at the public library -- back to 1960!) I had a brand new, more serious layout, the Bona Vista.
By 1980 the BVrr was well into construction, with several areas of scenery, two-train cab control, a fully working 3-aspect signal system, a bunch of craftsman and scratchbuilt buildings, electronics, and a mess o' freight cars. Then life took the left turn: I got divorced.
That changed things, to say the least. Just around that same time some old friends and I started talking about putting together a rock band. And just about that same time I was getting back into something I loved: songwriting and recording. My interest in the railroad totally waned in light of these new pursuits. I rarely ventured up into the attic again.
I spent the next 9 years recording 5 solo albums (I play all the instruments and do all vocals) in my basement studio, as well as playing in regularly-gigging bands, 10W40 (1980-1986) and Bent Safari (1987-1989).
Most important, I re-married in 1985, to Renay Wallace, whom I met in 10W40 (she played keyboards for 2 of the band's 7 years). She's the best.
And somewhere in there the BVrr's buildings, motive power and rolling stock got packed into boxes, and the layout got dismantled.
In 1989 we moved from South Minneapolis way out to the Southwest corner of the Twin Cities metro area, to a little town of about 2500 named Victoria. While the house was cute, the land was incomparable: 1.12 acres on a small lake, with 240' of lakeshore. But the house had no attic and no basement. And although I had my own "play room," it was totally filled with recording gear, drums and guitars, and computers.
In late 1998 we started thinking about moving, and after spending innumerable weekends looking at houses, realized that we'd never find another piece of property like the one we already owned ("there's no place like home!") so we decided to demolish the old house and build a new one. (You can find the whole pictorial saga on the House pages of this website.) That, coupled with the fact that I was totally burned out after nearly 20 solid years of rock bands ("Fade to Blue," 1991 - 1995, and "House of Saints," 1996-1998), made the time ripe for model railroading.
Again. And that brings you up to... this website.
Hey. HEY! HEY! Wake up! C'mon, wake up. Go back to the BVRR page before I tell you the story of how I...
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|Me, rubbing elbows with the luminaries of the hobby|