From ‘Loomsville’ to Lewiston, twins’ Lego creations part of park benefit


LEWISTON — They are all very personal tales in the history of Loomsville, and twins John and Emma Auer, 13, are getting ready to share them with their Lewiston friends.

One tells about Jim, who rose from the ranks of trash truck driver to become the mayor of Loomsville.

“He sort of made the town more walkable,” Emma Auer said.

Another talks about two women, friends and Broadway actresses, who built their own Victorian village to help hone their skills and stay in character.

The Auer twins have been living the story since they were toddlers, building it brick by brick with Legos and their own imagination.

“We lived in Bloomington, Ind., at the time, and ‘Loomsville’ was a play off of that,” Emma said. “We have a couple of different names.”

Now 13, the twins are bringing their town and their Lego creations to the Lewiston Public Library’s Callahan Hall to share with everyone else. It’s a benefit, “Come Visit LegoLandia,” raising money for the Pettingill School Park, hosted by the Friends of Pettingill.

The LegoLandia event runs for two days, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 30 and 31.

The Friends of Pettingill will be showing “The Lego Movie” in one room while the Auer’s miniature town will be on display in another. They hope Lewiston builders will bring their own Lego creation to show off, and they’ll have a building space as well.

“We thought it might be a good way to get kids involved in the project,” said mother Anne Auer, a member of the Friends of Pettingill. “Kid really love Legos.”

The Friends of Pettingill have been working to turn the empty 2.11 acre lot, once home to Pettingill Elementary, into a neighborhood park. Neighborhood children and families have been using the swingset, blacktop and lawn at the corner of College and Little streets as a park since the school closed in 2008.

Councilors finally agreed to make the lot a park in March, deciding not to subdivide the property to build housing lots. Councilors said the neighbors and supporters must raise the money to develop the park, however.

The group meets monthly and has raised more than $4,000 to design and build the park. Current plans call for grassy areas, playground equipment and walking paths leading up to a central gazebo.

“It’s an important part of the community,” Auer said. “As a mom of two kids, we need to have a place like that to go.”

The family moved to Lewiston a year ago from Bloomington, Indiana — another place known for its winters. Auer said she didn’t want the twins playing video games when they were stuck indoors, so she introduced them to Lego bricks.

“What I liked, watching my kids, was the creativity of it all,” Anne said. “There was a free play aspect, which is awesome. But they are working together on it. They have to compromise. How do you decide where stuff goes? You have to compromise and work together.”

John Auer said their first set was a general collection of parts. They still have it and used it to build their latest creation, a Lego-sized mock-up of the plans for the Pettingill School Park.

“Sometimes you just have the base to start out and the people,” Emma said. “You have to build everything up and just imagine it’s a house with a roof and that you have all the pieces.”

Family and friends saw their fascination and began buying them Lego kits and playsets for birthdays and Christmases — everything from haunted houses to Victorian villages and from trash trucks to VW buses.

Soon the finished models covered every horizontal surface in the family’s living room. One table would become a mall, another a downtown. Floor space between the furniture became airports or lighthouses along the edge of an imaginary sea.

“I didn’t have guests over for years,” Anne said.

When the family relocated to Lewiston in 2013, they loaded the Lego models — completely assembled and intact — into their own boxes and shipped them off. They sat in the family attic until fall, when she brought them out to give the twins something to do.

“It was a hard winter, and they were indoors a lot,” she said. “So they opened the boxes and brought them back out.”

She noticed neighbor kids and friends were fascinated by the collections and had collections of their own.

“We’re hoping the community will help out,” Anne said. “We need bins of loose bricks for free play. We’ll have a table for people to display their own creations. We hope it’s going to be a big community event.”

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