Remembering Grandpa David
I’m off to Ohio to speak at the Ohio Genealogical Society conference and I’m excited to get to sneak in a few days of genealogy research before the conference starts. I’ll be going to some libraries and archives and meeting with some of Mark’s distant relatives on his Dad’s side as well.
Mark, Emmeline and I were having dinner last night and talking about my upcoming trip and Mark asked Emmeline if she remembered her Grandpa David. Emm was only nine when he died, and he’d lived in Arizona so she didn’t have a ton of contact with him. “A little,” she said. “I remember he used to give us presents and he always put a whole bunch of tape on them.”
Mark laughed. “Yep. That’s him, alright!” David was an astrogeologist with the United States Geological Survey. His specialty was cratering mechanics, and while he studied some naturally occurring craters caused by meteors, he also studied some man-made craters. For instance he knew the size and shape of craters that various types and sizes of bombs or explosives could create. You don’t want to let that kind of information fall into the wrong hands.
With his high-level government security clearance came some high level security measures. Mark talked about David’s main office and then his office next door for the super super secret stuff which Mark dubbed “the vault.” When David passed away, Mark and his brothers were barred by the government from entering his house for a period of time while officials combed the premises to gather up whatever potentially top-secret material he might have been working on.
And as Emmeline correctly recalled, David’s thoroughness with regard to security was not limited to his professional life. Three-hundred or so feet of clear packing tape wrapped around the box would ensure that no Russian spy would ever know what was in his granddaughter’s birthday gift! Yep, gotta keep that top secret info out of the wrong hands.
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Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.