My Wondering Eyes

In 1822 C. C. Moore wrote a story poem that caught the imagination of both young and old. His “Visit from Saint Nicholas” is a Christmas classic. The appearance of a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer were indeed a wonder to his eyes. As I look back on my life, my eyes have also beheld many wondrous things. List below and in the following issues are a few of the objects “my wondering eyes” have been fortunate to see.

The New York Worlds Fair in 1939 was the most exciting event in my young life. Just seeing the 700 foot tall Trylon and the 200 foot diameter Perisphere was enough, but once inside I was able to view from a moving walkway high above the floor level a model of an American city that would be built in my lifetime. It had elevated sidewalks connecting tall skyscrapers. There were small model cars racing down multi-lane highways erected high in the sky with airplanes circling above. For a young country boy who had just experienced the Great Depression this new utopian world of steel and concrete seemed like a dream. The dream was interrupted two years later with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the death and destruction which followed.

The ball point pen caught my attention in the early 40s. After years of dipping a steel pen into the glass ink well on my school desk, here was a revolutionary method of applying ink to writing paper. My eyes saw the first ball point pen containing four colors (blue, black, red and green) and each colored ball point could be slid into end of the pen. I was allowed to buy it and was in “Pig Heaven” unable to stop drawing colored designs. For those who remember the first “Bic” pens of the late 1950s will have memories of shirt pockets stained with the running ink. This problem was quickly solved with the retractable ball point.

The wonder in 1947 was the viewing of President Harry Truman inauguration. My family went to the neighbor’s house to see our first black and white television broadcast on a tiny screen. The screen may have been small, but the picture was a marvel created by modern technology. It was many years later that wrestling on television was replaced by CNN which brought news from around the world into our living room in living color.

I can not pinpoint the exact date, but it was sometime in the late 1960s and during the hippy era that saw my first Lava Lamp. I was mesmerized by the rising and fall globs of wax in the colored liquid. “How do they do that?’ was my first reaction. Now 40 years later you may still purchase a Lava Lamp in most novelty stores. However, no one has yet been able to explain to my satisfaction what makes the lava lamp work.

It was in the early 1970s that I saw my first touch-tone telephone. It was a far cry from my parent’s wall mounted wooden box with a bell-shaped receiver on the end of a black cord. There was a crank on the box which rang a bell to call the operator. Our house was connected to a party line and I must confess that it was a great temptation not to pick up the receiver and listen to our neighbor’s conversations. Then later the stand-up phone came along with a rotary dial. This telephone was soon replaced by one which had the mouth piece and receiver combined in one easily pick-up handle. I don’t have to tell you how the telephone has changed from the early days. No longer are we connected by copper wire, but are free to roam the world and still be connected to our friends and family. All this came about with the idea of Dick Tracy’s wrist phone and the Maxwell Smart’s need to contact CONTROL on his shoe phone.