J-38, a World War II Telegraph Key
Thousands of these keys were built by by model railroad manufacturers because they were skilled with small parts
Photo from my personal key collection
The colors and the imaginative designs featured on some of Charlie’s QSL cards fascinated Rose. Many were the products of print shops, while others were definitely the creations of skilled hands and gifted artists. In addition, many of the countries represented in these QSLs were from countries she’d always believed were backward, perhaps incapable of such creations.
By the time Charlie had finished the pickup she had one card she wanted more detail about.
“This one,” she said, passing a card to him that pictured a radio sitting on a grass mat in what appeared to be a third world country. “Is this for real?”
“Yes, I remember this one. He and I have QSOed several times. He’s a civil engineer. He earned his degree in the United States. His countrymen financed his education. He has returned to his homeland to help engineer roads, bridges, and buildings.”
“How interesting,” she remarked, studying the card again. “I should go home. My folks will be worried about me.”
“You haven’t had lunch, have you?” he asked.
“No, I’ll eat at home.”
“May I take you to lunch at May’s?”
“I don’t know if my father would approve. You and I haven’t known each other very long, you know.”
“There’s a phone on the wall. Call them,” he suggested.
She was hesitant. He wondered if that hesitation was because she didn’t want to have lunch with him.
“If you’d rather not have lunch, I understand.”
She went to the phone and Charlie stepped outside so she could talk privately.
“Mother said it would be okay,” she said, joining him on the sidewalk.
“And your father, how does he feel?”
“Well, he’s a little over protective. I’m his little girl, you know. But Mother said it would be okay.”
“Artie, I’ll be at May’s if something comes up.” Charlie shouted across the shop.
Virgil didn’t mend any fences, nor did he fix the flat tire on the wheat drill after returning home. Instead, he headed for his favorite chair which gave him a view of the lane leading to he house as well as the kitchen clock.
Anne knew his was stressed, but she offered no comfort. Instead, she brewed a pot of coffee.
Then the phone rang.
Virgil heard enough of the conversation to know that Anne was consenting to her having lunch with that guy running the shop. He thought she must be out of her head. But he held his tongue. He knew he was over protective. It was tough turning loose. Even worse, he knew the day was coming when all this would be beyond his control. His stomach turned at the thought..
At last, the pickup came into view. As badly as he wanted rush out to meet his daughter in the drive with a thousand questions, he kept his seat and waited.
“How does the pickup run?” he asked as she entered the living room.
“It runs good, Daddy, better than it ever has since I started driving. And the clutch doesn’t chatter,” she replied, dropping her purse on the sofa and then taking a seat across the room from him, waiting for the questions. She saw him glance at her mother and then noticed the stern set of her mouth. She knew he’d been warned to keep his trap shut.
“Did you learn some geography, Rose?”
“Yes,” she said, describing the array of artwork and photos she’d seen. “I’ll never look at overseas countries the same way again.”