Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My dad and his invention

In all this family stuff I notice I haven't said much about my dad. He was a man who it is not easy to ignore. He wouldn't let you.
He was not a screamer, like the Belarus side of my family. His family was from Hungary, but he was born in Youngstown, OH. He was the last of four children; he was premature and the doctors told his mother that he was not likely to live, but he did, for 99 years and a bit, until sent to his death by someone in the hospital who did not wash their hands.
Dad started his professional life as a newspaper man. When he married my mother, he qualified for the bar exam by working in her law office. He did not attend law school. Actually, he never exactly finished college at the University of Wisconsin either. I don't think he even got his high school diploma, having cut gym for four years at his high school in Peoria, IL. But he could talk his way into, or out of, almost anything, including jobs and marriages.
He was good with his hands and had an intuitive grasp of how things worked. When he opened the hood of a car, he understood what he was looking at and what needed to be done. He could fix small things around the house, like faucets and light switches, and built simple furniture, like bookcases.Dad noticed that the toe seam of women's stockings was crude and lumpy and showed in open toed shoes, so he set about inventing a sewing machine that would sew an invisible seam at the toe of a stocking. A whole room of his house was dedicated to the project. Actually, when his son left for college, his bedroom was converted to a workshop. He worked on it obsessively. He would drive 50 miles to visit me, stay for a few minutes, and then leave to work on his invention. This went on for years.
He finally figured it out and was about to succeed in patenting the device, when the world of fashion changed completely. Elegance and style disappeared, and women stopped wearing hosiery altogether. Except maybe socks.
Remind me to tell you about his career(s) in plant management, writing, and painting some time.

1 comment:

Dick Stanley said...

An example of history moving sideways, perhaps? As a certain president once said.