the closet draftsman

It’s not Father’s day, my Dad’s birthday, or even the anniversary of his passing but like most days he finds his way into my thoughts.  Today as I sat in my beginning drawing class working on a perspective drawing, I thought of him.

While in high school I took three years of computer-aided drafting which tied with math for my favorite classes.  I thought my Dad was aware of my taking these classes but I don’t recall him ever saying anything about it.  One day in calculus, we had a sub.  We all made fun of old man Brown and his cowboy poetry reciting but that day my attitude changed.  He shared something with me that forever endeared him to me.  I don’t remember but I must have been sketching out a drawing I was going to do in CAD because he came over to my desk and told me that he had taught my Dad drafting in high school, old-school, t-square and pencil drafting.  He told me that my Dad was very talented at it and wanted to be a draftsman.

I was completely taken by surprise.  My Dad didn’t learn to read very well and eventually dropped out of high school, joined the Army and became a mechanic.  All of my growing up he was terribly self-conscious of his disability.  He rarely read, except the occasional John Wayne biography he would give a try, and was very uncomfortable with family scripture study.  I know this really took a toll on his self confidence and his jokes about being a third-rate citizen weren’t really jokes at all.

But that day Mr. Brown showed me another side of my Dad, not a lost part, just hidden.  More than likely if he was good at drafting, he was good at math as well.  Maybe if he had had the kind of extra help that kids are able to get now he could have overcome his reading difficulties and gone on to a technical school to become a draftsman.  I love this little bit of history that Mr. Brown shared with me because my dad was too quiet and maybe too ashamed to himself.



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