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       I remember several things I did while growing up that hinted at some kind of natural mechanical inclination. One of my favorite toys was a wind-up caterpillar tractor with a blade on the front. I enjoyed pushing things around with it, and climbing it over pillows.  Alarm clocks of the 1930s didn't last long apparently, because I would find them in the trash piles. I would bring them home and dismantle them to see how they were built. A fun thing to do was remove the timing mechanism. Usually the clock would run very fast after that. The small gears could be removed and spun like small tops.
       Mother would make a device with a wooden spool, soap, match-stick and rubber band. The rubber band was put through the spool and a hole in a thin piece of soap. A match stick was put in both ends of the rubber band. The longer match stick was turned to wind up the rubber. When placed on a surface, the match stick would rotate slowly and make the spool roll on the surface. The soap controlled the speed of the device, so it would slowly move forward.

      When I got a wagon for Christmas, I would lay down under it to pretend I was a garage mechanic. I could roll the wagon over to work on it, but that was not very realistic. Real mechanics didn't roll their cars on the side to work on them. I learned a lot by watching my dad, too.  He was a jack-of-all-trades for sure, and I watched him do blacksmith jobs, shoe the horse, build the barns and pull stumps. Dad made use of the basic tools. We always had wedges, pry-bars, block and tackle, and planks for inclined planes. What I learned as a farmer's son surely had something to do with the rest of my life. I have never gone far from occupations that did not involve application of basic mechanical principals.   

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