By Bob Gray

September 2016

I guess I have always had a hobby of one sort or another.  The picture below was taken when I was about 11 years old.  It is my bedroom when we lived at 420 West Seventh Street, Erie, Pennsylvania.  We moved from this house in the summer before I started junior high at Gridley.  As you can see from the photo, I had a collection of models that included:

·       World War I bi-planes hanging from the ceiling (my favorite),

·       Air and space craft, such as the ill-fated Vanguard rocket and early space station,

·       The United Nations Building,

·       Medieval knights in armor,

·       Cars,

·       Sailing ship,

·       Dinosaur skeletons, and

·       Military vehicles (tanks, trucks, cannons).


On the work bench next to me is a balsa wood airplane with gas powered engine that was one of my major modeling disappointments as I could never get the engine to run long enough to actually fly it.  It met its end about the time we moved out of the house when I put an M80 firecracker in it and through it out my bedroom window.  Given the volume of models present in my room, I must have doing models for several years at that time.

Me at work on one of my early hobbies, c 1958.

My other hobbies from this period included building, pushing and driving a soap box racer (I won’t refer to it as a derby racer as we never entered the official contest) and archery.  My friends, Bummy Dudenheffer and John Kelly, and I built the racer from a set of wheels that my mother must have obtained at a house sale and old crates from the nearby A&P Grocery store.  Our favorite destination was the hill at the foot of Myrtle or Sassafras streets which ended at the fish hatchery after going over some railroad tracks.  This activity usually ended with a broken racer and subsequent repairs.  The Bayfront Parkway now resides where the railroad tracks used to be, so now it isn’t possible to do what we did back in the 1950s.

Hobbies I have had later in life, in addition to my genealogy and family history endeavors, include:

Indications are that I have passed on the hobby gene as the picture of my grandson below demonstrates his interest in building models which is where I started.

My grandson hard at work building a Lego model, July 2017.

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