Handing Down My DIY Heritage


I grew up in a family that “repurposed,” not because it was trendy, but because it was just what you did.

When something broke, you didn’t throw it away, you fixed it. My dad could fix ANYTHING. He didn’t have YouTube for reference, or pinterest, he just DID IT. He had the mind of an engineer, so he would just figure out a way, and do it.

My mom had mixed emotions about this ability. It was convenient and helpful, but it also meant that he rarely threw things away (which is kind of ironic considering she had a dresser full of fabric dating back to the 1950s, and still has her ceramic molds that she just can’t seem to part with).

They passed this spirit on to me and my brothers (who can also fix anything). My dad’s gift to me when I moved out on my own for the first time was a toolbox filled with basic tools. I still have those tools today. I wish now that, while I was still living at home and he was still alive, I had paid better attention to him when he was repairing things. But that DIY spirit still stirs within me.

Much like my Christmas Wish for practical gifts, my Mother’s Day wish was for a WORKBENCH, a good solid, made of wood, workbench. My family bought me the perfect workbench for Mother’s Day! No flowers, no necklace, but a workbench! I am thrilled!

My son and I built our first project together as soon as we set it up. It was a birdhouse from a kit. He did most of the work himself, with a little guidance and supervision.

Perhaps I’ve been watching too much Flea Market Flip, but I can’t wait to start on the “projects” around the house. The wobbly dining room chairs are first on the list. And though my dad is no longer around and my brothers live too far away to come help me, I do have YouTube to help me through the rough spots.

I hope to pass on this curiosity to both my son and daughter. I want them to be able to use tools, especially the basics, and be curious about how things work and are put together. Even if they choose a career in technology, it’s still important to know how the world around them is works.

My dad always had a scrap box of wood that we were allowed to dig through and use to build whatever we wanted. My workbench came with two small pieces of 2×4 that were used in the packaging. It’s the start of my scrap box of wood, and hopefully the continuation of a legacy. Thanks Dad.


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