Revisiting Old Memories, Making New Ones

J.Hooligan enjoying the season at Holiday Junction.

J.Hooligan enjoying the season at Holiday Junction.

J.Hooligan has to be the holliest-jolliest fifteen-year-old boy ever. At an age when you’d expect a guy to be sullen and unwilling to be seen in public with his family, J. enthusiastically joins me, Mom, and Diamondqueen for any Christmas-y outing we come up with. The day after Thanksgiving he tagged along to the Milford Christmas walk. Last Saturday we all went over to the Behringer-Crawford Museum for their toy train exhibit (as well as other features at the museum), and today we ventured to the Cincinnati Museum Center for their train display.

I’m the first to admit I wasn’t happy when Duke Energy (formerly CG&E) moved their traditional train display from their downtown lobby to the Museum Center. Seeing the trains from both inside and outside the lobby of the grand old building was a yearly event, along with munching on light bulb-shaped cookies. (I don’t know if they always provided such snacks, but I definitely remember having them at least once.)

Of course, the train display was part of a “grand circuit” downtown in the grand auld times. There was the Shillito’s Santaland, the decorated Carew Tower arcade, Fountain Square (a must even in the pre-ice rink days), and a terrific animated display in the lobby of the Provident Bank building that ended with a candy cane for everybody.

Those are the sources of some of my best holiday memories. J.Hooligan, it turns out, has his own and, even at fifteen, treasures them dearly. From the moment we stepped into the bustling Union Terminal, J. started reminiscing fondly. None of us has been to Museum Center in a long time now; whereas, as J. pointed out, Diamondqueen seemed to take him there “on a bi-monthly basis.” As we made the long trek through the history displays toward Holiday Junction, J. glowed as he greeted familiar sites and even stopped to play with some of the child-centric activities, such as running little wooden flat boats along a false Ohio River by hand.

J.Hooligan reliving his childhood at Museum Center.

J.Hooligan reliving his childhood at Museum Center.

He commented that it’s wonderful to have treasured memories to look back on, and I have to agree with him there. And I was just as nostalgic at fifteen as J. is now, so it doesn’t surprise me he already has a beloved memory lane he enjoys meandering along. Knowing how changeable teenagers can be, I know full well a year from now he might have moved on, more interested in the now than in the past and no longer open to spending time with two old lady relatives and his mother. (Note that S.Hooligan doesn’t figure into this account. She won’t be caught dead with us any more, anywhere. The waitress at Silverton Cafe today even asked, “Where’s the girl?” We’ve heard this at the Harper’s Point Dewey’s as well. S.Hooligan has cut a wide swath of making her presence known publicly through the years. Her absence is apparent in many situations.)

For now, though, I treasure J.Hooligan’s enthusiasm and his desire to share his memories with us. I doubt he realizes he’s building up more treasures in my vault of special recollections.

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