Tuesday, September 22, 2015
My father could do almost anything. He liked to joke that he was a "Jack of all trades and Master of none" as the old saying goes. I like to think he was master of many.
Daddy had many jobs during my life. He drove a truck, worked on farms, moved houses, worked in a munitions factory... well you get the idea. He was versatile.
Of course he was the main repairman for our cars. Who could afford a mechanic? And of course back then you could often repair the engine with a pair of pliers and a bit of wire. So repair them he did.
He could also do plumbing and electrical work. He tried being in that business for himself but it did not make him enough money for us to live on. If he could have been able to take a loss while building his business we would probably been more than comfortable.
Daddy could make anything. His favorite thing to work with was wood. He built sheds, toys, cabinets, whatever needed building.
It stands to reason that when the opportunity arose he would build a house for us. The best part of it was that not only could we help, we were expected to help. We built the house as a family.
We had the ground leveled and a truck come out to pour cement for the foundation. Daddy smoothed and leveled it. Then we all took turns helping him with the blocks and mortar to make the walls for the basement.
Next he put in the base for the floor and the framework for the walls. The roof came after that and he finished it first by sealing it and laying shingles.
We put drywall up for the walls inside. We all got to choose the color for the paint in our rooms. Bedrooms were shared so the choice was by committee. We painted the walls ourselves. We helped with the painting in rooms that the whole family would use.
Mom and Daddy laid the hardwood floors all through the house.. After they were sanded and thoroughly waxed they were gorgeous.
Daddy installed the furnace, all the wiring, and all the plumbing. He did not have a license for all that so he had to pay inspectors who had licenses to look over what he had done and approve it. I still love that house and drive by it often.
He always had a workshop at home. When his grandchildren came along he made a little workshop for them right next to his. It was supplied with tools, scraps of wood, and nails and screws. They could go there any time and create little masterpieces of construction to their hearts' content. It is a fond memory for all of them.
Every year my parents planted a garden. Daddy did the digging and helped with the planting but it was mostly Mom's. But Daddy had his favorite sections that he cared for.
He made a terraced bed for strawberries. He built a square wooden frame and filled it with soil. On top of that he built a smaller square frame and filled that with soil. He repeated that until the top tier was there. It was about 2 square feet. They could harvest a lot more strawberries that way.
He also planted grapes. Everywhere we lived Daddy planted grape vines. I think he secretly hoped to have enough grapes to make a little homemade wine. But I do not recall any of them actually bearing fruit.
He liked fruit trees too. He planted fruit trees and they were successful in providing us with fruit. Mom was able to make pear butter and apple butter. We had canned peaches and pickled crab apples. Yum.
He also tried his hand at raising roses. He hoped to get a new type that he would name the Rhonda Rose after his first granddaughter. My niece died when she was 8 years old and Daddy was devastated.
Daddy was artistically creative as well. He loved to draw. He did not have a wide range of subjects but what he drew was quite good. His favorite thing to draw was winter trees. I loved them.
He took a couple of pieces of scrap wood at work and began to play around with epoxy. Whenever he had free time he went back to them. He made a ship with sails on each piece of wood.
After the epoxy set he stained his creations. It added an antique look to them.
At home he made beautiful frames for them. Once they were framed they went up on the wall.He received a lot of compliments and most people did not know that he began by doodling on a couple of scraps of wood.
I still have those pictures. My brother had to help repair the frames but otherwise they are just like Daddy left them.