A Tribute

I reread my first post this morning and realized that someone may mistakenly think my name is William Foust. It is not, my name is Tom. Billy was one three mentors I have had in my life.

The first was my father. My father never hired anybody to do any thing, he did every thing himself. He built the house I grew up in. In about 1958 my mother told my dad she wanted a swimming pool. The next Saturday, he and I armed with 2 long handle spades and a wheelbarrow, some stakes and string, went to the lot next door which he owned and started to dig. We dug all that summer when he came home from work and on weekends, by the first snow we had the hole for a 20×40 swimming pool dug, which we finished building the next summer. From my father I learned, you can do just about any thing if you really want to.

The second was Billy. In 1968 I was in the Army in Vietnam. I had been wounded a few times and was no longer in the field, but I was really ready to get the hell out of there. One day I read in the Stars and Stripes, about an early out program, you could get out up to 30 days early if you were registered for school and it started before you were supposed to get out. I immediately called my mother and told her to get me registered for school and send me the paper work to prove it. To make a long story short, To the best of my recolecti0n, I turned in my rifle and hand grenades on Friday [it might have been Thursday] and at 8 am Monday morning I was sitting in Billy’s 101 design class. My mother had signed me up late and the only classes that weren’t full were Art classes, I was registered for 5 Art classes and 3 of them were taught by Billy. At the end of the last class, one of Billy’s, he said I would like to talk to you, could you stay after for a few minuets. When every one left he said “what the hell is wrong with you”. I explained I had just gotten home and was still a little edgy [ it was the 60’s and I had a crew cut]. He then said let’s go get a beer and we became life long friends. I cannot begin to list all the things I learned from him, all I can say is that he was a technical genius in the arts and crafts area. Because of him I became an Art major and it changed my life.

Lastly, years latter when I had two masters degrees and was doing musical instrument repairs and building instruments, thinking I generally knew what I was doing. A friend called me up and said his father was in town from Fla. and needed to use a few tools for something and could he work in my shop for a couple of hours. I said he could but that I had to leave so he would be there alone. He came over, I showed him around and turned him lose, and I left. I’m sorry to say I don’t know his first name. Everybody called him ‘foddy’ which I think is German for father, his last name was Brasch. He was trained as a cabinet maker in Germany before the second world war. I don’t know how long he worked in my shop that day but he was gone when I got back. I didn’t see the difference in the shop rite away, but as I worked I would pick up a tool and be shocked at how much better it worked than the last time I had used it. He had fettled all the tools he had used so that they worked the way they were supposed to. From Foddy I learned that I didn’t know quite as much as I thought I did.


About millcrek

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One Response to A Tribute

  1. Ellis Felker says:


    Wow…your blog blew my mind…I love the step by step photos…and I especially loved your story about your dad and the swimming pool…he must have been an amazing man…you are a chip off the old block…and the story of your teacher Billy when you came home from Vietnam…what a guy…what a huge influence he had on you too…the story of your life’s journey brings tears to my eyes…I love it when you bring in those old stories…just great…the bagpipe story was great too…I think you should have your own TV show…get rich…spread the word about the joys of being a “wood head”…it was just a rich treat to read about you and your life and to see all that you do…that wicker swing was amazing too…and on and on…keep it up…I will tune in now and then to see what you’re up to….Ellis

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