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Country Echoes

By MAE BABER R. D. 2, Brandon, Wisconsin

Most all of us, I am sure, have some cherished memory from childhood which one can no more separate from one's self than your own personality.

When I was a child we went often to visit an aunt and uncle. The aunt was my father's only sister. As my mother's relatives lived at a distance Uncle Jim and Aunt Maggie were quite special in my life. Aunt Maggie made the most delicious sugar cookies my young mouth ever watered for. She often served these on a white milk glass plate with open-work edges. Now and then, percheda top the plates beauty was an elegant round layer cake. Through all the intervening years from then until now I have searched for a plate like that one that is until Mount Pleasant had its reunion, and we attended. Walking through the building where many antiques were on display and some for sale I spied my plate one day. I couldn't believe my eyes but here it was! 'Is it for sale?' I asked timidly. In a few moments it was mine. Perhaps it is not a perfect duplicate but near enough to satisfy me entirely. As I examined it the saleslady explained it was not a reproduction and I found it to be true as the marks of the knife cutting cake had left small cuts.

After twenty-six years of family togetherness Alfred and I are on our second honeymoon. Only once before, nineteen years ago, did we have a short trip together. To find this plate too, is just an extra bonus of happiness happiness mixed with smoke and whistles and friendliness and, of course, pop-off valves. This is Mount Pleasant. WHUPS a Wood Brother's almost ran over me. Perhaps I am too absorbed about the little pink pig family I just bought for seventeen-year-old Ginny. She likes everything pink, so why not pink china pigs from Iowa?

Mount Pleasant has some very interesting permanent displays and there will be more added from year to year. There are the old-time depot and the old-time school house.

On display in the large building they have constructed there, I found some interesting displays. Warren Holland of 500 W. Monroe in Mount Pleasant had an arrow head collection of about 1000 pieces. He has some duplicates, he told me, and will gladly exchange with other collectors. The doll display kept me very interested for an hour or more. For you ladies with old china doll heads hidden away in your attic here is an opportunity. On display was one brown-eyed china doll head on which the price was $150.00. These are very rare, Alice Lesley explained to me. When this head is put onto a body and dressed in her very special way it would retail for around $800.00. Mrs. Lesley runs a Doll Hospital in Peoria, Illinois. That is all the address you will need if you wish to contact her. She went on to say that the hair-dos are important on these china doll heads. They are named according to their hair-dos. The names she mentioned are Edith, Bertha, Mabel and Helen.

The spinning wheel which was actually in operation was also so intriguing. Mrs. Frank E. Munson, in a pretty old-fashioned blue dress and bonnet was busy at work. Her daughter told me this story. When Mrs. Munson's parents came over from Germany her father was in the habit of wearing socks knit and spun by his wife. Mrs. Burky did not let her husband down and spun the wool and knit his socks. So it was that Mrs. Munson, who was then a child, watched her mother, Mrs. Fred Burky spinning. Years passed and Mrs. Munson came to the reunion. She saw an idle spinning wheel on display and commented that she thought she could run one, and as a consequence Mount Pleasant has a rare exhibit there. She has been on television and is often in demand to execute this interesting and forgotten art

Now for the engines and a little whistle talk.

Mr. William Sater surely does an excellent job of being president of the Steam Club there. I believe he has an Avery and it was really something to look at. I became acquainted with Mrs. Sater during a meal in the Presbyterian Tent one day and enjoyed her company very much. The food was good, you hard working Presbyterians.

We were both fascinated by a peppy little engine built in two years by Edgar E. Lineman of Glasgow, Missouri. It stands 22 inches high and is 29 inches long. The weight is 116 pounds. It carries 120 pounds of steam pressure. In the parade it pulled two coaster wagons, one holding Mr. Lineman and the other a child.

The sawmill was often in operation When we were watching, a Reeves engine was furnishing the power. L. A. Hansen of Rolfe, Iowa was the owner of that one. The huge sawmill was operated and owned by Harold and Gerald Sears of Adair, Illinois. Those gentlemen surely knew their business.

One amazing whistle was taken from an ocean liner that was torpedoed in World War I. The action of the piston varies the size of the tone chamber and produces sounds very similar to a steam calliope. This whistle was made by George E. Whitney of Manchester, New Hampshire, a man who is now 97 years of age. Mr. Whitney's great, great grandfather was a brother of Eli Whitney, so I was informed.

Another interesting whistle was on a Buffalo-Springfield Roller Owner, F. L. Williams, Box 42, Cordova, Illinois. This gentleman owns eight engines.

The last one to catch our interest was a whistle which works on bearings, the spinning of the bearings produce variations of tone. It was on a A. W. Stevens engine owned by A. J. Good ban of York, Nebraska. The operators were John Forney of Belwood and Eddie Hubertus of Utica, Nebraska. We had such a nice chat with these men. It was with some regret that we left the grounds but we had other places to go. The room we had in a private home was entirely adequate and an especially nice thing to find was an open Bible on the table in our room. How nice it was to have no alcoholic beverages on the grounds. It also is well to have strictly sober men handling anything as dangerous as steam pressure and power. As we drove down town I commented on how I wanted a drink of good cold water. We found a station announcing ICE COLD WATER. We stopped, mentioned where we had been and how dry we were. The man remarked, 'Yeh, you can't even get any beer out there, thanks to the Methodists.' I promptly replied, 'Hooray for the Methodists,' and so we were homeward bound.

On Sunday we visited some relatives we hadn't seen for two years and then on toward home. At Madison we lost our way and somehow couldn't get out of town. We inquired but no luck so finally got our bearings by the moon and the capital dome. Was the moon to the right or to the left of the dome, my husband kept asking. I kept looking and hoping I was right, for keeping left from right has always been my weak point. After feeing in orbit for some time we again breathed country air and found ourselves back on familiar ground. Really, I think the second honeymoon has great possibilities for happiness. Try it some time.