Actually, before I start this post, I have to admit that I’m rather proud I spelled entrepreneurial correctly on the first try. Take that, spell-checker generation!
So. What was I saying?
I was feeling a fondness for the many businesses my father started throughout my childhood.
1. Grantswriter.com: Dad was super-stoked he jumped on this domain name before anyone else. Mostly I remember answering phone calls from people hoping they could find a grant for their small-business loan, but it was the business that set me on my way as a non-profit professional.
2. Talking balloons: These were awesome. I’m not sure why they didn’t catch on at the flea market, though I do think we sold all of the product we originally bought. Big, fat, happy mylar baloons with a plastic strip dangling from them. If you ran a fingernail down that strip at precisely the right speed, it sang “Happy Birthday” to you. Or a couple different songs, though that’s the only one I remember.
3. Rototiller Dude: Actually, I think this was just an excuse he gave to my mom to justify his purchase of a rototiller for our 1/2 acre of land.
4. Damn it, I’ve had too many cocktails. I don’t remember the other ones. There were definitely more. One of the most prevalent memories from my childhood is of him saying, “this is how I’ll make my first million.”
5. Silkscreened T-shirts: Was this a “make-a-million” idea, or just a DIY crafts idea? Like the fruit dehydrator? I’m not sure. But my t-shirt design for 4th grade summer camp totally won first place. And I loved going to school with brown paper lunchbags silkscreened with “Herron’s Mortuary and Meatball Palace.”
6. Okay, mandolas. Though I think this was post “first million” dream, and more an “ensuring the Herron name endures, at least in the folk-music world” dream. He currently sells beautifully hand-made mandolas from Vietnam, with a mother-of-pearl inlaid Heron on the neck. His partner sent Mom and he a set of matching golden silk robes for Christmas.
7. Dad, you out there? What else did you think of before anyone else patented it? I’m sure there were more, I just can’t remember them.