During World War II, the government really got into the business of making all kinds of audiovisuals, mostly films and filmstrips. After the war, the audiovisual "craze" accelerated. Using audiovisuals in schools was the "thing." Many producers of such materials arrived on the scene. I've already described how I got involved with producers, audiovisual directors in the schools, and the making of computerized catalogs.
Organizations of audiovisual users and producers sprang up everywhere. Of course, that meant conventions and meetings to attend. I belonged to nearly every audiovisual organization in existence at the time.
One particular audiovisual conference I remember was in Puerto Rico, where I had been invited to give the keynote address. Hundreds of audiovisual enthusiasts listened to me as I told them about how I used the computer to produce catalogs. The audience seemed very interested in my remarks, but after a later experience I had, I wondered how many really "heard" what I said.
At most of the conventions I attended, the cocktail hour was a very popular time. Here in Puerto Rico drinks were plentiful, both during the cocktail time and during the meals that were served before the program hour. At one such cocktail party, I had a most interesting conversation with a close friend on my favorite subject of "computer cataloging." He seemed very attentive. However, the next morning at breakfast, I met my friend and discovered he didn’t remember a thing we had talked about. Sad! Imagine my disgust. All that wasted time! My "terrific ideas" going into an inebriated brain!
Another memorial audiovisual conference was in Fresno. At the time my parents were visiting from Kansas.
"Would you like to go with me?" I asked them.
I thought I’d find a hotel where they could stay during the conference, and after it was over, I’d take them to Sequoia National Park. Since they had never seen the giant redwoods, I knew they would enjoy that.
All went as planned. The conference ended and we headed for the park. Everything went along just fine until I started to climb the mountains. I had forgotten what it was like in snow country. The roads wound around the mountains and suddenly they were covered with ice and snow. The higher I climbed, the worse they got.
"Glenn," Mom said. "don’t you think we’d better turn back?"
"We’ll be OK. I want you to see those monstrous trees," I replied, trying to sound confident.
About that time I noticed the front end of my car was not responding to my steering wheel. A shudder went down my back. I was getting scared. I was heading towards a snow bank. I remembered that I must not make quick turns, just keep towards the center of the road. Then in front of me I saw a sharp turn in the road! I slowed very carefully and, by some miracle, I made the curve without going off the road. However, by then I’d had enough!
"Mom, I think you are right," I said. "I guess it is too dangerous. Maybe we can come back some other time."
My next problem was trying to turn around on that slippery road full of turns.
Finally, I found a place where I thought I could turn around. I used my best "turning-around-judgment." Gradually, very gradually, I got my car headed in the other direction. What a relief!
Imagine my trying to climb that mountain without chains. That was absolutely stupid!
The trip home was uneventful. I kept trying to explain how big and beautiful the Sequoia trees were, but I knew mere words could never really give them a true picture.
Unfortunately, my folks never got to see a genuine California Sequoia. I’ve always regretted that!
Back to the Main Story