By now, we're well into the season of steam shows and thresherees, and lots is going on in the world of steam! Many of you have written to Iron Men Album for this issue, and we have some great letters from readers to share.
Here in the office, we have been making some improvements to our website. If you haven't 'visited' us there for awhile, please do so at www.stemgas.com.
Our directory has proven very popular this year, and as we write this column, the books are nearly 'all' as we say in Lancaster County when something is fully depleted!
Just a little housekeeping reminder, before we move onto the letters. If you move, please let us know your change of address as soon as possible. Some people assume that when they move, magazines are automatically forwarded with their first class mail. That is not the case, so if you want to be sure to get all of your issues, you need to let us know before you move!
Another thing that might interest you is the matter of sending us stories and photos by e-mail. We are able to receive your manuscripts by e-mail and welcome your sending them that way. Pictures are not always as sharp when sent to us as digital files, as our printer's scanner generally produces a better reproduction than most home scanners can. And now, on to the mail:
STEVE AND MARGIE HESTON provided this story about Jay Sigafoos at last year's Old Thresher's, in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. 'We surprised Jay one morning with a joke on his Avery engine, there was a banner that read 'Jay Reeves Retrieval Service,' and a sign that said, 'Beware of the Dog,' and a T-shirt and a fire hydrant. The enclosed picture shows Jay with his folks, Chuck and Mary Ann.'
HERBERT BECKEMEYER of Champaign, Illinois sent us several clippings about Casey Jones II, a well-known railroad man and writer of New Athens, Illinois, whose real name is Louis K. Penningroth.
Now 83, Penningroth entered the steam engine hobby at age 11, when he built his first scale model of a steam ten-wheeler. When the late Casey Jones of Illinois Central fame (his hero) got killed, young Penningroth was dubbed 'Casey Jones No. 2.'
GERALD DARR of Toledo, Ohio writes: 'IMA came the other day and I saw many ads for steam engine shows. I wish I could attend the close-by one in Wauseon, Ohio, but it would be so much walking and I have to use a cane in something like that. I have a four-prong cane that I like better than the regular style. I can get by without a cane when going to stores where they have carts I can lean on.
'Some people I have met travel around and go to several shows in their trip. That would be wonderful and I wish I could do that.
'After a rainy spell it has turned very hot. Yesterday's temperature was 90 degrees and today it is 92. You have to water the flowers for them to survive.
'I enjoy reading the ads of all the shows. I read the ad of Amos Rixmann's estate auction. He called me one time.
'We were in Barnesville, Minnesota, the other month, for a reunion of my wife's cousins. There are 35 left out of 54, the grandchildren of the late Christ and Anne Nickloy. I talked to a man in a restaurant who had a cap on with WMSTR on it.
'Keep IMA coming with interesting stories!'
Thank you, everyone, for sending us your news. By the way, this is the beginning of the 56th volume of IMA, and that, certainly, is something to celebrate! Be sure to send us the news of what you see this summer at the many events you'll be attending!
This is our swan song. Beginning with the next issue, we will be passing the stewardship of IMA over to Leslie McDaniel of Ogden Publications. As we write this column, there are still details to be settled, but we expect that IMA, GEM, and our annual Show Directory will become the property of Ogden. Our publications will be joining a family of other fine magazines, including Grit, Capper's, Farm Collector, John Deere Tradition, and Mother Earth News.
By next issue, there will be new phone numbers and addresses for you to use. Ogden's headquarters is in Topeka, Kansas, and the next issue should mail from there.
There is no doubt that we will miss the work we do on IMA, and the many contacts we have with our subscribers, but we feel confident that you will be in good hands and that dear Elmer Ritzman's vision will live on for many years!
Steamcerely, Linda and Gail