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Oliver 70 Story

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OLIVER "70"

Well, Hello everyone.  My name is Oliver.  I came from such a large family, they gave us numbers to tell us apart. I got the number 70, and I was built in Charles City, Iowa, towards the end of the year 19 and 48. At that time, things were changing fast in the tractor business. They were making things bigger and better, so this was the last year that they built us 70's. They were introducing our bigger brother, the 77. So us old 70's, well we had to keep things going until all those big guys got out there.

While we were all standing around the shipping yard one day, waiting for the guys upstairs to come along with shipping papers for each of us, because we were being shipped all over the country. It was kind of an uncertain time because you had no idea where you might end up.

Oh, we all had high hopes of ending up on a nice farm, some place where we could show what we could do, and live out our lives being useful.

But before long, this fellow with a handful of papers and tags came along. He tied one on my steering wheel. I had to strain my neck to get a glimpse at it. I was shocked it said Canada. Oh my gosh!! Was I destined to be pushing snow, or maybe end up in the wilds of Canada in the bush? Why me? I was an

American! I really didn't know what to expect going to Canada. Do they farm in Canada? What were the people like? How would they treat me? What language do they speak up there? I was quite worried, but before long, I was loaded up along with a few other members of the Oliver family, and we were off to Canada. You know, the other tractors didn't seem as concerned as I. I don't know what was bothering me so much.

Well, anyway, we arrived at Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, at a Company called Goodison Thrashing Company. This company was the distributor for all us Olivers, and you know, they were real nice people. They welcomed all of us to Canada, took care of the necessary paperwork, explained to each one of us as to where we were going.

Now it was here I learned that a brand new dealer in Essex, Ontario, had ordered me from the factory. I saw out of the corner of my eye on the shipping tag, his name was Claude Dumouchelle. I was kind of anxious to get going now. Canada was not looking so bad.

It was August by now, and I thought if we hurried, I might get into some fall harvesting. After arriving in Essex, I was parked in the yard along with a few used tractors and equipment. It was then I spotted Claude (you know that brand new dealer in Essex). He was nervously walking around the yard. It was no time at all I learned the reason. Apparently, he had planned to get married, but after opening this new dealership, there was no money left, so he had to put the marriage on hold.

Suddenly, as I thought to myself it hit me. If someone comes along and buys me, maybe Claude will have enough money to go ahead with he wedding. Well, you wouldn't believe what happened the very next day around noon, in drives a truck, two guys get out and wander over in my direction. Oh, they were talking between themselves, and smiling. I knew they'd like to look at me right then, as I thought to myself, here's my chance to help Claude. So I straightened myself up, cleared my throat, and was thankful it had rained the night before which washed off all the dust that had gathered after that long trip getting here. Oh, I just knew they were anxious to hear me run, just to hear what I sounded like. Because, you know, there were not a lot of six cylinder tractors around at that time. I must say I looked kind of sharp then as well.

Well, here comes Claude, he greeted the two guys with a smile and said, "Do you want to hear her run?" Well, he hit the starter button. I came to life immediately. Well, the two brothers looked at each other and smiled. But you know, Claude and I worked together, and we closed the deal right then and there. I now felt I belonged. It sounded to me like these guys run a big farm operation. I was real proud to know that I was going to be part of the Lassaline Brothers Farm, which was established in 19 and 32. I just felt these brothers knew what they were doing.

Well, Claude didn't have a truck to deliver me on, so the boys said, "No problem. We will just drive her home." Chuck, one of the brothers, climbed up on my seat smiling from ear to ear, hit the starter button once more, and we were off to the farm. Well, the other brother, Chief, jumped in the truck, and he followed close behind, commenting to himself, what a fast road gear I had. We arrived at the farm in no time at all. It was a nice drive that day, plus, it gave me my first look at Essex County, which was going to be my home for many years to come.

Well, you know very shortly, I was introduced to my working partner, a Farmall M, who was also an American, and he was out of Chicago. Oh, he was a big fellow, and a little bit older that 1. So he and I were going to work together on this two hundred acres that the Lassaline brothers were farming. But you know, before the first week on the farm was done, I heard the boys talking. They were saying that Claude Dumouchelle had got married. I just knew that I had played a big part in that marriage. Why, with the two hundred dollars that Claude had made on my sale, there was no need to postpone that marriage any longer.

Well, as time went on, Farmall and I worked together just fine. Jobs that were a little too heavy for me, he jumped in and took over just like a real trooper. But as time went by, I kept noticing a young boy they called Bob. He was taking an interest in me. He kept walking around me, humming his favourite tunes and looking up at me. I must of seemed awful big to him. He was only about half as tall as my rear tires. Oh, I know what he wanted. He wanted to try his hand at driving, but the thought of it really made me nervous. But you know, one day he came along with his father. His father gave him a boost and he climbed into my seat.

Oh my gosh!! His legs were too short, he couldn't even reach the clutch, and the brake pedal. But somehow, he managed with his father's help. We got started, and down the lane we went.

I truly didn't know at that time what the future held in store for the two of us. We did spend a lot of time together, Bob and I, and you know, Bob and I really took a liking to each other. Well, a few more years passed. Can't quite remember how many. Big old Farmall M and I kept things going just fine. But you know, the Lassaline brothers thought, it's time to get a little bigger in this farming business. They took on another two hundred acres. Well, M and 1, got together and we began to worry. Surely they don't expect the two of us to do all that work. But you know, the boys were thinking quite a bit ahead of us for sure, because over the next few months, the yard looked like a tractor sales lot. One of my big brothers, Oliver 88 showed up one day to help out. A big blue and orange Fordson Major, he arrived on the scene, and to top it off, along came a great big green and yellow John Deere.

Well, with all these big guys showing up, it kind of looked like maybe I was going to have things a little easier, and I was right. With all these acres to work, there was lots of cultivating to be done.

This was a job that I was really good at, and enjoyed doing it. I thought I could handle all the cultivating alone, but I was wrong. It was way to much for me. But lo and behold, one day I noticed one of my smaller cousins on the farm. Oliver 60 was her name, and she came here to give me a hand with the cultivating, along with some of the other smaller jobs around here.

You know, young Bob got pretty good at some of these jobs. He seemed to learn real fast. Oh, I had a couple of mishaps that weren't really all that bad. Bob's brother, Larry, had me hooked up to a full load of grain. I knew it was too much of a load, but I figured we could handle it OK. But when he tried to stop, that dumb wagon kept coming. He really messed up my draw bar, and put a few dents in my fenders. Now this hurt some, but not quite as much as the day one of Bob's cousins started me up in gear. Can you imagine! Well, before I got stopped, I had gone right through the end of the shed, bent my crank, scratched up what paint I had left. Not to mention how embarrassing this was.

Well, a few more years passed. I think it was in 19 and 71, when the Lassaline brothers decided to quit farming. We were all a little worried as to what was going to happen now. They called one of their cousins, who was still farming and sold him big old John Deere, and me. It was about this time I picked up the name, "Old OIlie". But you know, I had it real easy over at their place. Just did a little power take off work now and then. Nothing very hard. Kind of semi-retired, I guess you would call it. But one day, darn it, I couldn't get started, and rather than trying to be a little patient with me, they pushed me over beside the barn. I kept thinking that one day someone was going to come just to see what the problem was.

But no, they just left me there. After all those years of being faithful and working hard, I felt terrible and very depressed. Oh, I heard folks asking Cousin, what he was going to do with me. He always replied, "The boys might fix her up one day."

But I really didn't think so. You know every once in a while I would see my old friend Bob, around the place. He always glanced in my direction, and I got to thinking, maybe he has something up his sleeve for me. I wonder if he is thinking what I'm thinking. But you know what gave me this excitement? The wind blew a cover from a magazine over my way one day. On it was a picture of an old tractor, all fixed up. I thought to myself, what a great idea. By this time, I was so depressed and dilapidated, I really didn't think anybody would ever want me. Lo & behold, one October day in 19 and 93, in drives a little blue pickup. Out jumps my old friend Bob.

He reaches in the box and drags out a chain. My heart started to pound, what's going to happen? Oh my gosh!! Is Bob going to take me home to his place? Why, I'm in no condition to go anywhere. I look awful!

Well, Bob talked to his cousin. I saw some money change hands. I think it was about two hundred dollars. There was now something different about Bob. When he walked beside me, I noticed he was a bit taller. He used to be only a little more than half as high as my rear wheels, but now he was just as tall or maybe even a little more. Anyway, he hooked the chain on, then he hooked it to the back of his pickup, and gently moved me into the yard, walked around me a couple of times, then down the road we went. Oh, I was hoping not too many people could see me, 'cause I was really ashamed of my looks. I really don't think Bob's wife Pat was all that pleased with me, either. But, to me folks, the future was looking a lot better now. Bob got to working on me almost immediately. He put me in a nice clean garage beside the house. This was the nicest place I had been in years. I really kind of felt a little guilty, because Bob had to put his nice little pickup outside to make room for me, and that cute little McCormick Deering International, who didn't seem too happy to see me there, either. I kind of think her nose was out of joint.

Well, it took seven months to fix all the things that were wrong with me. I was really in bad shape. Bob had a hard time finding a pair of hood sides, because mine had been thrown away years ago.

Well, before the final paint job, and everything seemed to be working pretty good, Bob started me up. We took a little drive down the road. Boy, what a feeling that was! Just like old times again. But you know, we have to give many thanks to Bob's son, Wayne, and Bob's brother, who gave their utmost to help see me in operating condition once again. Wayne got some tires at the Goodyear store he runs downtown, but only under one condition; that was when I was finished, I would come down and show them off some day. I think, of course, he wanted to be the third generation to drive me, which made me very proud.

Well, we finally got all finished. New paint, new decals, new tires.  Completely overhauled. I looked and felt as good as new.  Although I did hear Pat got very tired of all the door slamming, cursing, and greasy footprints. But I think that's all in the past now.

Bob and I are now members of the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Club. I'm so proud of my looks, I really don't mind showing off at tractor shows and parades. Bob and I can hardly wait for the big Oliver show, which is coming, and they are going to feature all my relatives. Bob's now talking of building a new garage, to keep me and what's-her-name... you know, that cute little McCormick Deering International, in. Oh, I know I shouldn't be that way. But really, Bob and I had been going together long before she came on the scene. I really think Bob loves both of us.

Please don't forget, I will always remain your first love, old "Ollie 70".

Well folks, I really hope you have enjoyed reading this story as much as I have had telling it to you. This story was written by Jack McLeod, of Cottam, Ontario, under direct supervision of Bob Lassaline, Oldcastle, Ontario, in February 19 and 95, and was made possible by a large grant from Greenleigh Farms Inc., to the Oliver's Forever Foundation. The contents of this story was produced from notes submitted from the Bob Lassaline archives. Now most facts in this story are probably true, except for the ones that are fictitious. Copies of this story are available by making a large contribution to the Oliver's Forever Foundation, or by simply calling our toll-free number, 1-800-OLIVER, and ask for Bob. Our operators are standing by. Private viewings of old Ollie are also possible to parties of one hundred or more, by written request only, at least one year in advance. Also, all requests must be accompanied by a sizeable donation. We are very sorry, but neither of these offers are available to John Deere collectors.

So until next time, we're going to leave you with this thought. May all your memories be happy ones.