The 1962 Science Fair

by u235craig | October 8th, 2013

The Sixth grade at Arlington Elementary School was probably my favorite year of all my schooling. We started off with Mr. Jacobson, a really cool, muscular, single guy that drove a ‘56 T-Bird. Got the picture. Mr. Macho. Less than a month into the school year he left us. He took a teaching job overseas. Africa I believe, Maybe the Middle East somewhere exotic.
It was 1961. We got Mr. Haggerman. He was a rookie. He looked to me like he could have been one of the Kennedy’s. Broad Shoulders, that short hair cut, his just out of college style made him a perfect fit in my eyes for that brief time that JFK led our Country. He really was good at inspiring us. He played Dave Brubeck Records. He read Edgar Allen Poe to Us. He was One teacher who was interested in what I was thinking about. He took my ideas and helped me understand and refine them. It really was great.
This was an exciting time for nerds like myself. The Russians were ahead in the Space Race. President Kennedy wanted America to make to the moon. Math and science were cool. It was ok to read Popular Science and other magazines like it.
The spring brought the school Science Fair. Students teamed up to build a project that they hoped would have some sort of possible world impact. My partner and good friend on these type projects was always Jerry Kimball. He was my friend all through school. He also was another “high achievement student” (nerd) but he was a lot more polished than I was. He was always going to become an attorney and he did.
When the Northern Pacific Railroad chose Tacoma over Seattle in 1873 for it’s Western Terminus. Tacoma became a major exporter of grain and flour. We had at one time multiple flour mills. In one of my science magazines I read an article about the potential power of flour as an explosive. The article explained that the flour needed to be mixed with air for combustion to occur. It had some diagrams of how explosions would happen. My Uncle Cub was over on night and he and my dad talked about how the Sperry Flour Mill on the waterfront had exploded before because of four dust.
We got a 3 pound coffee can cut a hole big enough for some half inch rubber tubing my dad got at work. The hole was on the side at the bottom of the can. A fat short candle across from the hose made the unit complete. It took a few tries to coordinate the correct amount of flour and the ideal lung pressure. It was pretty cool once we got it dialed in. I loved blowing things up when I was a kid and this was perfect.
The day of the science fair we were the super stars. We had something that actually did something. The whole school was inside looking out the windows at us. It was a windy day, our first attempt had the candle blow out. I was the hose man. Jerry the lighter/lidman. On our second attempt, the future attorney started flapping his mouth making me look bad. Some how while his face was still over the coffee can while he was putting the lid on, I accidently blew into the bomb. Jerry didn’t need eyebrows anyway. It also added more excitement to our exhibit. We won. Mr. Haggerman and I did have a talk afterward.

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I grew up with a family that was truly Northwest. We were Hunter/Gathers. From clam digging and crabbing at Grayland, Huckleberry picking at Mount Adams, Salmon fishing and a Bear Hunt on the Straits of Juan De Fuca, Camping at my Aunt and Uncles Cabin at Monte Cristo, Oysters at The Doseiwallups on the Canal to Trout Fishing in British Columbia; I enjoyed it all growing up. We ate really good with the things we got. I learned well at a young age to enjoy life. Preparing a fine meal and pairing the wine to go with it can be intimidating. It doesn't have to be. It is and should be fun. So come along listen to my stories, try out my original recipes, and enjoy the wines I suggest. You might Like it!



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