I remember the day. One of the first outings with my girlfriend’s family. Her dad was one of those very smart people. He intimidated me. Heck Peggy intimidated me. How did this very bright, talented, and beautiful girl end up with me. I’m felt pretty much like a geek. Yet here I was. He pointed to this beautiful wood/stone/stained glass house, that was designed by Greene and Greene. Usually I can hide my ignorance by just keeping my mouth shut, but not today. “Who are they?” I asked.
Peggy opened a whole new world for this Idaho kid who found himself in the big city. She showed me a world of art and beauty. My families idea of art was the poker playing dogs. (Yes my grandfather had those hung up in his shop.) Somehow I found some art talent, but you should have seen her work. This was a world class draftsman. I was just humbled. After the days outing, and some bagels on Telegraph Ave., he brought out a book on the works of Greene and Greene. I was hooked.
You can guess it was the Thorsen house. Berkeley is full of beautiful, funky houses. The whole Bay Area is a treasure trove of Arts and Crafts style building. I decided when I grew up I’d be an architect. I even started college, but my path was run over by the real world. Because of my insecurities we ended up breaking up. I have no idea where she ended up, but I went down the wrong path. Dropped out of college, a bunch of dead ends and thirty years later I get to relive some of the best parts of my life just because some lumberjock wants to build a table.
If I had it to do over again I’d try my darnedest to marry that girl and live the rest of our lives happily ever after. Instead I get to build a side table. Lumberjocks has always been more to me that just woodworking. I find the bond here to be about how woodworking connects us in a world I find often dehumanizing. One little table brings back a memory of a beautiful person. The person who first directed me to this path of art and beauty. Part of me wants to do a simple reproduction. Another is willing to give it that rustic flare. What ever I end up doing If will be done with a lot of introspection and maybe a few tears. A lot of gratitude and maybe some sorrow. A firm knowledge that woodworking is more then sticking boards together…maybe some how it helps stick us together.