By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
October, as is April, is a month of “change.” Not only is the season changing but for me in a couple of ways, it brought a significant change that would affect my life…well, for the rest of my life. Little did I realize that although only three years apart by birth, the birth of my wife would 16 or so years, hence, change my life in so many ways.
That life enrichment was greatly enhanced on another October day, albeit several years later, with the birth of our daughter. One was born on the 18th and the other on the 20th. Ironically coinciding with my Wrambling day right in the middle of those dates.
I was the winner in that lifetime lottery. I’m not sure either of them would consider themselves as winners in their lives as I have certainly been a challenge to both. I could write chapters about the trials and questionable tribulations I brought into my wife’s life, and my daughter can recite the saga of many road trips to buy her a less expensive pair of sneakers when the basketball team had “voted” to all wear the same kind at a price I thought was too high. We ended up getting the right ones eventually.
I have written poems to them, and about them, but none seemed to say what I wanted to say so I figuratively took pen in hand, put on my poem writing hat, and began to write a new one this morning. Finding the words to say wasn’t difficult as they were already in my heart and it was just a matter of making them rhyme while also making sense. My signature file above says it all.
Before I share that poem with you, I will include only one “off birthday” topic that came to mind as I perused my computer files. I happened to run across a patent that had been issued to me, with collaboration with Don Peterson, may he rest in peace. He was somewhat of the intellectual mentor to me during my “designer days” at The Air Preheater Company (APCO), as it was known before the Combustion Engineering switch over. Don was the most intelligent person I have ever known. As college colleagues, while the rest of us were busily memorizing formulas preparing for the various tests Don was doing other things. Why? Because Don didn’t need the “text book” formulas, he would solve the problem using his innate analytical mind. He often would draw the ire of the professors as Don’s exam papers didn’t cite reference formulas, just his own calculations, and which did not follow the set formula pattern.
My career at APCO, began in April 1967 shortly after having married one of those October gems. Upon my hire I had only High School Mechanical Drawing as a talent to offer. For a very short time I started working on modifying and updating some of the Blueprint drawing master files for the Air Preheater product line. Fortunately for me I was moved into a group headed up by Dick Brunell, making drawings for one of the fledgling new APCO product lines. My career continued to progress as I was a self-taught “designer’ and I ended up working, not on the dreary Air Preheaters, but on all “New” products as APCO, continued to diversify product wise. I did not begin my advanced educational career endeavors until after my designing years, and moved into Project Management/Contract Administration, in the Sales Department.
Looking back on it, I wish I had never made the move out of Engineering/Design. Without going into detail, my “working life” was like being in hell for the last several years when APCO, fortuitously, for me, decided they didn’t need me. Thus my 24 year teaching career evolved.
I know I’m Wrambling here but that’s why my column is called what it’s called. When I had the idea for a loading door enhancement for a “solid waste incinerator” to facilitate bulk loading by a payloader, I started putting my thoughts to paper. Yielding to Don’s intuitiveness and experience, I solicited his ideas for improving my rough design ideas. Together we came up with the plans of a loading door enhancement to a recently developed new product. My design is pictured in this Patent application illustration. If memory serves me correctly, and that is a challenge faced daily anymore, our door design was implemented on the Incinerator unit that was installed on Davis Hill Road in Scio. For all I know it may very well still be there.
Happy Birthday to my wife yesterday and to my daughter tomorrow, the 20th. I owe far more to them than I can ever express and for them I am and will be, eternally grateful.