“All week long making a living…”
Dateline: Carhartt HQ, Dearborn, Mich.
In 1967, I built a wooden birdhouse.
In 1968, I built a metal mailbox.
In 1969, I wired a light bulb.
The roof fell off the birdhouse, the mail slipped through the edge of the mailbox, and the wires of the light bulb caught on fire.
Shop class, I averaged a “D” all three years.
It was my best class.
Kenmore West SHS, Kenmore, N.Y. …Class of 1970…hundreds and hundreds of kids graduating…I was pretty much at the end of the line.
Most of my fellow students graduated in June 1970.
I graduated in July 1970…after taking English 10/11/12 in summer school.
I averaged a “D-,” but it was good enough.
My major in high school was called, “Work Study,” and what that meant was I would come to school, take three or four classes in the morning, one being study hall, and then I would LEGALLY leave school and go directly to a job.
I was out of school by 11:45 a.m.
One of my classes every day was Shop.
I was being trained to be a working stiff. College prep was never in my future.
It was in “Work Study” that I met the greatest teacher of my life. A short goofy guy named Peter Plumpis.
Mr. Plumpis had a huge influence on my life, even though I’m sure he would never remember me. He ran herd over a classroom of soon-to-be-losers; I was just another dangerous, long-haired punk in a chair.
Every one of us was armed. Mr. Plumpis was not; his only weapon was humor and short sayings for the short attentioned.
Mr. Plumpis, wherever you are, if in fact you still are, or to the children of Mr. Plumpis, please hear something he told me, something I never forgot, even though I have forgot much.
From Mr. Peter Plumpis, “The problem is that in sawdust there is no glamour.”
I thought he somehow saw my birdhouse.
Forty-six years later, I know better.
Mr. Plumpis, thank you, and please know that in this improbable life I have had with over 30 years muckin’ around in the media, all I have ever wanted to do,
was bring glamour,
to the sawdust.
“…life keeps takin'…”