In the Beginning
The Village of Make Believe began for my family long before I was born, way back in the late 1800s with great-grandparents. From my earliest recollections there were trains under the Christmas tree, not only at my house, but at my grandparents' home, and at the homes of cousins, aunt's and uncles. And then, there were the seasonal visits to firehouses and armouries—Standard Gauge, O-Gauge, even HO—Christmas Gardens galore.
My parents and I would help Santa by laying the track, securing the building lights, setting up the Christmas tree in the middle and stringing the lights; still it was Santa who created the magic, each year adding a new accessory or railroad car. When I stopped believing, I got to help create the magic. However, it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized that it was love that made the magic—love of the delight in the eyes of a child, love of the illusion created, but most importantly, the love of sharing in the present, memories past.
his Christmas was no different, except now my children have their own children to delight with their own versions of the Village of Make Believe and I now have the luxury of taking my time to create (this year over fifty hours). Those pieces that I had as a child, my dad’s, my granddad’s, as well as mine, are now my grand-children’s. As the Village of Make Believe over the years has given me a love of both classic trains and model railroading, so it has happened with my children and their children.
Each year when the Village is finally completed and all the lights are turned on I am once again awed by the magic. The finished layout never ends up as I first envisioned it. That, of course, is part of the adventure when it comes to creating the Village of Make Believe.
Two words guide me as I set things in place, “illusion,” and “whimsy,” for this is what I hope to create. Unfortunately, unlike Santa I cannot put a finger to my nose and have it all fall to into place in the twinkling of an eye. I begin with a mental idea of how I would like the village and hills to fit into the allotted space. Although the Village is never the same from year to year, there are two constants that dictate the overall plan; one a tradition, the other for simplicity: As far back as I can remember, there has never been a Village without a Christmas tree placed somewhere within it.
And thus, the Village of Make Believe, a tradition of over 100 years, continues