A Christmas Restoration
BY EUGENE REED
'Tis the season and the following radio story arrived just in time to remind us of the pleasure of doing unto others. (Editor)
Many of us have restored an elderly radio, but only a few of these radios have brought joy to others...
It was early fall, 1969. I had only recently returned from Thule Air Base, Greenland, where I was in charge of maintenance at the radio & TV station there. Now I was in charge of radio maintenance for the control tower, at Carswell Air Base, Fort Worth, Texas.
My family was settling into off-base housing, and the first Saturday there, while I was out tending to the front yard, the neighbor across the street, also tending to his yard, waved, as all Texans will do. After a while I saw the neighbor crossing the street, so I stopped work and joined him in the street.
Introductions were made. He said his name was Joe, and during our neighborly chat, I found out that he was the foreman of truck maintenance at the local 7-Up plant. He asked what I did and my reply "radio maintenance," was followed by "I have an old radio in the garage that maybe you could fix for me." I had to beg off what with Christmas coming and the house needing work. But, I said I would look into the radio later.
Maybe a week or more before Christmas, I found some spare time to take a look at Joe's radio. Without wasting a moment, he brought the radio over to my garage. Up to this time, all I could determine was that this was a console, as it was covered with a heavy blanket. Removing the blanket revealed a handsome Airline.
Joe then related how his dad had bought this radio during the Depression for a family Christmas present, and his mother wanted to do him bodily harm for spending so much money during those hard times. Joe told me this radio was the sole source of entertainment for his family for years, and Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights was the favorite program.
A quick check revealed no AC hum and a very weak signal from WBAP. Testing the tubes, I found a 6K7 that was dead. A quick trip to the base radio station, and an N.O.S. 6K7 was found. After the tube had been installed, the radio came to life, with all local and some not local stations being heard.
After supper, my wife called and asked Joe and his wife over for coffee, and maybe card playing. Since it was Saturday night, I tuned in WSM, and had the Grand Ole Opry on when they arrived. Tears welled in Joe's eyes and rolled down his cheeks. Unknown to us, his father had passed away a few years earlier after a horrible accident while refueling a hot lawn mower. Joe spent the rest of the evening thanking me, and saying over and over, "Never thought I'd hear Dad's old radio again."
(Eugene P.Reed, 6120 Shenandoah Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89156)