Spring 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 2012 |

Bridges and Tunnels

Deep into hypnotherapy, I lift my right forefinger, signaling to Rachel, the practitioner, that I want to speak. "Where are you?" she asks. "It's the train table in our basement," I say. "It's huge. Two levels of electric trains." "What are you doing?" "Playing with plastic people. I put them in front of the train that's coming. But I save them." "Who's around you?" "My sisters. They're laughing. It's so funny to put the people on the tracks and rescue them before the train comes. We love playing heroes."   My father devoted much of his free time to model trains. My grandfather, Mom's dad, got him into it. Dziadziu (our derivative of the Polish word for "grandfather," pronounced "jah-joo") built an elaborate layout in his basement, which kept him busy and out of my grandmother's beehived hair. So stunning and magical was the layout, my mother says, that even the mailman or milkman would linger on the stoop of their four-room home on Meetinghouse Road

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