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.
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,