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Childhood train rolls on down the line
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Childhood train rolls on down the line

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When Ray Palczynski of Bettendorf read our Dec. 13 stories about toys and our request for memories of childhood favorites, he knew instantly what toy meant the most to him: a Lionel train.

His parents purchased it shortly after he was born 60 years ago, and it circled under family Christmas trees throughout his childhood and those of his seven brothers and sisters.

When Palczynski grew up and moved away, he lost touch with the train.

But when his oldest son, Nick, was born in 1986 as the family's first grandchild, the train made its way to the Palczynski home in Bettendorf where it has been running during Christmas time ever since.

And now during this past Christmas, which included visits from children and grandchildren, Palczynski realized it was time to pass on the tradition.

"I called everyone together and announced that after close to 40 years in the Quad-Cities, the train was going to move to a new home," he wrote in an email. "Since we have three children, I asked that the oldest, (Nick) who is going to be the keeper of the set for now, to share it with his siblings (Ben and Sara) and their children as they arrive and get older.

"The joy it brought me to see the kids' happy reactions to learning that the train would go home with them was priceless," Palczynski said. "I know it is only a toy, but it holds 60 years of memories for me. I hope there are 60 more years of run time in it for my grandchildren."


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