WHO ME? WRITE A column? I must admit I'm not doing justice to my correspondence, much less take this on my desk and I will have to go into a routine huddle or else. Recalls to me the incident of last War vintage, a fellow gets a job (easy enough) in a garage in Frederic, but no place to live. Housing shortage in reality. He came upon a farmer, Henry Peterson, about to retire and had built a little house but still not completed. Well sir, if he could only rent that house why he'd do anything to help the farmer, not to mention rent. Time went on. Mr. Peterson needed some help to saw up wood so approached the mechanic one Saturday afternoon (when he was off work) about a little help. 'Who Me?' responded the mechanic. Henry laughed.
Thusly I've been anxious to help the ALBUM from its humble beginning, 1946 winter issue of 8 pages. With confidence I've combed the uttermost parts for subscribers, then what? Sometime ago Elmer contacted me about writing a column Who, Me? That really put me to pondering finally wrote him, we'd try to simmer down to answer come Reunion time, that I'd see him at Mt. Pleasont if not sooner. But that collaboration was plenty brief. He simply said, 'It's your move.'
Got married a leap year (1936) get it? And now again for the 2nd time I'm caught in pursuit 'for better or for worse.'
My wife thinks I talk too much (visa-versa true) depends on the subject. Now you take steam engines, Yah der been lots more to be said. One Reunion night here back in the early 50's Frank Stebritz, (Algona, Iowa) was here. We practically put 'Halos' on steamers easy does it. My wife sez to us, sez she, 'don't know about you guys but I'm going to bed'. Well, I'll never forget what Frank replied, 'we could go up the hay mow and talk awhile yet, it's only 1:30 (a.m.).' I was sure glad to meet up with Frank again at Mt. Pleasant, he sure looks good for his age and it does make me feel good just to talk with him Some more about engines you know.
And that takes me to the merits of the Reunions. Knowing all too well what's involved to stage a Show. I certainly have learned to appreciate the good points. Would that I had the means to go from one Reunion to another boy don't that sound good. Like Durward Steinmetz said, 'They are all good only some may be bigger or better than others.'
It is a way and means of meeting old acquaintances as well as making new friends. With those engines in the midst seems all nature is in tune. It's not just a part of life, it's a main part of living. Take Mt. Pleasant (I merely quote this one, being there, but it is typical of any Mid-West Reunion). While there I was paged, and found Geo. R. Martin (a neighbor boy back in the early 20's) who had driven up from the Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls Texas. He is now a diesel instruction engineer for the navy. He keeps in touch with the Steam Movement through the IRON-MEN ALBUM. Even when he was stationed in Tonli, Greenland. Knowing him as a lad I'll never dare underestimate anyone's potential ability. Then I came across an old acquaintance (from Blaker's doings in '49) Morgan Hill from Linesville, Pennsylvania. (Thanks to Oliver Rhea for bringing Morgan along). Then at one of those luscious pancake breakfasts who should I meet but Forest Pense of Harvard, Nebraska, with Emil Kudlacek of David City, Nebraska. We've known each other for a long time but never met before. I was sure glad to meet up with our beloved veteran of the steam era, Marcus Leonard of Salina, Kansas. Had a chat with our good friend, Lyman Knapp, Blackwell, Oklahoma. Met Johie Lee and Art Swensen from near Vibory, South Dakota. Recognized Orvid J. Steven from Barnard, South Dakota, but must say I sadly missed his father, J. L. Steven, who passed away last February. There was the Webb Mooneys from Nortonville, Kansas. Had a pleasant talk with Ed. Vogel, Buhl, Idaho. I sure hope to go west 'young' man like I never did before. Also had the pleasure to meet Miss Emma Yanez, a scholarship student from Las Cruces, New Mexico. (I think I'll go south instead, Ed.).
And so it goes from year to year, these 'steam rallys' (as Art Clark of Essex, England, would say) bring together people of many States and Provinces. It must please the Good Lord to find groups of people who can visit and enjoy life together irregardless of religion, color or creed. May these 'Rallys' serve as a part in promoting good fellowship in this country as well as between nations.