My dad


| November/December 1977



Michele and Grampa getting ready to gas up

Michele and Grampa getting ready to gas up her 3 HP Stover. (Summer of 1975-she was one then.)

Box 188, Sherburn, Minnesota 56171

Dad was in contact with engines and motors all of his life. He was born and raised on a farm in Frost, Minnesota. During World War II he served as a motor-machinist mate 1st class on an LST in the Navy. For the last 29 years he had worked for Interstate Power Company, most recently as the superintendant of the Fox Lake plant in Sherburn....so when gas engine collecting came around it didn't take much time or persuation for him to get 'the bug'- and he qot it!

He got his first engine in 1970, and the neighborhood hasn't been the same since!. Starting up an engine during the evening was always good for stopping a few cars (or at least slowing them down) and attracting a few kids to see what was making all the noise. The collection grew to 33 stationary gas engines, several Maytags, a steam engine, a Briggs motor wheel and a Whizzer bike. Dad also collected old and odd tools, wooden-handled monkey wrenches, hog oilers, etc., etc....our two-car garage soon became a no-car garage! I started going along with dad to auctions and we soon realized that the bug was contagious. Along with the interest in engines, I started collecting insulators, then barbed wire, then primitives, then oak furniture.....while dad filled up the garage, I filled up the basement! (Poor Mom!)

If dad couldn't make it to an auction, I'd go and bid for him. This led to one of our favorite stories. At an auction near Lansing, Michigan, dad was watching the bidding and I moved up for a closer look. A man (Nathan Hickok of Amboy, Minnesota) poked dad and the conversation went something like this: 'See that girl over there? She bids on gas engines!' Dad always liked a good joke, so he said, 'No, you're kidding!' knowing it was me he was talking about.

'Yeah, if her dad can't make it to an auction she goes and bids for him,' says Nate. 'She was bidding against me one time. Here it was raining and she was standing in mud up to her knees!' (Actually, it wasn't that muddy, but it gets deeper every time Nate tells the story! Ha!) Then he says to dad, 'Come on you've got to meet her.' They came over to where I was standing and Nate says, 'Hi! Did you come alone today or is your dad with you?' 

'No, he's here,' I said.