"The two words ‘information' and ‘communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." — Sydney J. Harris
Returning from an off-the-grid getaway, it was nice to hear from readers. Here are a few of the notes I found in my mailbox.
Tony Crawford announced a breakthrough in his quest to raise the wreckage of his uncle's B-17 from a watery grave.
I last met Tony in January at Hastings Bookstore, where he was signing his book, "25 June 1943 MIA: The Search for Miss Deal and the Early Raiders of the Reich," which tells the story of American bombers shot down in the early days of the air war with Germany. His Uncle Charlie, a ball turret gunner on the Miss Deal, died when the B-17 crashed into Dollard bay, near the border of Germany and Holland.
For years, Tony raised money and hoped someone would join in the expensive project of raising the plane from the muddy bottom of the Dollard. His good news was that Wreck Diving Magazine and its not-for-profit "Shipwreck Exploration Society" has agreed to attempt the recovery of the remains of Charles Crawford and the pilot John R. Way and bring them home.
Tony was born in 1943, the year his uncle was reported missing.
"I was raised on a farm in Morgan County, Alabama, about a mile from where my grandmother lived," he wrote. "She kept Uncle Charlie's room as he had left it. Although it was generally off limits, I visited it when I was about five and fell asleep on his bed."
He awoke to the sound of his grandmother praying, "Please bring Charlie home." Crawford said that "always haunted me and left a memory that remains with me today."
"My only concern is recovering my uncle's remains with final interment adjacent to his mother and father."
Information about the Shipwreck Exploration Society and its new project — raising Miss Deal from the Dollard — can be found online.
Several wrote about my column, "Remembering the Trash 80."
Barbara Schannicchio said it revived memories of an early computer class. Watching an evening news report in the late '70s of a kindergarten class "working on computers," she told her husband Tom she "didn't even know how to turn one on." His answer: "Go learn."
A homemaker in her late 40s, she enrolled at Western Texas Junior College in a class "filled with local residents from the small town of Snyder — businessmen, bankers, policemen and schoolteachers."
The instructor, a petroleum engineer newly arrived in the booming oil town, "began by asking the class to write the quadratic formula," she said. "I had no clue how to write the quadratic formula. Many years and lots of diapers had passed since my high school algebra class."
At that point, she learned the instructor was there to teach programming. "Somehow," she said, "I struggled through programming, completing the final exam (which was to write an extensive program) and I passed the course." She went on to take other courses focusing on the inner workings of computers, and said, "I have always loved the word ‘motherboard.' It describes who I am."
John Anderson also wrote about the Trash 80. He said the Smith County Historical Museum has a TRS-80, a very popular part of the "Century of Progress" exhibit.
Two readers wrote about my column on "Lifelong Learning." John McCall, who just turned 75, recalled a lesson his grandfather taught him when he was 15 about using an axe. His 80-year-old grandfather told him, "Son, I learned something today — an easier way to do something at my age." McCall said he tries to "instill in my kids and grandkids this philosophy of ‘never stop learning.'"
Retired Tyler Librarian Chris Albertson wrote he was finally catching up on his reading. "We used to say ‘the librarian who reads (on the job) is lost … but the librarian who doesn't read (at all) is useless.'" Thanks, Chris. I think you could say the same thing about editors. I too have been catching up on a large stack of books. In 2 1/2 months of retirement, by devoting at least an hour a day to reading, I'm well into my seventh good, thought-provoking book.
Gerald Carr, Charley Baugh and several others wrote about "Riffel's Rules to Live By." Charley's comment: "Awesome and so true."
And Gordon in Jacksonville reminded me that "Till I Waltz Again With You," the tune my father whistled that was the subject of "Whistle A Happy Tune," was first made popular in a recording by Theresa Brewer.
Thanks for reading. We'll visit again next week.
Until then, here are a few dates to put on your calendars:
• March 25 (3 p.m.): Fit City Coalition meeting, ETMC Pavilion.
• March 28 (noon): National Medal of Honor Day commemoration, Gladewater Memorial Cemetery.
• April 1 (lunch hour): Downtown Mayor's Walk.
• April 25 (10-5): "Vietnam 40 Years Later," a free, day-long commemoration honoring Vietnam War veterans is hosted by the AVTT tribute wall, an 80-percent replica of The Wall in Washington, D.C., the American Freedom Museum on the campus of Brook Hill School in Bullard, Brookshire Grocery Co. and area veterans groups. The program includes music, food, honored guests and a program designed for all veterans. We're finalizing plans now, and I promise you it will be a fine event. Hope to see you there. More later.
Dave Berry is the retired editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph. His column runs each Wednesday on the front of the My Generation section.