My Father's Son
What my father didnít know about communicating and relationships would fill volumes, but about hard work, he knew. And about turning that hard work into money, he knew.
I saw my father buy cars and fix them up and sell them. He never chose an automobile that needed lots of work and I donít think he did it that often, but if the opportunity came along . . . he was ready. He would tune it up and paint it if needed, but bodywork and major repairs were expensive, time consuming, and best left alone.
He lived with his mistakes. In the fifties, he bought a Willyís station wagon, the kind that was always painted maroon and gold. My dad painted it red and yellow. You could see it coming from blocks away. He drove that quite a while before he sold it.
My father also looked for houses. I think he built our first home in Missouri where I was born. When we moved to Tacoma, we rented until we could afford to purchase. Once we moved in, he constantly painted and remodeled and improved. He then bought a house and fixed it up as a rental. The house was on a busy street, so he built a little storefront where he sold wooden toys. He didnít really sell them. He rented the house to my aunt and uncle and my aunt would sell the toys for a reduction in the rent.
When we moved, we traded up. Finally, we purchased my fatherís dream: a motel.
Over the years, Iíve bought my share of automobiles. I once had a little empire of rental houses. I struggle to keep a focus, but businesses branch out in different directions. Itís hard to explain to people what I really do, but I do it all the time. I think my children understand.
My two sons buy the occasional car. My youngest son has constantly traded up in housing. My daughter creatively paints childrenís furniture. With a focus on arts and crafts she sells her wares at tradeshows and craft shows. The family works hard and looks for ways to make money with our efforts.
To this day, I look for cars, even when I know I wonít buy. Iíve actually replaced the automobiles with online businesses, which I collect. Iíve learned about communications and relationships by watching what my father did badly. Iím far from perfect. My wife puts up with me, and believes in me. She is a saint.
About hard work, I know. About turning a buck, I know. Like my father, I am an entrepreneur. And for that, I thank him.