Thirty Years ago One Man Opened his Collection to the Public What Evolved is now an Annual Event
My husband, Edward, has been a member of the Jamestown-Union Hill Lions Club in Jamestown, N.C., for some years now. I have gone with him to several of the club's meetings and events, and I have noticed there is a virus that just kind of passes back and forth from one club member to another.
Unlike most viruses, this one is not at its worst during the winter months. Rather, one or two members will get the virus in January, a couple more contract it around March and a few more catch it in the spring and early summer. By August and early September this virus is no longer a little hit-and-miss problem: By this time it picks up a lot of steam and becomes a full-blown cloud of black smoke - and like most influenzas it is rather contagious. Some of our local doctors have named this virus 'Yester Year in Motion.'
The virus originated years ago with Willard Moore. Willard was somewhat of an heirloom/antique/ junk collector, but his true love and fascination was with engines - what made them run and how he could make them run better, smoother, or longer. Willard loved engines, from the little hit-and-miss engines to the big steam-powered engines that once powered everything from sawmills, cranes and shoe factories to ice cream makers and shingle cutters. There weren't too many types or sizes that he had not taken apart, overhauled, put back together and added to his collection at his Dillon Road farm.
A little over 30 years ago the Jamestown-Union Hill Lions Club, of which Willard is a charter member, was looking for a way to raise money to help visually and hearing handicapped people and to help support Camp Dogwood, a special camp built just a few years earlier for the visually impaired. Someone suggested that 'some people out there' would pay to see Willard's collection, and indeed some did. That was the beginning of 'Yester Year in Motion.'
Yester Year offered something for all ages. Older people loved standing around reminiscing about the good ole days, showing outdated machinery to younger generations and sharing stories about how Rumely OilPulls, Galloway hit-and-miss engines, or International Harvesters operated. The younger generations were fascinated that anything could produce power without sticking a plug in the wall, inserting four 'C' batteries or flipping a switch, and getting a cup of fresh apple cider straight from the cider mill was a refreshment for all ages. The smell of cane cooking - and knowing there would soon be fresh molasses to taste - was always an incentive to head for the crusher and the big cooker.
In October 2000 Willard held an auction and sold off many of his antique pieces. A lot of people thought that would be the end of Yester Year in Motion, but 2001 brought another Yester Year and this year, on Sept. 28, Yester Year celebrates its 30th anniversary.
The show also offers blacksmithing, horse shoeing, a log sawing contest and a flea market, and there are plenty of old machines, engines, tractors and, yes, 'old geezers' to explain them all. Yester Year is like a good marriage: No matter how many years you're in it, something new and different happens every year to keep it exciting.
Contact engine enthusiast Dean Jordan at: 7814 Woodpark Drive, High Point, NC 27265.