1964 was the first Christmas we had in our new home. Dad was working at the new facility nearby called the Manned Spacecraft Center, also known as NASA. Earlier in the year my dad, brothers and I cleared the lot where our new house was going to be built. Mom was always ready with snacks and something to drink when we took our breaks. When school started in the Fall, we moved into our unfinished house. The contractor assured dad that the house would be finished but wasn’t. We moved in even though it was still being worked on. I thought it was so cool to move it even though the worker were still building the house. It was like camping inside.

Not long after we moved in, the Sear Christmas Wish Book arrived in the mail. It was full of all kinds of things to shop for to ask Santa Clause to bring us. I had just turned 5 years old days after Thanksgiving. My brothers, Johnny who was 8 years old and Donny who was 3 years old, and I took turns looking through the book. Sometimes we even fought over it. That catalog was so worn out when Christmas day arrived. I recall the first time I got to look through it by myself. When I got to the pages where there were matchbox cars, I was locked in. I turned the page and there it was, the Garage! Oh man! I had to have that!! It was made from wood and had five bays to work on cars. There were several cars to go with it. A set of gas pumps and a drive over pit was there too. I took off running to show mom what I found. She was not as excited as I was but that was ok, I knew what I was going to ask Santa to bring me.

As the days slowly marched towards Christmas Day, I looked at that Garage in the Wish Book every time I could. I imagined driving those cars made of wood up to the pump, then pulling into one of the garage bays to work on it. I would close the door of the bay then open another bay so another car could park in there. There were endless possibilities.

Christmas Eve was finally here and there were lots of wrapped gifts under the tree. My brothers and I looked for packages with our names on them and tried to guess what might be inside. Going to sleep that night was tough… Santa Clause was going to stop at our house and leave us all kinds of cool things. Most of all, my garage was going to be here. I could not wait!

“Hey, get up! Let’s go see what Santa Clause brought us.” I was brought out of my sleep by Johnny shaking me. Johnny and I walked out of my room and stopped by Donny’s room to wake him up. Next stop, wake Mom and Dad up. We followed Mom and Dad down the stairs, but before we reached the bottom, Mom said, “You guys stay here. We need to make sure Santa Clause even stopped by last night.” Where we stood on the stairs, we could not see into the first floor living room. I could see that the tree lights were just turned on by the different colors reflecting off the front door. Then the sun showed up in the living room! We could see the bright light reflecting off the front door. Dad had turned on the lights for the movie camera. Then we heard Mom say “Boys, you need to come in here to see what Santa Clause brought you!” The race was on. We ran into the living room but were stopped in our tracks by the blinding lights of the movie camera. As we shielded our eyes, we looked around to see what all was there. Then I saw it… the Garage! Oh man, how cool! I started playing with the cars that were parked in front of the garage. Donny yelled to us to see what he got, Johnny was excited about what he got, and I was ignoring them as I looked over the cool garage.

About an hour later Dad called from the kitchen that breakfast was ready. I don’t recall exactly what he made but I am sure it was his signature scrambled eggs mixed with sausage. As we sat at the table, I looked out over the living room and saw all the paper thrown everywhere from the gift wrappings. Not too far from the tree was the coolest garage I could imagine.

Over the years after that I worked on many cars in garages, driveways, carports, even parking lots and sides of the road. When Jennifer and I bought our home, it had a two-car separate garage. At the time we had our daily drivers plus my Corvette. I crammed all three vehicles into that garage every night. Then in 2002, we were able to expand that two-car garage into something I could use to work on rebuilding the Corvette. When the garage was finished the footprint of that building is about the same size as our house. I was happy with that!

One day I was at Mom and Dad’s house and Mom asked me if I wanted that garage I got on Christmas 1964. “You bet!” I said recalling that morning I first saw it. Today that worn but loved toy garage with most of the parts are on a shelf in my garage. It even has some newer cars in the bays and at the gas pumps… all Corvettes.