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My Dad - My Grandpa

By richard - Posted on 18 December 2013

Any engine man who has ever had an exhibit is very familiar with this term or expression, My Dad - My Grandpa.

One only needs to set up a display or operate an engine at any show and it will not be long until someone will come along, take a good look and the first expression one will hear is, "My dad had one just like it" and so, and so. I usually thank them for coming and ask them immediately " And where is it now?" The next comment you will hear is, "Oh, I don't know what happened to it, but Dad had one just like it when I was a kid and he sure had trouble with it." I don't doubt their statement and appreciate their interest and before long they will move onto the next exhibit. However, soon another man will come along, take a good look and immediately come up and say, "You know my Dad had one just like it years ago when I was a kid." I again ask. "Just what happened to it?" "Oh, I don't know," but will explain to me the course of events connected with his particular engine and I continue to listen. Soon he will move along and another man will come along, get all excited, call you to his location, and tell you that his grandpa had one just like it only a little different and boy did he have trouble with it!

I continue to listen and again ask, "Just where is it now?" He tells me that he does not know, but I sure remember it setting in the old barn at the north end.

Well so far, fine and dandy, and you have already heard about dad's old engines and it is only 9:00 a.m. in the morning. All is quiet for a few minutes when along comes grandpa, walking slowly with the use of his cane, from a distance, spots your engine. He immediately comes directly to you, all excited and tells that his grandpa had an engine just like that one over there before World War I  and you should have seen it run, for it was a dandy. Again I ask, "Why didn't someone in the family hang on to it?" "Oh, I don't know what happened to it, but grandpa sure made use of it."

Well this procedure continues on and on and soon one has heard this statement "my dad" a hundred times. In fact by 12:00 noon, I have heard it so often that I just about know and can see every dad in the area who in years past had an engine just like mine. By 2:00 o'clock I feel that I have even met most of their grandpas who had grief in starting their engines before World War I. Seems like this procedure continues all day long, but strange enough it is only the older men who will tell you about dad's engines and the grief they had with them. Seldom do you hear a young person speak about his dad, because their dads just did not have one nor is the interest in the young kids as keen as the interest in older men.

I do not in any way want to degrade their deep interest and keen memories about their engines and respect their view points, however, I am more concerned and saddened by the fact that most of dads/grandpas old engines had to go to war by the way of the junk pile and the same holds true for the thousands who have been buried or thrown into the rivers. That is the reason why they are so scarce today. With every statement that I hear about dad's/grandpa's old engine I express my concern that it would have been so much more beneficial if someone in the family had only kept it and stored it inside for today's generation, where thousands are willing to restore and display them.

So every time we hear that same old expression "My Dad/My Grandpa," let us not ignore it, but respect it, for it was dad and grandpa who used these old engines and fought with them in order to build up and develop this great country of ours which we love and call our home, AMERICA.