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Making miniature truck to bring a load of good recollections!


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Ivan Gouveia[1]

The things we do, whether good or not, are somehow nailed to our existence. No matter how we try, there is always reminiscent of things that emerge to remind us of what we were or we could ever be. The word nostalgia never express all that takes us when we try to play the time that escaped from the hands.

                                                                                                                         Ivan Gouveia


Long ago ... things lost in time.


The sun always rose so shy as people born in my living at that time. Some realized that we needed to adapt and get more to underpin the future. Others stayed there in the past even until today, the era of communication, some of them still refuse to learn the alphabet. In small towns or in the country, the technology has arrived, but was not always in the hearts of those who really love the life in the country. Those who feel life in the green plantation fields. I think it is better way to live. But talking about me, I was not even there, not here. It is possible that I am lost in time and even now I am embarrassed by the many changes that time brought. I'm the redneck technologically modified.

Work knocked on my door since very early . The work I received gladly, but what weighed over were the repeated attacks of asthma. They followed me into adulthood. Today they do not bother anymore. I took every kind of potion and I was the victim of a dozen cure experiments. My father clung to say I was a corpse (meaning that I was more dead than alive), that he would have to make the coffin at any time. He said that I never would get to be an adult. The sternum has come to begin to deform due to the intense bouts of asthma. When I was not bedridden, was at work.

I did not attend school and toys almost nonexistent. These, if they existed, were ones that my little creativity and experience could build. As almost the majority of boys I clung to cars and trucks and I sought to build them with what was at hand. Were of wood, tin or clay, I had always had overcome the desire to receive a bought toy. As I was so clung to the details, the play time was often past making the toys. But this had become the play time itself. Sometimes I did not have even a simple and rusty pliers , and the tin plates cut with a knife, were molded with the fingers themselves. Not infrequently resulted in cuts to the hands that, consequently, would ban momentarily the act of inventing toys. Once I found a small pliers in the middle of the remains of a burned house. It was just the metal part, the rest had melted. But was a tremendous tool for a short period of time. One day, came by an acquaintance of my father, seeing my pliers, he said that he was in need of one. My father did not hesitate and was soon delivering what represented improvement in my stubborn tin plate folding. Nevertheless, if he wanted, the man could buy a million of pliers, he took mine, which was unique. This foolish boy has to stop this habit of kneading can, said the visitor. My father would not let me pick up his tools and when I disrespected this, the quarrel was always very severe. The leather belt was widely used. 

My father was the kind who used to speak so well of the children of others, even giving the presents. Meanwhile he taunted his own children before his friends, relatives or others. He said: "My children are fools!" His other favorite adjectives when referring to his own children were: silly, dizzy, stupid, redneck (who I am until today), etc. Only later I realized that he feared that one day one of his sons happened to have more knowledge than him. Just do not get it until today because he was always in the midst of people of some knowledge and possession. He himself went on to gain much money in this life, but threw away with cars, many extravagances, even cigarettes, women, drinks and to please others. The family itself was treated with disdain.

I always needed to be ready for work. I was already ten years old and the school still seemed an impossible dream. I used to look the other kids who seemed very happy on the way to school carrying notebooks and pencils in small bags of sugar. I was there on my own, like someone who was born different from others. Devoid of right of studying and have friends. I did not work as a slave, but produced by an adult at normal working conditions. There the sun was only shy when it rose. Already high, it burned our backs with no mercy. The hoe was heavy and manual planter had an uncomfortable height and was too heavy also, but the work had to be done. I could forget the toys, if only I had the school and it would be enough. I did not went to school before the age of fourteen. When it happened, it was under very severe discomfort and embarrassment.

At fourteen, I was too young to join the old MOBRAL (something that include the four first years of school in one single year), while I was already past the age to stay in first Grade of primary school. An alternative was the called Integrated Education, which brought together people who were somewhere in between, but they already knew at least read. That was not my case. I knew somehow the a-e-i-o-u, but I think that was all. They would not admit me into any of these classes. The anger boiled my soul. I remember I fought a lot, almost hopeless. I even cried. For now had my own bag of sugar with a pencil and a notebook, but had not yet the right to sit on a school bench. So finally, I was admitted at Integrated Education (sort of supplementary comprising the four years of primary education). At first I could not keep pace with nobody there, because I could not copy what was on the blackboard. But when that year finished, I was the one who knew more in class, according to our teacher and the exams. I just devoured the books as one who, starving in a lifetime, wants to put in his mouth all the food he sees. Then I could join in fifth Grade. Big Deal? For me it was. I know that many other Brazilians have been through it and moved on. We discovered that the trick is never give up.

At that time I worked a little less, and under the floor, sat on my workshop. By that time, had a knife without a handle, an old pair of pliers, some wood and an abundance of tin cans in the trash in the streets. Released, then, my 1519 Mercedes-Benz truck and the three-axle trailer. Many other models before it were never photographed.

The material of the tires was the wood of the Amburana tree. Very good for almost every wooden work. The notion of scale was only visual. This was about 1:7 scale. But it can be calculated more accurately, since the front hubcap was made of the top of a well known brand of cooking oil can. Today we seldom find cooking oil in tin cans. The windshield was made of soft drink plastic bottle. The floor of the trailer was made of wood ceiling panels. It was the first model I that was able to buy paint for the truck cab.

At that time I had worked as an assistant (called pejoratively "badeco", sort of a worker that does everything they tell him to do) for almost a year in diesel mechanics workshop. There, I learned a lot about engines and mechanics in general. This knowledge is useful to me even now.

The drama of the study was not ended, since my father had the bad habit of moving from one house to another and even from city with an absurd frequency. It was always a huge fight to be admitted in another school. There was a time when we had no time to get the papers asked for transfer and we lost the school year. To get an idea of how frequent were the moving from one house to another, from the age where I could count, we moved no less than 33 (yes, thirty-three) times. This, from my five to twenty-one years of age. Obviously, as we grew older, I was able to circumvent the situation a little better.

As the Brazilian has a sick habit of using words and phrases in English, I came across these things when I was fifteen years old. Intrigued by what those words could mean, I bought a used book of English. I was already learning a bit my way when I met pastor Donald Fall, who was a good man and helped me with English. He lived in Mundo Novo - MS - Brazil. When I first saw him, he was pulling weeds from his yard with his hands. I had my radio cassette recorder, but had no money. So I told him that I could uproot the weeds of his yard in exchange for him to read two or three short texts to be recorded with my radio cassette recorder. He told me to leave the book and the tape recorder and come back the next day for the service. Then he made me two surprises. First, when I arrived for the combined service, there was no weed in his backyard anymore. He told me I would not pay anything and that uproot the weeds was a therapy for him. As I was leaving, he invited me to go to his church. The second surprise was that he had recorded all the texts of the book. I am half parrot, half human, if I listen I repeat. So this was a breakthrough for me in the study of English. We moved from town soon after and the last thing I heard of Donald Fall is that he went to Fresno, California, USA.

Later, after jobs as a bagger in a rice grain processing company. I got in a bus company as an apprentice of bus body repairer (any kind of repair service of the bus body structure). Funny that, in some places in Brazil, the profession changes its name: tinker and panel beater, for example. But what matters is that there I had the notion of arc welding, oxygen welding, painting, tapestry and fiberglass work. Later, I became professional in this area. By this time I made my first model bus, a Marcopolo Paradiso.

I spent much of my lunch time welding the structure of that bus with the still limited experience with arc welding. Always came home with irritation in my eyes because of the intense light from the burning of the electrode. The tin plates were too thin, which made them difficult to be welded with the use of the helmet. The miniature was a thing of 1.60 m in length, which I kept hidden under a 1:1 size bus. The manager was not aware of the unusual piece which, although did not consume many electrodes and was made of scraps, mainly of tin plate, could cost me the job. Even more if taken in account that I had won my first promotion at work. I had come to gain a little more than minimum wage. For someone who had only six months on the job, I was abused. I planned to show the secret work only when it was ready. I knew that it was not right, but thought they would not care that much. I kept the chassis in one place and body in another. That would not give much impression of the whole thing. When it was ready I could pay for the used materials.

I had no idea how actually was the three-axles chassis of the Volvo B-58, but here is what I could capture. Today there is the Internet for all sorts of research, but those were the 80s.







It was a contraption so heavy, I (17 years old) and my brother (14 years old) suffered a lot to carry the structure to home. In the picture one can notice that the front axle seems to be curving, so was the weight it had to endure.





I managed to keep secret, for some time, my Paradiso made of scraps of tin plate. However, one day, someone there in the company, bitten by curiosity and desire to see me wrong, covertly managed to take our manager unto my strange creature. He purposely knocked an steel plate that covered, let us say, "the thing". I think it was the very next day, when they called me to the company headquarters to talk with the boss. I knew well what could ensue. But, then, the unexpected sometimes happens, because he liked so much my skill with details, that he gave me a promotion with working conditions much more favorable than I could expect at that time. In fact, what I think is that he saw that I could deal with some details of the pieces made of fiberglass and he thought I would fare well in this type of work. The salary nearly tripled. Even today I find myself thinking that, in the days that followed, I would have seen the face of the author of the delation. There are times when he who wants to take us down, shake us in such a way that when we seek balance, we happen to jump beyond point we wanted to achieve. I can not say that things were very easy from that point, but I know there was a significant improvement.




So, the days went slowly one after another. The sunset staining the sky red hues, was, sometimes, so sad. But always left in the air a tone of hope. It was a pointer to the future. It is until today.

At that time I lived in a small and quiet town. As I recall, there were only two paved streets. The rest was dust and potholes. Today, more than 20 years later, progress has brought many changes. But time also certifies that I am no longer that young man of old times. I listened somewhere that what counts more is not the age but the mileage. It must be true.


From those times until today, I have been through many professions as car and bus body repairer, English and Portuguese teacher, non-official English interpreter, electronics technician, computer programmer and hardware technician. I have worked a lot without worrying about money and always got enough for a modest life, but with some satisfaction. I work by myself and have a not bad gain. In Brazil, mainly in the region that I live, there is almost no company, in the field that I work, that can pay a wage that will satisfy me, without causing disruption to its staff and salaries. But I am not talking about a very good wage, that is not all that matters. One must feel comfortable in the work and be satisfied with what one does. I Seek to work as much honestly as possible and I am proud of what I do. For the dignity is the flag of each person, so it is good that it does not go at half-mast.

I worry too much about the people around me and I try, with some effort, to devote some time to leisure. The truth is that in passing the time we seek to save it. I plan things too much and define a time for almost everything. But not everything, for one can not be slave of the clock. With so many projects in mind, it is difficult to set priorities. So, the best way is doing a bit of this, a bit of that. The main idea for me is that the one should always seek to be happy with oneself, but never being accommodated to the present situation, if one can achieve a better position. Today, I can not say that I have overcome all my main difficulties and I am very well. People who know me closely, know that it is far from happening yet. However, I know that one can win overlapping small steps each time.

I have received many compliments for what I do. But the compliments make me think that I am improving, while the criticisms show me exactly where I have been wrong. Therefore, I also like to receive criticism. However, the work that is not praised or criticized, is doomed to failure.

Only work builds. (My favorite phrase and of much effect)

One must innovate. One must break the ties that hold the thinking being to the stakes of the chaotic present system of things.  Ivan Gouveia

This text has just been translated and needs to go through a revision. Thank you for your interest.




Considerations about the language

For I am not born under the English language, nor I have practiced it for a long time, many brutal errors may appear in my writings. I would be glad if those who detect such errors warned me about them. It is common that people make many mistakes when using a foreign language. Some misspelled words may sound ridiculous. So, if the way a used some word made it offensive or something like that, please let me know.


Ivan Gouveia

Post graduate in Computer Networking from FACIMED - Faculty of Biomedical Sciences of Cacoal. Graduate in Information Technology from UNESC - Union of Colleges of Cacoal. Has a CCNA (Cisco) as complementary course on Computer Networks. Is professional in the field of Electronics and Computer Programming. Programmer in languages Delphi and Visual Basic.