There’s something I love about magazines. Some mysterious force compels us to hang on to them forever, even as our cars and furniture are replaced over time. We keep them in boxes in our spare-room closets, tucked away in attics or garages for the day we can take a break from rearranging our homes and relive bygone days. Regardless of where life takes us, those dusty old magazines never change. Do they?
Our longstanding readers might notice in this February/March issue something missing from years past. Since 1978, Donald L. Siefker has published an annual index to help readers locate articles and pictures of engines by name in the GEM archive. This year, however, Don has decided to bow out of producing the index after nearly four decades.
When we asked Don what compelled him to provide such an excellent service for so long his response was simple: he wanted to contribute to the community his father had introduced him to. Don showed us what he wrote in the introductory pages of his first index (covering the first 12 years of GEM): “Acknowledgment is given to my dad, Louis Siefker, who first ‘sparked’ my interest in gas engines and tractors. It was he who taught me much about gas engines, and he has probably forgotten more about them than I will ever know.” Don wrote those words on Valentine’s Day 1978; his father passed away 21 days later, before he could see them in print.
Don’s admiration for his father struck a chord within me. I can’t help but marvel at how passing on day-to-day knowledge to a child can result in a lifetime of enthusiasm and shared interest. I have a similar relationship with my dad, Russell Kelly. As a kid, working alongside my dad on projects around the house or garage allowed me to see into his world. A machinist for 42 years, my Dad has a keen eye for detail and a way of meeting challenges head on. He showed me nothing’s worth doing if I’m not giving it my all. From that fatherly wisdom, despite the constant changes life brings, I’ve found purpose in everything I set my mind to. God willing, I’ll teach my daughter, Amelia (two years old in June), to do the same when she’s older.
Something tells me lots of GEM readers can relate to Don as well. The gas engine community is chock-full of legacies passed down through generations, not just through old iron heirlooms but through shared knowledge and wisdom as well. Do you have a story to share? Write something up and send it in along with photos of your family and/or the engines you cherish; we’d love to include it in an upcoming issue.