I had an enjoyable weekend. My old friends Ernie Conover and his wife Sue spent a night with us while on their way up to Maine to teach at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. The four of us, spent the afternoon catching up on each others’ lives. Then, we went out to dinner together.
Ernie and I have been friends since 1980. We were introduced by John Kelsey, the founding editor of Fine Woodworking magazine. Ernie had started a business making woodworking tools, and I was looking for a source of chairmaking tools for the classes I had begun to teach. The event was as Rick said to Louis as they started out for the Casablanca aerodrome for Brazzaville, “The beginning of a long friendship.”
I have watched all Ernie’s kids grow up, and he is doing the same with my 14 year old son. Ernie’s son Charlie was about my son’s age when he took a Windsor chairmaking class with me. Charlie is now married and has children of his own.
Ernie and Sue rode their motorcycles to Maine from their home in Ohio. Along the way, they stopped and visited another mutual friend Boyd Hutchinson, a furniture maker in western Massachusetts. In the old days I traveled all over the country teaching and I got to meet most of the names in woodworking. Always out on the show and teaching circuit together, we were always in touch.
Today, running The Windsor Institute keeps me pretty close to home. Fortunately, we are just off Route 95 and lots of my old friends pass by going north or south. They usually stop by to catch up. I always ask who they have seen recently, or will be seeing soon. That way, I keep tabs on all the old network.
That are some of the great things about The Windsor Institute. It is not only a landmark in woodworking, a lot of the people whose magazine articles and books you have read pass through here. I get to stay in touch will my old pals. Life is good.