We always went shopping at the Pathmark on Kirkwood Highway and one of the things I liked to do was wander over to the nearby hobby store called Hobby House, this was located about 1/2 mile away at Midway Shopping Center and was two doors down from Hobby Art. I always figured that the two stores were related but I never really cared about Hobby Art because it was more arts and crafts while Hobby House was trains, slot cars, and other models. Those were the important hobbies anyway.
One of the remarkably different things from today is that it was not unusual for a kid to wander off to another store, much less one 1/2 mile away, and the trip involved crossing the busy and dangerous Limestone Road. This was common and a parent was not thought of as awful for allowing their child to do so at the age of 11 or 12. Even more so was Chris, three years younger would tag along and be in my charge. The times were so different back then.
One of the ways I earned money was by helping people with groceries and the trips to Pathmark offered me an opportunity to do so. Since Hobby House was a bit if a hike it was a bit of a math challenge to calculate the amount of money I earned against the time it would take to walk to Hobby House select a product and return without delaying my mom. I have always been a math person and naturally just took to doing mental math in the moment. As I got older, I also learned to constantly calculate arrival time based upon how far we had to go, the current time, and the speed that we were traveling.
Hobby House was the second best hobby store around, the gold standard was Mitchells on Concord Pike but we just didn't get up there very often. Even so, Hobby House had all of the things a young empire builder wanted. I could buy a freight car for 99 cents. I also bought non-train model kits as well. Some of my favorites were a WWII Landing Ship, a four-plan set of the Blue Angels, the USS Enterprise, Squad 51, and the Batmobile. There was also a time when Chris and I were were into slot cars and Hobby House had lots of those. One thing I always wanted to do was to buy the coveted slot car / model train crossing and combine the two but there was always something else and it never happened.
As far as I can remember we always made it back on time even though I didn't have a watch. I never liked wearing a watch, rings, or necklaces so I got really good at finding clocks around my environs or catching glances of people watches as they we close. Today, since I always have a cell phone I've lost the knack for checking other people's wrist watches.
Hobby House has been gone for decades, Mitchell's is gone from Concord Pike, and I still play with model trains.
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