My tool belt. I’ve been building houses, garages and various things for almost 45 years. I bought this tool belt just before I built my sister’s house when I was in college, about 1980, 37 years ago. It’s special to me for several reasons. It represents my years of growing up during and after college. I’ve learned so much over the years about residential construction alongside my father. It represents hours and hours of time spent with my dad as we worked through ways of accomplishing our projects. It’s where we bonded the most. Construction is in our blood. There have been many discussions between us with this tool belt slung around my waist. I had this tool belt on when I carried him out of a house after he’d accidentally shot himself in the leg with a 16 penny air nailer. I had it on when I learned of my cousin’s death. I’ve taken it off several times to eat Thanksgiving dinner.
When I think back on where I’ve used this tool belt, it helps me remember the history of our many family members. I wore it when I helped my brother-in-law remodel his house, adding a kitchen to my father-in-law’s house, building two houses for my sister and helping on a third, building my father’s current house, building the house I live in and am still adding to in small ways, building a house for my daughter, building a detached garage for myself (as an excuse to teach my son about construction), helping build a house for another brother in law, and a few other small projects for family and friends.
As I think back on those projects and over the time period they’ve occurred, I am amazed at how many significant life events this time span represents and the energy I’ve expended building things over that period of time. My tool belt is one of a very few items I have that have been with me during all these life events. I am currently in the process of planning the last addition to my home.
Before I was invited to contribute to this website, I had already planned for this tool belt to occupy a small space in my new room. I may pull it down from time to time to tackle another project, but they certainly won’t be as big as they have been in the past. My body is starting to feel as worn and used as my tool belt looks.