“I joke that that’s what would happen if any of us decided to ski,” said White, who shares a two-bedroom apartment with his wife and a cat named Jenny. “There would need to be an ambulance ready to pick us up.”
White’s holiday-themed model railroad layout and other community events bring Christmas cheer to the residents of Pickersgill and their family members, according to Jim Strom, Pickersgill’s marketing director.
Over the next week, residents will continue to decorate artificial Christmas trees set up on each floor of the independent living residence building and compete in a holiday cookie bake-off.
Meanwhile, the Pickersgill Grill, the center’s cafeteria, is decked out with tinsel, ornaments and other Christmas décor.
“We do what we can to make the holidays special for people,” Strom said.
“It’s adorable,” Boggs said. “It’s a wonderful attempt to bring the past with them when they came here. He’s a very generous man.”
The Towson man said his affection for model trains started as a child when, in the 1930’s, his father, C. McCrea White, would fill a bedroom in the family’s Pennsylvania home with a holiday train garden, White said, adding that the senior White gave up the tradition during World War II, when Americans were asked to turn in their metal objects for the war effort.
However, White restarted the tradition when his brother-in-law gave him his first model train in the early 1960’s as gift, he said, adding that he has kept it up since, though the garden he builds at Pickersgill is slightly smaller than the one he built in Glen Arm.
White downsized his train collection when he moved to Pickersgill due to having less space. The “Pickersgill Local” makes its way around an oval of track perched on small table in the couple’s living room.
Though he hasn’t purchased any new trains recently, White said he enjoys flipping through model railroad catalogs and thinking of the possibilities.