I used to walk past Mr. TCA "#3" Redman in the Blue Hall very timidly, as he was, after all, the eldest member (in terms of membership numbers) and was, in my mind, a sort of living legend, to be revered and treated with respect. One meet, I found myself bogged down in the aisle right in front of him, due to carriages, and cropdusters. I tried to avert my gaze, but he smiled at me!!! He actually smiled at me!!! I returned the smile, and stammered some greeting. He was very approachable, and we got into a casual conversation about nothing in particular. I said, gesturing around the huge hall "Well, look what you've done!" and he just chuckled and said "Yes, I suppose you're right...I DID do this, didn't I?" It was the high point of 50 or so meets for me.
Back in the early or mid 90s I had my one and only table at York. I brought a selection of samples of fairly fancy train cabinets to test the market for custom work. ( I had been a cabinetmaker in NYC for about 15 years but was a relatively new train collector) It turns out most train collectors would rather spend their money on trains rather than cabinets to hold them.
But my table happened to be in the same row and just a few tables down from the table of Angela Trotta Thomas who was there with her train prints in what must have been one of her first York meets selling her art. We admired each other's efforts, and she and Bob commissioned the fanciest train cabinet I ever made. I will have to see if I can unearth a photo. Lovely people and Angela has had a wonderful career.
At mid day at my first York, found me wore out, so I parked my keester on a bench outside blue hall. Talking with a fellow TCA member, he explained why the dome cars I saw at purple were so much less $$ than on evil bay.
So I " re-learned" about sellers at ebay and other auctions, who probably are working with shills to jack up the prices. I thanked him and headed over to purple hall to buy those dome cars at $75.00 each instead of $285.00 EACH on evil bay. Yup, you guessed correctly that those cars...ALL FOUR..were gone! Dang nabbit..etc...lol! So...when at York, buy it asap!
A story that reflects the theme of "all the great folks I meet" at York:
Back in the late 1980's, I came out of one of the halls to unload the items I had bought from my aching arms into my truck.
An older fellow was standing next to a VW bus holding a set of jumper cables. Being the astute guy that I am, I said "Need a jump?" and the VW owner said "Ja, if you please, dat vould be great." Turns out he was a member from Germany who would come over every April and October with lots of German and other European trains to sell and trade. I wasn't really interested in Marklin or other brands from Europe, but he did have some really interesting items, as I would later find out.
I jumped his battery, and he offered to pay me. I declined. He said, well, let me buy you dinner tonight. I said "Sure" and later that afternoon we met at a wonderful German restaurant outside of town. He was greeted very warmly by the owner, who was an old friend of his, and the two of them carried on a lengthy conversation in German. (Turns out, he borrowed the VW from the restaurant owner every time he visited, and stayed with his family near York.) My host ordered, and paid for the meal.
I saw him at a few meets in later years, but then he was gone, probably passed away. I knew his name back then, of course, but have forgotten it in the ensuing years. (EDIT: I think it was Henry/Heinrich) It's one of those little stories that means nothing much now, but is a fond memory, none the less.
A sub-category of this topic I forgot to touch on in my previous post is of the "York Magic" variety.
On either my second or third York as a table-holder in Blue Hall, I was enjoying a rare lull in traffic as I watched over both my and my brother's tables (he was out walking around). I glanced across the aisle and spied a very small number of Weaver boxes on top of my neighbor's stacks of boxes containing mostly Atlas, Lionel and MTH rolling stock, and on a whim, I checked them out "just in case." Turns out, they were the remaining 2 custom-run Weaver Apache Powder boxcars I needed to complete my set, and for which I had been actively looking for for several years. And at a bargain price, too! I was so excited, I probably came close to ripping out my pocket as I pulled out my money! Of course, since then, I see these cars everywhere at prices all over the map, but just seeing them out in the wild still brings back that special York memory.
1) My first York, probably about 10 years ago, my wife and I just walked around amazed at the quantity and quality of trains all in one place! We had a Dodge Journey SUV, and the trip home had the back seat folded down and the whole area packed with new trains!
2) About 5 years back, I had my DIY camper van built so we camped at the Fairgrounds for the first time. I decided to bring a train layout that I had built to fit in the "basement area under the floor. On Thursday night, the temperature was about 70, the weather was perfect, so I set up the trains and ran 'em for a few hours... lots of fellow "campers" came over and joined in discussions about trains, DCS, and vans!
ps. on that trip, we met Ed and Judy from Buffalo, and we look forward to each meet so we can spend some time sitting around the campfire talking about lots of different things... and trains too! Since then we've been to Buffalo and they've been to CT on visits!
3) A few Yorks ago, I was walking from one building to another and noticed Marty Fitzhenry sitting on a bench by the old brown hall. I stopped to sit down. Marty looked a bit beat out from the day, but still had that glint in his eyes as we talked bout trains and "things." That quiet little impromptu talk made that trip to York something special!
Your first trip to York is all about trains, but the ongoing trips are all about the people you meet and get to know!
Hoping we can get back to it soon!!!!
I'd settle for a socially distanced, face-masked, hand-sanitized York in October if the Eastern TCA can figure out a way to do it!