Sec.-Treas., N. T. A., Inc. Alvordton, Ohio.
Report of the Tenth Annual Reunion of the National Threshers Association, Inc., held at the Williams County Fair Grounds, Montpelier, Ohio, June 24, 25, and 26, 1954
Once again it is my pleasure and duty to report the highlights of an N. T. A. Reunion, this time the 10th since LeRoy held his first little gathering on the farm in 1945. Many things have happened since that time--new friends have been made, cherished old one have passed away, but interest in steam power and all that pertains to it has increased; in fact we believe that it is the fastest-growing hobby in the land today, as evidenced by the last issue of THE IRON-MEN ALBUM, in which sixteen such gatherings were announced. As the tempo of modern life is stepped up, safety valves in the way of hobbies or recreation seem to be necessary, and at the moment I can think of nothing which more quickly supply that need than running, restoring or even just admiring one of those old monsters in action.
That we are not alone in that belief is apparently confirmed by the attendance at our recently held Reunion, at which it was estimated that 25,000 persons were present. Since admittance was to members only, and hundreds had obtained membership cards long before the Reunion opened, accounting of attendance was difficult. Also this year we used several buildings not used last year, two of them at the north end of the grounds, which naturally scattered the crowd and made for less crowding at any one point. When we have had time to record the membership figures, we shall be glad to present some figures of attendance and receipts, if the editor will permit.
Speaking of the editor, we are reminded to mention that probably the most important person at the Reunion was the editress--perhaps there was previously no such word, but we have just now coined it. We were all delighted to make the acquaintance of the charming new Mrs. Ritzman and small Marsha, both of whom proved to be good steam engine fan material. In our Friday night parade, they rode on a wagon in regal style, and on the second time around were presented with two purses from the National Association and also from the Michigan Live Steam Club by our Iowa director, Ray Ernst, president of the Midwest Old Settlers Association.
The second most important person there was probably Edgar Bergen, who surprised us by coming Thursday evening. His and our good friend Ralph Lindsay, of Hollywood, drove to Toledo Thursday evening to meet him, bringing him back in time to see the fairyland picture of engines steamed up in the infield, with the smoke rising to the sky, illuminated by the hundreds of electric lights that made the grounds lighter than day. We were delighted that he came not as an entertainer, but simply as a steam fan, which he proved to be by his intelligent interest in the various makes of engines. Before he left on Friday afternoon, he entertained hundreds of women and as many men as could sneak in, at the Women's Program held in the Administration building. We regretted that members of the Abbott Company called and took him away before our evening program, but we counted ourselves lucky to have had him with us as long as we did.
Women played an increasingly important part in our program and this year they enjoyed an elaborate demonstration by the Toledo Edison Economist, Mrs. Margaret Sutton, given each day in the Administration building. Also the Williams County Home-makers Chorus sang, and Mrs. C. L. Chafee of Cleveland talked of her hobbies of weaving and decorating. Mr. Chafee was in charge of the movies shown Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights in the Administration Building.