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Tuesday, 27 November 2012


By Joanne Zimmermann

Okay, now I have had it! Since when did protesting become a serious occupation? I suppose it helps when one is frustrated, for a little while. But after that, all that energy should be redirected into something worthwhile, something productive.

I used to teach art and I always felt that construction is the antithesis of destruction.

Kids today do not have as much opportunity to construct; everything is pre-built for them. There used to be soapbox derbies in Akron, Ohio, where I was born. Maybe the first cars really were made of soapboxes, but that seems a bit far-fetched. Still, the early cars were definitely primitive.

Our very lack of TV and hand-held devices made for some good stuff. We went out and climbed trees, dug holes, created in sandboxes. We had to try, try again if our tower fell down. Failure is what teaches perseverance.

My dad had a workbench in the basement and I started making stuff at a very young age. He never said no; just let me tinker around. I learned to cut a plywood shape with a coping saw at the age of four. So I used a vise and some effort.

He collected cheese boxes; in those days the wooden boxes were quite handy for storing things. They made wonderful things when cut up. I made boats with rubber band propellers and found the hardware chain to make a nice railing around the edge. The only time he complained was when I used up all of his chain.

If one makes things, I think that person is unlikely to destroy things. They appreciate the effort and thought going into creation.

I have visited some of the European countries who are protesting. Even before austerity, simple clean-up of streets was neglected. Houses could take 20 years to build, as they were not taxed until finished.

Now, precious antiquities are being wrecked by mobs with no pride in their nations. They simply are like children wrecking their rooms and expecting their parents to clean them up.

Thank you dad! Letting me use your workbench was an important gift in forming who I am today.

Joanne and dad

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


What a wonderful picture! What a wonderful dad.

As a kid in Columbus, we thought how great it would be to win at the S B Derby in Akron. We had a great dream but never built anything that would roll or support any of us. We had fun in the trying though.

Yes, we had to be creative and we learned to appreciate.

Great photo.

I remember an orange crate with old roller skate wheels
nailed to the bottom..kids were easy to please. Good story, so true.

WOW - Hit the nail on the head. Oh, is that destruction or construction.
Great story. Even in Portland we had soap box derbies.
I had an uncle that taught me the same way.
Great story, keep it up

I lament the advent of the video games. My boys would rather do that than build something in the garage. It drives me nuts. But I wished they would get out there and build something worthwhile. Of course, add to that motorized saws that can cut off your finger in a flash and laws that penalize parents for experimentation, and few parents are willing to let their kids tinker. Wonderful blog post.

Great commentary on the "entitlement generation." I agree on the protesters; just a collective temper tantrum it seems. Very nice picture of you and dad.

I know how creative you still are. It was wonderful that you had such a nice dad and could experiment at an eary age.

Loved the photo; always makes me wish I'd saved more of mine. Also what a wonderful dad.

We used to make "Skatos" from an orange crate and use empty tin cans for headlights.An old pair of roller skates supplied the wheels and a garbage can lid on the back made it a Continental.

My brothers and I had so much fun riding down our hilly street on that skato.

You brought back a very happy memory to me. Thanks,Joanne.

Wonderful picture of you and your Dad.

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