After the terrible month of March when we were snowbound for either one, or two days out of each week for five weeks straight, and then the bad month of April when the gravel roads went all to pieces, spring finally came. The Illiana Steam and Hobby Club held their Fifth Spring Pop-Off Sunday afternoon and evening, April 24th, at the school at Pine Village, Indiana.
Since many of their families have other hobbies besides steam, the rooms were full of exhibits. There was a whittling display and a fine display of stamps and first-day covers and coins. The exhibits of rocks and fossils were especially good, and the making of rings from rocks was demonstrated.
Old-time tools and early American household articles were exhibited. There were old watch fobs, bells, many threshing pictures, some fine articles in woodworking and many works of handicraft of special interest to the ladies. Charles Dilden brought his phonograph and his many records of locomotive and steam engine sounds.
Carter Dalton of Warren County, Ind., had his wonderful Case model engine all steamed up and running. Since it was such a hot day -- it must have broken all records -- we could keep the big doors open all the time, and the crowd surged back and forth. Fred Hanson of South Bend had his Case model 65 built on a scale of one inch to a foot -- a real work of art. There were many other stationary and toy engines there.
After a delicious supper in the school dining room, served by the Methodist Church, Leonard Mann, president, introduced Gerald Hamilton of Hoopeston, Illinois, who had brought two guests from the Union of South Africa. One of them, Rod Church, has been sent over here by his government for two years to study canning. Since Hoopeston is considered the Sweet Corn Canning City of the World, he came there. Mr. Church, who spoke excellent English, told of the history of his country and explained their problems with the black man. He is a British subject, born in Kimberly. He spent three years in the Royal Navy and was a graduate of the University of Cape town in Electrical Engineering.
Mr. Church's knowledge of his country as to history, resources, climate, agricultural products, etc., was amazing. I wonder how many of us, if we were in a foreign country, could have done as well! The country's problems with their 4 million whites and 10 million blacks are not as easily understood as the newspapers would have us think.
Two accordion students of Mrs. Abner Pence of Kramer gave a fine musical showing.
The grand finale of the evening was the 'Bubbles Concerto' by Eiffel G. Plasterer of Huntington, Indiana. He is a native Hoosier, a university graduate, a well-known teacher of physics and chemistry, a writer of scientific articles, a farmer and a lover of Steam.
He is a scientist who has spent twenty-five years of spare time research on soap film phenomena. While Mrs. Plasterer took care of the musical accompaniment, the Bubble Man put on one of the most fascinating shows ever seen.
The wonderful day was over, and we parted from our old friends and from our new friends made that day and promised to meet them all soon at the coming Reunions.