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A Box Of Contents
Marg-Ins 6-29-22
Marg Jackson Mug

It’s always interesting to me when my mind goes back in time to unearth memories of the past, whether it is a specific incident, a time or place, maybe a smell or sound.

My sister recently returned from a month-long visit to our childhood home in upstate New York. I had her flight numbers and times so I was able to chart her progress across the country and knew when she arrived in Albany as well as when she got back home to the Fairfield, CA area.

We talked a few times while she was there, she was hoping for some thunderstorms but didn’t get too much in the way of thunder and lightning, although there were some rainy days. But the photo she sent me taken off the back porch at home was exactly how I remember it; lush green as far as you could see. I know I’ve talked about that before; we would either have green or white, it seemed, covered in snow for several months, covered in green the rest of the year, maybe with a few weeks of muddy brown mixed in when the spring season melted the snow away.

She also sent a short video from the annual Gas Up – a show we went to every year when we were kids. My dad restored many antique gas engines and as far back as I can remember, we all headed over to Gallupville for the Gas Up in the summer. It typically was held the weekend before and the weekend of Father’s Day and that is one of the memories that comes complete with sound effects. The popping and chugging of the engines, the sounds of the belts on their pulleys, the tumbling of the ice cream maker run by a gas engine … it was all part of the event.

My dad restored some Linn tractors through the years, vehicles that, in their heyday, were used for snowplowing and logging, among other duties. This year, it turns out, he did have one of the Linns on display. I looked online and the group that puts on the show, the Hudson Mohawk Chapter of the Pioneer Gas Engine Association, posted a video of the Father’s Day parade on site, including many tractors, horse drawn wagons, etc. About 11 minutes in to the parade, there was my dad riding in his Linn, having the chance to wave at the crowd while a friend drove the vehicle.

Another memory springs to mind; kind of a ‘two-fer’ as the former roller-skating rink we went to as kids later became an auction house.

My brother, sister and I would often attend the Saturday afternoon roller skating sessions and enjoyed more than one New Year’s Eve party there during our school days. Later, after it closed up, it sat empty and unused for several years. Then it was used for a weekly auction, with anything and everything up for sale. Some weeks I would go with my parents, if my dad was on the lookout for something specific, and I sometimes put in a few bids of my own. While my dad might have been in search of engine parts, equipment he needed for his shop, or some broken down item he could refurbish, I was more interested in the unknown. They had many of what they referred to as a ‘box of contents’ and you might be able to see a few things on the top but couldn’t dig too deeply into it during the preview.

Considering most of those ‘boxes’ went for $10 or less, it was worth it to bid a few dollars and see what treasures you had just purchased. Kind of like buying a pack of baseball cards; there might be one really good one in the bunch and it’s fun to take that risk.

All the items from those ‘boxes of contents’ are long gone but they definitely served me well in years past; everything from cooking utensils to household décor.

And the memory brings a smile; that’s a few bucks well spent.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.