Someone once told me that I enjoyed "showing off" my layout. It was just a benign comment in a conversation, but it made me realize that many misunderstand me and my layout. I often use the word "share" when I speak about my projects and layout. I actually don't enjoy layout guests very much anymore, and never really did. I felt a sense of obligation; God blessed me with the opportunity and talent, so I should share it, especially with children, to create good memories. I often had to work hard in getting things ready, like having to clean the water features, getting certain things dusted and lubricated, etc. I also had a few guests become jealous, and even resentful, after seeing the layout. I began to resent the misconception that the layout was merely a function of money, not hard work and perseverance. (In fact, my layout represents a modest and inexpensive group of items.)
No, I wasn't sharing it for my ego. Well, after I realized that most children today have grown up in the age of fancy animatronics and computer gadgets, the layout isn't for them as it was for me when I was a kid. Many kids just don't appreciate it. Sadly, the hobby will die unless the young develop an interest in it. My layout was built to celebrate my parents' love of their children and extended family, and to recapture fond Christmas memories. The layout incorporates many sentimental items from my childhood layout, and animation that I wish I could have done when I was a kid.
When I first started my Web pages, I wanted to communicate with fellow hobbyists, encourage others to build a layout, offer useful advice and projects, and have a presence before the editors of the various hobby magazines. I also wanted to continue to write articles in an effort to promote the hobby and earn a little money, if possible. Some write articles for the notoriety. I don't. I wanted to potentially earn a living with the hobby, in some capacity. However, my approach to the hobby is either before or ahead of its time! I don't have much money to spend, so many of my projects are essentially done on a shoestring budget. I try to make things instead of buying them. The thrifty approach is not only unpopular today, but often frowned upon. I try to solve problems with simple, uncomplicated solutions. Now I can see where a manufacturer wants to sell new and more products; they have to in order to survive. But what I can't appreciate is the attitude that inexpensive projects or things are meaningless, useless, or not deserving of our consideration. Why do some people only value things of a certain monetary value? I absolutely hate when people ask me how much something is worth! That means that they don't understand the layout. The layout is meant to be 'an experience,' not an assemblage of pricey stuff. No, not "look what I did!" Not "see what I had when I was a kid." The guest has all the fun; I have my hands full trying to answer questions, point out certain things, and keep the trains from derailing. I only want others to lose themselves in the layout for a brief moment in time!