| December/January 1986

RR #1, Box 63, Avoca, Iowa 51521

I like so many people my age, attended a one room country school. The last two years of grade school, our teacher had a 'reward' program. If one of us got 100 in spelling for the whole month, we would get a present of some sort. The 7th and 8th grades were all boys. When we would receive a gift, it was a stick balsa and tissue paper model airplane. Because we were in the middle of World War II, all the boys were very interested in airplanes. I don't know quite how I did it but I managed to get 6 or 8 models. As I was building them, I was never quite satisfied with the plan. Since I wasn't going to fly my airplanes anyway, it didn't make any difference how heavy they got to be. I would make the cockpit more elaborate or make cowling around the engine so it would open. That way a person could see more of the engine I would build out of scraps. Very few of my models had a solid landing gear. Most all were made to fold up and snap in place with rubber bands.

Before these years, I had very few toys. I recall my mom bought a little Oliver 70 at a dime store for me. I was so happy I jumped up and down. I believe she had said she gave 25 for it. This was quite a bit of money at that time, especially when we were just getting a foothold after the depression.

I soon found out I was at a loss for farm implements to pull behind my Oliver. My mom saved lots of things and she had a 2 lb. cheese box. She suggested I make a little combine, like the neighbor across the fence had just purchased. I admired that pretty, new, bright red IHC combine. It had a 36' cut, I believe, and lots of vee belts. One day when he was cutting wheat just across the fence from our house, I waited until he shut down. Then I examined the machine from top to bottom. It had a little round grain bin, if I remember right. Also lots and lots of belts. This was very interesting to me because my dad had a Deering binder and it had all chains.

The next day, I proceeded to build my combine. I used tinker toy spools for the bull wheel and feed sack string and rubber bands for belting. The reel was mostly of wire except the paddles were some small flat sticks Mom had.

I could pull my combine behind the little green Oliver, across Mom's linoleum floor, but it didn't work very well. I had to put a wide rubber band on the bull wheel. It was slipping on the highly waxed linoleum. I noticed my machine didn't jerk back and forth, back and forth like the real one. Next day I peeked inside of the big one and decided I needed some shakers to give my toy the right feel. I later made one tin tray (with nail holes) for a shaker. I had it hanging on arms of sharp tin and an eccentric off of one tinker toy spool, with a pitman arm.