Corona, Queens, New York, United States

Learning Morse Code

When I was around 9 or so, my dad took me a few times to learn morse code at a HAM radio meet-up near the World's Fair buildings. I ended up becoming pretty good at it, so much so that I would answer my older brother's taunts with “Oh yeah?! Well, dit-dit dah-dit dit-dit dah...“

My dad was obsessed with electronics and amateur radio, and would spend evenings and weekends building oscilloscopes and other devices from Heathkit, the king of build-it-yourself kits.

I would watch, fascinated, as he soldered transistors into a circuit board, sometimes cursing when things didn't go according to plan. When he was not looking, I would take the soldering iron and fashion tic-tac-toe games using huge drops of solder for the O's, and the clippings from resistors to make the X's and playing grid.

The basement of the house where I grew up was a world of geek-tech that was years ahead of its time. For example, HAM radio, constrained by the vagaries of radio signals circling the Earth, was nothing if not a proto-Twittter.

I remain grateful for all the awesome things my dad exposed me to when I was a kid. Now, to look at my son's eyes, is to see myself when I was a child using my father's eyes. I have no doubt I carry many of his foibles, but they come with no shortage of wisdom and humor.

I love you dad, and miss you very much.


Learning Morse Code