Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dreams of a Shop

Both my grandfathers had workshops. My paternal grandfather, Gus, called his a doghouse and it was where he puttered. He built it after he retired from the railroad. It was a low ceiling shack extending from the back of the garage to the alley. There was a row of windows along the west which could swing out and be propped up to provide some ventilation. A few bare bulbs hung overhead. There was a long work bench and lots of drawers filled will countless tools and hardware accumulated from various auction sales.

It was mainly a place to refinish furniture and do mechanical repair. It smelled like turpentine and varnish and oil. It was a wonderful space and I dreamed of having something like that for myself some day.

Granddad's health wasn't the best but he got a lot done at his pace. A heart condition was the governor of his speed. I was, on the other hand, always wanting to speed up because it was all fun to me. He would caution me to, "Just slow down. This ain't a rat killin'." I never spent enough hours in the doghouse and, with his protective oversight, never got to operate the dangerous equipment.

Eventually the property passed to other owners and the doghouse was removed but I look when I drive by and almost expect to see it there. It lives on in my mental registry of historic places.

In my retirement I built my own workspace and spend as many hours there as I can. I suppose I always knew I would.

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