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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

Who won the gold medal for the pole vault in the 1956 Summer Olympics?

Tractor Time

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Tyler Olson/

I lived on the edge of a small town when I was growing up. We didn't own a farm, but my dad had a small, crank-start Allis Chalmers tractor that he used to mow the acres of river bottom behind our house. We also convinced him to use it to mow down the horseweeds in the neighboring lot to make bike and snowmobile trails for us kids to use year-round, and to pull old metal bedsprings behind it to "drag" our homemade baseball diamond. He would often hook a wagon to the back and pull a load of sticks, rocks, firewood, grass clippings and -- later on -- a bunch of thrilled and giggling grandkids. He loved that orange tractor and put many miles on it.

I learned to drive the tractor out of necessity after my dad fell ill. I was not very good at shifting gears, and the crank start made my arms ache, but I got the job done when needed. It didn't seem odd to me to know how to drive a tractor, even as a "townie," because many of my girlfriends lived on farms and they regularly drove tractors. The skill came in handy years later when my husband and I built a house on five acres in the country, and we needed to use a tractor to assist with many projects on our property.

My son learned early on how to drive our tractor and use the bucket and the tiller attachments. But it was not until last week that my husband asked my daughter, age 23, to hop up on the tractor and move it out of the way of the landscaping project we were working on. The look on her face was priceless, and it brought back many memories of my first time on my dad's tractor. She moved the bucket in fits and starts, and made the tractor lurch when she put it in reverse. And she was not very good at shifting (wonder where she gets that?).

But now she can say she knows how to drive a tractor, just like the generations before her.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. Did you learn how to drive a tractor when you were a kid? What was your first experience like? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine! Here are several email responses from the June 29, 2016, update question: What's in your china cabinet? Is there anything from your parents or grandparents or even great-grandparents?

Barb Parsons shared: "Loved your idea of china teacups holding the peonies for your daughter's shower. How lovely! I have a little man in my china cabinet that was in my mother's china cabinet for as long as I can remember. As far as I know it belonged to my grandmother, but maybe even earlier than that. I wish I did know! He looks like he ought to be an Englishman with little spectacles on his nose and a little top hat and a full-length coat. If you lift up his head there is a long piece of porcelain attached to his head that my mother told me was used to hide their money. They would wrap the bills around that long porcelain piece and slide it back into the body. Very clever. I don't know the proper term for him, but I imagine there were lots of others like him back in the day." 

Ann Holland said: "Our china cabinet is full of memories. My grandmother's dishes, which she bought in 1949, remind us that dinner plates and teacups were much smaller back then. The dishes are white with a wide gold design on the rim. The centers are filled with colorful delicate flowers of all kinds. Even the sugar bowl has the flowers higher up on the inside. We use her cut-glass sugar bowl every day and are careful not to break the handles on it. My favorite thing of hers are the wine glasses which are clear glass with frosted-glass flowers raised on the outside."  

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

Fill out the easy feedback form and let me know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Trivia Answer

American Bob Richards won the gold medal in the pole vault at the 1956 Summer Olympics, repeating his 1952 victory. He later became a familiar face as a sports commentator and commercial spokesman for Wheaties cereal.

Find out more about the fashion, events and popular culture of America in the Live It Again book series at, featuring the best of The Saturday Evening Post!

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