At the age of 8, I knew sheet rock. I was paid as a scrapper, hauling out all the discarded parts and pieces. I didn’t pound the nails into the studs to secure the paper-lined “chalk” boards to form the walls of the homes and buildings that my father was building but I watched. By the time I reached 12, I had enough lead in my butt to be able to carry and stock the sheetrock and studs. I continued to learn and by then, I understood how buildings came together.
At age 14, I found myself atop bulldozers and front end loaders. I worked at an Alaskan gold mine. I learned about mining and gold; about machinery and maintenance. I learned about fuel, oils, and hydraulics. I serviced motors of all kinds and sizes. I understood how pistons, valves, and diesel injectors worked together.
After school, I spent a couple of years in France and learned French. I learned of international travel and of borders and of customs. I saw my own country and culture against the light of another. France does not represent every other culture in the world, but from being there, I learned a perspective that has helped me make friends from all over this globe.
In my early twenties, I trained on wind turbines. I learned electrical systems. I learn high voltage systems, I rebuilt gear boxes, and discovered rigging.
Later on in life, I learned steam systems, HVAC controls, and industry specific knowledge that landed me a column in a national magazine.
My head has been filled with understanding of all kinds.
But at age 51, I’m ashamed to admit, I cannot figure out how to fold a fitted sheet.