In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Friday, October 26, 2018

What He Missed

My father died in 1989. With his deteriorating health, it's not hard to assume most of the year was lost. He missed many things, but technology would be the greatest.

My father was trained in the economy of the Great Depression. His father had a repair shop attached to the musical store of my grandmother. My father, probably like most at that time, was involved with the repair shop, and helped my grandfather.

I don't know exactly what my father did, but snippets of the few stories I was blessed with indicated he did just about everything, from repairing small appliances, to refrigeration; which was onerous due to the anhydrous ammonia refrigerant. He was good, even at an early age. After the initial worry about his age, his expertise was requested.

He had a Harley 34, which my grandmother hated. An ice covered road led to a nasty tumble, and it was downhill after the accident. As soon as he joined the service, my grandmother sold the bike without his permission.

The Second World War was wrapping up, when my father joined the Coast Guard. My grandmother wouldn't sign for him to enlist early, so he had to wait until he was eighteen. His training ended after the war, so his first venture into the world was in occupied Japan.

I have a few photographs of my father's time in the Coast Guard. The ones I really wanted to keep were destroyed in a house fire, when I was twelve. The were of his visit to Nagasaki, which was in the early stages of rebuilding. I saw them once, and if I knew what I now know, I would have secreted them away. The historical value would have been of great worth. The personal value would have been priceless.

The Coast Guard gave my father training in radios, which probably was important when he returned to service with the Navy in the Korean War as a radio operator. He served that time on a destroyer, and if he'd lived, I would have made a strong effort to have him detail his experiences in a typhoon, and sailing up and down the Korean Coast.

Somewhere in my father's training, he was trained on radars. With his electronics training, it was probably just a lateral move, but with the huge jumps in technology, it was necessary. The career he finally settled on was marine electronics, which he did, until his death from cancer. He was good. I still run across people that know of his good reputation.

So, I've wandered along without elaborating on what my father missed. I had to give a little background to accentuate what's happened in the last 29 years.

My father missed the huge advancements in computers. When he died, the 80386 architecture was in an earlier stage. Computers with that architecture were at the top end of pricing. While they were fantastic at the time, those of today make them look like cumbersome antiques. Considering the software now available, what was available then was primitive with limited memory available, and slow processing.

Cellular telephones were just making a strong appearance in 1989. They were bag phones, and mostly useless in many areas. They were only used for calls, and the cost demanded being aware of the time spent in conversation.

Televisions, and computers mostly still used cathode ray tubes for screens. The technology was there for what are now flat screens, but the cost was beyond most consumers. Today, what was once inconceivably expensive, is hung on the walls of most homes.

I could go on, but if there was one thing that really makes the point, it's the watch that has a screen, allows people to communicate remotely, and has access to an advanced computer. When my father was a child, it was the fantasy of a comic called "Dick Tracy".  Even as an adult, it was still a fantasy. Now, it's a reality, and one of the many things my father missed. There's even a fully functional Dick Tracy watch available for the consumer.

If my father had lived, I'd make sure he had a Dick Tracy watch. It's fitting, since his love of technology was apparent in his interests, which included building a computer from a kit, and repairing electronics that people said couldn't be repaired. Knowing him, if I bought him one, it would only be a spare. He would have had one as soon as they were available.

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