Stephenson Tales

TC the Unhandy Man

After two years teaching Public Speaking and directing a few stage productions at Highland Park Junior College we moved back to 2101 Devonshire in Ann Arbor for the beginning of my nearly 10-year ordeal which culminated in the PhD in 1958.

Aunt Lucy (the name by which Lucy Chase's mother was usually called) always had to have help in the big Tudor house on Devonshire. From her birth, when she was double club-footed, throughout her whole life she had been in only moderately good health so she always had at least one female maid to do the cooking and general housework and a "handyman" to do the more strenuous chores.

When we took up residence at 2101 it was a full house: Aunt Lucy and Preston, Chay and me and Lucky, Mary Libby (Chay's younger sister), her husband David and wee son Michael (Micky), a cousin from Virginia, and in the basement apartment Vinnie May, her husband T.C., and soon-to-be-born baby boy.

T.C. was the current handyman, and a few examples of his skill will reveal the truth.

1. When he painted the kitchen, he painted right over a paper clip that was hanging on a nail beside the window. When I pointed this out to him and advised that it would have been advisable to first remove it rather than painting it to the wall, his reply was, "You right about that!"

2. He told us that his profession was "carpenter." When asked what kind of carpenter he was, his reply was, "I make forms." Oh. What he meant was that he cut and assembled plywood "forms" which were used in pouring concrete foundations for houses. Aunt Lucy asked him to build a small porch and steps outside Preston's study at the back of the house to make easier access to the ground level driveway garage. He did, but he put the porch floorboards upside down, so the smooth side of the floorboards was underneath instead of on top. When this was pointed out to him, his reply was, "You got something there, all right!"

3. In the fall he put up the storm windows all around the house and in the spring he replaced them with the "screams" (that he had labeled: e.g. "sekin flor, bak").

T.C. was a very attractive man - not tall, but really handsome. Ladies found him irresistible and he had sired several children outside his marriage. When Aunt Lucy told him he should have a vasectomy in order to prevent his having any more, after explaining to him what that meant, he said, "I'm gonna stay like I am." Which he did.

Composed 14 November 2008; Transcribed by Lucky

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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