from the year 1933!
Perhaps this blog should have the sub-title, “How I Finally Came to Woodworking”.
Unfortunately, I can only travel forward in the stream of time, so I can’t get any do-overs. Drat and piffle!
Making something has always been important to me, so very early on at the age of five, I declared that I wanted to be an Artist. Yes I capitalize the word because I feel its important enough for that.
I began by drawing. Using crayons, pencils, whatever I could make marks with. As with any craft, I was absolutely no good at it at first, and I wondered why I couldn’t just jump in and do good things. Obviously, I didn’t get it. One must become educated before one can know HOW to do things. Any things.
So I stumbled along, doggedly pursuing the goal of becoming an Artist when I grow up and failing, because of one thing or another, to get the education I needed. Of course, starting life in the midst of the Great Depression was a serious deterrent. My family barely got by with simple necessities and things like college were just not on the horizon. There was also a physical component in the problem. I have no sight in one eye. Never had it as far as I know. So I don’t see things as others do. Becoming an Artist was going to be very difficult.
In high school I thought I might like to became an engineer. Technical things fascinated me and I “experimented” with electricity and mechanical devices in our basement at home, but that would only whet my appetite for an education. But I was told by advisors at school to abandon the wish. Confused and disappointed by that advice, I foundered in school and eventually dropped out. Completing my secondary education would come later.
Through a series of accidental occurrences I became a member of the fresh water merchant marine industry. A couple of years going up and down through the Great Lakes convinced me that this wasn’t going to be my life’s work and I returned to dry land and got caught up in the world of automobiles. Imported cars were just becoming a significant factor in the American scenery and I was most interested in the technical aspects. I was sent to quite a few factory schools conducted by the importers of cars like MG, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, etc. I got to be a pretty good technician but making a good living at it eluded me and I drifted away.
Hmmmmmmmm. I don’t seem to be going toward woodworking, do I?
Rather late in life I married, almost 30 years old, and earning a living suddenly came to the forefront with great urgency. Now that I was taking care of our living quarters, I was introduced to working with woodworking tools. But not to any great extent. I was still trying to “bring home the bacon”. After awhile I realized I was spinning my wheels in the automotive industry (the funny part of that sentence is deliberate) and I turned to the business world. Starting out with a part time job in the merchandise business, I soon rose in the ranks. I was good at the work and was soon a corporate merchandise manager.
Still not going in the direction of woodworking, am I?
In my spare time, though, I wanted to make things and I bought a new ShopSmith with most of the bells and whistles offered at the time. I didn’t really have a workshop then and the machine was installed in a tiny spare room in our house.
I was now beginning to learn woodworking.
That was before the World Wide Web was invented and I had little contact with other woodworkers. But I’m a good and avid reader and I read everything I could find on the subject. But, still, making the money to put groceries on the table and pay for the many other things a family needs consumed me. Becoming a woodworker yet held secondary importance in my life.
The world of technical things still had appeal to me and I took a job with an electrical services company that made circuit boards and fixed electronic devices for industrial firms. My ability to learn new things, perhaps my most important talent, allowed me to advance in that world to the point where I was designing ciruit boards and then making them in a small laboratory. Later the company expanded and I found myself taking care of a network of 50 or 60 computer stations, a large but dilapidated telephone system and the renovation of the lighting in old factory buildings that covered about six city blocks.
Then, at long last, I retired from the ranks of the people who worked at a nine to five job. But experience in the business world still served us well. My wife has a business in our home (quite a large enterprise for a home-bound business) and I help her run it.
Now we’re getting somewhere! I now had time (and space) to have a workshop and I began to acquire tools. As I made things for the house and a few things for sale, my wife began to see the value of my work in the shop. She was now interested in buying more tools! Hey! This is getting good!
Now, years later, I’m actually making things out of wood. The workshop is full of tools. I’m rising on the learning curve. Its Spring and the urge to make things is stronger than ever.
I think I’m becoming a Woodworker (yes, with a capital W).
Life can be good.
And that’s how I came to this Time. Time Travelling can be very slow.
I now practice Art using wood as my medium. Funny, isn’t it? I’m growing up at last and perhaps I’ll be an Artist some day.
-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.