My parents started their business when I was just a baby. My childhood is populated with the memories of the various shops they worked out of. Each of them have their own reference point, the way I can describe them to my family members so that they know which one I am referring to… “the first one,” “the one with the dumpster out front,” “the one with the yard,” “the one with the office in the basement,” “the one with the fig trees.” I could say those phrases to my brother and sister and they would know exactly which one I was talking about.
Yesterday when I went out to get my nails done with my friend, we drove right past one of them.
It was the shop with the yard. Sometimes in my head I get “the shop with the yard” and “the shop with the dumpster out front” confused in my head, not their exterior, but the layout inside.
But there are definite memories from “the shop with the yard.” For one thing, it had a yard so we got to play outside more than at any of the other shops. We had a cat at that shop- his name was Higgins and he was huge. One day when we were at that shop my mom took us to the mall, and when we were at a pet store, she let me pick out my first pet bunny, which we brought back to the shop that afternoon. I named it Hershey Kiss. Don’t worry, it lived at our house! (Unfortunately it soon ate rat poison we didn’t realize was under our kitchen cabinets from the previous people, and Hershey died, but that’s another story for another time.)
Behind the closed bay door is a ramp into the shop area, big enough to drive a truck onto. My sister and I used to sit on moving dollies and race each other down the ramp and out into the parking lot, being careful not to run over our fingers. My dad did a custom paint job on his car in that shop. And it was in that very parking lot that I learned that my grandmother had passed away.
Back then we were always covered in dust and dirt. We amused ourselves with the tools at hand. We watched our parents work together to build a company that could sustain and thrive their family.
It’s a strange sensation to stand there 30 years later and gaze at the door- the feeling that it is familiar and foreign in the same breath. Our childhood experiences were unique, and looking back I am so thankful for my not by the book, unusual, outside the box memories!