Lives Engines Dreams Engines

| October/November 1999

22530 87th Avenue S.E., Woodinville, Washington 98072

My husband couldn't leave his first gas engine show without one teeny purchase. He wanted his own fine specimen of gears, shafts, and flywheel. An antique engine seemed like a fun thing since he runs a machine shop out of our home. Once he unloaded it, I took a look at his new acquisition. It was no bigger than a 24-inch television set and didn't run too well. I thought it was cute, painted forest green and sporting a pretty brass oiler. And comical. It huffed and wheezed trying to start. My Machine-Man seemed tickled.

And if this were all, I'd have been happy, too.

But soon my husband was gone several nights a week attending the local gas engine club meetings or trading with other collectors. When at home, Machine-Man sat across from me with his face buried in an encyclopedic book titled, American Gasoline Engines Since 1872. If I asked my husband, 'How was your day?,' a voice from behind the book responded with information about vintage engines. 'The Alamo 'Blue Line' was introduced in 1913. . . .'

I attended the club meetings hoping to share my husband's newfound interest. Over potluck dishes there were discussions of Sandwiches, Stovers and Stickneys.

'What do you collect?' one woman asked me in between bites of potato salad. I explained that my husband was the collector. She began to spill her marital troubles. 'My man's out of control. It started with a Cushman, then New Ways and Hercules. Now, I've lost track. Engines are in the garage, the yard, the spare room. He calls one Handy Andy and another Waterloo Boy, as if they're members of our family. Just some friendly advice. Get your husband out. His hobby will take over your life.'