Monday, March 12, 2012

The Old Shop

I don't remember all that much about my dad's old shop, because a room full of machines that could easily sever any number of my small body parts was not the ideal environment for a young curious girl such as myself. I remember the space seemed filled with magic things, like pieces of wood that were actually fancy new modes of transportation, the likes of Marty McFly's hover skateboard. I now know that my 'skateboard' is a mahogany neck blank, and it probably wasn't the best idea to be standing on it, using the angled headstock to spin around on, but that was my toy. I was very small, but still, maybe don't mention that one to my dad.

Anyway, the old shop, I think, was larger than the current brick structure next to my dad's house but things seem to have shrunk as I have grown up so it is hard to say for sure. I remember it had two rooms and one of them did not have any insulation so it was always freezing or super hot and the other was more like an apartment space, complete with counters and a kitchen space. The floor was covered in an unfortunate taupe and brown linoleum in a circular 1970s type pattern I have (luckily) not seen anywhere else.

My dad said that for many years he rented the larger, uninsulated room for $25 per month from Vivian Osborne. If you have visited my dad's house, it is very likely that you have passed what used to be Osborne's store, and is now the Citgo station that sits on the side of highway 58, about a quarter of a mile before you turn onto Tucker Road. Vivian owned that store, as well as my dad's shop building. A man lived in the apartment space attached to the larger room until my dad was able to take over that space as well.

The main things I remember about being there at the shop were located outside. Next door sat the Rugby Rescue squad building. Though ambulances rarely rushed out with their lights and sirens on, it was always an excitement to go over and look at the large ominous trucks resting in their spaces. Across the street from the shop was Genelle's house. She was the mother of one of my dad's friends, so she was similar in age to my Granny. She would happily oblige, just as my grandmother and Katherine would, and let me intrude on her and play with her things while my dad was working. Another activity I enjoyed when I visited the shop was dragging my dad outside to the banks of Wilson Creek and insist that he help me search for crawdads. We would creep along the creek bed and overturn fist sized rocks, smoothed from years of water running over them. I would always love finding crawdads, but I refused to touch them. Even though they had tiny pincers that probably couldn't do too much to the tough skin on your fingertips, it was just as stressful as anticipating a shot, which in hindsight doesn't hurt that badly but beforehand you are pretty sure it is going to be awful.

Anyway, my dad's favorite part of the crawdad hunt was trying to get someone to hold them. He would mess with them until they were sufficiently irritated, what with being plucked from their houses and then poked and prodded, so typically they were quite eager to grab ahold of whatever predator was afflicting them. I knew to steer clear, but one trip to the creek, we invited some other kids and their mom out with us. Being the city slicker she was, the mom naively reached out and took an irate crawdad from my dad's expert grasp, and it promptly latched onto her finger. After quite a while of wailing and flinging her hand about, the poor crawdad released her and was launched back into the creek, to hopefully find his rock house again. Ah memories...

The thing that I hold most dear about Rugby is that it is very easy to see history. Things aren't quickly changing or developing into gated communities or a Rite Aid on the corner. The same things that have been there forever are still there. The spot in the road on my grandmother's land where my dad nonchalantly pointed out to me where he killed a quail with a hammer is still there, complete with the fence he said he was building at the time. I think that is really neat, to see the landmarks that go along with the stories. Genelle's house still sits across the road from the old shop, the Rugby Rescue Squad building is pretty much the same, though I think they painted it blue recently. The Wilson Creek has babbled through its bed for who knows how long. Those things make it easy to remember my childhood and to stay connected with my family's past.

I came home one time, several years ago, looked down Rugby Road as I passed, and noticed something weird. Something different. Upon closer inspection, my dad's shop had been torn down and the space adjacent to the squad building was just a grass lot. Kind of like nothing had ever been there. It was scary and odd to me. Things like that just don't happen in Rugby. The new shop, which my dad built just a hop, skip, and a really small jump from his house is great, and has accrued a history all its own. If ever it is taken apart though, someone will find the handprints of a 9 year old girl, forever pressed into the cement in its attic.

Wayne picking outside of the old Henderson Guitar Shop. Note the awesome sign painted by my very talented mom!

5 comments:

  1. Well written. You have a talent. (Another talent!)

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  2. Thanks so much! I really appreciate that people are reading!

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  3. There still remains a shop building in my back yard that my dad built in the early 50s. It has the same asphalt roll siding, like in your photo. He build cabinets and book shelves, but no guitars.
    Thanks again, Miss Elle Jayne for sharing your memories!

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  4. Great Elizabeth!I remember some old buildings around here (Todd NC)
    that had that asphalt siding.

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  5. Very interseting, and pleasant to read. Thanks for posting.
    Francois Jim

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