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MODEL TRAINS KEEP CHILDHOOD DREAMS ON TRACK: A new study offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of two men who fell in love with model railroading as children and still revel in it 60 years later.

Ian, a 66-year-old businessman with three children and three grandchildren, lives in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Today, most of his leisure activities revolve around model trains.

Ted, a 68-year-old architect, is married with two children and three grandchildren. His love of model railways was spawned from a large train garden his father built him over six decades ago.

The men described spending hours, pouring over documents and studying photographs to create sophisticated historical depictions of specific railroads from the 1890s and the 1950s.

Their achievements include historical replications of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad.

Ted and Ian attend train shows and meets throughout the year. There, they operate their trains and share their expertise with budding enthusiasts and longtime hobbyists. Ian’s strength is in electronics and electrical wiring. Ted shines in woodworking construction.

Today, Ted’s two grandsons accompany him to train shows. "And it makes you feel good," he said, "because then it’s going to be a progression to the next generation coming along."

Regena Stevens-Ratchford reported details of her study online in Activities, Adaptation & Aging on June 18, 2014.



VIDEO GAMES SPICE UP LIFE: Forget the cup of cocoa and a gripping novel, octogenarian Doris Oram’s favourite bedtime ritual is playing video games on her Kindle Fire.

Oram, who lives in Bucklesham Grange in Ipswick (U.K.), has downloaded more than 20 games to the e-reader her daughter bought her as a gift.

The 84-year-old said she’s addicted to game-playing on her Kindle. "It’s a great activity in the evening when you might not have much to do. I find if I have a few minutes to spare and am feeling a bit bored it can help my mind stay sharp," she explains. "At night, I like to just pick it up and have a go."




RESIDENTIAL CARE HOMES LAUDED: The Demos review of residential care in the United Kingdom has called for new style housing for older and disabled adults to be incorporated into city shopping developments, alongside gyms, libraries, medical clinics, nurseries and universities to integrate generations.

But significantly, the year-long commission also reported finding stellar examples of residential care around the world, including De Hogeweyk in the Netherlands and the Whiteley retirement village in Surrey, U.K.

In addition, the report singled out a new retirement community in a rural area of North Yorkshire (U.K.) that has become the hub of village life with a shop, post office, restaurant, hairdresser and a hall used for yoga classes and fairs.



THE MAYTREES: MEDITATION ON LIFE, NATURE AND LOVE: The Maytrees, a novel by Annie Dillard, follows Toby and Lou across their long lives as they marry, divorce and live together again.

Toby is a poet. Lou takes up painting. The couple live a bohemian life among artists and writers at the tip of Cape Cod after World War II. Their lives are nourished by books, the sea, the turning of the seasons and the miracle that is their son, Pete.

After 14 years, the relationship comes to an abrupt end. Just as unexpectedly, it picks up again 20 years later.

This poetic narrative is about the search for what is essential in life and how we view life over the long stretch of a lifetime. Dillard’s prose is profoundly imaginative, weaving scenes of old age of rare beauty and insight. (Editor’s note: This item first appeared in the November/December 2012 issue of AHB).