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The Christmas Tractor (part 2)

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Each day I would take out the Dynamark and clean and wax her paint.  Right about then, it was February 1978 when it was for-casted  that Connecticut was going to be getting a blizzard.  For two days my little street was buried in snow and the town's plow trucks still had not cleared our street. I thought it wise to try to break a path with the 36 inch single stage snow blower mounted on the front of my new tractor.  To everyone's surprise, this box store tractor did in fact clear the street.

I still went with my dad every time he visited his friend who had the Wheel Horse tractor.  At that time, I didn't know anything about Wheel Horse, except that this tractor was heavy iron, probably cost a real lot, was in a different league than my Dynamark, and was really, really cool.

During this time, I was in middle school and I remember day dreaming of tractors every day as a care taker would cut the grass on the school grounds with a John Deere 400.  I began begging my dad to take me to the John Deere dealer to look at tractors and get brochures.  I become obsessed drawing pictures of the model 212 for some reason. By sister's teenage boyfriend knew I loved these tractors and invited me to his home to try out the John Deere 210 that belonged to his dad. My first impressions were that this thing was huge, fast, and had a very springy seat.  It was difficult for me to operate the seperate clutch and brake pedals, but I somehow got through cutting his one acre yard.

As time went by, I entered Eli Whitney Regional Vocational Technical High School where I would receive a high school education and become a certified auto mechanic. I really believe it was that Wheel Horse tractor that fueled my fire of mechanics. Now, I still played the trumpet which I began in grade six and in fact I was a high school student playing trumpet in the Yale Jazz Ensemble. We played all over the Yale campus at these big wig, high end performances, where people sipped champagne and ate Brie cheese. It was hard to explain to my auto shop buddies on Monday that I just performed with Dizzy Guillespe, Clark Terry, and Benny Carter. On weekdays it was Billy Joel,The Beach Boys, and Michael Jackson, but on weekends it was Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller.

At that time we once again visited my dad's friend. The reason we visited often was that this guy collected AC Gilbert/American Flyer Trains.  By dad collected Lionel prewar trains, but bought and sold the American Flyer trains to pay for his hobby. I grew up in the greater New Haven area and that is where AC Gilbert trains were made so they were available in abundance at that time.

I was surprised and disappointed to find out the guy sold his Bronco 14. Why didn't he ask me? He knew I loved it.  Well, the reason he sold it was because he just bought a Wheel Horse D-250.  I distinctly remember my first impression was that this thing was massive, but ugly as my previous girl friend.


The best part is yet to come, so tune in tomorrow for more of the story.


Merry Christmas,

Michael Martino





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Good story Mike!


 brings back memories of growing up in CT.  I remember the 78 blizzard in Cheshire when my Dad's 74 Datsun 260Z made it all the home from Nah Haven but got stuck as he pulled in the driveway..where it sat covered by all the snow for 3 days

Eli Whitney Regional Vocational Technical High School?  in Hamden right?

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Patiently waiting for the next chapter!

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