My father, Woodrow Vancil, died at age 30, a promising young architect. He worked with the drafting tools you see at the left in this photo. Compasses, proportional dividers, precision pencil tips, some parts missing, all stored comfortably in a time weathered carrying case. Next to them are the tools I use today. An automatic pencil for note taking and a wireless computer mouse, connected to graphic design programs and word processing software.
My dad designed just one building which reached the final construction phase before his death. He left several other works unfinished. That building, a roller rink, stood for years near the city limits of Kewanee, Illinois, until one day it burned down.
I cannot help but muse, what my father’s life might have been had he not died at such an early age, what he might have done with the computer software we have today, the CAD programs, the digital marvels that would have allowed him to do his work in minutes, instead of taking many exhausting hours of drawing, erasing, drawing again, erasing again. . . drawing again. I’ve come to realize it’s pointless to play the “what if” game in regard to the past. We cannot change history.
My father worked with the tools of the day, as do I. Sure, he could have designed the roller rink much faster if he’d had a computer program, drawing circles with a click instead of a compass. However, I doubt if the end result would have been any better.