by Himself

ME????? Born 23 October 1926 in an old house that isn't there any more in Yates City, in Knox County, Illinois. It was my grandparents' place and grandma had been a practical nurse and midwife. My earliest memory was of sitting on a piano stool and getting vaccinated for smallpox. I was one of the lucky ones. That epidemic took a ghastly toll. Then there was the Depression.

My father was a barber and got by OK. Then in 1934 he got on with Caterpillar in the gear department and had it made. His old man ( Herb ) was a free lance gear genius expert that had something to do with that. He did some gears and production engineering for some other big outfits.


He showed me something about gears, like how to get a 2-to-1 ratio from three identical gears. Many engineers aren't onto it. Later, that was but vital to my early researches into the complete, correct basic physics. Actually one gear can be different. You can do it with a common hand drill. It has to have the upper idler gear. Many decades later it carne to me that could be done WITHOUT gears. A topological conversion. A simple thing. The original was with common #18 copper wire and some small indicator squares of masking tape and a chunk of insulating plastic tubing from the junk box. I still have it. It was a half circle. The far end rotated four a ratio of 4-to-1. Which explains a lot about vortexes. The popular form I made as a crank. The late john W. Campbell called it a damn contraption nobody can figure out. So I called them that. Made a few hundred. They were a big hit at a Peoria SF Con.

Back to me...

I have seen changes...MAJOR changes to the scene in only 79 years (all of my ancestors had longevity in their DNA).


In 1932, everything was still old fashioned. The Model T Ford was still the most common car. School was in wood- floor classrooms. The old desks had inkwells. The curriculum was basic. To me utterly boring. I deliberately made lousy grades. Found out quick that anything outside of that format did not count for diddly. Even reading the encyclopedia by the second grade. It was my hardwiring. I had a fascination for things scientific and mechanical. I was lucky. We moved to Peoria in 1933 and that library h ad big super technical section. I digested it avidly. Incidentally, a kid could still ride the streetcars for only 4 cents. Saturday AM movies were 15 cents. 1931 through 1936 was also bad news because of the extreme summer drought and very cold winter temps -- down to -34 degrees Fahrenheit. My high school career was unremarkable.


In 1944 I went into the US Navy. Having survived boot camp I was rejected from Radio Tech School in Chicago because I missed too much class time, being in hospital with a bad skull infection. Was transferred to Treasure Island, California. Became a Yeoman striker in the personnel office...even though I was the very first to make a perfect score in the General Classification test. That was an easy job, but not really my thing.

Then mysteriously, there was a Lt. recruiter for a facility in Florida. Big super secret. Qualification: be a super swimmer, which I was. That turned out to be UDT, the ancestor of the Navy Seals. It was the last class there, as the war was winding down. Then we were put on standby for three weeks and ordered to decommission. A couple of atom bombs had been dropped on the Japs. I was transferred to the base on Goat island. Then to Sasebo, Japan aboard LST 657. As a civilian I had picked up on the repair of motion picture equipment (also medical equipment) - so I became the radar fixit (I'd gotten a job code number for radio repair) and movie projector operator. The ship was one of five in the repatriation command, and it sailed the Triangle route -- Tientsen China, Inchon, (Jinsen) Korea and Sasebo. Taking Orientals back home. That concluded, I went to LST 711. It was running shuttle from Yokuska to Inchon for US Army. Yes, it was 1946.

Then I was reassigned to the US Army graves command. The Army morticians. I was put ashore in Yokusaka. Again a movie op. The big time. The base theater. Then from there, eight months later, to do that at a small base in Sasebo. Then incredibly enough, I was sent back to the states to go to movie op school in San Diego. Naturally, I was valedictorian. My educational career peaked at that point.


I didn't renew my contract with the USN in 1952, and came to Chillicothe, Illinois where I set up a small electronic shop. TV was coming in late to the area.

Then in the mid-50s, there was some bad news: printed circuits. It first afflicted auto radios. The repairman was getting fazed out of the factories. But I had some commercial accounts, like Kopp Radio Systems. Yes I did install the first radar locally. I had kept up a lot of common radio fixit, many of those were old. Most shops ignored that. It paid off later-- I semi retired and specialized in antique radio fixit. I supplied a few tubes to Shavertron's editor, along with some Philco Predicta parts. About 16 years ago, I closed out the shop and converted it to a residence.


My relationship with [Shaver] was in the letters I got from him. I had read Shaver intermittently in the pulp era. I usually read Amazing Stories, mostly for the articles (and those far-out fillers) and the lettercol. I grooved Astounding highly, and later F&SF and Galaxy.

Shaver did rouse up a big and unusual reader reaction. Later, I saw his full page ad [for Rock Books] in Search [and sent for] his free brochure. It seemed a bit fantastic that I had missed this. How valid was it???? I converted a Polaroid to a view camera and put a loupe on it as a close up [lens]. Bought a few yards of Polaroid 47 & 48 film and got a few good rock pix. I shelved that [set up] and went to 35mm and a close up lens on a bellows, giving me magnifications up to 20X. I [studied] a large variety of rocks, and there are lots available here [in Illinios] -- itıs one of the worldıs biggest gravel deposits. I found out the highest quality images were in galena, pyrites and some amethyst -- the dark purple, smooth and very glassy kind.

But I was busy otherwise with the shop, and didnıt have much spare time some weeks. I rightly figured that art is the only chance for large sales of rock pix. I sent out dozens of rock pix and short bits about them with SF fandom corry -- and not one response- or anything ever published. Besides, art books are good for a lot of reprints later. Nothing technical at all in the book. Just natural images brought out by improved methods.


My sending a big batch of rock and glass pix to Palmer [for publication in The Secret World] was damage control. I figured that book would get messed with big time. I was right.

Palmer cropped all my pix and put stupid, inane, sappy captions on them. He totally ignored my data. I only got one scribbled note from him. It was literally sabotaged. Shaver's junk pix [seconds] got pages.

Anyhoo, if it was all a deliberate act of literary sabotage, that could be little improved on. It also was a shotgun marriage with another book. Palmer had for too long taken pre-publication orders for two books. "The Secret World" was his final tell-all book as promised in over 40 editorials. So, he copped out with a temporary book, originally calling it "Martian Diary." To Palmer's way of thinking, one book off the presses instead of two was obviously more profitable. Result: a book with very poor sales potential.

Artists see lots of images in [the rock pix], but dang near nobody else. One vital thing that was not in the book was that Shaver did recognize other image sources. He called it Universal Imagery. He considered it as often defective and inferior, and that whoever made the rock books had some way of filtering it out of the rock recordings. He suspected that it later contaminated the rock books.