My story is pretty simple, really. When I was a kid my buddy's grandfather had a pinball machine in his basement and we'd play it whenever we visited. I had only seen pinball machines in arcades and gamerooms at campgrounds and hotels when we were on vacation, so I thought two things about the one in my buddy's grandfather's basement: 1. It was super cool, and 2. Someday I was going to have a pinball mahine of my own in MY basement gameroom.
Fast-forward about 20 years, and I finally had my own house with a gameroom - ya know, air hockey, a pool table, video games, etc., but it wasn't complete. It needed a pinball machine. As it turned out, my basement game room/family room somehow ended up with a nautical/lighthouse theme, so when I stubled upon my Gilligan's Island machine I knew I had to have it.
Of course I was naive at the time, and I knew nothing about pinball machines. Fortunately my "new" GI pin was a solid working platform, but beyond that it wasn't nearly as "clean" as it was advertised to be. It had issues like they all do, I guess, but that worked to my advantage as I learned a lot while tackling minor repairs and ultimately with the guidance of a true pinhead friend, a major restoration and LED upgrade that made the machine better than new.
Shortly thereafter, a friend who had a childhood fondness for the Haunted House machine - but no place to keep one because he was renovating his house - asked me if I'd split the cost of a HH with him and keep it at my house until he was ready to buy out my half of the machine and take it home. I jumped at the offer to have a second pinball machine in my gameroom, and while the machine is still in my house my buddy has already bought out my half and will be taking the machine home in the spring.
While all this was going on I became much more educated in all things pinball. I'm not an expert by any means, but I know a heck of a lot more now than I knew then. So now I'm shopping for another machine to replace the HH, and if I sell the GI I'll have the cash to buy something even nicer than I was originally planning. I really enjoyed shopping the GI though, so I'm thinking maybe a working project machine might be the way to go. Time will tell...