Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Atomic Thoughts

My father read an interview the other day about the first atomic bomb. It spurred him to write down some thought about my grandfather, his dad, who worked on the Manhattan Project. Rather than intrude on his prose, I'll let it speak for itself:

"The "bomb" had a great impact on our family and my youth. It was dropped on my eight birthday. and that was the day my Dad disappeared.

Dad was a "dollar-a-year" man working as the Chief Structural Engineer on the Manhattan Project. Some how the drop on a "civilian" target caused a major guilt trip resulting in a full mental breakdown. and he just disappeared. Everybody got involved including the FBI (remember, I'm seeing all this through eight year old eyes). After quite a long while, he was found pretty ragged at the "Grotto of Lourdes" at Notre Dame. He spent a month in the hospital before he recognized my mother, then more months of convalescing.

Dad owned a fairly good sized company in Detroit making parts for the auto industry. He went back to work but couldn't seem to be his old self.

So here's the big change...He sold most of the stock to his jr-partners, went to the upper peninsula of Michigan, bought an old hotel across from the ferry docks, then also bought a 23 cabin resort on a large lake. We, my mother, sister and myself moved from a nice Detroit suburb to a small cabin 300 miles North and 20 miles from the Canadian border.
No plumbing, no electricity, no gas. And Mom, God bless here (first violinist with the symphony) made the adjustment and we had a very happy "lil house on the prairie".

Chores were a constant (50 boats to be anchored every night, ice cut and delivered to all the cabins each day, fish cleaned for the fishermen, and on and on) but it was really a great way to grow up and learn. We were "sustenance" hunters and Dad and I shot a lot deer, rabbits and game birds. Fortunately we spent the down-state with all the comforts.But our resort didn't get electricity until two years after I graduated from college.

And Dad was happy. Not as gregarious as before but loved his family and our simply (also complicated) life. He was the best "shot" in the county and trolled out each evening to catch his nemesis big-mouth bass."