My father has always had a passion for trains and books. He often used this icon below his signature; I found this one on the flyleaf of his 1912 edition of "Rhymes of A Rolling Stone" by Robert W. Service.
Here is young Jack with his stepfather who's name he adopted. Dad's biological father died during WWI and never saw his son. My grandmother later married the above gentleman, moved to Northern Ontario where he worked for the railroad, and proceeded to have four more babies, half-siblings for my Dad. And so began his life-long fascination for trains.
Like this locomotive engine...
...or this one on which he took an unintended runaway ride after a session of unsupervised fiddling with the controls, a tale he still loves to tell.
No, this is not the result of his adventure but it is an example of his enthusiasm, even photographing train wrecks.
Dad painted this when he was in his late teens. I love the way he did the smoke by spattering over a mask or stencil which he cut in the appropriate shape.
Here's my Mom, Phyllis, during their early courting days. Evidently she didn't mind sharing Dad's enthusiasm for all things railway. Or maybe she's saying, "You've gotta be kidding!"
And so Dad became an executive in publishing. He never worked for the railroad.
He did indulge his passion with a series of model railways.
This one was set up in his Montreal apartment which was Dad's pied-a-terre while working downtown during the week. I stayed overnight there once while my son was having his tonsils out at the nearby Childrens' Hospital and was treated to a demonstration of a train wreck while trying to sleep on the sofa.
A few years ago I invited Dad to join our local Artist Trading
Card group. I gave him some card stock and some magic markers the night before the trade. Here's what he came up with.
Pretty good for a guy of (then) ninety two. These are copies; his originals were scooped up quickly. Now, at ninety four, Dad is restricted by arthritis and degenerative eye disease and so is unable to attend get-togethers let alone create cards like these. He still has a lot of spirit and sense of humour. So, J.V.D., I dedicate this post to you!