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Shelter from the storm

Posted August 27, 2014 in Community Featured, Beaverdale

What’s in your garage? A simple question with simple answers. Sometimes it’s an old gas station sign, maybe a vintage leg lamp or mementos from the ’93 flood. But what about the non-material things? Peace of mind. Respite. A place that keeps one productive.

“My garage, really to me — I have things up in here I guess symbolize who I am,” says Jim Wandro, whose spent nearly his entire adult life here in Beaverdale. “I have my (UNI) Panther and Hawkeye stuff, the Twins sign and Gunflint Trail sign. I don’t really have a place inside the house that I would call my man cave or den or even office, so I come out here.”

Jim Wandro finds respite in his garage amid signs, logos and equipment for odd jobs around the house. Photo by David Rowley.

Jim Wandro finds respite in his garage amid signs, logos and equipment for odd jobs around the house. Photo by David Rowley.

For those unfamiliar, Gunflint Trail is up in northern Minnesota in the Boundary Waters area.

“Gunflint Trail is the place I’ve been going for about the past 15 years straight,” he says.

The garage is pretty minimal, and Wandro does his best to keep it clean. In the summer its two stalls shrink to one as he takes on the occasional house project. Currently his workstation is piled high with tools, paints and other material needed to fix up the master bathroom.

“I’m not much of a handyman but I try, you know, since I’m a teacher. I’ve got some time off in the summer, so there are little tasks that pop up,” says Wandro. “The garage is just the place I go to get prepared for any projects that may need attention.”

With the radio on, maybe pumping out a ball game, it can be a bit of a refuge for Wandro.

“I don’t know that I would say my garage is a place I retreat to or anything, but I do spend a fair amount of time in here,” he adds. “It’s constantly in a state of flux. A bit of a fluid place, changing from month to month, season to season.”

There’s no limit to what a garage can hold or be — a storage unit or an entrance, maybe. Like a home, the owner makes it his or her own. And on occasion a few “guests” might be welcomed to take a short tour through the side door.

“Hey, it’s my little buddy, a ground squirrel, that comes in for seed,” says Wandro mid-interview. “Mia (12-year-old black Lab) doesn’t really like ’em, but she tends to ignore them most of the time.”

Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”

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