Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chisel, Hammer and Mercurochrome

Growing up in a lumberyard was a pretty cool life.  It was like having a playground and an amusement park right out the back door.  Big trucks coming and going, the sounds of the big belt driven rip saw and the wood planner, lumber sheds and lumber piles to climb on and of course the retail store to explore.

A couple of things I remember was the lumber shed that had a catwalk on both sides and a 2X12 plank running from one side to the other in the middle of the building and the old gym building with loft areas to explore and hide in.

That 2X12 was one of the things my sisters an I felt we should master.  It was really scary at first.  It was less than a foot wide and eight or nine feet to the ground.  It looked like a mile to the ground when we first tried crossing it.  At first we would crawl across it very slowly hanging on for dear life.  Then walk a couple of steps and the crawl the rest of the way.  After a while we could walk over it like it was dry land with no problems.  We eventually ran across it.  It was nothing to us then.  

The old gym was actually once the high school gym.  It was an old wood structure that my grandfather bought and had moved from the school yard to the lumberyard.  If you used your imagination you could see where the bleachers were on both sides and where the stage was at the east end of the building.  When we were kids there was a big sliding door on both ends and on either side was built a loft for misc. building materials.  The neighborhood boys loved to play back there.  We'd be all over it exploring.  We really weren't supposed to be there, but you know boys.  Every once in a while old Nick Watson, one of the truck drivers would come back to load something onto the truck.  We were scared to death of old Nick.  He was a big thick person and wore bib overalls.  When he'd come we would hide hoping he didn't kill us or worse tell dad.  I'm sure he heard us once in a while, but he never found us.  As we grew up we found old nick wasn't so bad.

Back to the title of this little story.  My dad worked with the construction crews when I was small plus sold buildings in the evenings.  He was very busy.  Sometimes when he worked at home and if he didn't get done with a job he was working on he would leave the tools lay so he could continue the next evening.  Well I have a scar the width of my left index finger and you can still see it fifty six years later.  Dad left his hammer and one inch chisel on the front porch.  Somehow I managed to deeply cut myself all across my finger.  I think dad was home at the time because I was the only one person panicking.  That would be me.  We didn't go the the doctor for stitches as we would today.  No it was the soap and water, mercurochrome, gauze and tape.  That ended up being the way it was from then until I was married.  I never had a stitch until after I had a wife to insist that I go to the doctor.  I have a lot of scars that I'm sure would not be there if only they were stitched nice and tight.

Life simple in the 1950's.  I thank God that I was able to grow up in a time where a lot of what you learned was from doing dumb things.  We didn't have to worry about making the right decisions.  We were allowed to make bad decisions and learn from them.  There was much less stress and a lot more care free fun.

Stay tuned for more exciting (or not so exciting) stories of growing up in the lumber yard.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

I Was Born

I Was Born.......the first time.

On October 1, 1952 I was born, the third child and only son of John and Myrtle.  A couple of years later I had another sister.  My Mom wanted five boys.  The pressure was on.  And woe was me with three sisters and two being older made it even harder.  I think one of the first politically correct thing I learned was putting the toilet seat down.  Enough of that.

Mom got the the hospital ready to pop a baby out, but the doctor wasn't there.  The nurses must not have known what to do, so they held her legs together for twenty minutes until the doctor arrived.  I can't imagine that being done today, but that's what I  was told.  At any rate, when she finally pooped me out my head was pretty deformed and blue in color.  Of course it straightened out pretty quickly and I look as normal as anyone else today.  I didn't learn all this till I was in my forties.

As I grew I was physically active and enjoyed baseball and basketball as a child.  In school however, I was always a little slower than my sisters and much slower than my parents and grandmother "L" thought I should be.  We will never know if any of that was connected to the birth delay.  I like to think it was.  

I had a terrible time memorizing things and I still have trouble with that today.  I took me forever to learn the alphabet and to add and multiply.  I had to be tutored in reading well.  Socially no one could tell I struggled with that.  I was able and am still able to figure out things that a lot of people smarter than me had trouble doing.  I have the ability to spot things that are wrong and then able to fix the problem.  I think that is how I learned to study.  I was and am a terribly slow reader, but I can look at a page and almost instantly pick out words I don't know.  I was terrified when I had to read out loud in class at school.  I always embarrassed myself.

Despite all of my early problems,  I managed to graduate from high school and college.  I worked in the family business, as expected, and feel I was successful there as well.  I have probably more confidence than I should have.  My wife and two kids really help me in the confidence area.  They are all kind to me and respectful.  God has been very good to me.  When walls go up, go over or around them.  Work with the gifts you have and don't fret over the gifts you may not have.  Have faith that you will succeed and work towards those ends, and you will succeed.