A big Hello to all,
I was talking to Ralph at Ralph's Cub Parts today. He was extremely helpful and took the time to answer my questions. At the end of the call he pointed me to this forum for additional help with my tractor, and suggested that I go to the Cub Fest in NY. I will try to tell you a little about myself and my tractor which is fondly called, "Patty". When I was about six years old (back in 1981) I first saw her parked underneath the front overhang of an old barn owned by a doctor. My dad did construction work for "Doc" over the years. He apparently purchased the tractor new in 1949 during the spring with several implements included. We even have the original manuals for the tractor and implements. So, Doc hired us three little boys to work on the sixty acre farm up in the rocky woods on top of a ridge line. We cleared out poison ivy, knocked down hornets nests, and burned brush piles over the summer months. His big pine trees were being smothered by poison ivy vines that we need to pull down. He had a gun range that needed a lot of work. It was built on a low lying, swampy section of the farm. So we filled in the low areas along the hundred yard grass path. As we worked there, we got to thinking that it would be mighty nice to use that old tractor. The tires were flat from sitting so many years, actually, there were deep depressions in the thin black top from Patty's weight. She had not moved for a long time. Her one side was really weathered due to the elements coming in under the overhang where she sat for so long. She was VERY rusty, the wiring was mostly decayed, and the carburetor very gummed up. The work of getting the implements on the tractor and Doc's busy schedule did not leave much time to play around with such things. So she was parked away and forgotten for many years!
When we asked Doc about the tractor, he readily agreed that we could try to get her going. So we started tinkering around with Patty. After fixing the obvious problems, we tried to fire her up one day. Would you believe it? She fired right up after all those years! Before long we were running around the farm pulling a Massey Ferguson wagon. My heart simply melted over this little tractor, and she was named Patty. Don't ask why, but soon even our friends and neighbors only new her as Patty. They would often ask me how she was do-in when I would stop by for something. The only part that made me sad was that she looked so tough on the outside. Mechanically she was mostly like new inside, but the years of rain and snow hitting her one side made her look kind ‘a tough.
At the end of several years of work, the Doctor was kind enough to work out a deal with my dad so that we could take Patty home with us. We were poor in those days, so all of us were over joyed with our new found wealth of owning a tractor. Our pay was very small, but if we could work for the tractor, that would be everything. As soon we owned Patty, my brothers and a friend started working on the paint. His dad owned a sand blasting shop and our friend knew how to paint fairly well. She soon looked a lot better. No longer was Patty a faded brown color, she now gleamed bright red. We were real proud of here. No long afterwards, someone was driving her and something snapped in the transmission. It was discovered that the forks broke that shift the gears. Patty ended up underneath a little over hang behind the garage. Again she sat for a good long while. My folks did not have the money to rebuild the transmission and make further repairs on the Patty.
My brothers moved on to cars and the like. I was the youngest of the boys (still about twelve or thirteen years old), so I was still around home most of the time. Since I was so eager to get her going again, I offered to invest my paper route earnings in the tractor. They said that would be fine since it was kind of my tractor anyway. So I used the manuals to take the transmission and rear drives apart. There were bad seals and she was leaking gear fluid all over the place. Next I started fixing all the wiring and lights. After about three or four months of working underneath the cold over hang, I had Patty working like new again. All the lights and gauges worked, and she shifted real nice through her three forward gears.
For the next three years I worked with her in the local gardens. To make extra money, a friend and myself raised sweet corn and other vegetables. The plow and cultivator worked real nice for this purpose. In the winter we pushed snow with the snowplows. He had a Farmall A without hydraulics. We both made wooded platforms for the back to haul our vegetables. Later we realized that everything sold better off the back of the tractors. People liked to see the local farm boys and their little red tractors still going from the 1940’s. Patty often served as my car, in our community it was perfectly acceptable for boys our age to be driving around on tractors. My friend would come costing down the little hill in our village on his Farmall A to make it go faster, he would then wave at the police officer sitting in the speed trap. They got a amusement out of us using the exception in the vehicle code for “Vehicles of Husbandry” i.e. tractors.
When I turned sixteen and got a pickup things changed some. I still had a soft spot for Patty, but spent more time in the pickup. About this time things took a turn for the worst at home. Dad and Mom had even bigger financial troubles. A few years later they separated and sold the home place. Patty went with dad when he moved. I asked to buy Patty for what remained of her value that I did not invest as a child when I was fixing her up. He said that he would not sell Patty at that time. I was heartbroken that he went back on his former agreement. Since there was nothing else to do I tried to forget about her.
About two years later my brother told me that dad had sold Patty to someone else. This brought the hurt back to me all over again. Dad did not have bad intentions, after their separation things were hard on all of us. He probably just did not want to ask me to pay what she was worth, and he needed money real bad. I went on with my life. Later on I purchased a new John Deere 855 to fill the void in my life, but it was not the same. The tractor was very nice, but did not do the same thing for me that old Patty did. A few years later I sold the John Deere.
By now, many years have gone by without me hearing so much as a peep about Patty. The other day we went to a local steam tractor event near Gap, PA. It called Rough and Tumble. My fourteen year old boy and his cousin were real excited about all the old tractors. We sat on the bleachers watching them parade by. There were lines of gleaming red Farmall’s, Case, Oliver, John Deere, and many others driving past. I told them that I used to have a tractor just like that nice Farmall Cub when I was a boy there age. It really stirred something up in me as I ate some French Fries and drank a 32 oz. Coke. Next to Patty they are probably my next favorite things at antique tractor shows.
A few nights later we were in our woods having a camp supper with my wife’s family. Something happened there that again stirred up the loneliness for Patty. Wouldn't you know it, my childhood best friend ended up marring my wife’s little sister. He was more dedicated that I was, and never gave up farming. They now have a nice dairy farm and he still has his old childhood Farmall A. Not only does he have that one, but everything else but a Cub and a B if I am not mistaken of the alphabet series. Now going back to the campfire, my son was talking to him about Rough and Tumble. He was still all excited about those old tractors. About this time my brother-in-law remembered Patty. He asked me whatever happened to your tractor. I told him the same old tail of what I knew happened to Patty. He said that is too bad, since we were so attached to them in our childhood. I said there is nothing to do about it now. He suggested that I look for her somewhere. I explained that she was either owned by a collector or maybe even in a junkyard by now.
My son did not give up on the idea of having an old tractor to fix up just like I did as a little boy. So I said we would find one soon. In the back of my mind I kept dreaming of getting Patty back. This week on Monday I had to go to my Doctor who happens to be back in my old home area. After the appointment I drove by the place where my brother thought the tractor had been sold to. So I decided to stop in and see if I could at least see what has become of Patty. After much circling around the neighborhood talking with people, I still had found no trace of her. Late in the day I gave up and headed home. It was hopeless and I needed to move on and buy another tractor for my son to work on.
About fifteen minutes up the road I called my brother for something. In the course of the conversation I mentioned what I had been doing. He asked where I had been looking, so I told him. Then the breakthrough came, he said that he believed I was looking at the wrong area. About a mile up the road is another old farm. He said that he remembered that Patty had gone to that one. At this point I was hot, tired and needing to make the hour trip back home, but I decided to turn around. To this moment, I don't know what made me do it since it all seemed so hopeless, but I did in the end. Boy am I glad that I did! Upon arriving at the farm I could not find anyone in the house. So I turned around to leave, and would you believe what I saw among piles of old, dusty stuff mounded in the inside of the barn, there was the orange fanny flag that I had put on Patty many years ago. I did not go in the barn, but the brownish-red color of her now faded paint thrilled my heart. It looked like she has not been run in a few years, but I was certain that I had found Patty again. It was almost more that I could believe!
I stayed in the area till supper time, then went back to see if someone was home. This time I found the lady of the house and her daughters in the kitchen. As it turned out, she was a farm hand on when of the local farms that I frequented as a little boy. She recognized me almost immediately even though we had not seen each other in almost thirty years. After talking a while, she asked about why I stopped in to see them. I told them that I was trying to find out what happened to an old childhood friend of mine, Patty. She could hardly believe that the little red tractor in the barn was once mine and that she even had a name. They told me that it was indeed my tractor of yester year. Their children enjoyed taking rides on it occasionally when they were little, but now were in college and the tractor was just sitting. It needed a lot of work and does not run now due to electrical problems. I could not believe the way it was all turning out. Here I was talking with Gail who lived on the farm where I helped out as a little boy and knew me from back then. It all seemed very unreal! All the children had gathered around to hear the story of Patty that they never knew. I asked if it was all right to take a look at the tractor? She said that sure was okay. Then she asked if I would have interest in buying Patty, they had just made up their minds to sell her since they need to clean the barn out and were short on money. I could not believe my ears, it seemed too good to be true.
A day later, my family went with me to pick up Patty. I did not tell my children about any of this till we pulled in the lane of the old farm. They kept guessing what dad might be up to now. My son did not say anything even when we pulled up to the row of tractor implements in front of the barn and Patty there all dust covered in the center. I wondered what he was thinking, I said, “Son, it’s my old tractor Patty”. He was simply speechless for once in his life, as soon as the shock got over, he began to bubble just like I was, we were both in disbelief that Patty was going home with us for good. We loaded her on a trailer with all the attachments. Memories are bound up in every piece, I remembered everything down to the bumps and bruises in her sheet metal. Some of the attachments are very rusty. The electrical system has been really messed up. I used to be able to fix her just by using the book, now it seems almost hopeless. There is a half-finished 12v system installed, the magneto is still there but the cap is taken off. The generator is missing as well as the mounting plates. Some kind of plate is fastened on instead. The wiring is all backwards and hanging out. The carburetor has been replaced, the sediment bowel removed, and it appears like the clutch is ruined. We got her to start two days ago, but it seems that the rings are also worn out. Despite all this, I am very excited to have her back. Hopefully there will be a way to sort all this out and get her back in tip-top shape again..
Since I wrote this story, Patty has undergone major surgery. Her electrical system is once again new. The clutch has been replaced and several main seals. Her carburetor is all shiny and reworked. This miracle came about at Cubfest Northeast 2010. Thanks to all who helped! With a little more work, she will be good as new! All of us are glad that she came back home, no more to live in old, dusty barn basements!
Hopefully you all don't think I am crazy for spending too much money on an old tractor. Ralph told me not to worry about the money, I believe I will need to remember that because it is going to cost a lot more than the resale value will be to get this tractor fixed up. Yet, I would not give her up for any amount of money, this time I don't have to worry about her getting sold like I did for much of my childhood when money was so tight. The seller said if I had come through two weeks later she would have been gone for good. They were going to unload her anywhere they could. They were so excited that I could have her back. It simply was meant to be. Greeting to all and thanks in advance for your advice!!!
Last edited by Timex
on Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:14 am, edited 7 times in total.