Growing up my father always had us kids gather around when he would do home and car maintenance and repairs and that’s perhaps some of my most treasured moments. Moments that not only taught me so much but, more so , would give me the confidence of knowledge and the esteem of ability.
I was the oldest of four and the only girl; daddy’s little girl. My dad taught me a lot of things that I would carry through life. When I was a child I played in youth sporting leagues. My abilities always earned me the ranks on the boys teams instead of the girls, and even after gaining that right I would still have to prove myself to my own teammates. Therefore, learning at a young age, that I had the abilities to do what a boy could do but it somehow wouldn’t be as easily accepted by the majority.
In my teen years, while others my age were dating I was only allowed to work on cars with the guys. So, the days of back yard mechanics became an interest and furthermore a passion. Even after I began to date it would be no surprise for me, and my date, to go pull a motor in an old Nova and replace it and still make it home by my strict curfew. Homecoming was a night working on a 1957 Chevy Bel Air trophy winning custom classic. I missed prom by helping to put in a shifter in a 1967 Chevelle show car. Graduation night was spent working on a Javelin hot rod. That was 1987 at the once renowned Ventura Custom Auto Trim, Rochester, Mi. Needless to say this boy became my husband and father of my children (1988). A couple of months after marriage I enrolled in my first formal automotive mechanics training at what is now called Oakland Technical Center, Pontiac, Mi. Over the years of being married to the son of, George ” Eddie” Dishner the owner of Ventura, and them closing to move forward to design seating and more for companies as Magna (formerly known as D&L), and Lear would lend me knowledge of the auto trim and seating industry. Knowledge that was used to do many of side jobs since I was a stay at home mom for several years.
After some years my marriage would fall apart and my life would soon follow suit by circumstance. Then, one day, while stepping forward into my new found path in life I would be introduced to a man who would give me a chance. Phillip “Sparky” Olsen, the owner of Vicous Marine Custom Boats in Harrison Twp., Mich.( and now of Newberry, South Carolina and Pompano Beach, Florida) , would offer me a little laboring job when I needed a job the most. A job that would that quickly yielded to an apprenticeship as a body work tech….A dirty job that none of the guys in the shop seemed to want to do. Not being afraid to get my hands dirty I took to this without much discontent. Who says you can’t teach and old dog new tricks?…for by this time it was 2007. This job would help to fill the gap for about a year or so then the economy would sour and Vicious would leave the state. But what I learned would stay and would be used to help get me through the economy crunch at Image Customs car care, with my ex-husband Ken Dishner and my son Brad in Detroit, Mich (2009), til I could once again, regain my 40 hour with benefits employment.
Sometimes life’s lessons aren’t learned by formal means of training but by good old fashioned hands on training and discipline. The days of backyard mechanics are now,but a shadow of the past. Just as these ventures may really not matter because that’s whom I used to be. But they did, in fact, have a hand in shaping that to whom I’ve become, and that being a woman that’s not afraid to meet the challenge.