A Lifetime of Building
Some people like to build things as a hobby. Efrain Franco Romero built, repaired and renovated things as a way of life.
He built a pond in the backyard of the house in Hazleton, Pa., where his family lives, along with a balcony. In the weeks leading up to Sept. 11, he was in the process of building a garage, said his son, Frank Jr. He would work on it when he came home on the weekends from his job at Fine Painting, in the World Trade Center.
"You name it and he did it. My father is definitely the jack of all trades and master of anything you can imagine," Mr. Romero said. He recalled that the pond his father built started out as a minor project to set up a small water fountain, the kind found at any Wal-Mart; that fountain became a pond with a waterfall and populated by small fish.
"He made modifications to our hedge clipper, to the point that I couldn't use it anymore," Mr. Romero said. "It was so powerful it would shake out of my hand."
His father, who was 57, was always a fixer-upper, he said. "As far as I know, he's been doing this since he was old enough to pick up a hammer."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 22, 2001.