In My Father's Garage

Earl Erickson

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In my father’s garage, he built me many things. What stands out the most, is the help and advice he gave my brothers and I. Especially when it came to building soap box derby racers. He was real good at that. He always built our racers with little help-if any, from us.

The soap box derby officials made it clear. Their rule book stated, “all participants of the derby, must build their own racers. " That was the cardinal rule.

Well, it was obvious, anybody could tell who actually built their own racers. Some looked like the kids built their own and should have left it at home. Others looked like they had help from somebody that knew what they were doing, like a dad or an uncle. And then there were the ones that obviously were built by “dad" or “uncle. "

Of course, the ones that won a “heat" or a race or two, were probably built by “dad’ or “uncle. " You could certainly bet the kid that won all the races that day at the track and advanced into the nationals at Akron, Ohio, were without a doubt, built by “dad" or “uncle. " In all likelihood, the losers were the kids that built their own. It was don’t see, don’t tell. So much for honesty.

We knew we were guilty of cheating. Dad built ours. We never helped build them. We never were the champions, but it never stopped us from being proud of our father. The whole idea with us, was the togetherness. That meant everything to us. We never thought it was cheating. We were too busy watching dad. I felt sorry for the losers, which really were the winners when it came to truth and integrity.

The most original thing built by dad for me, in his garage, was an axel and the wheels he took from one of the soap box derby racers, and converted it into a mobile unit for my Montgomery Ward power lawn mower. My father felt sorry for me when I had to lug around my lawn mower from house-to-house, then from block-to-block. He also knew I could make more money that way. The mobile unit he built was really cool. The axel rested below the roller of the mower to give it support for the long haul. And when I pushed it down the sidewalk it glided on clouds. It was so smooth.

My dad participated in a lot of things I did as a kid. He made sure I had a nifty baseball glove and he almost always went to every little league baseball game of mine and took movies from a super 8, like he did at the derby races. I’m glad he did all these things, especially the movies that were saved and passed on to us to enjoy later.

I was a very happy kid, thanks to dad-and mom, of course. I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything. I lived a classic “Leave It To Beaver" life growing up in a “Leave It To Beaver" neighborhood. What more could I possibly want?

My case-in-point, to this whole story is, my dad was always there for me and I loved him very much. He loved us all. He was a great provider. He was a quiet and gentle man. He passed away in 1985. I miss him very much.

I am going to introduce him to you by internet-because he deserves to be recognized. His name was Hank to many, but to me he was “dad. " And many things were built and love was all around-in my father’s garage.

Earl D. Erickson has a passion for writing true, inspirational stories. He is currently writing a story about his turbulent life and struggles with alcoholism and recovery, drug addiction, suicide, grief and loss, depression and anger. His book is entitled, Abstinence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder. He hopes to be finished with that project by early next year.

Mr. Erickson owns and manages five websites. Two of them are: , dedicated to his late wife, Bobbie, and cancer research . The other one is He is a native and resident of Tacoma, Washington.


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