When I was 9 years old my dad lost his job. I was too young at the time to understand what this meant for our family but I'll never forget the look of worry on my parents' faces. It instilled a fear of the unknown within me. After 6 long months of uncertainty, praying, finger crossing and getting together every penny of savings available - my parents purchased a commercial building that was home to a local deli and small, empty retail storefront. The deli was open 7 days a week which meant the whole family was going to be working 7 days a week. My brother and I were no exception. We would come home after school, quickly change our clothes and then we were off to work.
My dad had a huge passion for, and collection of, Lionel trains. The small storefront was the perfect spot for him to open up his very own Lionel Train Store. He became known at the deli for making the best pork roll, egg and cheese but where he truly shined was in his love and expertise for these collectible trains. He knew how to take them apart, paint them, fix them and put them back together like brand new. People came from all over to buy and sell trains for their own collections. I loved watching the excitement on his face when he would meet someone new who shared the same passion. The sheer joy I could hear in my dad's voice every time he got a phone call from someone responding to the "WANTED LIONEL TRAINS" advertisement on the back of his caravan started to pave the way for the future I would one day build for myself.