Thursday, August 20, 2015

r.i.p. virgil gibbs

well, we lost a friend last week.  when i came to town in 1971 after traveling around for a couple of years, michael and meg were running a small business called 'virgil gibbs boots and leather' in the center of what was then a funky little town of a couple thousand people. kit and i also lived in the center of that town,
and since vgb&l became sort of a hangout place, we hung out there.  time went on and in 1973, we all bought some land in towns nearby, got married, and built some houses.  none of us really had much of a clue what we were doing regarding building houses at the time.  one friend bought an old backhoe and an old john deere bulldozer.   i bought a book and read up on carpentry ... rim joist, rafter tail, header ....we all worked together on each other's houses.  it was, in hindsight, a kind of a magical time in vermont.  land was cheapish. our first building lot was $7000., our first mortgage $25,000.  we were bartenders and there was no tax on tips .... anyway, we all go way back.
michael and i went on to become full time carpenters after we moved into our houses, and went on to have kids and raise our families.  there were, in 1974, five of us who built houses that year, we worked together, and we're all still friends today.  michael went on later to become a builder and i went on to build furniture.   above, in 1976, we are raising the frame of my first wood shop/garage at our house in arlington.  
mike's easy to spot in the photos above as the only bald guy. 
later, after his divorce, michael built a house next door to ours on goodwood lane in dorset, and was our neighbor for a couple of years there before moving to california and remarrying.  as one friend said recently, 'he added the spice to the stew'.  an excellent observation ..

open studio, 2003 with kit and mike and friends at the shop.  the tall guy there on the right in the blue shirt was one of the five 1974 house builders, as was the shorter women in the white shirt standing with him ..
so, we made a box ... with some reclaimed wood from a project michael did in downtown dorset that miraculously ended up in my garage when i needed it for the box.  it had come to me when we did some work on that house a couple years ago.
i only hit a few hand wrought nails when i resawed it for the box wood.
i put a little leather inside for 'virgil gibbs'
r.i.p. mike
y'all enjoy your friends and every healthy moment ... onward ...

from this week's manchester journal to read it ...
added this to the leather inside in the end


Greg Jones said...

Sorry to hear of your loss of a friend Dan. God bless and take care.

Greg Jones
Berea, KY USA

Unknown said...

Absolutely amazing!! Thank you Dan!!