Remembering Father's Day

June 16, 2016

June 19th is Father’s Day. For many of us, including me, the locksmith profession has been an occupation handed down from father to son or daughter. In my case there were many rocky times along the way.

My father was seldom home during my waking hours. His locksmith business was a one-man operation and his business location was a few miles from home. Between night emergency work and billing out jobs in the evening, he was rarely home except at mealtimes.

His dedication to business left very little time for vacations. During my childhood our family made one trip away from Chicago and that was to visit an ALOA convention which was held in Washington D.C. The trip was memorable since my father ran out of money in Ohio while returning to Chicago. There were no credit cards in those days. We waited for a day in Ohio while the bank back home wired funds to him.

Baseball was always my passion and I always dreamed of someday playing for the Chicago Cubs. It didn't happen. At twelve years of age my father had me answering his business phone after school and during the summer. While other kids were out having fun, I was vacuuming chips from key machines and sweeping the shop floor. I was not a happy camper.

During those days there were dozens of different keyways in use -- not like today when Kwikset and Schlage keyways are all you need. We had a large inventory of lock cylinders and each one became used before it was sold. I secretly practiced on every lock cylinder in our inventory until it was picked open.

My father had very little interest in automotive locksmithing so he saved most of the car work for me. I became a teenage expert on VW, Fiat and English car locks. There were also several domestic models which had weak trunk lock systems. It was my job to remove the back seat and climb into the trunk to open trunk lids.

At age eighteen I finally came to my senses. In reality I had been going to a private locksmith trade school for six years. While my friends were trying to decide what to do in life, my course was set. For the last fifty years I have enjoyed every minute of the training my father gave me so long ago.

Thanks a lot, Dad.