20130 128th Ave. SE Kent, Washington 98031, Branch #20
I would like to say that the people are what make the difference in this hobby, not the color of an engine or tractor, not the age or design. And I think many people have lost sight of our ultimate goal! Exposure and sharing with others, young and old. After all, who is going to carry on this hobby after more generations of experienced people pass on?
We all know that our schools don't pass on the know-how and interest in the mechanical past like they used to. And yes, I know that computer monitors and keyboards are popular these days, but how can you go forward if you don't know where you have been? What do most of our kids know today? Well to start, I guess they all know how to turn on the TV. But what about the lawn mower?
Kids today don't see smoke from exhaust pipes of old tractors and gas engines. It seems smoke from crack pipes is what they see! These kids have no interest in learning how to fix cracks, only how to steal to buy crack! Come on, people, we all have to care a lot more about exposing our hobby to the younger kids. If their parents don't care about teaching them something fun, then those of us who work hard to make this hobby great will just have to put out a little extra effort to be seen by others!
Have any of you gone to the, local high school shop class teacher with your pictures or engines and tried to set up a time when you can show your shining gold to those kids? Just think, how easy that would really be! Then leave information about your club and hobby with the teacher to pass along to the kids which will in turn be passed along to their dads, and just maybe, at the next show, one of those new onlookers would say 'thank you,' for exposing them to this great hobby. Sounds good, doesn't it?
May be even donate one of those old unrestored engines to the high school shop. It may even be tax deductible. I guess when it comes down to who will carry on this great hobby in the next twenty or thirty years, don't just assume that everyone in your younger, immediate family will want your old cast iron. You may be surprised to find out it doesn't mean as much to them as it does to you!
Another thing that you all might keep in mind when you go sell those gas engines etc., is if the price of this old iron keeps going up and up, who will be able to afford to join the hobby? Not the young!
Have any of you guys out there ever given an unrestored engine of any kind to a youngster to restore as a project with old Dad? It doesn't have to be much. If so, you should be proud of yourself and yes, you will get your pat on the back when you pass through that Pearly Gate. And for those who are asking themselves, 'Have I ever given to a youngster?' Well yes I have, and yes I too paid good money for some of those gifts. But when you see that big look in their eyes as they are carrying that prized possession off into the sunset, you then realize it was worth every dime and more. Don't get me wrong guys and gals, I don't give away everything. You know when the time is right to do the good deed for the day. It doesn't even have to be a kid or a young person at the shows or swap meet, but maybe someone close to where you live. The whole nut in the shell is the thought that counts, not really the dollar amount.
I would like to say one more thing about youngsters. I think the ones who participate in this great hobby now would really feel great if we all took the time to stop at some of the displays that might include some of their great works of restoration and tell them what a good job they are doing! I also think they should be inspired to send pictures and descriptions into GEM to show the rest of the world that a few younger people are really interested in the hobby. Don't just pass them over, as they do sweat and kick dust over a few of those tough projects too. As for the job GEM does for all of us, I think we all owe them a great deal of thanks.
Just an idea for the future: How about an area in the magazine devoted just to restorations and articles from kids? As for me, I'm a 29 year old Iowa born and raised engine and tractor nut. Some of my prized restorations have been Maytags, Briggs &. Strattons (47), a John Deere LA tractor, a 6 HP Sparta Economy, a #40 Stover grist mill, and my most current toy, an 1897 15 HP Reid!
To all who have helped me in my path down that great road of old iron I want to say thank you for making the hobby so enjoyable for me, and if I can ever help anyone with anything at all, please write me and I will respond in any way possible. Best Regards to all!