Thursday, August 18, 2011

A little post-1964-earthquake humor

A guest post from my father, for which I asked him to share a story about something that happened after things had mostly gotten back to normal after the 1964 Alaska Earthquake. Dad worked at what was then the 6981st, and is now the 381st Intelligence Squadron on Elmendorf (now Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson). For those who know the work, the terminology here will be familiar.


The Great Alaska Earthquake happened in late March of 1964. 9.2 on the Richter scale. As many folks know, it was devastating to many parts of southeast Alaska.

Sometime after that event, I was on D Flight “tearing traffic” as usual during a swing shift. One of the Flight’s 292X1s was a “goosey” sort of guy. He was diligently working away that evening as I approached his work station from behind, preparing to “tear traffic” from his position. As I came up behind him I reached up and tapped the fluorescent light fixture hanging directly above. This started the fixture swinging. Then, “tearing traffic” in front of him, I got his attention and looked up as if to suddenly notice the swinging light fixture. He saw I was looking up so he looked up too. He saw the fixture moving and before he had any second thoughts, leaped out of his chair and at double time made for the Operations door. He went past other folks diligently working, through the doors, down the stairs, past the Air Police person guarding access to the upstairs Operations area, through the first floor foyer and out the front doors of the building to the flag pole located in the center of the secure compound area.

Once he got there he couldn’t understand why others weren’t there too. He was sure he had quickly reacted to an earthquake aftershock.

When no one else was around except him and the flag pole it dawned on him that perhaps the swinging light fixture had not caused what he thought. He strolled back into the building, up to the Air Police person on guard duty, showed the guard his badge and continued on up to the second floor and back to his position in the Operations area. He did not stop or even slow down to answer anyone’s questions about his rapid departure a few minutes earlier.

By that time I figured that he had an idea who was responsible for his quick-reaction to the swinging light fixture.

I managed to avoid his attempts to find me through the rest of the swing shift.

Damn 202s! Not funny! Be a takin' 'er easy. Ur Dad sends

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Remembering William Sleator

The Sleator family has created a blog for posting memories about William Sleator.

Friday, August 05, 2011

William Sleator, 1945 - 2011

Publisher's Weekly recently tweeted that William Sleator passed away in Thailand on Tuesday, August 2nd. He was 66.

I am a big fan. My default online handle, TychoTithonus, is the name of the main character in his book The Green Futures of Tycho.

I emailed with him a few times, and he signed one of my copies, but I regret that I never met him in person.

His work struck a chord with me in ways that are hard to explain. Some part of my childhood is now written in stone.

Other links about his passing:

Update 2011-08-07: William Sleator's obituary in the New York Times.