7309 Baldwin Avenue, Lincoln, Nebraska 68507
This is a picture of my 3 year old grandson Jacob (Jake) Eppenbach with his Cushman Husky Model M70, serial #A69400; my son-in-law Stacey Eppenbach with a 1928 Cushman 1-2 HP Cub Model R9, serial #60102; and me with my 1908 Cushman 3 HP serial #99F, all engines on Cushman trucks.
After all my years of restoring old cars, my wife convinced me to find something 'smaller' as a hobby. (She didn't say lighter!) I had gone to a few threshing shows, mostly to see the old cars that always showed up, but I was always intrigued by the gas engines. Finally I found and bought an Associated engine, and soon had several engines of different kinds, including Jaeger, IH, John Deere and others.
Being a Lincoln native, I knew about the Cushman scooters, but I didn't know that Cushman made stationary engines long before the scooters. Once I found that out, I became a 'purist' and decided to collect and restore only Cushmans. I sold my other engines and bought my first Cushman (a Cub) in 1986. Well, that one Cub has grown to 52 Cushman engines, from the early two-cycle marine engines up to the two cylinder 15 HP, and about everything in between. My hobby has also grown to three generations as my grandson and son-in-law are also now into the hobby.
Jake always liked to be in the garage with Grandpa from about the time he could walk. He didn't always use the tools I gave him for the right things (I have a couple of 'love dings' in a freshly painted engine as a reminder!), but he definitely enjoyed the grease and rust! It seemed only natural for him to have an engine his size, so I first located a 1945 Maytag Model 82 which he took to shows along with me and ran it. But it also seemed only natural for him to have a Cushman, so he now has the Model M70 air-cooled.
Over the past few years, sons-in-law Stacey and Mitch have helped me a lot on projects that required another pair of hands or more muscle than I had. During my recovery from cancer, Stacey became my 'starter' when I didn't even have the strength to start an engine. Now he likes the Cushmans, too! It is a real thrill to have three generations with gas engines at shows, and working together in the garage.
I should add that I have a lovely and understanding wife, Barb, and three wonderful daughters, Jennifer, Jill, and Molly, who helped me many times over the years to load or unload engines, move them around the garage, hold wrenches, etc. But the bug never bit them quite as hard as it did me, so when Molly had Jake 3 years ago, I was kind of hoping he would be interested in old engines...and guess what! If his interest continues, I'll be thrilled, because it is a great hobby and a good teacher about things mechanical, hard work and a bit of our heritage. If he goes on to other interests, he'll never forget what he has learned from restoring and showing gas engines.