What fascinated you as a child?
There’s no single answer to this question, but the one that stands out very fondly is my Grandfather Otto’s workshop. It was located in his garage at his house in Beavercreek, Ohio, and was full of tools, pieces of wood, and dozens of old Dutch Masters cigar boxes filled with nails, screws, nuts and bolts, and things I couldn’t imagine their purpose. While my father had a few of the common things in his basement workshop to do normal home maintenance chores, Grandpa’s collection was more an invitation to imagine what could be built. I remember him letting me use a few pieces of wood to make an imitation Mjölnir, the hammer of the Norse God of Thunder, Thor.
That garage was a launching pad to a life of seeing how things worked, taking them apart, rebuilding them, or creating something new. Another fond memory, and one no young child will likely ever have again, is watching my Dad remove the set of vacuum tubes from our one and only television set, taking them, with me in tow, of course, to Victor drugstore where they had a machine where you could test each tube to see if it was working properly. One by one my Dad would insert a tube into the slot that matched its pin configuration and hit the test button until the offending tube was identified and a new one purchased. Back at the house, he would put all the tubes back in the television and, like magic, the black-and-white set would be working again, much to the delight of my mother and siblings.