February 16, 2024
One of my favorite car enthusiast publications, Hemmings Classic Car, has a monthly feature where readers submit a personal essay on their experiences working in the auto business. Recent topics have ranged from being a dealership mechanic to supervising an assembly line. We are used to reading about famous people but seldom hear about “regular guys” working at “regular jobs.” It is rather like every novel about reincarnation featuring a previous life as a knight or king or princess while the vast majority of the population was mucking the stables or beating clothes against rocks in the river. Relax, I will not launch into my rant against the divine right of kings; my wife made me retire that after I first delivered it to my poor kids following the debut of The Lion King. Previously, I called for engineers to write more papers and teach more seminars. Today I want to encourage people in all areas of the gear trade to record their individual story. Not everything that goes on in the executive or engineering wing is interesting; many of the best stories occur in the shop or out in the field. While our magazine concentrates on technical matters, there has never been a better time to write a personal history than now. Your children and grandchildren may not show much interest at the moment but odds are they will someday. What a treat it is, while constructing a family tree, to happen upon information on the daily life of our kin folk. I discovered that my Grandpa Mueller bought a saloon in 1918; just in time for Prohibition to kill the entire trade. I guess poor timing is hereditary! Even a hand written page on how he felt about having his world turned upside down would be cherished today. He was a man of few words, spoken or written, so we will never know. Why not take a few minutes to jot down your memories and put them in a safe place?