victorialynn2

I miss my dad’s shop

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Having spent the last several years disassembling my father’s shop, and remembering him working in his as a child, I can’t tell you how many times I wish I could still walk into his on a daily basis. 

 

I long to see him working on a car, old school country music in the background, the smell of grease, a friend helping him, and all the tools in an orderly fashion, around the shop. (Ok, maybe a few swear words, or loud yelling, here and there, as he wrestled with an uncooperative part also).

 

When I went to his garage five years ago, it was a mess. Evidence of his struggles for the last many years, as he was always meticulous in his care for all his possessions, but most especially his tools and his shop. The chaos I found was beyond my comprehension. It saddened me that I hadn’t known what he was going through for so many years, and he lived so far away. I saw his struggles in everything in his shop. I can’t explain it, but that’s when everything he was dealing with really hit me. It was so obvious to me. 

 

I guess I'm posting this here because I think you would understand. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that my father is no longer suffering, but a huge part of me is lost without him. I will never see him again. I will never see him working on a car or lovingly detailing one. 

 

So many years passed between the time I moved away and when I went to help him, but suddenly, when I went to Texas, I was his little girl again. 

 

My father and his cars were one in the same. I’m sure many of you are like that also. Don’t ever underestimate what that means to the children you raised. It’s an indelible memory to picture your father in his shop.   

 

If you have children, grown or otherwise, please spend time in your shop with them. It is very likely that they will cling to those memories when you are gone. 

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Edited by victorialynn2 (see edit history)
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Now you made me cry remembering some of the same things   but thanks for a reality check. Mike

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10 minutes ago, Mikefit said:

Now you made me cry remembering some of the same things   but thanks for a reality check. Mike

Sorry Mike. I was feeling melancholy because I have to go to Tx and put his shop and house up for sale.  

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6 hours ago, victorialynn2 said:

I guess I'm posting this here because I think you would understand. ... I will never see him again.

 

What a beautifully written tribute to your father,

and fathers everywhere!  Let's all joyfully remember

the good qualities we have seen in our fathers,

grandfathers, uncles, and brothers.

 

Yes, you will see your father again.  And that's the

best promise that you could ever have.

 

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Your feelings are probably shared by many of us that had parents or grandparents that had a "shop"

My Grandfather had a boat shop and it was the same way. 

It was a real tough place to be after he was no longer there when I had to go and remove all the tools and clean it out.  It's funny because insignificant things seem to have a whole lot more meaning that some of the big tools themselves.  

One thing I do remember is the smell and it hits you like a wall, when you smell it again.  A few years later when I was in my own shop looking through some stuff for something , I opened either a box or old jar of something and that smell came out.  You just sat there and savored it,  like someone would an expensive cigar or bottle of wine.  Unfortunately it passed after a short time but you were on a strange high for a short time.  As you said you were a child all over again. 

It was an odd mix of Wood, probably some cigarette smoke, and all sorts of chemicals used in the trade along with a strong dose of wood smoke smell from his old barrel stove. 

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Lovely thoughts about your Dad, VL. I have this license plate over my workbench. It has my Mom's initials on it and hung over my Dad's workbench for as long as I can remember....

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I just clipped that and sent it in an email to my daughter. She's leaving Boston and her husband for a few days to spend with us and catch my birthday party. (71)

 

I offered to let her help me sand the roof on my Riviera and replace the rusty brake lines on her Mom's Tahoe. Maybe I will try to get some Joni Mitchel song stuck in her head for the drive home.

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But you have to walk lightly near the red hair.

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Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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I can relate 100%.  My father passed away a year ago.  While we was able to see my car painted, that he and I worked for so long on, I still have small things to finish up on it that I want to show him.  I like to think he is watching.  I use his tools when I work on it instead of mine.  As far has his shop, he mopped the floor in it every Friday, that's how meticulous he was.  My brother and his family live there now with mom and, I'll just say this, its not the same place. 

 

I talk to him every day I am out in my garage working on my car or wiping on his.  He gave me his 1967 Nova when he passed.  It's still, and will always be, his car though.  It won a trophy over the summer, and I told him that his work was still being appreciated.  I owe it to him to keep everything shining like he did.  My kids don't get into the car scene too much, but you better be sure I ask them to come out and work with me all the time.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.  That's ok. 

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VL, a very moving tribute to the relationship you and your father had.  I always wished for that type of relationship with my father but it was not to be.  Fortunately my best friend in life was my grandfather who passed at 101 and was living alone in his own home at 100.  As a child I can remember him taking me to town (pop 900).  He always had a pocket full of nickles and would give one to any child who said hello to him and all the town kids knew it. Thanks for stimulating my memory. Being able to share your feelings with friends is healthy.

 

Keiser31 your workbench looks like mine.  Can't wait to show the picture to my wife who is organized.

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Having good parents is he most important thing in ones life you can have. I was more fortunate than most......the old man has been gone over twenty years now, mom is pushing 93. I’m fortunate to know how good.....great I have had it. Here’s to all the great fathers.......Happy Motoring.

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I gave a talk on this very subject last night. I started the conversation by holding up my 12in Crescent  wrench and explaining why it was my favorite too. It came from my father's shop, and I grew up using it working side by side with my father. Never mind that it was to a gardening club, the message is the same.  Someone planted a seed in us by sharing their passion.  For some of us that seed begins growing immediately and like the original poster we spent our youth indulging and growing that passion. for other it can take decades to surface, but surface it does.  When we think about the joy having a passion brings us, we should want to take every opportunity to try to instill it in others. Whether its our kids, our grand kids or the kid living next door. Plant a seed, and we may never know how far reaching it becomes in generations down the road and with people we may never meet.

I reach for that Crescent wrench probably too often, but its nice to have it in my hand.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts VictoriaLynn.

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Thank you to all who are sharing their stories. I have always appreciated how the members here  support one another and share their knowledge and experience in such a kind way.  

 

I so appreciate your friendships because you understand a specific piece of my relationship with my father like others do not. Thank you for allowing me to talk about things like this here. 💕

 

 

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It is such a terrible loss, that we all go through and have to deal with. It is never easy, but you are lucky to have had a wonderful, loving relationship with your dad. Whatever he instilled in you, will always be there, and your memories are priceless. My dad never understood my love for cars. He thought they were for getting you from one place to another. Whenever I would  fix his cars, he  was proud  and amazed that I could do the job. 

     My father was a terrific pool player. We would play pool, and he would run the table,  beating me all of the time, but it was fun, and I learned from him. After he and my mom passed, I had to  clean out their house. By the end of the day all with all  the hard stuff  was finished, I would go down the basement and shoot pool for an hour or so. I could feel him  watching me while I played. I miss him, and I always will. Victoria,  your love for your dad will  never diminish . Sharing stories on the Forum about your father is a wonder tribute. And he was just as lucky to have you, as you were to have him. I will keep the both of you and your families in my prayers. Thanks. John

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I always got along really well with both my parents, I think I got my love of all "old things, old stuff" because when I was young we would attend the auctions that were going on along the north shore of long island to sell off the contents of the estates that were being disposed of ( most of the old houses/mansions  then being demolished to provide land for numerous modern houses) Also they took me to the auction of the Wallace Bird estate in Oyster Bay that had a treasure trove of pre war cars in its garages. I wanted a pre war "old car" so was told "save your $ and then you can buy one" Well I did at age 13. They had to live up to what they said I could do. My Dad was not a car buff, old or modern. After we dragged home the 31 Plymouth sedan ( on the end of a stout rope) he wanted to help out his son - me - so we worked on the car . Old cars became his hobby too and my parents and I  went to car shows, flea markets and my parents would eventually drive one of the two old cars I had. We would follow each other to car meets, they met people who became friends that owned old cars and for decades we went to the Franklin Club annual meet they called ( and still call ) the trek in central NY state. Since I was an only child, all the old car people we met became our extended family. ( my real cousins, aunts and uncles for the most part thought my parents were crazy for letting me have an old car , only one uncle embraced what we were doing and would go to the car shows - even Hershey - with us) Many of  those old car people are still an extended family, to my son as well. I do miss them both VL as you miss your Dad, but know that they are with me in spirit every time I ride, drive or see and old car. that will never change.

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Strange how stuff brings those memories back.  I spent a lot of time with my Grandfather when I was young.  He had a favorite car, his 1933 Graham, he sold it in 1950, he would say it was old enough to vote.  It took me 10 years to find his car, the first time I drove it I swear I could smell the pipe he always was smoking.  Still love driving the Graham, just sitting where he did, makes me feel closer.  The best part is all the great memories when we spent time together.

 

My kids and I spend a lot of time in the shop.  I told them a long time ago the shop is special, check all your baggage at the door, here we work together, have fun, get dirty, and laugh.

 

My 15 year old daughter's first drive of Grandpa's Graham, he would be  proud.  My Mom's sisters all learned to drive in the Graham.

 

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About 1938, my Mom was not born yet.

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VL, Your dad had a wonderful daughter! A beautiful tribute to him if ever I have seen one. I must have missed any posting that he had passed, however, it sounds as though he has. We all have known for some time now that his remaining time was short. His pain is over.

I had a good relationship with both my parents, and my mother's parents as well. I can relate to all the good "shop" stories. The smells,. The tools. And the time spent in them doing what needed to be done. On the other hand, one thing my dad was not, was neat. He was the classical definition of a hoarder. Piles and piles of stuff that he could never find what he needed in. And he had other issues I had to learn early how to deal with. Some subjects you NEVER mention. Some things, no matter how much you KNOW he was wrong, you NEVER say so. In spite of all that. I worked in the family business for most of forty years. And we got along just fine. I have a lot of his tools, and use them often. I had to chuckle when Eric Hill mentioned his dad's 12 inch Crescent wrench. I have my dad's 12 inch Crescent wrench, and get a special feeling every time I use it. I have many of my dad's tools. I still use the oxy/acetylene torch he taught me how to weld with by the time I was twelve. I have the arc welder he bought and taught me how to use a couple years later. His bench grinder, I use almost every day it seems. His drill press, even about a hundred drill bits, I use with care. Only broken about a half dozen drill bits since he passed fifteen years ago.

My dad also inspired me in antique automobiles. As far back as I can remember, he wanted to have one, and restore it perfectly! He never did restore an antique automobile, he was never good at following through with ideas or projects. But he did teach me how to "double clutch" in my '29 Reo I bought while I was still in high school. And, he rode in several of the about a dozen cars I have restored. He also helped the local clubs from time to time, including towing my car trailer as the trouble truck for large tours a few times.

He was, all in all, a good man, and a good dad. I still miss him every day.

 

Take your time, VL, feel your grief. And remember him fondly for always.

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this is why I enjoy cars...my dad could fix anything   he even bought an old airplane fixed it tried to fly it and once he was in the  air he realized he did not know how to land it......mom was really upset then...….memories are kept in the heart with all you good feelings

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40 minutes ago, steven 123 said:

this is why I enjoy cars...my dad could fix anything   he even bought an old airplane fixed it tried to fly it and once he was in the  air he realized he did not know how to land it......mom was really upset then...….memories are kept in the heart with all you good feelings

😀the thought of what your mom probably said to him brings a smile to my face

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There are many, many things I miss about my Dad.

While he most certainly passed along his love of cars, what I really miss is just sitting and talking with him.

He was always the one that family members, even extended family, went to for advice or just to chat.
One of the other things I miss most is just being able to give him a hug.

I grew up riding around in his Rickenbacker so that car is very special to me.

Just as I grew up riding around with my Grandfather in his Pierce Arrow, pulling it out of 'the vault' tinkering with it and taking it for a ride will always be special memories.

One night, we had taken the Pierce to a local car show. We were getting ready to go and my Grandfather asked if I wanted to drive home.

I had driven the car many times without him but I had never driven the car with him. I told him I appreciated the offer very much but I wouldn't be able to live with myself should some idiot run into us while gawking at the car with him sitting right next to me.

 

Many years ago I bought my father and I matching Hat-in-the-Ring and Pierce hats.

His hats now ride around on the back seat of the Pierce and the Rick so Pops is always with me when I am out for a ride.

It's true, your love never fades but it does get a little easier with time. But I did have to fight back tears a few times just writing this post.

 

I miss you, Pops. We all miss you.

 

Edited by zepher (see edit history)
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I looked into Dad's garage/shop the other day as I went to the back door...

See, my mother still lives in the house, drives herself around and is going to be 92 this December. I'm able to stop in often and get to her "I've been thinking" lists.

 

As previously stated by some, there is that familiar smell that draws up a flood of memories when going inside the shop...

I swear I caught a glimpse of him standing at his bench in his old work clothes or shop overhauls.

Two moments came to mind that day as I had the foresight to take pictures and hope you don't mind my posting them.

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His 1928 Whippet was what most describe now as a basket case but he loved old cars (having grown up with them) and did a 28 year restoration in his shop.

I actually had to give him a hand to get out of that rumble seat and had a good laugh together while doing so. The more we laughed the harder it was to get him out!

 

He also restored a 1966 Corvair in his shop and while diagnosed with bladder cancer, asked my son to help him repaint the car as his work wasn't quite what he had expected. 

Mark helped him most of that fall / winter while going to University and know he also gets what we have been talking about when he goes in to use some of Grandad's tools.

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I hope you don't mind my sharing what has been my experiences in my way to say, you are not alone VL (and others).

Dad passed two years ago last March...

 

But I see him almost every day. 😉

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@dei Thanks for posting the pics and your memories.

You father looked like he was a fun guy to be around and he obviously stuck to his plans. Not many people make it through an 18 year restoration.

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