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Hobbyist Is on the Right Track

July 22, 1986|SHIRLEY MARLOW

--A 60-year-old Illinois man just may have found the ultimate toy for adults who never wanted to grow up--antique railroad cars. "It's every little boy's dream," said William Lathom, who recently spent $24,000 for five auctioned railroad cars, including an antique steam-powered locomotive. That brings his total to 25 train cars. "Originally, the idea was to buy a caboose, drive it out to the country and put it in my son's backyard, but it soon got out of hand," said Lathom, owner of a tool-shop business. He said he plans to start a club where antique train enthusiasts can help tinker with his cars and a museum in his native Rockford, Ill. Once the cars are running, he will offer rides to the public. Lathom has named his train line "The Soochoo Train," because most of his cars have come from the Soo Line Railroad.

--If laughter is indeed the best medicine, then Snoopy, Zonker and Popeye are doing their part for medical science. About 70 cartoonists, including Garry Trudeau of "Doonesbury" and Charles Schulz of "Peanuts," have donated original strips to the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center in New Haven, Conn., to decorate patient rooms and treatment areas. "I hope it will brighten up somebody's life, give them a little lift or maybe a laugh," said George Wildman, who donated a large color drawing of Popeye after his wife, Trudy, was successfully treated for throat cancer at New Haven hospitals. After a call for original strips for the center went out with the help of Mel Casson, creator of "Boomer," a deluge began. Schulz sent in a strip of Snoopy getting ready for a long chat with Woodstock. Trudeau donated a piece from the adventures of Zonker and his Uncle Duke, who is being berated for spilling a beer into a patient on the operating table.

--A university student on Java could stand it only so long--15 hours and 25 seconds to be exact--and unofficially broke the Guinness Book of Records mark for standing rigidly still. Sunardi, 20, outlasted 102 other participants in the city of Semarang and claimed the record, formerly 13 hours, set by Willie Nugent of England last year. Contestants had to stand still without eating, drinking or relieving themselves, a spokesman said.

--Evangelist Billy Graham announced that he has been invited to China and said he will accept the invitation sometime in the future, but not to conduct his usual crusade. "I think to limit my ministry on that first trip to universities and the Academy of Sciences to explain Christianity, and not to preach it," Graham said at the end of a conference for evangelists in Amsterdam.

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