The Ladies Page

Country Echoes

By MAE BABER, R.D.2, Brandon, Wisconsin

It is surprising, in life, and pleasant, to have unexpected and
illuminating experiences. They have a way of adding a zest and tang
to life that keeps one interested in adventuring new places and new
interests. It need not end until life ends if one is blessed enough
to remain healthy and able-bodied. Even those who are handicapped
and shut-in can pursue a hobby, this conclusion I drew at the Pond
du Lac Steam Show. In the building where the hobbies are on display
I met a man, an interesting man, with an interesting hobby. The man
is Donald Espenson of 3229 S. Day field, Milwaukee 7, Wisconsin. He
has a collection of between five and six hundred watch fobs, all
mounted on several sheets of background material. I didn’t
specifically notice of what they were made. He has only been
collecting these for about four years and this year won first place
in the Senior Collection Class at the South Gate show in Milwaukee.
I asked him if he had traveled a lot to collect these and he
answered in the negative. ‘No, I have gotten most of them by
writing letters,’ he replied. The thought struck me at once.
What a chance for shut-ins! This man was well and whole and yet he
had not done a great deal of searching which involved travel.

Why not, you who are unable to get around amongst others,
develop something like this ?

Some of the watch fobs were advertising pieces, some were state
emblems, some school awards and some presidential. One old-timer
had a girl with high button shoes gracing it. There were old steam
engine fobs — Avery, Case, Russell and Port Huron. The most
attractive one was beautifully colored and had the name Holman of
Canada on it. Oh yes, there was even one advertising Kelloggs Corn
Flakes. I was rather startled to see two with swastika emblems on
them, but upon inquiring I learned that the swastika is really the
emblem of good luck. How sad that it was used as an ugly sign of
dictatorial power. One of them was the advertisement of the
Swastika Fuel Co. of Raton, New Mexico.

On a table adjacent to the fob display was a collection of
Political Campaign material from 1860 to 1956. Jack Putnam had this
on display. This included campaign buttons, ribbons, pictures and
other things used in the campaigns of Wm. J. Bryan, Wm. McKinley,
Benjamin Harrison, Woodrow Wilson, Alfred Landon, and Thomas Dewey.
I didn’t get the man’s address.

I was intrigued by the old time hearing aid made of a piece of
hose with a funnel on one end and the other end equipped with a
form of nozzle with holes in it to place in the ear. There was an
old hand pump vacuum cleaner of a custom in Holland that used to be
observed. There the poor unfortunate young man who was served tea
in the blue cup kept for that purpose knew he was not favored and
need not come back again. I wonder if the color had anything to do
with the expression ‘feeling blue’. My mother came from
Holland when she was four years old, however she knew about

Mrs. Peter Bucher of Fairfield, Iowa, was sitting at the next
table with her display including candles made of beeswax. They were
very different and attractive. The beeswax was cleverly wound to
make the candle. Farther on were some real snazzy high button
shoes. Next to the door sat Dorothea Kleinschmidt of Fond du Lac
with a lovely Trip Around The World Quilt made up of 6,000 pieces.
She has used it for ten years and it is still beautiful. She and
her husband Bernhard also collect clocks and have a large
collection. They put much time and effort into the Fond du Lac
Steam Show.

Herbert Scharfenberg, Jr., of North Fond du Lac had a model of
the 1902 Nash Rambler on display which was a beauty. He built it
this past winter and it was bright red.

In one of the tents shone another red beauty – THE WORLD CHAMP –
in ’59. This was a Model T Ford from the year 1913 and it was
restored to unbelievably fine condition. Last year was the first
year of competition. It had taken eighteen months of work as the
chickens were roosting on it when it was purchased by the present
owners, Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Young of Mattison, Illinois. They are
members of The Horseless Carriage Club. It is insured for over
$7,000.00. It is complete with carbide lights, cow lamps and tail
light use gas. It has a whistle and a horn with a rubber bulb to
squeeze. They have also acquired a 1911 Maxwell which they are
working on now.

Then — to get to steam engines –I shall only mention one —
and a beauty. Walter Kienow of Randolph has done a superb job of
restoration with the able help of other steam men I understand. As
he seemed some younger than some of the other men I asked him where
his interest sprang from and he told me it was from the memory of
Art Prase coming to thresh at his farm home when he was a small
boy. So, Mr. Prase, you helped to build a memory to bring enjoyment
to all of us. Thank you! There were sixteen months of spare time
that went into this restoration, plus some he couldn’t spare,
Mr. Kienow said, but what a job he did on that Minneapolis! He is a
mechanic and welder by trade and has a school teacher wife and

So–a good time was had by all — but there was a twinge of
regret on my part that it continued into Sunday. We have been so
abundantly blessed in our wonderful land and sometimes it seems the
greater share of our people have so little regard for God’s
wishes. He has asked one day out of every week to be given over to
Him in worship and how shall we eventually fare if we take this for
our own pleasure? It is such a wholesome venture, these Steam
Get-Togethers and the memories of our forefathers seem to be woven
through the very fibre of them. How would our Pilgrim Fathers
respond to this use of God’s Day? I wonder, don’t you?

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment