Toy Story

EH Scott Philharmonic

Daily Post: What was my favorite toy that may have followed me into Adulthood? Radio

Radio would have to be my favorite toy. My interest in electromagnetic waves began during World War II. Somehow, in spite of strict government rationing, my mother was able to order and receive a large brown radio from Montgomery-Ward. During that period – 1942-ish – we lived at Tanglewood, a Missouri farm which had no electrical power, so it was powered by two large batteries designated as A and B. These batteries were quickly depleted. Their replacement was expensive, or so I was told, so the radio was turned on only for the morning livestock and grain reports, and the evening news.

My mother, grandmother, and grandfather spent much of one afternoon preparing it for the evening news. After a series of squealing from the beat frequency oscillator – I later learned – Gabriel Heatter’s voice stating, “Ah, there’s good news tonight,” whetted my appetite for more of that unseen world.

Two of my grandmother’s sisters were city dwellers who owned large console radios capable of receiving much of the known radio frequency spectrum. In addition, they enjoyed commercial power, which meant I had free access to explore this magic box from which the voices of FDR, Winston Churchill, and Gabriel Heatter, of course. Once or twice I heard a woman who identified herself as Tokyo Rose. But her voice usually faded. I didn’t know who she was anyway.

My interest stayed alive while I enjoyed the sounds of the Grand Ole Opry and Louisiana Hayride each Saturday night. The spark was still there in 1956 when I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and went off to radio-radar school. That education eventually lead to earning an amateur radio license and the call sign which is the name of my blog.

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