When I started my business 32 years ago, I never thought about handing off the reins to one of my children – I didn’t have any. Heck I was just a kid! But as the years progressed, Wendy and I did have two beautiful children, Rebecca & Melissa.
They were both involved in the family business as much as any child would be. They were involved with conversations around the dinner table, dragged to job sites, attended job site meetings, and put on the cleanup crew. Although the girls were young, I must admit that I did occasionally think about a new name for the company- Coolidge & Daughters.
As Rebecca got older, we thought it would be a good idea if she spent part of her summer working on site. She started on the window washing crew for a large dormitory renovation that we were doing. I think she figured out very quickly that this business was not for her, for I had to fire her twice the first week for not doing a good enough job. Looking back, I now think she knew exactly what she was doing – she was not going to spend her summer in a hot dorm washing windows all day! (This is very similar to the technique that I use with Wendy to get out of loading the dishwasher and doing the laundry).
Melissa’s start on site was just as tenuous as her older sister’s. She started on the demolition crew. On her very first day, she created an avalanche of debris that rained down on her and almost knocked her unconscious. She spent the rest of the day on the client’s couch. I had to fire her also as a precaution for everyone else’s safety.
So as much as both girls wanted to be involved on site to make their dad happy, their interests laid elsewhere. Both went off to college and got their degrees. They started down the path of their desired professions, which was not construction.
So that was that. There was no one to hand the business down too. End of story. That was until a new chapter was written. Melissa gave birth to a son, Granger. He is only two years old but he already helps me with measurements and he screws off sheathing. Meme Wilson even made him his own tool belt. He carries his real hammer and tape measure in it while he helps me with the ongoing renovation at his house– this kid is a natural!
I think I have seen a foreshadow of my future and my legacy.