JIS screwdrivers

JIS screwdrivers
JIS screwdrivers

My great-grandfather came to the U.S. from Russia and settled in Nebraska, where he opened a bicycle shop and worked as a technician. The photo above shows a set of JIS screwdrivers, used today by people who work on Japanese-made motorcycles. My great-grandfather wouldn't have needed these though, as he worked on American-made bicycles. It was the best I could do though without resorting to public domain images that I didn't take myself. 
My grandfather was born in the U.S. but his first language was Russian. He learned English early enough that by the time I knew him he had no Russian accent. Instead, he spoke with a midwestern U.S. accent from growing up in Nebraska. He was neither a mechanic nor a carpenter, but one of the most vivid memories I have of him was the day he taught me to use simple tools like a hammer and nails to build a rudimentary bench.

Though I may not know about bicycles or carpentry, I do love working with my hands and deal with vintage electronics every day. The satisfaction I get from soldering some fine-pitched IC or cleaning up a rusty, water-damaged circuit board must be similar to what my great-grandfather would have felt when doing a job well done on a customer's bicycle. So the most I can say is that although I may not have any tangible artifacts of my ancestors, I do still occasionally feel some sort of vague connection to them, despite never having met many of them.  

Place(s): Russia
Year: 1900

– James Tims

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more