Where did that name come from?
The short answer is that my kids began referring to my Grandma McCollough as Grandma Umbrella as they struggled to pronounce her name and it stuck. They’ve never called her anything else.
The longer answer is that Grandma Umbrella’s husband, my Grandpa Jack McCollough, made his living as a carpenter. He restored old buildings and built beautiful furniture and always smelled like sawdust and hard candy. He could build anything, no pattern necessary. You might mention a particular problem you were having and he would literally engineer and build a solution. I always marveled at his endless creativity and skill. Leukemia took my beloved Grandpa years ago, and I miss him terribly. When quarantine got rough and everyone I knew was baking sourdough and growing plants, I picked up a power tool for the first time and never looked back. This hobby has changed my life and given me a confidence and excitement I didn’t even know was possible. I wish Grandpa was here to teach me everything he knew, but I’m trying to learn what I can and I hope I’m making him proud by carrying on the family business.
Some of my most treasured possessions are hanging on the wall in my shop. Grandpa’s tape measure is always on my hip. (Every tool in his workshop carried that same engraving. He wasn’t about to let people on the job site walk off with his tools. ) His handsaw hangs next to his Dad’s handsaw and beside the patterns he used for the pig cutting boards I remember so vividly.
So there you have it. Umbrella Custom Woodworking. A little nod to my Grandpa and a reminder to me that I am capable and strong and that I was made for this.