When I was growing up, I remember going with my grandfather to my many aunt’s and uncle’s houses. There always seemed to be a variety of construction projects that were going on at one time or another. The whole family would show up to help. Everyone helped everyone.  All of the men in my family also seemed to know a lot about construction. It was almost instinctive. They knew how to pour concrete and how to drive a nail into a two-by-four. It was as natural to them as the birds flying south for the winter. My grandfather built his own house. That left a big impression on me as a boy. I still bring it up to people occasionally. He wasn’t in construction and I thought that it was amazing that he actually built his own home!
Fast Forward to the summer of 1990: My family was in the market for a new storage shed. We didn’t want a metal shed. We wanted one made out of wood that looked like a barn. We found the perfect shed advertised at 84 Lumber. It was wood with a shingled roof that looked like Mr. Ed could have lived in it. It was perfect and we were excited! So off we went to 84 Lumber to make the purchase.
When we got there, I showed the young man in the store the ad for the shed that we wanted to buy. He rang up the purchase, handed me some papers that were folded like a road map and said, “I’ll be right back and we’ll get everything that you’ll need.” I thought to myself, “Something just doesn’t sound right.”  While I was waiting for the young man to return, I opened up the papers and discovered that they were architectural drawings and building plans for the shed that I just bought. The young man then reappeared with a construction cart that he began loading with lumber, shingles, latches and hinges. Then he weighed a bunch of ten penny nails and put them in the construction cart with the rest of the building supplies.

At that point I realized that we just purchased a set of plans and construction materials to build this shed from the ground up…Yikes!!!  My wife looked over at me as we were loading 4x8 sheets of lumber into our vehicle and said, “Can you do this?” I gave her the only response that I could. “Absolutely!” I said.  To make a long story short, things went pretty well. We have great pictures of my kids helping out when they were little. My wife was pleasantly surprised at the outcome, and the shed has stood the test of time.

Now, after thirty years of rain; wind; snow; bikes; sleds and me falling off of the roof, we needed to either rebuild or replace the shed.  With some time on my hands, I decided to rebuild the old shed and decorate it with some rustic wood from an old fence that we had replaced. As I was working on it, my granddaughter came out to help me. My wife took pictures of us working on the shed (just as she did with my children when it was first built thirty years ago). This time, a generation later, my granddaughter was in the picture. I told my granddaughter the story about building the shed and how her father and her aunts were just around her age. She looked at me with amazement in her eyes and said, “Pop, you really built this shed?” When she said that, it took me back suddenly to memories of my grandfather. I remember how amazed I was that he built his own house. I thought to myself at that present moment, “Wow, I’ve come full circle!”

As I’m putting the finishing touches on the shed, I find myself very reflective. Thirty years ago my wife and I had a set of plans, a cart full of lumber and a combination of uncertainty and determination. After all of this time, and quite unexpectedly, that old shed has provided a lifetime of cherished memories.

Yours in Rotary,
Tony Parziale