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memories and tools

updated mon 4 sep 00


Lee Love on sun 3 sep 00

Some of my oldest memories in America are of my Grandpaw Love
running the circular saw in the Garage (I also remember the smell of oil
and the oil can. Like Janet's Old Man, he oiled everything.) He retired
from the Rouge River Ford plant the year I was born. Bought his last car
then, a Navey Blue 1953 Ford Fairlane with a flathead V8. They lived in
Detroit in a house he and his sons built. My father always liked to tell
the story about how the house was built first, then the basement was dug out
from beneath it. Because he was the smallest (he was the thirteenth child
of thirteen) he had to crawl under the house to begin the hole for the

Before we moved to Detroit from Japan, my Grandfather turned the
house into a duplex. It was a huge 2 story house, and he converted the
front into our part of the duplex.

In `1968, we moved north to our cabin, which was a little square
building that wasn't finished inside. My father closed the gas station and
garage he ran in Clawson (lots of tools in the garage too.) At the
cabin, we had an outhouse and pumped water from a neighbors pump two houses
down the block. We coincidentally moved the same year I watched the
National guard tanks rolling down I-75 on flatbeds, on their way to burning
Detroit. I always wondered if my grandparent's house survived.

We moved in the summer, and put up insulation but no
interior walls before winter came. A couple years later, we added an
addition to the back of the house that was about twice as big as the
original cabin. Because my father did not like heights, at the age of 15, I
put most of the roof on, occassional assisted by a neighbor who was paid in
cold beers. Me getting on the roof reminded me of my father's story
about having to dig out the basement of the house in Detroit.

So, I've always been around tools. People at the workshop here in
Mashiko always look at me first, when they need a tool for some project.
Two of their favorites are my aviation tin snips and my Gerber multi-pliers.
When one of my fellow Deshis heard that my wife Jean was going back to St.
Paul to close our studio/loft, he asked if I could pick him up a pair of
Multi-pliers. But he balked when I told them they cost about $45.00 (might
be able to get them cheaper, but Jean won't have time to shop for bargins.)

Two of my oldest memories are from Japan. They are scents: the
smell of Indigo dyed cloth and the smell of sume-i ink. My Japanese
grandmother always work indigo kimonos. She must have worn a new one,
while caring for me, that carried the smell of the dye. My Japanese
grandfather did caligraphy and painting. I have a caligraphy he did here
in the computer room. It has a Daruma doll figure on it and the main
caligraphy says: "Seven Times Down, Eight Times Up!" It has always been a
life motivating saying of mine, even before I knew about this caligraphy of
my Grandfathers. I've never been a fast learner, but I never give up.

Lee Love
Mashiko JAPAN
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