@jimwilliams57: You are a lucky man to still have your mother.
I am indeed -- she'll be 84 this year and is in good health -- her mind is like a trap and her memory is so good that sometimes she remembers things that haven't even happened yet. She's a member of a reading club and all sorts of other clubs -- always out and about -- she bought herself a Smart Car (or similar) last year -- so she's constantly jetting around Sheffield (you can tell where she's been by observing people extracting themselves from bushes or climbing down out of trees :-)
@JimWilliams57: My dad was my cheering section. He was totally baffled by the things that I did, but he always cheered me on. I really miss my cheering section.
My dad wasn't an overly effusive man -- more of a quite, steady presence -- but he always let me know he was proud of me (even though, like your dad, he didn't really understand exactly what it was that I do).
As an aside, my mom emailed me this morning to say: "Dearest Clive, I've just been reading some of the responses to your wonderful blog. Dad would have been really proud of you."
Even her just saying this made me feel really good.
I was told that when I was about 18 months old and my dad was out of town, the heater wouldn't light. So my mother called my uncle for help. When he couldn't fix it, I jabbered something unintelligable and my sister translated by saying "he said to push that button." My uncle pushed the button and the heater fired right up.
At around 3 years old I started disassembling things and one of my parents said to the other "he's one of those." Neither of them had any idea what to do with me. I guess it could be said that my father helped me by being my guinnea pig.
He tried to dissuede me from taking physics because he had found it to be extremely difficult. So my motivation was to prove him wrong, which I did.
My dad was my cheering section. He was totally baffled by the things that I did, but he always cheered me on. I really miss my cheering section.
Around the time I was 6 or 7 (mid to late 60's), we had a basement that - well, looked a lot like my garage. I was full of boxes and shelves of parts. I still have a few of the transistors and diodes from way back then.
My dad also had a CIE home electroncis course that I would read through now and then just for fun. After 2nd grade, we moved across the country and, aside from those transistors, the CIE books and all the parts got left behind.
@David: Max - what happend to your uncle Pug after the war??
He became the manager of the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. His wife -- my auntie Mary -- appeared in a couple of films -- just small parts -- she's one of the ladies walking around in the background of the fair scene in Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang.
He was a clever guy -- he was a recognized book-binder by Sotherby's -- when he came to family parties in Sheffield, he'd spend Saturday going round local junk antique shops -- he's return to London with a car boot stuffed full of old books.
When he passed away, I went down to London with my partents for the funeral. The reception afterwards was "interesting" to say the least -- there were a wide variety of folks from all realms of show business, including a guy who was a clown at a circuis who persuaded everyone -- including the vicar -- to take their shoes and socks off so he could prove he had the nicest feet ... and that's when things started to get strange...