Farm Collector


Lindenwood Road, Lindenwood, Illinois 61049

Well, it finally happened again. It took three and a half years,
but I finally ‘got to ride along’ on one of those trips to
Michigan last January. It was no small task getting everything
arranged on the home front in order to go. God love her, my mom
tackled our three boys from Saturday morning until Monday night.
She deserves the medal of bravery.

Now I’m not complaining, ’cause they did let me go, but
I more than paid my dues getting there. While I was taking the
carload of boys and boys’ ‘weekend-at-Grandma’s’
paraphernalia to Mom’s, John Haley arrived at our place
rarin’ to get to Michigan. Of course a body needs a cup of
coffee before going back out in the cold, so Joe and John sat down
at the table and started talking steam over a cup. Now John is
quite a collector of steam stuff no matter how big, like his 24
Minnie or how small, like his postcards or pins. When I finally got
back, there he and Joe were pouring over old steam catalogs and
smoke box door decorations.

With the trunk now empty, it was time to load up and head out.
As I was traipsing in and out of the kitchen, carrying suitcases
and snow gear and ‘cookie-care-packages for Jim Schrock’, I
decided that coffee sure smelled good. I asked Joe to get me a cup
as I headed out the door with another arm load of stuff. When I got
back those two had moved into the living room looking at more steam
things. (I guess I’d better mention I also noticed Joe had
finished doing the dishes for me, too!) Next thing I know Joe asks
if there’s anything else to load. I say” No”.
He says ‘Let’s go!’ I still didn’t get my coffee.

Now comes the real test of fire. Joe: ‘Did you remember to
bring ?’ Me: ‘Yes’. Joe: ‘I bet you
forgot——‘. Me: ‘You didn’t tell me to bring!’
John’s just sitting there grinning. He’s a great guy to
take on a trip. Thinks a lot like Joe does, (oh no), has a lot of
good stories to tell and isn’t afraid to talk. By the end of
the trip up, there were times you couldn’t tell who came up
with the new topic first between those two. I should have
remembered I was starting out out-numbered. Poor-little-‘ol-me
endured six hours of being picked on. All so I could go along on
the Michigan trip.

I thought for sure I’d gain some help from my Michigan
friends in the battle of words when we got there. No such luck; no
sympathy and even a few more good-natured jabs at my being there.
That was my greeting in Mason. Well, I tell you, that was it! As
far as I was concerned, everyone for himself and anyone was fair
game now. If there was going to be an opportunity to get a well
chosen word or two in, I was goin’ to do it.

We made it to Mason by 4 P.M. John and Jim Schrock greeted us at
Kingman Engineering, their shop. Everyone started doing what comes
naturally, visiting and swapping stories. Joe and Jim headed out to
the car and came back in the shop with the ‘excuse’ for
this whole trip, the governor from our Nichols. Jim started tearing
into it, they all started talking mechanics, the B.S. got deeper, I
got a soda pop and found a chair. This is why I wanted to come
along on the Michigan trip?

After one of those ‘all you can eat’ Sunday breakfasts
the next morning, we headed back to the shop to look around at the
‘goodies’ John has accumulated. John Haley made some
purchases while there. Joe left the governor soaking in cleaner
’cause Jim wanted to do something else to it and he found
something to make a bigger pulley from. I found a chair and a cup
of coffee. (Sounds like I sit a lotno comments, you guys). Pretty
soon the door opened and in walked Jim with Harry Woodman see. Now
this is why I wanted to ride along to Michigan. To see my

I’m sure many of you read Larry Mitchell’s article about
‘Pinky’ a few months back. I agree, Harry’s a man
I’ve grown to love like family and I’m beginning to really
appreciate what I’ve learned from him. Now that I’m
hopefully getting a little wiser, I try to pay more attention to
the stories he tells. How many of you have kicked yourself over the
last few years because with all our modern electronic do-dads, you
haven’t recorded some older person’s recollections of the
past? I’ve personally sat in on conversations with Louie
Johnson, Vince Deutsch, Floyd King, Herman Hintsche, and Lester
Lindenmeyer, to name a few. I remember listening to arguments,
friends bickering and a lot of good natured agitating that had us
rolling with laughter. I was too young at the time to realize what
I was privileged to be witnessing. If you really think about it,
those are the times you remember most. All the fun things that
happened at the show. We ‘younger’ ones are making our own
steam history with our shows now and maybe we are getting a little
better at recording the events, but please don’t you wait too
long catching the last generations’ memories in your

Speaking of shows, we got invited to attend a show meeting that
Sunday out at Lee Clark’s place. Now there’s an experience
anyone involved in a steam club should do; go to another club’s
meeting and just spectate. True to form those Michigan guys and
gals treat you like family. Not only do they invite you in, they
feed you and make sure you’re comfortable. Doesn’t take
long after the meeting starts to see that those problems that come
along are common to other clubs as well as yours. You know the
ones: problems with traffic, problems at the gate, problems with
parking, problems with the flea market, etc. etc. same little
annoyances found at every other show. Problems which will always be
there, so you might as well make the best of it, work together and
have a little fun at the same time.

Keep in mind, it is the fun that everyone remembers. So take
heart all you shows, when you’re in the final months of show
planning and you begin to wonder if it’s all worth the trouble,
think about why steam shows started in the first place. I feel they
started with people who had a common interest in steam engines and
wanted a good reason to get together with their friends, to have
some fun. I just can’t imagine that the first show founders
ever really thought there would be so many important issues to
resolve each year. (Boyget off the soapbox, Dawn!)

You would figure after nearly 24 hours of steam talk we’d be
talked out, right? No way. We all pile into vehicles and head over
to Jane and Lange Sommerville’s near Mason. Don’t ask me
how we got there. Those Michigan roads go every which way and at
crazy angles to boot. We made it, though. Harry took up residency
by the wood stove and everyone started talking steam again. It got
to be a joke with Jodie (Tim Sommerville’s fiancee) and me how
the men always migrated to a corner of the building to talk. So
when Jane came out the three of us womenfolk chased the guys out of
one corner and proceeded to solve the age old problems women have
with men. Didn’t take too long either!

Sommerville’s have an indescribable building that houses
their three Advance engines and their shop. It was the perfect
place to sit with Harry and get his voice on tape. Everyone talked
until nearly midnight, Harry included. He talked so much, I ran out
of tape. I made him promise to do it again for me when I came back.
There, now I have my own ‘excuse’ to go back to

Monday morning we had breakfast in Mason before starting home.
Home via of Jean and Graham Sellers’. No trip to Michigan for
us would be complete without a stop at Coldwater. It gave me a
chance to get some more pictures of Graham’s restoration on his
110 Case. That’s one farm that seems to grow another steam
engine in the front yard every time I stop by. We were able to
visit awhile, see some real interesting video of their September
steam up and eat another marvelous Michigan meal. (Wow, can Jean

Well, it was time to really head for home. I was looking forward
to another five hours of being picked on. Contrary to the way it
sounds, I was glad they ‘let me come along.’ The ride home
gave Joe, John and I a chance to rehash all the things we had seen
and heard. We’re making plans to get together with other
friends and put some of those old 8mm movies and slides on video.
Hopefully we can get the narration done by the fellows who were
there. And guess what They said I could ‘go along’ again
They just won’t tell me when.

  • Published on May 1, 1991
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