When I was growing up, my mother’s parents lived at Ten David Drive in a small town in northwestern Connecticut. Their home was the family home: it was where we spent Christmas and Thanksgiving, went for visits, and even lived (along with occasional aunts, uncles, and cousins) for two years when I was very young. Even when we weren’t living there year-round, my sister and I had a room that was “ours”, and we spent our time finding out where the green moss road went in the woods out back, pretending we could play the piano, and watching Mr. Wizard and Victor Borge on the old TV in the den.
My grandfather, Parker Allen Stacy Jr., was a remarkable man. He was confident and good-natured, cheerful and enterprising. He was a woodworker, pilot, gardener, poet, engineer, and investor. He spent time with each of his eight grandchildren, choosing with each of us to do things he knew we most loved, individually— and that was no small task when, at times, we were all together at once. With me, he went on walks in the woods, drove me to the toy store in his green Volvo 240 wagon (for a Transformer, every time)— and when I was old enough, he worked with me in his wood shop in the basement.
It was there that he taught me to use hammers, nails, saws, and drill presses. But what really stuck with me was seeing what he valued: quality, cooperation, hard work, an eye for detail, and an enterprising spirit. He believed in measuring twice and cutting once. He wouldn’t buy custom storage containers, although he could afford them, because he could make them himself out of materials he had on hand that would last at least as long. (I still have many of his creations on my shelf here at home.) When I wanted a robot that “worked with electricity“, he wasn’t daunted: he made me one that could fit a battery tester in its body, so that it could be the caretaker of my other electronic toys. And when he did buy something, he made sure it was quality. The beautiful Leica he took with him on his honeymoon was passed on to me, and it still works perfectly.
My grandfather died when I was nine, and I’ve often wondered what my impression of him would have been had I known him as an adult. It’s easy for a child to make a hero out of someone who loves him. But when I speak to people who were adults while he was alive, their impressions of him seem to match my own. I sense in their stories that he really was the man I knew him to be: a man of genuine compassion and loving kindness and strength.
I hope it’s no surprise, reader, why I named my company after the home my grandfather created. Without his influence, I would certainly never have taken the steps I did to start this endeavor. The values he helped instill in me were the enablers and drivers of everything I’ve done this last year, and I’d like to think that he’d be proud of what I’ve built. I hope you, too, will enjoy what I make, with the cooperation and support of so many others. I hope everything Ten David creates will be durable, functional, beautiful, and fun— and I hope you’ll join with me in making it even better.
John David Parker Robinson