Wednesday, June 10, 2015
In 1953, my freshman year at Belleville Township High School, I spent many hours drawing cars. The car culture was in full swing and all young boys were dreaming of sleek custom “hot rods”. My ideas were influenced by the futuristic cars illustrated in Popular Mechanics magazine. My Grandpa had a huge collection of the magazines in his workshop. It was the first place I went when we visited him in Coulterville, Illinois. I would study the picture intently and dream of building a car. There was an ad in one of the magazines about the Fisher Body car model contest. I sent for the information and received an envelop with all the details. My favorite part was the schematic . I was able to locate one on the internet and it still gives me the sense of awe I felt as a teenager. I like plans and schematics. I still fill my drawings with symbols, lines and shapes that look like diagrams.
I was really anxious to start the build but money was tight and wood and paint for the model would be hard to buy. Also, I did not have the proper model tools or space for working. I did manage to get some wood but it was not the smooth pine wood that was suggested and I tried carving it with a pen knife. I would work many frustrating hours on the back stoop of our small house. Sitting on the concrete and carving. It was problematic and dangerous. I suffered many cuts and scraped knees. Well to make a long story short, I never finished the model. I still think about that failure. I had expectations of creating an award winning model and I would have a special assembly at school; all the students would marvel at my achievement.
I have come to realize that the car debacle was a learning experience and I incorporated it into my life and teaching. I have had many unfinished project. and many of my students struggled to finish projects. It sounds sort of quaint and old fashion to say “you learn from your failures” but I think it is true.
"Things hidden in my head" Copyright 2015 © Ronald D. Isom, Sr.
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