I’ll never forget the thrill of discovering a box of wood scraps with my friend one windy summer day as a child in Wisconsin. We rounded up a couple of hammers and some nails, pounded away to assemble what we believed to be a boat! We rushed to the water’s edge and to our delight, it floated!
I’ll also never forget the attention we drew from our well-intentioned neighbors that these girls were hammering! Not being one who liked to draw attention, I could never summon the courage to try that experiment again. Hammers, apparently, were for the realm of boys. This realm, however, did not appear to include my father. As a lawyer, he found his mind far more useful to him than his hands. The realm of making things remained a mystery to me.
It would be nearly twenty years later before I was able to pick up where I left off that day. I had traveled the world for a year with my husband and had experience teaching developmentally disabled adults grounds maintenance work for a few years by then. Michael Glass, a fellow Conservation of Natural Resources graduate at U.C. Berkeley, had seen something I believed to be a chair that I had just made for my husband. He suggested casually that I should be his apprentice. I was currently teaching an after school class in Environmental Art and somehow the light bulb just went off. I clung to his coattails until he had indeed taught me everything! He was not only my entryway into this mysterious world of how things are made, but he also had a way with children that connected me to those idyllic summer days by a lake in Wisconsin. Six weeks later, when all those kids emerged from all that sawdust and chaos standing in line, each with their very own completed paddle boat in their hands, I knew this was the place for me.
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