Well here it is a wet rainy damp soggy day in the fifth month of the year and I'm trying to write the July-August column - and by July and August we'll probably be so hot and dry we'll be wishing for a day like this but right now I'd just as soon see the sun. Isn't it funny that's how it is with the magazines and the deadlines - we work so far ahead in the future we can't seem to enjoy the present dates as we should. Oh well, so be it! Every job has its little oddities that must exist to make the final production worth while.
I know we are all looking forward to the ending of school terms and enjoying the hot summer days with our families - swimming, traveling, sports and of course to attend the Steam and Gas Reunions. You know when the 1st of the year appears it always seems -'Well, here we are just beginning a new year - twelve whole months ahead of us and it seems like a pretty good amount of time' - but before you seem to get much done - and you check the calendar and there it is -like now - the fifth month - nearly half of that long year is almost here. I declare, they make time shorter now in this jet age! The years didn't seem to go nearly as fast when I was a youngster.
I have a short letter from Clyde M. Rees of 608 W. Locust St., Bloomfield, Iowa, 52537 and in it he says, 'In the March-April, 1967 issue of IMA, page 13 you have a picture of an engine that the information says is a Huber or Case, which I don't think is correct. I think it is a Geiser as it is the same as the model on the cover of magazine. I saw this model at the 1966 Mt. Pleasant Show and it sure was a beauty.' Any one care to comment on Clyde's statement. I looked at the two pictures and they do look similar, but then if you're not an expert on steam (like me) many of them look similar although they are of different makes.
Another letter from John A. Mc-Kenzie, Peck, Michigan 48466 and he states, 'In the May-June issue of IMA, there's a picture sent in by Leonard James, Napoleon, Michigan and asking ('Has anyone ever seen a three cylinder locomotive?') Yes! I saw a three cylinder locomotive in the summer of 1923, same as in the picture owned by and being used as a switch engine in the yard of Morgan and Wright Manufacturers of United States Tires (now U.S. Rubber) on East Jefferson Ave. in Detroit.'
Want to wish the best of luck to the touring group of the Elwood Historical Club of Elwood, Indiana who will be leaving the latter part of June for a trip to Scotland and England, where they will get to view the steam reunions over there known as Traction Engine Rallies. We'll hear from them latter on their excursion.
In this issue you'll notice S. Arthur Roxy of 279 Prospect Ave., East Aurora, N.Y. has pictures in of his steam popcorn machine - and it is a beauty! It's a rare one and some of you people will get to see it at different fairs and reunions as Mr. Roxy books these type of events to sell popcorn and peanuts. He states in his article that Walt Disney had wanted to buy the wagon for his Disneyland, but the Roxy's wouldn't sell - it is believed to be the only one of its kind left which would make it a unique possession.
The article, 'The Fireman Was A Lady' is quite different as the fireman really is a lady, not that we don't have some of the fairer sex interested in the running of the engines at the reunions, for there are quite a few women who can handle the engines as well as men. This story is about a steam boat though and is interesting and proves again - secretaries get themselves into some odd jobs sometimes that you would never think come under the category of office workers.
A letter from Henry J. McMillan, Galva, Illinois gives us a few news items as he writes, 'Mr. Roy Miller and son are in the process of starting a regular Ozark old-time village. They have recently installed a 15 inch Crown Live Steam Train. It will be called Sassafras Park and is located on Route 60 just west of Van Buren, Mo., and will operate on weekends until Decoration day and then from then until Labor day it will operate daily. Visitors welcome.
Rudy Rudbeck has recently added a Diesel type steam train to his steam town railroad at Brainerd, Minn, and will be operating daily with the two trains, steam and diesel from Decoration Day until Labor day. Stop in and ride a real steam train.
Sloan Wisconsin Steam Days Club have recently purchased a 19 inch Cagney and will build their own cars for it. They will operate at the steam meet as well as a park in Sloan, Wis. from Decoration Day until Labor Day, daily and also during the steam engine days.
A letter from Donald D. Beckner, 291 Mill St. South Lancaster, Mass. 01561 - he tells us, 'I was very pleased to see pictures of my Steam Village Loco, on page 8 and 25 of Jan.-Feb. issue, but a little more caption and correction is needed I think, as I didn't move these locomotives there until 1964 (picture stated 1961).
Steam Village is a life long dream of myself and long time friend, Vincent Callahan. Our village is next to the Laconia Airport on forty acres. The 2-0-40 we brought over from Germany. We built the car and station. We have steam engines of all sizes and a steam tractor and many other old things. Any of your readers that will make themselves known will be most welcome.' I see Donald's address is Massachusetts, but the Steam Village is at Gilford, N. H., Lake Region, Route 11 - next to Laconia Airport.
And if you are out around Murdo, South Dakota, don't forget to stop at the Pioneer Auto Museum located at the junction of U. S. Highways 16 and 83. A visit there will take you back to those wonderful days of yesteryear with their fabulous display of over 90 pioneer and classic cars. Also they have hundreds of antique items including buggies, antique musical instruments, old store items, items for ladies, antique farm equipment, toys and dolls. A hugh emblem display is another of the eye catching exhibits. A livery barn will be of interest to many and an old prairie school house with furnishings and a Homesteader's Claim Shack, one of the few left intact, will prove interesting. (Sounds real nice and we must give a lot of credit and thanks to these folks who are trying to keep the past preserved for the younger generation to learn from and enjoy.)
There are several pictures in IMA from Helen Ward Rennie of Montezuma, Kansas 67867 and when she sent them in, she had a little note that I thought worth mentioning -she says, 'Papa and I went to the Annual Rattlesnake Hunt yesterday. They brought in 2800 rattlesnakes and ate 500 pounds of them! Not us, we dined on fried chicken.' (How about that? - first place I can't imagine and hope I never see 2800 snakes-ugh! They do say rattlesnake eating is a delicacy, but I'll just take their word)
Here's a letter written just as I received it: 'Dear Mrs. Soot in the Flues! I see in this Iron Men Album of May-June on page 33 a Mr. Cline makes dose stories an insinuates day I chits mite stretch a fact a little. I wood half him know my mother used to call me Little George. I won't say vat she said when she yelled at me. Some brack (brag) on about dose snakes, dye must be small on his site of dat river. Why, if one of mine snakes bites his sawdust, I will haff 6 cords of kindling an a bushel of shavings left over an vot's moor, I would not brack like dat, specially if people find it out. Signed Gotlub the Blacksmit. Sehr Goot. and a P.S. Tell Mr. Cline if he can find another fork, we could start a lumber yard.' (Now this may be allot of nonsense to some of you folks, but in view of Mr. Cline's stories, I thought it was cute and deserved space. It was postmarked Easton, Pa. and at the top of the page it was Bambas Gnoll, Pa. -Maybe you know him?)
And one more short note from H. E. Clark, 2317 Upland Drive, Concord, California, 94520 - 'I enjoy IMA as it brings back old memories of the days when I lived on the farm in Michigan. I enjoyed the articles and pictures of the old rail fences. I have helped to build and repair lots of rail fences but I have to disagree with Soot in the Flues in the March-April issue about fence rails not having any connection with steam. If you had chopped as many fence rails to fire a steam threshing engine as I have, you would say that they had allot to do with steam at times. The rails were oak and hard and the ax was dull but they made a hot fire.' (I stand corrected Mr. Clark, I guess the fences did have allot to do with firing steam engines, but what I wonder - was this right to take the fence posts and burn them? - or was the accepted thing? - Anna Mae)