My dad was a sheetmetal worker in Des Moines, Iowa. And he could build anything. If you know of Woody’s work, you can find it in many places in the area, including the gold leaf work on the state capitol building. I always idolized my dad and believe he has played the biggest role in how I live my life. Working with my hands and a love of woodworking started in my early childhood as I learned from my dad.
From my earliest childhood memories, I was my dad’s shadow. I could even be found sleepwalking out to the garage to sit near him as he worked late at night on building our camping trailer. At that stage in his life, he still didn’t have any sons. So, I quickly became his “boy”, including answering to his nickname for me, Charlie Brown. To this day, many of the people he worked with, still call me Charlie.
Saturday mornings, always started with me sitting at the kitchen table at 4 a.m., waiting for my dad to leave for the shop. I ALWAYS begged to go along. While he worked on job quotes, I could be found at his drafting table, shear, brake or workbench, working away on MY projects. Only stopping long enough to ask Dad for 10 cents to buy a bottle of Mountain Dew from the dust-covered soda machine in the back corner of the shop. By age 10, I was able to solder, weld and bend sheet metal into something recognizable. I absolutely loved the feeling of accomplishment when making something with my hands. And I believe that is when I developed a love for the raw materials (especially copper and wood) and the beauty they contained.
My first real project with wood was making a birdhouse (a wren house) with my dad. I got to nail it together. I was so excited, you would have thought I built the whole thing myself. After that I refinished a piano bench for a 4-H project, and the rest is history. I always knew that woodworking would be one of my hobbies.
Like many things in life, my woodworking hobby went on hold for many many years. But now, as my children are grown and gone, I find I have time to get back to some of my passions, dreams and goals.
Although my dad is no longer living, when I walk into my workshop, I can feel my dad’s presence and I know he is proud of Charlie Brown.
-- Teri, Kokomo, IN