It was one of the coldest days of the winter in December of 1946 when my father heard a noise outside on the highway that ran about 200 yards from the cabin he’d built for mom and him. The noise was two young men who had broken down and had slid off the highway. It also happened to be Christmas day. Dad went out to see if he could help, and he was able to trouble shoot the problem and get them back on the road by using one of his logging trucks. The grateful young men were on their way in no time.
The next day Mom went into labor in the morning and Dad readied his trusty Model T for the trip to the nearest hospital… in Tonasket. Dad’s family lived just outside of Republic at their lumber mill, but this just happened to be a time when Republic did not have a doctor or hospital. So they had to drive west to get medical help. Dad bundled Mom up, and off they went. Just about 5 miles from Tonasket on the hills above town the reliable Model T broke down. (Dad said it was the ONLY time that ever happened) The fuel line froze… you know it was cold.
Dad and Mom had just gotten out of the military and Dad said he was going over the training films that were shown on emergency medicine. He didn’t know how he was going to do it, but he was determined to help his new wife. Mom was crying and having heavy and frequent pains. Dad was beginning to panic, just a little, he said; when a car came upon them and went by before he could flag them down. He jumped out of the car and waved. The best feeling he’d had was when the break lights came on… the vehicle backed up and you’ve probably guessed that it was the two young men Dad had helped the day before.
The young me pushed Mom and Dad all the way to the Catholic hospital. Mom was taken inside and Dad sat in the chapel praying. At the appointed hour for evening vespers a line of nuns softly singing came into the chaple in a procession… Dad thought Mom had died, as Dad was not familiar with Catholic services or traditions. He began to panic until the head nun calmed him and he was taken to the recovery room to see his first child, me, and his wife. All was well.
My life began by being blessed by the kindness of strangers on an inclement day. Rather auspicious, I think.
Fast forward to college. I attended Western Washington State College (now University). I was a foreign language major until I walked into the Industrial Arts building. When I stepped into that building and saw display cases with architectural models, handmade wooden and metal objects, I knew I was where the materials resonated with me. This was what interested me. I am a Maker, a Creator, a Builder and Repairer. That is what moves my soul. So I graduated with an IA major and foreign language minor.
In the time since college I’ve worked on our rentals. I’ve done the electrical, plumbing, tiling, hardwood floors, moved walls, sheetrocked/taped/textured/ and painted walls. I’ve replaced glass, trimmed out rooms with wide baseboards and quarter round and replaced lighting fixtures and electrical sockets. That is what I have done for forty years. In the last 30 I’ve also taken an interest in calligraphy, bookarts, jewelry, sandblasting and kiln glass. I find that my interests keep me pretty busy and I enjoy creating with my hands. There is something very gratifying about creating from nothing special, something that is special. And so I work and learn as I work.