When I was a young child in the 1950s, one year I received a Christmas toy called the Marx Cape Canaveral Missile Base from my parents. I was always very interested in outer space, but this is even before President Kennedy announced that we were going to put a man on the Moon by the end of the 60s decade.
I remember that there was a 45-rpm record included that played an announcement something like this, “The Marx Cape Canaveral Missile Base is now in operation!” There was also a countdown and rocket/missile launch part of the record. I think that’s when I became “Rocket Man” or “Rocket Boy” that day.
Although, the box said ‘Atomic’ and ‘Missile Base’, in my mind it was a rocket launch base that would take a person into space. Flash Gordon was one of my favorite TV shows in the mid-50s and I believed this could someday be true:
Flash Gordon was my hero; his adventures further fueled my imagination and Dr. Zarkov was my first mentor as a brilliant scientist, and I was infatuated with Dale Arden. Ming the Merciless was, of course, the arch-enemy of all the universe!
I later was able to see some older 1936 serials of the original Flash Gordon—Buster Crabbe—that was cool too!
Of course, what cemented the deal for me to want to be an electrical engineer, was the Mercury Program in the 60s and a Heathkit crystal radio project that I built as a young boy. When I built this simple radio receiver and was able to tune a single channel in and hear a radio station, I got ‘hooked’ on a life of discovery and building circuits.
Young, future engineers today have the opportunity to find their passion regarding what they want to be, on the Internet and all the social media platforms. This venue offers such a wide breadth of information, but maybe sometimes too much information if that flow of data is not properly monitored. My parents only needed to monitor Radio and TV programs/commercials in an era when people who were married slept in separate beds and the worst thing said in anger was ‘Darn it!”
Hopefully, this new generation will get the right kind of guidance and information that they need to help fuel their passion for what they love and lead them to a role in our world to do something beneficial for the benefit of all people. I guess I am hoping for an ideal situation, but I just want the young generation to get the good start that I had, at an early age, regarding what to do with their lives.
What are your thoughts and experiences regarding this topic?
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