Reflections on a Friendship
I only knew Sam for two years, and it was certainly not long enough. He
was a teacher and mentor to me. He helped me to improve my own modeling
skills, provided many wonderful suggestions for my layout, and built
several of the structures that will live there. I can't tell you how
much his friendship meant to me. I'm sure that all who knew him feel
Sam was the first to contact me from the ETE after I announced my
presence on the ETE Yahoo forum. Right off, he invited me to come to an
ETE meeting in Phoenix. In that same e-mail, he told me the small
number of ETE members there were thinking of forming an official
chapter, and asked if would I be interested. I was excited about that.
The thought I might have face-to-face contact with people who shared my
interest in European trains was good news indeed.
When we met Sam, my wife, Karen, and I were impressed by his quiet
friendship. And the stories he had to tell! It seemed he knew just
about everyone. Every time we got together, I got another glimpse
into his fascinating history and accomplishments.
We had common origins in that Sam spent his early childhood about 20
miles from where I grew up in Michigan, ten years apart in time. His
maternal grandmother had lived in my home town, and on a couple of my
trips back there, I photographed for him, the house she had lived in,
as well as his own childhood home. He had wonderful memories of those
days of his youth, and enjoyed sharing them with us.
I am grateful to have had such a friend and teacher. Some of the
best memories I have of Sam are those when we exchanged ideas about the
layout I am constructing. He always had good ideas, but never
forced them on me. He would end his suggestions with "But remember,
it's your layout." Reflecting back on those words, he wasn't quite
right. It started out as my layout, but now it will always be mine and
Tim Johnson, Tucson, Arizona May 2007