Transistor Radio

May 11, 2011

But here’s one I’ve not told many people about…

As a kid in Nanticoke, PA we lived next door to an old man named Moriano. I guess I was around 6-8 years old at the time. I spent a few hours with his son one day, who seemed to be a year or two older than me. I looked up to him, hoping to be good friends. He seemed happy to share things he’d learned, since he was a little older than me.

I remember he showed me lots of strange things – but not scary stuff – one thing I remember him showing me was how he can put a dry napkin inside a paper cup and invert in into a puddle. He pulled it out of the puddle to show me how the air pressure held the water out and the napkin stayed dry. Just a simple “classroom” type of science tidbit to entertain a small kid.

He loaned me a transistor radio, and I was amazed by his trust in me – a transistor radio was a big thing to a little kid back then, and I took it as a great responsibility to ensure that I returned it in the same condition he loaned it to me in. I hid it from my parents, so I could hide beneath my blankets that night and listen to the radio after bedtime.

The next day, as I walked to Moriano’s house, I remember turning the radio on and off several times on the way there, to make sure I hadn’t run the batteries down – and thinking about how silly it was to keep turning it on/off, as it would probably contribute to draining the batteries, but I just wanted to make sure it still worked when he got it back. I knocked on the door and nobody answered, so I hung the radio on Old Man Moriano’s doorknob and went home.

Later when I noticed Moriano was home, I went to make sure he had found the radio on the door. He was kind of upset and asked me how I had taken the radio from his house in the first place. I explained that his son had given it to me.

He pointed up at the picture of his son on the wall. He was older than my dad, and dressed in military uniform. I was too young for it to make sense, but from what I gathered his son had died in the war several years ago.

I was too young to dispute his claim, all I could say was I knew his name, and had played with him for many hours the day before, he wasn’t much older than me, and I had hoped we would be good friends for a long time. To this day I still think back about him and the disappointment I felt for not being able to see someone anymore, who I thought would be a really good friend.

I’m sure the adults figured it was just a case of me swiping the radio, and returning it in hopes of not getting in trouble.

I wish I was a bit older and able to comprehend the situation, only small bits of it are still clear in my memory. I was pretty amazed at the dry napkin trick, and every time I see that air-pressure effect I think about him showing it to me. I often wonder what other tricks or advice he might have given me that I was too young to appreciate the value of.

But who knows – early memories can play tricks on us. Although that one day, and my memory of my friendship with him has stuck with me, and I think about him just about every day – for almost half a century now.

– Posted by Dr. Poison; Fark


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