Remembering Dedo Ilko

Remembering Dedo Ilko with his outdoor woodworking shop.

Behind the house where I grew up, my Father’s sister lived with her family. One of the family members was the tall and likeable Dedo Ilko (my aunt’s father-in-law). A grape vine covered most of the front of their house and just to the right is where Dedo Ilko had a long and narrow woodworking bench with many tools underneath. Dedo Ilko built most of the wooden items for their home and for the homes of the other villagers. He was considered to be one of the best woodworkers in the village.

When I was a young boy, I remember standing on a small stool that he built for me so I could watch him smoothing a rough piece of wood with his long wooden planer which had a very sharp blade. I would stand there for many hours during the hot summer months watching and asking him questions about his woodworking projects. He built interior and exterior doors, window frames, portas (door/gate to the main entrance of the house), various cooking tools such as a wooden flat paddle with a long handle to take loaves of bread from the large outdoor cooking oven, wooden bowls to crush garlic cloves (see image below), wooden spoons to stir the large pot full of beans.

I believe this is where my interest in building things all began. I recall Dedo Ilko telling my mother that I had something special and one day I would be a brilliant builder. He was one-hundred percent right about what I was able to accomplish when I came to Canada, the land of opportunities.


Wooden bowls to crush garlic cloves.

The house where Dedo Ilko lived.