From Earth to Moon and Back

Source: NASA

Here’s to all the unsung engineers who made the Apollo 11 moon landing possible. I say this with particular pride because my husband was one of them. A systems engineer for a NASA sub-contractor, he was a card-carrying member of the IEE (from his early days in the UK) and IEEE (US). His expertise was in military/aerospace radar in applications such as tracking and guidance. This technology was used to land the lunar module, dock it back with the command module after the moon landing, and return the spaceship to Earth. (For more details, go to the link at the bottom of this post.)

My husband with a rooftop microwave dish, Ilford, Essex, England (c.1947)
Early wireless communication for the Apollo mission (RCA)

Below is a link to a press release. Read all about space radar, wireless lunar radios, HD-to-TV signals, digital rocket launch technology, and other precursors to the tiny cellular computers we now carry around every day.


Post-Truth Truth Post

Sir Winston Churchill (Photo: Andrew Howe)

“We occasionally stumble over the truth but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”


What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Below is a century-old photo taken at the English seashore. My husband is the smiling baby front and center. But there is something very wrong here. Can you see what it is? (Scroll down to read the answer.)

(Hastings 1916)
(Hastings 1916)

Answer: There are no men in the photo, only women and children. Their smiling faces belie what is really going on: The men were away serving in World War I.

Poor Old England

(Photo: Geri Tallone)
(Photo: Geri Tallone)

My father-in-law, Solomon, born in Whitechapel in 1887, was noted for singing an endless number of English music hall songs. One in particular springs to mind. Please click the player below to hear Solly’s rendition of Poor Old England (1907), lyrics provided.

Poor old England, isn’t it a picture? Everything you see you must agree,
The carpet on the stairs, the table and the chairs are made in Germany.
When I go up into me bedroom, lying in a tiny cot
Is a little baby boy, mother’s pride and only joy,
That’s the only little thing that England’s got.



How My Husband Got His Name

A boy called "Wolf"
A boy called “Wolf”

Velvel (his Yiddish name), pictured above, was born in London in 1914. When his parents went to record his birth, they told the registrar his name was “Wolf,” the English for Velvel. The well-meaning bureaucrat advised, “He’s going to be a nice English boy. You don’t want to call him ‘Wolf’. Why not call him Walter?” And that is how my husband got his name.

Mind, you, Wolf is a perfectly good English name. Remember the writer Wolf Mankowitz who wrote “A Kid for Two Farthings?” It was made into a film with Celia Johnson and Diana Dors.

So there’s nothing wrong with a kid called Wolf.

The Weaker Sex?

Solomon and Annie c. 1918
Solomon and Annie c. 1918

Pictured above are my in-laws from England, Solomon (“Solly”) and Annie. Solly was born in London in 1887. He possessed an inexhaustible repertory of English music hall songs, developed over decades of dedicated practice. He would sing at the drop of a hat, to Annie’s dismay. In 1955, my husband recorded his dad. I am providing just one example here among dozens of ditties. The recording is a song called “The Weaker Sex”. Click the player below to hear him, lyrics provided…

By the wink of her eye she can capture your body and soul.
By the wave of her tongue she can drive you up the pole.
She can rush a man, crush a man whenever he goes too far.
Oh, the weaker sex are wonderful strong they are.