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Forward by Ryan Delano, Grandson of Platt Monfort:


My first memory of my Grandfather was staged on his shoulders. He used to pick me up and carry me around the kitchen playing "Nuttin' in there." This game was a quest to find some home-baked goodie after opening almost every cabinet in the kitchen. We'd start by walking up to a cabinet, which either one of us opened to look inside. It would be full of dishes, or canned food to which he'd say "nuttin' in theya!" Eventually we'd make our way to the one with the goods and he'd confirm that there was "somethin' in there!" That was truly my favorite game to play and he never got tired of carrying me around to find a treat.

Platt with grandson, Ryan, holding Platt's fiberglass Puddle Dippa

Beep's inventiveness really knew no bounds. He seemed to have a custom jig rigged up to make every facet of his daily life less tedious. His shop was like a land of wonders to a young boy like myself. There were rows of jars screwed to long rotating posts with sorted screws, nails, nuts & bolts over head. There were tools of of every shape attached to benches on all sides of his shop. There were rollers and conveyers feeding huge spools of wire into a massive automatic welding machine. Lights that only he knew how to turn on, homemade stoves burning junk mail and scrap wood and of particular intrigue to me, a one-legged stool, which I loved to teeter on while I watched him work. If you were wondering, "Beep" was the name given to my grandfather by my older brother, Tim. When Tim was very young he said "Bee-pah" instead of "grandpa" - the name "Beep" has stuck ever since!

Throughout the years I watched him create one thing after another. He and his wife Betty were self-incorporated, which to me meant that they worked from home. Now that I too work in the same self-dependent fashion I know that it means they work pretty much every day of their lives. To my older brother, Tim, and me it was a great blessing having them work at home and we spent as many days there as we did at home. Among the inventions that I remember were the fiberglass boats back before I was big enough to paddle one. Puddle-Dippa was one of the models that I remember, as was the remarkable Folda-Dippa - a fiberglass canoe that could be split into two nested sections and strapped on ones back. I still remember a newspaper-clipping showing one waking down the highway to a boat show. Beep and his creations were always in one publication or another.

Photo of old news clipping - a Folda Dippa on the go

Not all of his inventions were strictly for adults, he had intricate paper airplane designs that he fashioned out of large business cards. I don't recall if this was simply a hobby or if he did anything with them, but I do know that he later created designs that used the Styrofoam trays from fast food restaurants. He even published a book, Styro Flyers, which was produced by a major publisher some twenty years ago. I believe it was about that same time that Beep began creating boats using a lightweight wooden frame wrapped with an intricate geodesic pattern of Kevlar. He first built the body of an airplane using the technique and then carried it over to his love for boating. One passion to another, one good idea to the next - that's pretty much how he's always been.

photo of Platts model airplane collection

Much less distant in my memory was when I was in college during winter break. Beep decided he'd like to introduce the idea of a "quick build kit" and offered me the chance to help him build a small fleet of boat frames. They were essentially the construction of an entire boat without the gunwales & skin. We worked side by side for a week or more and I quickly learned many aspects of building a Geodesic Boat. We worked together as though it had never been any other way with Benny Goodman playing in the background on his old AM radio. It was a very fun and enriching experience that I'll never ever forget.

Grandson, Ryan, holds the frame of a Westport Dinghy 8 that he built with Platt

Today, if you were to meet Platt, you'd see a kind, humble older man with a delightful twinkle in his eye. And if you followed him around his shops you'd see a trail of innovations and contraptions from inventions that date back as far as I can remember. You'd also meet his darling wife, Bette, who's impeccable sense of interior design maintains a comfortable home from which they both have worked for decades. If you followed her around you see her arts and crafts placed about their charming home and would quickly see how integral her work has been in running Monfort Associates and Aladdin Products over the many years. And if you had the chance to sit and chat with the two of them you'd come to know a couple who have supported each other without hesitation for more than 50 years living almost exclusively by their own efforts. And while you would easily see their beauty, you might never know the hardships they have endured or how instrumental their support has been to those of us who know and love them as our grandparents. They both have been nothing less than inspirational, and it is after them that I have patterned my own success. I can only offer my love, respect and gratitude in return for all that they have done.

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