Show Me a Quintessential Mid-American Childhood? I’d Take You to a Tractor Show

If someone were to ask me to replicate for them the quintessential experience of my mid-American childhood, we would throw on some t-shirts and cut-offs and watch threshing at an antique tractor show. We’d watch strong arms turn the flywheel of a Rumely OilPull until it fires with a big puff, listen to the song of a steam-powered calliope coming over the ridge, and look into the black night sky as a Baker steam engine throws sawdust sparks as high as the tree-tops. We’d visit with folks sitting in fold up lawn chairs under a camper awning. There would be long-lost cousins, friends we see only once a year, lots of laughs and there would be pie!

That is home–where the people are true and strong and sweet and even a little ornery.

Even before I wrote down my grandfather’s story and published Little Rumely Man, I knew these tractor-collecting folks were a friendly, giving bunch. But time and again since last August when I debuted the book, their kind words have taken me back to the same feeling of belonging I had as a kid riding on hot fenders around a parade ring in the “hole” at the Pioneer Engineers Annual Reunion. With each review, like this one in Engineers and Engines magazine, (Read the pdf in the attached photo.) I get more than a little choked up in my own memories and over the possibility that Little Rumely Man could spark a passion for agricultural and rural life preservation in someone new. Thank you for that, not only from me, but also from “Jack.” There’s no doubt in my mind that he and Grandma would like that.

Leave the world better than you found it!


Engineers and Engines is a antique farm machinery magazine. They published this review of Little Rumely Man in the June/July issue.

Engineers and Engines is a antique farm machinery magazine. They published this review of Little Rumely Man in the June/July issue.

The First of Many for Summer 2013 — Little Rumely Man Book Event

Spring is playing peek-a-boo with us here in the Midwest, but my eyes are set on summer. Little Rumely Man is going on the road! One trip is booked and Jack can’t wait! (Neither can I!)

Over Labor Day weekend, (I know it’s a long way off.) you’ll find Little Rumely Man at the Midwest Old Thresher’s Reunion in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Yep, I’m pointing Dolly (That’s my arrest-me red Prius–flashy on the outside and all country on the inside–kind of like Dolly Parton–see earlier post.) due west.  (Can’t believe I’ve never been to Iowa – it’s just five hours away.)

The best part is that I’ll get to take in an antique farm machinery show that is (I think.) the largest of its kind in the country.  (Rumor has it that 80,000 people wander the grounds checking out the steam engines, threshing, live music, antiques, etc.) There’s so much going on there, I can’t imagine how I will see it all! But you can find me at the Farm Collector magazine exhibit. (Don’t worry. I’ll post more info later this summer.) I’ll be signing and selling Little Rumely Man on Saturday. Let’s hope that I can make a big donation to the show…a portion of the proceeds from every book sold is ALWAYS donated to those preserving agricultural and rural life history.

Can’t wait!! (Oh yeah, and I’ll be celebrating my birthday there too!)

Leave the world better than you found it!

Rubbing Elbows with Direct Sellers Made My Dream Come True

A few months ago, I took a closer look at direct sellers for Direct Selling News. (They are far more than just the Avon or Mary Kay ladies of the world.) I’ve been writing for this industry for more than six years and have had the pleasure of speaking with literally hundreds of people at all levels in direct selling. I have laughed and cried hearing the stories these folks tell about their circumstances and how direct selling lifted them, empowered them and taught them they could be what they always dreamed.

Telling their stories through publications likeDirect Selling News, Success From Home, Your Business At Home, and Beautiful You opened a door for me professionally and gave me a new-found respect for personal development. I credit my association with the direct selling industry for inspiring me to finally write my children’s book, Little Rumely Man. Rubbing elbows with direct sellers helped me make my dream come true.

If my January cover story for Direct Selling News or any of the stories on my website give you a glimmer of hope that you can make 2013 a better year for you and your family, then I’ve succeeded. Open minds soak up new ideas. That doesn’t mean everyone should be a direct seller. Maybe your take away will be inspiration to put together an action plan that will make your dreams come true. Resources are out there to help you make positive changes in your life. (Sometimes they are even free!) Just get past the fear, forget whatever circumstances that have been holding you back and forge ahead in this new year!

Leave the world better than you found it!







Sneak peek: Farm Collector Likes Little Rumely Man!!!

Sneak peek of Little Rumely Man‘s review tells me Farm Collector magazine liked it! The review is part of Farm Collector magazine’s Between the Bookend’s Holiday Preview for gift-giving in the December 2012 issue. Look for it in mailboxes later this month and also on line at Farm Collector.

Now cross your fingers that their readers are just as enthusiastic about Jack’s little story.

Leave the world better than you found it!

My brand-spanking-new children’s book!!

Order Little Rumely Man Today!

Note: A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book go to agriculture preservation
through donations to Pioneer Engineers Club of Indiana, Inc., and other organizations like it,
who build on the skills and talents of their members to educate and entertain the public as they preserve the heritage of rural life.

Order via – Click on Little Rumely Man. Pay via PayPal — $13 includes shipping/tax.

Order by email or snail mail at Beth Silcox, PO Box 42, Westfield, IN 46074. Personal checks or money orders for $12 per copy.

Little Rumely Man by Beth Douglass Silcox

   Eight-year-old farm boys like Jack dream big!

   Jack spends summer days sitting on the coal box of Pa’s Advance-Rumely Universal steam engine wishing he was big enough to thresh wheat.

   Soon, pictures in Pa’s tractor book have Jack dreaming of a 16-30 Rumely OilPull belted up to an Ideal separator on Pa’s back 40.

   Before long, Jack comes up with a secret plan to check out a Rumely OilPull. With a little mischief and the help of an unexpected friend, Jack learns a lot about his favorite tractor and becomes a little Rumely man.


Details for educators:

This book is written for children grades 3-6 and depicts rural farm life in 1924. Rumely OilPulls were manufactured in LaPorte, Indiana and could provide teaching opportunities in Indiana history, social studies, history, agriculture and even some lessons in problem-solving. This book includes a glossary of unfamiliar terms, including definitions of agricultural equipment and slang references.


A little more about Jack:

Jack was a real boy, who grew up to be my grandpa. This story is part true and part my own creation. Jack did write a letter to a tractor company when he was a boy, and a salesman came to the family’s Rush County, Indiana, farm. Was that salesman a friendly Rumely man like Mr. Shelton? I can’t say.

What I do know is that Jack Maple was a Rumely man from the day he laid eyes on an OilPull as a boy. In his lifetime, he owned steam engines, plus dozens of other antique tractors and implements, but Rumely held a special place in his heart. I can still see him, dressed in a plaid shirt, suspenders and straw hat, giving a quick wave and grin from the driver’s seat of his favorite Rumely 6.

As a grown-up, Jack collected OilPulls, including a Model H and Model M like the ones in Little Rumely Man. He proudly displayed all of them at the first Rumely Expo, collector’s show, in Rushville, Indiana, in 1993. Grandpa’s face lit up when he asked folks that weekend, “Boy, did ya see them OilPulls?”

Life blessed my grandparents, Jack and Hazel Maple, with cherished friendships thanks to their antique tractor-collecting hobby. I feel very lucky they were my friends for more than 40 years. Thanks to them, our family still comes together every August for the Pioneer Engineers Club of Indiana’s annual reunion not too far from the farm where Jack grew up.


About the author:

Beth Douglass Silcox is a professional writer with a Bachelors of Science in journalism from Indiana State University. She writes human-interest features and stories about people, businesses, and philanthropic causes for entrepreneurial magazines, companies, and non-profit organizations. Little Rumely Man is her first children’s book and is roughly based on her grandfather’s love of Rumely OilPulls. Beth lives in central Indiana with her family and looks forward to the first weekend in August each year, when she returns to her hometown for the Pioneer Engineers Club of Indiana’s annual reunion. You can see more of her work at

About the illustrator:

Darcy Peters has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Indiana University. She grew up in west central Indiana, but spent summers surrounded by endless seas of seed corn on her grandparent’s Illinois farm. Darcy is married to an Army Warrant Officer and together they have two daughters.

Quick Thoughts: Jackie Kennedy Tapes

Watching the Diane Sawyer preview of the Jackie Kennedy oral history tapes and book last night, it really struck me how incredibly happy I am to be empowered to earn my own success. How foreign it would be to measure my self worth and success only through my ability to ensure my husband’s. While I found every bit of it fascinating and loved the time capsule quality of those tapes,  I am glad it is just that–a fascinating look back at Camelot and women’s history, rather than a representation of my gender’s present or future.

Leave the world better than you found it.