When I was a boy, I never met a man who didn’t have a workbench either in his basement or his garage.
I can see it now, my father’s work area. The big bench strewn with tools, and more tools stored in old dressers on the flanks. Jars full of screws and nuts and nails of all different sizes. Uncle Bernie’s work area was nice and neat, like the one in the picture above, but my father’s was more mystical: more intriguing.
In those days, men were expected to know how to fix things, and even how to build some of the things they needed, rather than buy them. Was this because they were all biggits? But what a world of wonder for us kids! I wouldn’t have dared switch on the power saw. But the vise! Hammers! Screwdrivers! And all those cool doo-dads he used to bring home from the Ford plant. I wound up making a lot of my own toys–a whole Civil War flotilla, back in 1961, ideal for naval engagements on various mud puddles in the neighborhood.
I don’t know if every household still has such a magical alcove as a workbench area, these days. I was never very good with tools, but they were so much a part of everyday life, you just couldn’t help learning how to use them. All you had to do was watch your father, and you’d pick it up.
Need I add that my sister had free access to all this fun, just like her brothers?
All I can say now is, I should’ve spent even more time watching my father and my uncles, my grandparents, my mother and my aunts. I would have learned a lot more!