I saw this for sale at Susan’s Store Room in San Anselmo. Check out the cards you use for the quizzes:
My father had this toy in the 1920s (he was born in 1916). He handed it down to his first son, my half brother Ric, who was known for most of his life as Eric.
Ric spent summers with us until 1959. He was about 16 then, I was 8, my sister was 6. He moved to Guam with his mother and we never saw him again. This photo was taken at our house on Goshen Road in Newtown Square in the summer of 1955. On the left – yours truly. Then Ric. Then my sister Jeannie.
His toys were in a special box in the attic. When we played in the attic, we’d play with his toys, but they went back in the box. Some of his toys were:
This Marx Robin Hood castle was tons of fun. I LOVED it. I can vaguely feel what I felt then.
We didn’t know what happened to Ric after he moved to Guam. My father died in 1977 and my mother in 1998. Nobody told us what happened.
In 2006 I tracked down Ric’s daughter Kay. He had told his wife Linda and friends that he didn’t know his father, had no relationship with him. Given all the time he spent with us, this means that there was a hellacious fight between my father and him. Sad!
In 1972 Ric was diagnosed with a fast-spreading brain cancer. He was living in Anchorage. His wife Linda brought him to San Francisco for treatment at UCSF Medical Center Thanksgiving week.
A few months earlier I had moved to California from Pennsylvania to work with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. I came to San Francisco on Greyhound for Thanksgiving with my friend Lisa Lee and her family.
Ric died at UCSF on Saturday after Thanksgiving. I was a mile away. I have my journal for that day and remember it well. I was at the then-main branch of the library.
He had come 3067 miles to San Francisco. I had come 2515 miles to San Francisco. I was a mile away. I didn’t learn any of this for another 34 years.
I wonder if Ric’s mother so hated my father that she didn’t tell him that his son died. Or I wonder if my father was so bitter that he knew and just didn’t tell us. Nobody who knows is alive. I asked the last person who might have known about it in early 2012 at niece Anna’s wedding. Nope, he didn’t know.
I had this Indian head bank that was Ric’s on my writing desk for many years. I sent it to his daughter Kay, along with the dozen or so photos we had of her dad as a boy.
In 2009 I met his widow Linda and her sister in Anchorage. We went to the places they had lived and his high school and where she scattered his ashes.
And that is why I was Extra Excited to see the Knapp’s Electric Questioner.
My friend has heard my muse about Ric before. He knows how important it was for me to know what happened to Ric. He knows that there had been a hole there.
What about the Questioner and this post?