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Thursday, March 31, 2016

DON'T GIVE UP ON HOPE

My Great Grandson’s interest in code has brought back memories. Years ago, during the late 40's, my father decided he wanted to become an armature radio operator.  Back then you had to pass a test in order to obtain a license.  You had to know the Morse code and be able to send and receive it on some kind of key thingy at a certain speed. I was elected to help my father do this.  

Excitement skidded through me.  I was going to do something BIG with my father.  I was going to help him.  My father had just returned from the war and I was eager to show him how happy I was that he was back.  I think I was about ten years old at the time.  I beamed as I sat beside him and we went over the sheet of paper with the code alphabet.  In no time I set about memorizing the dots and dashes.  This was going to be so much fun.

I had to learn how to send the code quickly over telegraph wires like Dad had told me they did during the war.

Dad gave me a little key that I could tap the code on, sending signals to where ever I wanted. It reminded me of what the teletype man used in the movies. Maybe I'd be a movie star some day!  This was going to be so much better than that old secret decoder ring on the radio.    

Soon I received a set of my very own headphones.  I was giddy with excitement.  

Then it began. The BIG day had arrived.  My father said that we had done enough memorizing and practicing on our own.  He took his headphones and key thingy and went into another room in the house and we got ready to send each other a message.  

“I’ll send a message to you and then you translate and send me a message,” my father said. 

Dutifully I waited and before long I could hear …dah di dah di…coming through my headphones.  Sweat rolled down my forehead as tried to listen and make out the letters. 

The beeps were coming...coming...coming way too fast. They tumbled over each other and I couldn't concentrate.  

I struggled for days.  I saw dots and dashes in my sleep.  I couldn’t eat without spelling out each food on my plate in dots and dashes .

This went on for a few weeks…me sending, my father yelling from the other room, “FASTER”.

My little fingers scribbled the letters as fast as they could.  Still, some of those beeps slipped by.

“It’s a basic word,” my father would yell from the other room.  

Dah, di dah di di dah dah

“It’s Cat.  Can’t you spell CAT?”

After a week of his yelling and my choking up, it happened.  He gave up on me.  

To this day I can still see my father bolt out of that other room, take the key thing and head phones away from me and shake his head in dismay.  I never could get my brain and hand to work in coordination or get my brain to work fast enough to know what letter was being sent. 

My father never did get his license.  

My father may have given up on me, but those memories and my desire to learn Morse code remains.

Today there are opportunities for kids to learn the code.  In Spokane Washington the kids learned code to do a scavenger hunt.  I read on the internet that 93 of those students earned their license.  Somehow I can’t imagine my serious father making it into a game.

A couple of years ago I decided I would make a quilt filled with Morse code.  I am still thinking about that. (I’m a slow thinker.)  When Chris had a machine appliqué class I took the class and machine appliquéd around these letters on the placemat above.  Each letter in Morse code is beneath the word “Hope”.  

I finally finished this placemat and will put it out for my Great Grandson when he comes to visit.  Maybe he’ll want to learn more about the Morse code too.  I hope so.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW:
  • New Age Sampler - Saturday, Apr. 2
  • Search For The Stars Shop Hop - April 14-23 
    • Eleven Shops are participating.  Prizes will be awarded.  Passports are now available at only $5
Be sure and check the calendar on the Sidebar for more happenings at the Attic Window Quilt Shop this week.

ON ANOTHER NOTE:
 ♥ Caroll, 
Caring , Sharing and Creating Smiles

2 comments:

Denice Barker said...

Wonderful! I do think it's time for that quilt.

Allie-oops Designs said...

Love love love love. Never too late for a dream - I'd love to learn too! I really want a ham radio someday, too. I'm trying to remember - in the book, Cheaper By The Dozen, the father painted the Morse code on the bathroom walls so the kids could learn it painlessly. I was going to do that myself, but never got around to it, lol.
I also have wanted to make a nautical quilt, using the nautical flags to spell out messages...so much to learn, so little brain.

Quilting Teachers at the shop.

Quilting Teachers at the shop.
Chris, Marilyn, Jill, Lee Anne, Sue, Vickie

Quilts For Wheels

Quilts For Wheels
Many thanks and much appreciation goes to the women who work diligently each month to make quilts for those in wheel chairs. Kudos go to: Yvonne, Mary T., Fran, Joan, Mary Ellen, Barb, Lee Ann, Nancy, Mary.

Quilting for Kids With Cancer

Quilting for Kids With Cancer
Generosity has no bounds. Above are the women in the Quilts For Kids group at the Attic Window Quilt Shop. Left to right, Henrietta, Phyllis, Nancy, Carol, Karen. These women donate their time, fabric, money once a month to make quilts for kids who have cancer.