Unknown Visitors . . . . To Great Friends

Ekdahl's engine shed

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Hill 45 Mooreland Avenue

Leominster, Massachusetts 01453. How often do you place an ad in Gas Engine Magazine selling back issues and get a telephone call from England???

Well I did, but they didn't want to buy back issues. Being from Leominster, England, they wanted to come to Leominster, Massachusetts to see the area and engines. Our answer-'Great, come on over!' That's how a week visit with Carol and Arthur Smith of Leominster, England and Dana and Diane Hill of Leominster, Massachusetts started.

Now where do you take engine people to see engines when the show season has not yet started ? Well, first we started with our own collection, which took them on a tour of our house, cellar, garage and backyard. Then early on Saturday morning we started out for New Hampshire. Our first stop was to see maple syrup being boiled in Mason, New Hampshire at Parker's Maple Sugar House. Next, it was on to Manchester, New Hampshire for a visit with Carlton, Elroy and Louis Ekdahl where for over three hours a grand tour of their engine shed and workshop was given. Here the Smiths had an opportunity to see everything from a player piano, to gas engines, to steam engines, to a model T Ford. Oh yes, even a collection of blowtorches, which Arthur also collects. Learning of his collection, Carlton handed one of the torches to Arthur and said, 'Here, take this back to England with you.' I would like to have seen him trying to explain what it was to the airport security!

After our visit with the Ekdahls, we bid farewell and proceeded north to Boscowan, New Hampshire. Here we attended the Granite State Gas and Steam Engine Association's annual meeting and banquet. Much to their surprise, our English friends were invited by Bruce Townsend to sit at the head table. After the meeting and supper, movies and slides of past shows were shown. With the conclusion of a very nice day at hand, all of us, guests and some friends started home. But wait-we learned that they didn't have Dunkin' Donuts in England, and they couldn't go back to England without visiting such a fine establishment! So we, the Smiths, and three other vehicles with engine people made a side trip into Concord, New Hampshire to a Dunkin' Donuts Shop. At 10:00 p.m. with video camera in hand, all 11 of us paid Dunkin' Donuts a visit for coffee and what else... a donut. Now Dunkin' Donuts will be in England, if only on video.

The next day started out with a trip to Lunenburg, Massachusetts for a visit with John and Joan Dupre to see their tractors. When we pulled into their yard, John was out front with his Oil Pull tractor. The first words out of his mouth to our English friends were, 'Get on it and drive it.' Talk about a kid in a candy store! Arthur could not believe what he was hearing. After driving the Oil Pull, we went out back to John's barn, and there stood, running, a restored Massey Harris 4-wheel drive, a John Deere, an English Fordson and a McCormick Deering. The second words out of John's mouth, 'Take your pick and have fun. . .' With that invitation, we each took one for a ride around John's back lot and field. Needless to say, a fun afternoon was had.

After we bid John and Joan a farewell, we were on our way again. Our next stop was Louise Eisner's in Leominster to show Arthur and Carol the collection of model engines made by her late husband, Brad Eisner.

While the Smiths were here in Leominster, they also visited the Historical Society, Leominster City Hall (where they had a visit with the Mayor), and the fire station, where they were given pins and patches. Oh yes, Carol and Arthur also got roped into being guests at our daughter Aliceson's fourth grade class at Johnny Appleseed School.

After five days of great friendship, the Smiths headed back to Leominster, England with a suitcase full of New England engine show plaques, buttons and other memorabilia, and of course, a blowtorch. The Smiths' collection of engines in England include a 2? HP Bamford, 2 HP Bamford (restored by Carol herself), a 6 HP Ruston and Hornsby, 2 HP Domestic, ? HP Waterloo Boy and a Perkins model.