In memory, I see Howard in the basement. He spent a lot of time down there, because He had a ham shack down there. My dad was an amateur radio operator....a member of Radio Pioneers. He ground his own crystals to vibrate to the exact frequency He needed. If I wanted to impress some young boy, all I had to do was to take him downstairs and watch his eyes bug out looking at all that electronic equipment. Dad bought war surplus and the stuff was HUGE. This was shortly after the end of world war two. One could really get war surplus then. Dad talked to other hams all around the world. He got QSL cards from those hams. It became quite a collection. I gave the collection to my grandson who probably did not appreciate them.
Next to the ham shack, was the work bench. I saw Dad wind copper wire around a tube. In this way, I learned about electro-magnetism. Dad put a knife blade into the tube with electricity charging the wire. The knife became magnetic.
There were iron filings on the work bench. Dad scooped them up with a piece of paper. The magnetic knife moved the iron filings around. Dad explained positive and negative poles of magnetism. I could see this for myself as the iron filings rearranged themselves. This is the same principal that makes those toy black and white Scottie dogs chase each other.
Howard subscribed to several astronomy magazines. He had a telescope. One day the telescope was set up in the yard in the day time. Dad was tracing sun spots. I was told to never look into the eye piece when doing this. Look only at the paper that held the image. He traces the sun spots over several days. You could see them move across the surface of the sun.
In the evening, Dad set up his slide projector. He had bought slides of the sky, probably purchased from an ad from the sky magazine. He showed the slides to me. It was all black, except for white dots. Dad said that when this slide was taken, astronomers thought the dots were stars. We have better telescopes now. They take better photographs. You are looking at galaxies! The concept was so huge, I got dizzy.
Dad got a bargain on an old movie projector and boxes of old movies. One rainy day, He hung a sheet from the basement ceiling and invited all the neighborhood kids to watch movies. We watched all day long. I saw classics ...Kay Kaiser and his college of musical knowledge, Tom Mix, Felix the Cat, Hector the Pup at the steel pier in New Jersey, Charlie Chaplin. They were wonderful movies. It was a wonderful day, thanks to my dad.
Dad got vacation time. When I was little, We spent the entire summer at Dad's summer cottage south of Buffalo. I lived in my bathing suit. We were free to run all over the colony. I learned to swim. Dad told me my lungs were balloons. If I filled my lungs with air and held my breath, I could not sink. I tried it. He was right. By thrashing around and holding my breath, I learned to swim. Dad purchased the cottage before He married my mother. We were heart broken when He sold it. The cottage got sold to pay off the mortgage for the city house.
From that time on, vacations were road trips. Mom would never come. Dad took his two little girls down route five out of Buffalo. First stop was at Mable's Maple Grove. All three of us slept in the same bed. First dad has to kill the mosquitoes in the cabin with DDT . He sprayed. We stayed outside. When it was time for bed, there were no mosquitoes in the cabin. I have memories of a visit to an exhibit called Petrified Creatures. It was an exhibit of fossils. I learned about evolution from that exhibit. School could never hold a candle to what Dad taught me.
The high light of the summer, was a visit to Crystal Beach in Ottawa, Canada. We went across the Peace Bridge. All the guard asked us was, "Where were you born? How long will you stay?" That's it. We were in Canada. Crystal Beach was a wonderful amusement park. We ate junk food, went on the rides, saw exhibits at the side shows. There was swimming, but We never went swimming there. There was a huge pavilion for dancing, but We were too little for dancing. I remember that at the conclusion of the day, Dad said it was an expensive day. He has spent all of five dollars. We were so tired and sun burned, We slept in the car all the way home.
Dad rented a cottage from the state Parks Department. In order to do that, one had to get the reservation in by January. By February, they were all taken. We went to Selkirk Shores State Park for a week for several summers in a row...until I was a senior in high school, I think. The nature walks were wonderful. I learned that frogs like to sing along with my Dad and that little toads don't like to be teased...that chipmunks can move a stone from the door of their burrow. I loved the leisure, the sun and warmth of summer, sharing experiences with my father.
My love of science, I got from my Dad, but got much more.
Girls who think they can bring a baby into the world and raise them all by themselves are doing disservice to the child. Children need an intact family in order to grow up healthy emotionally and physically. We all need fathers and mothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and neighbors. Today, I need my father. Happy Father's Day, Dad.
Labels: Father's Day