I can remember the smell of sawdust as my father and grandfather cut wood planks to build our house. They started building in 1979 and finished around 1982. I was five years old at that time. Sitting in the middle of the space that was to become our living room, I was squatted down in a pile of blankets, eating out of a jar of pickles, and anxiously waiting for my next assignment. Despite being so young, I played a role in every project my family took on just like many of you.
My papaw, as I called him, was a Master Carpenter for over 50 years, starting somewhere around 1949. In addition to building homes, he, along with his helper, built concrete forms for commercial projects. In 1963 at age 14, Dad started building homes with my grandfather.
During this time, Dad tinkered with cars and motorcycles earning him the nickname “Tinker.” After he was old enough to make up his own mind about the trade path he wanted to take, he chose auto mechanics. Dad bought wrecked cars and rebuilt them. He welded, painted, diagnosed issues and fabricated parts if needed to complete a job—and still does to this day.
Dad taught my brother and I how to rebuild wrecks—and some wood working (I can’t hang a shelf to save my life!), when were old enough to push a brake pedal. After learning the family business, just like our father, we both chose different paths later in life. But the skills we learned growing up and throughout adulthood remain a huge part of who we are and continue to serve us in our daily lives.
Oliver, Maggie’s baby brother, loves helping Dad on the tractor.
Photo: Andrew Miller.
Despite his handicap, Oliver is not excluded from being exposed to learning how to do big boy things.
Photo: Andrew Miller.
So many of you openly share photos of your little ones on the job “helping out.” You have shared photos of you on the job with your father or grandfather, learning the trade. It’s clear those moments played a pivotal role in shaping your future and are shaping the future of your children.
I want to know your story. Did your family start in one trade and transition to flooring? Has your family always been in flooring? How many of you are taking your little ones to the jobsite now and exposing them to flooring installation? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me a little bit about your family and how you are passing the legacy on.