Becoming a Builder

My dad taught “shop” all through my growing-up years.  I can’t tell you how many hours I spent with him in his wood shop at PHS.  Besides learning how to run all the tools and build all kinds of projects, I took drafting from him in high school, and learned the skills of precise measuring.  He was a fantastic teacher, and he’s a wonderful father.

Two doors down from my childhood home lived Clyde Hopper.  Not only was he the junior high principal, he spent weekends and summers putting tile and linoleum on floors, and formica on countertops.  My friend Jack and I became his right hand men, somewhere around the ripe old age of 12.  I wish my friend Clyde was still alive so I could thank him for the work ethic he instilled in me.  Not to mention the long list of clients he introduced me to.

I went to work for Roy Rackler when I was in high school.  I have always considered Roy a great builder and businessman.  I was a young kid, and Roy “let me” work on all the phases of building – from the concrete right on up to the shingles.  I really am grateful for that learning experience, and for how well he treated me.

And long before I ever met my father-in-law, Bill was training his little girl to lay tile and climb ladders.  Sandy’s story goes that the first night she got to sleep in the house her dad was building for them, she was eight years old and slept on a pile of sheetrock.  It’s nice that my wife finds construction work exciting.

Obviously there was no way that dream of being a marine biologist was ever going to pan out.  It was in the cards that I would be a builder.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.  I hope you have a great day.

~


5 Responses to “Becoming a Builder”

  1. Sharon Davis says:

    You’re a jewel, Gary, I’m thankful to have you in our family!

  2. Donna McBroom says:

    Loved reminiscing with you! Great tribute to dad and other great examples and mentors in your life!

  3. Cheryl says:

    What an interesting post! No wonder you are such an amazing builder. My dad was a shop teacher, too! But by the time I was around 2 (at that time we were living in a small house that he had built) he changed professions. I truly believe that if he had been able to continue as a shop teacher he would have always loved his job. As it was he felt like he needed to increase his income so he moved on to other things but he always continued with carpentry as a hobby. Every house we moved away from as I was growing up was left with a set of built-in bookcases! As an adult I loved watching him work in his shop. Lucky for me I have a few small things that he made. There weren’t a lot of things around our house that he built since it seemed he was always helping other people with their projects.:) Thanks for the insight into your life and making some memories of my dad pop into my head!

  4. GLEN F. says:

    IT HAS BEEN A GREAT LIFE TO BE ABLE TO ENCOURAGE KIDS THROUGH THE YEARS TO BE ABLE TO DO THINGS FOR PEOPLE. SINCE I GREW UP IN THE COUNTRY AND HAD TO DO THESE THINGS ON MY OWN, IT HAS BEEN A COMMON PRACTICE TO LEARN AND DO IT YOURSELF SO PASSING IT ON TO OTHERS HAS COME NATURALLY. MY H.S. SHOP TEACHER WAS AN INSPIRATION TO ME AND THE LORD HAS BLESSED THROUGH THE YEARS IN MY LIFE. THIS HAS RESULTED IN 5 WONDERFUL KIDS OF MINE AND SHIRLEY’S.

  5. Lawanda Calton says:

    I’m living in the second house you designed and built for me! Will always remember the adventure of driving stakes in the ground in Taos! Then seeing the progress on my “adobe” home from weekend to weekend! The Portales house was just as exciting! I’m so very proud to have you as a son in law!

Leave a Reply