Vise of our Fathers

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Jul 282009
 

So my hair is thinning the same way my Dad’s did. I’m spending a lot of time tinkering with electronics. I remember how tall his workbench used to seem, the mysterious tools and smells when he worked on his HAM radios. I never knew much about what he did at his job – he had a security clearance, it was Cold War R&D on the fringes of ’50s and ’60s Washington D.C. – but I knew it had something to do with the space program. Recently I read in Airstream Magazine (I bought a ’58 Overlander two years ago, to turn into a recording studio in the new Girls Club building) that Melpar, my Dad’s employer, had built the Airstream-based quarantine units that the astronauts had to stay in when they came back from the moon. Couldn’t let alien moon-bugs destroy the Earth.

When he died in ’92 my Dad left his workshop as messy as ever. While he was alive it had an animating intelligence. Afterwards it was mostly junk. But I claimed a circuit-board vise and kept it for the next fifteen years or so. It got lost in the shuffle, though, and I miss it. I’ll have to order one just like it. I need it now.

(by Dave Pentecost – thanks to Nick Bilton for jogging some memories)

 Posted by at 11:33 am