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Friday, February 27, 2015



A New Continued Story Begins Today
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Dad taught Jimmy How to Fix Tractors
Introduction to the Nelsons Chapter 1
My name is Jimmy Nelson having been born in Chesterville and raised there; so far Chesterville was all I knew about the world.
My folks had a dirt farm that was big enough to almost starve on. It just wasn’t large enough to make a living on so my Pa had to take on extra work.
He could fix almost anything that ran but people wanted him to work for very low wages.
From the age of six on I did almost all of the plowing and actually just about ran the farm.
Dad taught me how to repair motors and when I wasn’t working the farm he took me with him on his tractor fixing.
One of the farmers with a large farm, bought a new tractor and sold me his old one.
My Pa said the farmer’s old tractor was completely worn out, but I went ahead and bought it for almost nothing.  Actually I worked for him for what amounted to two days in barter.  It was part time over a week for I was still attending school.
Pa still was fussing about me buying the old tractor but he helped me find the parts needed to get it running.  He had to admit that I had fixed it up pretty good.
I put lights on it so I could work at night.  Sometimes I would get a job and would plow all night then clean up a little and go to school.
More than once I went to bed with dirty feet after working most of the night in fact I was dirty all over.  I was thankful Ma didn’t complain.
When I was small I could get into the wash tub but as I grew taller I couldn’t fit in the tub, so I would stand up in it and pour water on my head and then try to get the soap off.
When I got older (and had the money) I went to the barber shop/bath house once a week to give myself a good cleaning.
My Pa never gave me any money but if I could make some extra working for other people he would let me keep a little of it.
As I think back it seems strange that people never thought anything about me being so young when working for them.
I suppose they just wanted the work done and I did it the way they wanted it done.
Over time I accumulated three tractors of my own and had them all in good running condition. About the time someone bought a new one they would call me to sell me the old tractor they had for they knew I would buy almost anything.
It was no trouble for me to sell one of my old tractors because I always had them in good running condition and had put a little paint on them.
By the time I was thirteen I was doing most of the repairs for other farmers for my Pa was getting all stove up and he couldn’t get around without a lot of effort.
He was in a lot of pain but the flu solved that problem.  Both my Ma and Pa succumbed to the flu that year.  I had a touch of it myself but got over it. I was sorry to lose them, but it was two less mouths for me to feed.
Buying a business
I turned sixteen and had saved a little money by doing without things I needed; with the eye of improving my position in life.
The main service station was coming up for sale, and because I had worked in it for the owner, old mister Johnson, I had the inside track on buying it.
He liked me and wanted me to have it but he warned me it wouldn’t be easy to make it because people wouldn’t pay their bills.
I went through all the outstanding arrears people owed to him, and found it to be a large sum.  I decided to make Johnson an offer. I agreed to take over his debt for the ownership of the station.
He told me he had several debtors and they wanted to be paid so if he could get out from under that heavy load he would be happy. I told him I understood and we made a deal.
Suddenly I was further in debt than I ever thought, and people were dunning me for their money.
No Credit - Cash Only
When I took over the station, I put up a large sign saying from now on it would be cash only with no credit for anyone.
It took a week for the message to get out and for people to believe it. They would pull in and say fill it up and I would ask if they had the cash to pay for it and they would say put it on the book.
I would say I don’t have a book, cash only.
They would say well I’ll take my business somewhere elsewhere, and away they would go.
Meanwhile I turned all my accounts receivable over to a collection agency. These people were mean when it came to collecting the green.
The money owing people were quite angry about it, but when the collection agency started foreclosure proceedings against their houses and farms they came up with the money except for a couple who refused and lost their property to me.
At first people wouldn’t come in to my station but little by little they returned and paid with cash for their service.
They didn’t buy as much as before, but that was okay with me for I had over the last few years had enough of the saying, “Thanks until you’re better paid.”
With the money I got from the collection agency I paid off my debts and what old Mister Johnson owed.
Over time I gained a lot of new friends to replace the deadbeat ones I lost.
Things began to change in the other businesses in town and they wanted cash for their goods also. They were tired of people buying things they couldn’t afford and not paying for them.
My repair business was doing pretty good and I turned the small farm I got from my Pa into a truck farm.  I hired a man to share crop it and made more money from it than I made from the station.
The two other places I got from the foreclosure one was a farm and the other was a nice house.  The same fellow that share cropped the family farm also share cropped the foreclosed farm also.  He had several kids so he had plenty of help.
I moved into the house and it had a bath and a toilet. These were things I wasn’t used to and were a nice substitute for the old wash tub and out house.
Trying to educate myself
I had graduated from the eighth grade and felt pretty good about that for that was about all the education most people got around here except for a few like the doctors and such.
I enrolled in one of them mail order schools and got my high school diploma.  Their plan was set up where you could finish it in one year. They said take away the unnecessary stuff, and twelve months was enough to cover the whole of high school.
I remember my teacher in the sixth grade, a lady from up north, and she had always emphasized speaking properly. She said maybe it was alright to speak “Southern Speak” when talking with buddies, but to be successful in business you needed to be able to talk on the same level as the business people do.
At the time, most of us didn’t understand what she was talking about, but now that I have had to deal with business type people, I understand what she meant.
Some of the people around here said she won’t last and they were right for she was gone after the first year. They in their ignorance ran her off but I learned more of what actually counted in that one year than all the rest. It took a while before what she taught me to kick in or make sense, but as I got more involved in business I had to depend upon what she taught.
Some years later I found out where she was and wrote her a letter, thanking her for what she taught me. I hoped it would make her feel a little better about the time she spent here in Chesterville.
To be Continued

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