We're into the year of 1969 - a year we hope will all be fine! God Bless You All and may you be able to keep your good resolutions: And while this is only the middle of January this is the March-April or Spring issue -when you think of it that way, the winter doesn't seem too long - we'll probably get the winter weather now, with me talking like that - for we've had hardly any snow this year yet, but it's been real cold which makes for good ice-skating weather. I even got brave enough to wear my ice skates last Sunday for a few quick sprints across the pond at a farm of our good friend. Now, the skates are over 25 years old but are in better shape than the wearer, but then they haven't had as much service in as I. It was exhilarating, though tiresome - left me know the muscles aren't all dead.
We had a lovely Christmas Season and were able to have the whole family together for a little while during the Holiday Season. And it was quite an exciting time for little Tommie - although he awoke one morning sobbing about a week before Christmas and mumbling over and over 'Don't tell me Christmas was yesterday!' - so one would assume he was having a bad dream that Christmas had passed him by.
We always have a Christmas Eve service right here in our living room with everyone participating. We always read the Christmas story from the Bible sing carols, read timely stories and then of course we have the fun songs and stories like Jingle Bells and 'T was the Night Before Christmas. Keli, our younger daughter was reciting the night before Xmas to Tommie later in the evening and she came to the lines 'A little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be (and she waited expectantly for Tommie to fill in the word St. Nick) and he blurted out Batman. So goes it with the mod generation.
There's a new item starting with this issue titled 'Lost in the Files' -my innovation - due to the fact there are so many old, but good pictures with no identification. I cannot throw these things out and thought many of you would enjoy trying to figure them out. They will all be numbered in case you would ever want to write me about them - please use the number when writing and let us know if you like this page.
A letter that should have been in my column before is one received from LeRoy Piling of 611 D Avenue, National City, California 92050. LeRoy says: 'I want to straighten out something you have a picture of a Westinghouse engine on page 27 of March-April 1968 issue that is not a replica of a Westinghouse engine. I worked for an old machinist in 1903 and he had a 6 HP one. I am not kicking this man's work which looks very good. I have a reprint of this line in the year 1886. His engine has a drive axle back of boiler. Westinghouse had stub axle on side of boiler, flywheel on left side instead of right. Also, engine wrong way set the Westinghouse cylinder was back next to baler, the drive from crankshaft to idle gear on the 6 HP was a 2 in. leather belt V type with an idle gear to countershaft. It was a belt tightener that was your clutch.'
Well, Fellows, I'm sure I don't know enough to contradict LeRoy, so if you have any remarks perhaps he'd like to hear from you.
A letter I received from another good friend is one written by Hollis Cortelyou of Higgins, Texas 79046 who writes us. 'In looking over a copy of letter to I.M.A. with pix of Locomotive 5000, I find a mistake in describing the Lima Berkshire Loco. Its correct weight was 192 ton and not 152 ton as I stated in letter. I wish to correct at all times. Wife and I plan to attend the Mt. Pleasant show if possible. We are both nearing 85, so we don't make too many plans too far in advance. I last attended Mt. Pleasant show with Marcus Leonard in 1961. If I knew you would be there I would look you up - be nice to meet you.' Well, I wish that could happen, but I don't get too far from home and chances are we will never meet except by mail. I must tell you folks, Hollis has an outstanding handwriting - it is really different, looks like the hand writing of a strong willed and determined person. I always know without looking at the address who the letter is from when it comes from Hollis. It's beautiful and he also sent me a picture of he and his wife and I'm going to insert it in the column. Folks, my friends Mr. and Mrs. Hollis Cortelyou - don't they look great - a young pair of 85'ers I'd say.
I also came across the picture of Elmer and his English friend who visited the Ritzman's in 1958 - Arthur Clarke of White House Meadow, Fel-sted, Essex. Looks to me like they had just planted a tree at 18 Altoona Ave. Thought you would enjoy these oldies.
And in closing, may I wish you many blessings of the Easter Season and also leave you with these few lines to ponder. If you your lips would keep from slips, Five things observe with care: Of whom you speak, to whom you speak, And how and when and where. If you your ears would save from jeers, These things keep meekly hid: Myself and I, and mine any my, And how I do and did.