hardware stores

Write On Wednesday: Toolkit

In the neighborhood where I grew up, there was an old-fashioned hardware store within walking distance of our house. Well, it would seem old-fashioned now, when most of us purchase our gadgets and gewgaws at huge warehouse type places like Home Depot or Lowe's where you must walk 10 miles on cement floors and peruse nine millions layers of plastic packages before you find just the right five-dollar pair of screws for the job.

At our little hardware store in Melvindale, Michigan, all the nails, nuts, and bolts were tossed into bins up and down the narrow aisleways. You could pick a handful if you liked, or just one if that were all you needed, and put them into tiny paper bags.

When I was a toddler, I loved going to the hardware store almost as much as I loved going to the drugstore and looking at magazines. All those shiny objects in so many sizes and shapes were great fun to look at. The man who owned the store knew my father and grandfather, and enjoyed watching me sink my chubby little hands into the mounds of steel and iron. Perhaps he wasn't quite so enthusiastic the time I took home a pocketful - but he forgave me nonetheless.

My early obsession with tools didn't last. I'm pretty hopeless with a hammer and nails, and you certainly wouldn't want me within operating range of any kind of power tools.

But then, I'm not an engineer like my husband, or a machinist like my father.

I am, however, proficient with the tools specific to my trade.

Like any other craft, writers and musicians have their own set of tools, a personal kit of indispensable items that help them tackle the job at hand, whether it's writing an essay or playing a sonata.

See what I carry in my writer's toolkit at today's Write On Wednesday.

How about you? What tools are specific to your trade? What are the essential items in your toolkit?