The Vacuum Cleaner Cowboys

The Vacuum Cleaner Cowboys


As we look forward to 2013 with all its challenges and possibilities, I thought this would be a good time to reach back into our archive and bring out a story from my childhood that we’ve run before. Hope you enjoy!

I grew up in a large family. Mom and dad kept having kids until they stopped two shy of a dozen. They managed to find an old house big enough for all of us inArlington Heights,Illinois.

One of the quaint features of this house was the lack of anything resembling a front hall entrance. What greeted you when you opened the stately front door was a three-way intersection: To the left was our dining room, to the right was our living room, and directly ahead was an enormous stairway going up to the second floor.

Life in the house was, as you might imagine, full of activity. None of us was much acquainted with concept of “using your inside voice,” and that included my mom! Throw in a few kids from the neighborhood, and there seemed to be no end of amusements, industry or mischief.

My dad understood the value—no, the absolute necessity—of treating my mom to time off. As soon as my sister Joy was old enough, she was left in charge when my folks went out. As the second oldest, I was her deputy. As any deputy will tell you, the job entails little of the authority but nearly equal the responsibility of the first in charge when things go badly.

My brothers Ben and Calvin were a year apart. As two of the younger members of the family, they had learned very early in life the advantages of partnership, and they often relied on each other for diversion and sometimes even for survival.

We had one of those indestructible cast metal vacuum cleaners that looked like a torpedo on wheels. When they were three and four years old, Calvin and Ben discovered they could ride this thing as a “horse” when mom and dad weren’t around, and a thrilling trip it was when they rode it tandem down the staircase! It was bumpy, scary, and there was no turning back until all momentum halted with a boom! at the sturdy front door.

So picture, if you will, the contented mom and dad strolling up the walk after a pleasant evening away from the stresses of work and the keeping of a very active house. They can’t know it when they reach the stoop, but at the very instant dad is reaching for the door, Ben and Calvin on the second floor have just pointed their “horse” toward that very same door and have launched themselves on one more Electrolux ride past the point of no return…

The aftermath of that incident yielded three results: The “horse” was retired from the rodeo circuit and lived out the rest of its life as a vacuum cleaner; Ben and Calvin got off scot-free; and Joy and I were held wholly accountable, sentenced to endure stern lectures whenever the incident was called to mind, which it was, frequently, especially over the following few weeks.

Even though growing up in a large family had its challenging moments, I can say now I would not trade it for anything because it made me who I am today. I learned that the world didn’t revolve around me by about the time I was weaned, which is as good a time to face that reality, I think, as any. It instilled in me a strong work ethic and a commitment to helping others. It taught me humility, self sufficiency, and the power of teamwork. In short, it was excellent training to prepare me for business.

Coming from a large family as I did, makes it feel natural to consider all you who deal with HUB Industrial as members of our extended family. I hope you got a chuckle from this story, and if there is anything we can do for you, please give us a call!

Have a Great Month!

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