Isn't this beautiful? This, (well, not this exact one, but one Just Like This One)is the machine that I learned to stitch my first stitches on. In those days, we didn't have "family rooms" and craft rooms and all the other rooms you find in houses now. What we did have was a "back bedroom". Except, it wasn't used as a bedroom. It was the room we used as if it were a family room. The television was back there, and my mom's sewing machine was back there. I would sit at my mom's feet (probably getting in the way), picking up her scraps and sewing with them. The first garments I made weren't doll clothes in the traditional sense, they were clothes for trolls. Click on the link or the pic to read a great website by a woman who's roughly my age who still has a thing for trolls.
When my mom felt I was old enough, and probably when she had patience and time enough (I'm the eldest of 5 kids), she taught me to sew on her machine. I couldn't have been any older than 8. At 10, when she wanted her own machine back again because I was spending too much time at it, my parents got me my own first machine - I believe it was a Kenmore.
I've done a little bit of research on these machines. It seems that there is now a hand crank available for this machine, for times when electricity isn't available. It's also rated appropriate for sails and sailcloth (dacron). And the great thing: One is listed on Craiglist in my area. I've emailed the seller to see if the machine is still available. Haven't gotten a response yet. I'll keep you posted. If I can get my hands on one, this baby may just go to sea.