This site is designed to be read like a book with 17 pages of information. I would recommend that you start at the homepage and read to the bottom to get an overview of what I have included on the site.
Then bring up the list of pages on my site by clicking on the three horizontal bars at the top left hand corner of the page. Then click on the page you wish to visit. There are a few text links on the site that I would recommend you visit for additional information.
It is my hope and belief that you will find the information contained on my site useful, particularly in these most stressful times. The anecdotes and short stories have been collected over many years.
I believe it is a shame that the wealth of knowledge that senior citizens accumulate over a lifetime goes to the grave with them. Therefore, as an 87-year-old senior, I have decided to pass on my knowledge through this website rather than take it to my grave unknown.
This website is dedicated to my late wife of 57 years, Shirley.
"May she rest in peace."
Pat Rowden - “Is There a Reason?”
I have worn many hats in my years of experience:
by trade – I was a licensed motor mechanic
by profession - I was a vocational education teacher
by hobby – I am an inventor and a website builder
as an entrepreneur – a business owner
I became the original business owner of Precision Rubber - a home-based vintage auto and truck running board mat reproduction business in Didsbury, Alberta, serving customers worldwide. I loved the business, but I sold it to look after my ailing wife of 57 years – Shirley until she passed away from Alzheimer's in 2014.
Several of my friends have suggested that I write a book about my life experiences. I started to do so several years ago, but life got in the way, and I forgot about it. I believe now is the time to continue writing my life's story. To read what I have written so far, go to the MY BOOK page.
Areas of Interest
I cover four main topics on the website drawn from my first-hand experience as a vocational teacher, a business owner, a senior, and a husband. These topics include the education system, the mental health system, senior care, and an introduction to a home-based recession-proof business opportunity that I just discovered recently.
As a Canadian, I am thankful we have universal health care; otherwise, I would have been bankrupt years ago. Our physical health system was and still is good, but our mental health system has always been a disaster.
My first experience with our broken mental health system was in 1958 when our first child Nancy was born. Shirley had her first of four nervous breakdowns (major manic episodes) at the time. She had many health issues for the years following, both mental and physical, and she had seen psychiatrists for 56 years. Although she suffered severely from bipolar disorder (manic depression) and living in fear - yet, not once was there a mention of resources that could be helpful or necessary for her to overcome her fear.
This site contains a free meditation tape and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy course. If you were to see a psychiatrist, you would not likely get this information.
In my opinion, my career as a vocational education teacher ended when the Alberta government, in their wisdom or lack thereof, decided to shut down the vocational education program in senior high schools and the junior vocational education program in secondary vocational schools. This left me with a worthless four-year Bachelor of Education Degree in Vocational Education from the University of Alberta, after just 11 years of teaching.
To get more in-depth knowledge about the devastating effect this decision had on the students attending the junior vocational schools in Calgary and Edmonton, go to the My Book page of this website and scroll down to the entry called "A Retread."
I hope to establish a foundation, in memory of my wife Shirley, which would provide funds for friends, neighbors, tradespeople, and maintenance people for their services. By way of a barter system, we could trade seniors' skills. It would have a lodge that could meet seniors' needs when it became no longer practical for us to remain in our homes.
This would be open to Didsbury residents and would encourage businesses and homeowners across the province to see Didsbury as the place to live, or set up a small business.
I am also hoping that my website will expand to worldwide exposure!
To help increase my website visibility, I am offering the first 30 business owners in the Didsbury/Linden area an opportunity to place their ads or websites on the Didsbury Services page of my site free of charge.
Placing your website links or ads collectively on my website will increase website visibility for all the websites included on that page.
Business owners in the Linden, Didsbury Acme, Olds, Carstairs and Three Hills area please contact me if you wish to have your website placed on the Didsbury Services page of my site.
If you do not have a website, and wish to have a site built for you that, can and will be found locally, as well as worldwide, I can built it for about $500.00.
Finding a Purpose
Because I had no retirement income and a worthless university degree, I decided to restore a 1937 Fargo half-ton from the ground up. Below is a picture of the 1937 Fargo half-ton.
This vehicle was bought in Didsbury, at what is now the Hi-Ho Service Station. It was a Chrysler dealership in 1937. Mr. Bob Eckel (now deceased) wanted me to rebuild it in memory of his dad, who bought it new in 1937.
Bob was hauling four barrels of gasoline in the truck box from Turner Valley, so he welded a ½ inch boilerplate onto the differential housing so it would not bend.
Bob also welded 2 inch wide straps on the inside and outside of the rear wheel rims so they would not collapse. This would throw them totally off balance and shake the truck off the road at over 25 miles an hour. I had to find new rims; otherwise, the truck could not be driven at highway speeds.
I spent two years rebuilding it, and it cost $30,000. I could have restored a Ford or Chevrolet for less than half the cost, but this vehicle was totally worn out, and it needed some TLC.
I could locate every item I needed to restore it to the original condition except the headlight switch knob – which is amazing - considering I have not seen another 37 Fargo before or since. The rear fenders and box were beyond repair. I had a new box pressed out at the cost of $1,000.00, and the rear fenders were formed with an English wheel, at $ 2,000.00 each.
Running Board Rubber Mat Business
Below is a picture of a milling machine that I designed and built. Located on the machine are a detail sander, a Dremel drill, and a hot knife that I also used to reproduce running board mats.
Above:1940 Studebaker running board mat logo. This running board mat was one of the most complex and difficult to reproduce, but also the most elegant. Below: Buddy our quality control inspector inspecting a 1940 Studebaker running board mat for flaws.
Above is a picture of an original 1929 - 32 Dodge Plymouth and Chrysler running board mat. It has six grooves in a 1/4 inch width, with a 1/8 inch groove between for a distance of 5 feet.
This is the finest pattern I ever created with my milling machine. It required 20 exact set over readings for each board. One mistake in reading the tapes located at the end of the moving table meant throwing away the mat and starting over. If the moving table moved up or down a 1/16 inch, the pattern would be torn out, which also meant throwing away the mat and started over. Note that the floor mats and the trunk mats also had this same pattern.
To mill the pattern, I used six 1/32 inch mill cutters with the teeth narrowed in width to 1/64 inch and a paper shim between the six mill cutters - then several paper shims followed by a 1/8 inch cutter to get the pattern exactly right. I made this pattern between 4 am and 6 am - so that I would have no distractions.
Although I sold my running board rubber mat business several years ago, the website www.runningboardrubbermats.com that I designed and built for my business is still active.