My Parents Were Awesome
My parents were amazing (still are) but, as wonderful as they were, I
wonder if they'd be thrown in jail today. After all, they let us play.
Not just play, either, but climb trees, build jumps, ride around
public streets on skateboards, explore woods, get dirty, and all manner
of other horrors. They even left us at home, sometimes alone, oh gasp.
But one particular activity stands out. At 15 years old the CB craze
was in full swing as cable TV was pouring into households, obviating the
need for all those TV antennas perched atop steel towers.
My friend, Rick Gercke and I, saw an opportunity.
First off, we were full into CB's and wanted towers with high gain
antennas. So we hatched this plan: go around to neighbor's houses and
ask if they wanted their unneeded TV tower removed for free. We would
refurbish and sell the tower, after putting up our own, of course.
If you hired out this service it would cost over $100 so this was a
win-win. We got a tower to use or sell and they got rid of an eye sore.
We borrowed a "Jim Pole" from another friend and started taking down
towers. The Jim Pole mounted on an existing section of tower with a
pulley, allowing a new section to be lifted up or an old section lowered
more easily without worry of toppling.
The hardest part was getting over being terrified of open heights.
Mind you, I was already flying gliders and airplanes but, as any pilot
will tell you, being up on a tower is waaaaay different than being up in
an airplane. Pilots hate ladders as much as anyone. But I worked up to
it gradually and eventually became quite comfy atop 60 feet of braced
And my parents let us do this.
We had safety gear, of course, but still. Do that today and the
parents would probably go to jail.
Part of it might have been their desire to let me learn about business
which indeed it did. I was working another job anyway but this added a
few dollars to our bottomed out line. More than anything, it gave us
both some of the highest gain CB gear around!
A shout-out to my neighbors, the Descensos, who tolerated my
occasional intrusion into their TV shows. I'm sure I limited my use of
the 100 watt extra oomph to avoid being a complete nuisance.
I suppose it's a tradeoff. Let your kids enjoy life, let them
explore, but the downside is they may fall out of the tree, off the
tower, get run over by a truck or eaten by a bear. If they survive
youth, it will be a much richer experience.