The Good Old Bays


| September/October 1987



12271 Barrs Rd., SW, Massillon, Ohio 44646

The following article is taken from a cassette tape sent to us by Jack Pratt. Jack thought we should again let our readers know they can send us cassettes to be transcribed and used as stories.-ed.

I was born in Massillon, Ohio, October 1937, so that obviously makes me nearly 50 years of age. My earliest recollection of equipment was with my dad who was a trucker. And when houses were dug with power shovels, he hauled the dirt away and also hauled the sand and gravel for driveways, etc. He worked for some independent contractors and he also used to haul coal. That was the highlight of my day, to go with Dad to get a load of coal out in the country. I was fascinated by the machinery that was used to produce coal. There were many trucks of the thirties, forties, fifties, of course, hauling coal with us. Dad knew the fellows and I got to look over their trucks and they looked over our truck. We saw the machinery that was used to process the coal and it was all quite interesting.

We moved out into the country when I was 13 years of age. Mom and Dad had split up and I had to help support the family by working for farmers in the area. Of course, I didn't enjoy all of this but I did enjoy a lot of the work and I loved being around machinery. I remember quite well John Deere B's, John Deere A's, Farmall M's and I was just fascinated by this farm equipment. Of course, we had all the 1947, 1948 Ford trucks and the GMC's, Chevies and so on. I can remember one time there was a tractor and plow parked next door to our home and on a Sunday afternoon I must have spent four, five, six hours over there just looking over the tractor, just sitting on the tractor. I just wanted to be near that farm tractor. To me the tractor was much more impressive than any big Cadillac, sports car or what have you, because cars last about five years if you're lucky and they're done. We know of tractors that could be forty, fifty years old, maybe older, some rebuilt, some not rebuilt, but they're still capable of working. That impresses me. Of course, we know that if our entertainers stopped entertaining us, our comedians, our ball players and our music makers, we would still go right along. We would still eat. But, if our farmers ever stopped farming, (and his main tool, I think, is the tractor), I'm afraid we would all go hungry. Then it wouldn't take long to get our sense of values back on the straight and level and to figure out that the farmer is a very important person.

I have since moved from the area I grew up in as it became crowded with suburbanites and when I married I decided I would move out into the 'boonies' and collect old iron, which I have done. I now own a John Deere B, a John Deere A and a GW (which I guess is quite rare)... the W meaning wide front end, and I have a '46 dump truck, '47 Ford flatbed, '51 GMC flatbed dump and a couple of Army trucks, and a few antique automobiles. I'm building a building to put the cars in.

The old John Deere's are antiques but they're working antiques. I've mounted a buzz saw on the front of my John Deere B which makes the saw a quick portable. A friend of mine keeps his 18 wheeler here and he will from time to time go down and get me a 15 bundle load on an old trailer I have. Then we simply unhook his truck and I have 15 bundles on the trailer. My son and I use the John Deere B to cut the slab wood we burn to heat the house.