I was helping my mom clean out my grandparents’ house last weekend (they both passed away in 2008, and it’s past time to sell the house), and I stumbled across this clipping:
The man wielding a wrench approximately as long as I am tall, while atop a monstrous piece of equipment, is my grandfather. He worked for the BF Goodrich tire company in Akron for 30-odd years, although I have no idea when this picture was taken. Judging by his appearance, I’m going to guess it was sometime in the 1950’s. Goodrich is now a chemical company and no longer in the tire business (the name is still used as a brand of Michelin), but at one time it occupied 27 buildings just south of downtown, using the tagline “See that blimp up in the sky? We’re the other guys!” Decades of pounding across those acres of concrete floors as a maintenance supervisor destroyed his knees, but he was proud of his time there. Say what you will about the slow death of American labor and manufacturing and the remaining pollution and decay in the rust belt, but there’s a sense of place and identity that comes from creating something that gets lost when someone else does the creating. Anyway, I think I’ll laminate this clipping and tape it to the inside lid of my toolbox, which contains the vintage tools that I inherited from him. If I had that wrench, maybe I’d be farther along on my projects.