Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Relics

The world of my father’s time is passing quickly. I’m saddened to see it go. So many pieces of my world, the world of my childhood.

My dad’s world. The world he made and lived in and worked in when I was a child and the universe revolved around him.

I cling desperately to the items and effects of his time, trying to make it my time, trying to remember the time when these things were new, and so was I.

There are radios with vacuüm tubes in them.  There is a barrister’s bookcase with a squeaky hinge. There is a 1959 Mossberg 22 caliber rifle with a stock cut down for my mother.

There are telephones with rotary dials. TV sets with big cathode ray tubes in them. Not flat panels. Not LCD or LED or liquid plasma. Big coils of copper wire, high voltages, a pane of glass coated with phosphorous.

There is a snowmobile with a little 2-cylinder engine. It’s actually fairly modern for my dad, with rails instead of bogey wheels.

We’d spend many hours working on “sleds”, as well as riding them.

My dad and his generation built so much of my world, invented so many things. The stuff they made was solid, heavy, sometimes literally bullet-proof.

Circa 1950 Media Center

Circa 1950 Media Center

How can I justify hanging on to the 50-year-old steel desk at work? The desk that looks like sturdy, industrial 1950’s America. Where things were made in places like Paramus, New Jersey or Cleveland, Ohio. When we put the pride into the work, not onto the sticker that says “Built with pride”.

Bit by bit these things are replaced with the modern. Newer, stronger alloys. Composite materials as strong as steel. Miniaturized robotic manufacturing.

 

I am reminded of an occasion when President Reagan addressed a college commencement. A student asked respectfully:

“How can someone from your generation address this graduating class in a meaningful way? You didn’t have cell phones or the internet or the Space Shuttle.”

“You’re right.” the President replied, “We didn’t have those things.

We invented them.”

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

Comments on: "Relics" (2)

  1. Paz, it’s clear from your description that your father left the “feeling” of himself, of being in his atmosphere, in the things he made, and used. Those things take us immediately into the place where we connect with the ones who have already made the transition. It’s lovely to remember them in another way, as well. Everyone knows about something, from where they stand. Younger people know more about what’s new. Older people know more about what’s important. And all of that understanding is present in your dad’s things, too.

    • Elizabeth:

      Thanks for taking the time to visit ACZ, to read, and to reply. It was kind of you to express so much thought regarding the post “Relics”.
      Just to be clear, I have the wonderful fortune to still have my dad with us among the living. He is 82 years old and still the smartest guy I ever met! He just got called back to work by the company he retired from a number of years ago. My dad is an electrical engineer with a number of patents to his name, and was one of the top designers on the east coast in his heyday. Perhaps I use the term “was” a bit prematurely. They called him back to work for a project similar to one he worked on a number of years ago.
      As it turns out, they “needed his brain”. Not unlike the physical relics described in the post, the knowledge my dad holds will go with him. This will be sorely missed.
      Dare I say, I am very proud of my father.
      Thanks again for writing.

      Take care and keep in touch,

      Paz

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