The value of a precise worklog

American Radio Library has added an autobiography of Harold Wheeler, one of the mid-level pioneers of radio circuitry. (He was associated with the better-known Hazeltine.) The book is mainly interesting for its odd style. As a pure engineer, Wheeler kept a PRECISE daily worklog every day from birth, and had his own engineerish ways of representing words and dates and numbers. The book was simply transcribed from Wheeler’s worklogs, not edited into normal style.

Example:

After Ruth and I started going together, we enjoyed a very busy social calendar including many activities associated with the University. One circle was the sororities. She was a member of Gamma Beta Pi (a local which was later inducted into Kappa Kappa Gamma). My first tuxedo was required for the annual Panhellenic Prom of all sororities (240425). In our last semester, we attended 8 large dances related to the school, the last being my Senior Prom. By that time, we were engaged (from 250323). Those were the delightful days of ballroom dancing, before it was diluted by subversion and polluted by amplifiers.

This intensely personal and intensely precise style gives special power and authority to some sections.

For instance:

Our move to Washington, D.C., in 1916 completely altered our family pattern but not our close relationship. From then until I married in 1926, it was still my home, and I was very fortunate. My father had found a stucco house in a new development in Chevy Chase, D.C., near the fashionable suburb of that name in Maryland. It was 5 miles from my father’s work in the Dept. of Agriculture, near the White House. There was good streetcar service, third rail in town and the Connecticut Ave. trolley out to Chevy Chase Circle. Our house was a half-mile walk from the trolley. The address was 5503 33 St. N.W. The phone number was Cleveland 1238.

According to Googlestreet the house is still there. Unlike the book, the house has been edited, with modern windows that don’t fit the original style.

My father’s salary in his new job was much more dollars, but expenses were much greater in the city. My fourth sister, Harriet, was born soon after we moved. World War 1 was boosting prices. The first epidemic of the flu (Spanish influenza) was a terrible blow to Washington, wiping out whole families. We were fortunate, taking it in two shifts, so we could care for each other. First my father and the school children brought it home. Then my mother, Aunt May and the babies had their turn. Each of us was in a coma for a couple of days with a fever around 105. I remember reviving. My first question was, “What day is it?” My second was. “When do I eat?” I was recovering rapidly, but left with one scar, the beginning of a bald spot on top.

Note the HUGE FACT that just slides past….

EACH OF US WAS IN A COMA FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS.

That’s a real epidemic.

As I noted repeatedly at the start of this FAKE epidemic, older folks know the difference. We’ve been through REAL epidemics like polio and the ’57 flu. In a REAL epidemic everyone is sick including adults and children. In a REAL epidemic you don’t need FAKE TESTS conducted by spy agencies to tell you whether you were sick or not.

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