My grandfather John, my mom’s dad. He was an educator. He was a superintendent of the Hamtramck School District right outside or inside of Detroit depending on how you define it. And he also taught special ed kids. He, you know, had his master’s in education and so he grew up in the educational system. But also because of the, you know, the Depression Era, he also learned how to do everything himself or his father and his grandfather taught him how to build things and create things because you had to be very, be, how can I say? You had to be able to use your hands and be very industrious, especially in Detroit, right? That was what the city was all about. And so he had this educational aspect and this builder aspect and he, he didn’t just give it to my brother and I but also all the people he worked with. He was able to take kids off the street and be able to give them a trade when they were in high school. Instead of, you know, instead of dropping out because there were a lot of dropouts in the 50’s and the 60’s. He was able to bring them back and give them a path and he, that same training that he did, he did for my brother and I and taught us a lot about how to build things just when we were four years old, five years old.
Well, it started out really simply you know. Oh, we would just watch you know and we’d hand him tools and we’d learn something. And then we got up to building birdhouses and then we get to repairing bicycles and lawnmowers and building a soapbox derby car and then repairing houses for you know parts of the house for him, then for our parents, then for our relatives and our friends down the street. So it just kind of unfolded. That along with gardening and figuring out how to you know, prune trees and cut the lawn and do all those things so he really gave us that real strong work ethic and also that ability to make the world the way you wanted it to, by using your hands and your brain.