A lot of fun distractions live in Terry and Susan Ambroson’s garage. Things like vintage signs, a dart board, antique tools and Terry’s Kawasaki 1500 motorcycle are among a few. Although the beer signs look like a lifelong collection, Terry says it’s something he’s only gotten into in the last five years.
“Susan and I will go to different kinds of sales, tag sales or garage sales,” he says.
It’s like anything you start collecting, he explains — once you start you need more.
“You can’t have one baseball card,” he laughs.
It’s become enough of a hobby that it’s even spilled into the rest of the house and the basement. While the beer signs are fairly new, some of his signs have more history to them — a family history, in fact. The clock, Lennox and T and W Gift Shop signs all come from his parents’ business. Together, his parents ran T and W Plumbing and Heating in Lake Mills for 52 years.
“Dad had the plumbing and heating business in the back, and Mom had the gift shop in the front of the store,” he says.
Terry has kept the signs as a way of fondly remembering his parents who have since passed away — working with his dad in the store on the weekends and in the summers growing up.
The old tools are also from his dad’s business, believed to possibly be third-generation hand-me-downs. Terry found a few of them at his grandma’s old farmhouse in Leland. Despite their antique heritage, Terry isn’t interested in selling.
“I just like them,” he shrugs.
Now the Kawasaki 1500, though? That’s another story.
“It’s my one toy,” he says.
Terry and Susan ride it to various events in downtown Des Moines and the East Village. They also take it out on leisurely rides to small towns and restaurants. They never go too far, though, because Susan will only ride on back roads — never the interstate.
“The kids don’t think it’s very cool, but Susan and I like it,” he smiles.
What do kids know, anyway?
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