Growing up in a home headed by a “ham” (an amateur radio operator), we often would hear my dad’s radio conversations with remote, distorted, and static-filled voices. In one such contact, the usual exchange of technical banter was augmented by a personal one. Dad mentioned that he had a “full house”, the poker hand, in describing his children: three boys, and a pair of girls.
We all overheard such over-the-air dialogs, as well as evenings filled with the clicks and beeps of Morse code. Such are the experiences of the children of a zealous radio amateur.
But it has been a very long time since we were all together for any extended time under the same roof. My dad’s Morse code telegraph key went silent a few years ago, and it is the second passing of a parent that now brings us together to figure out the final disposition of their possessions.
The last time we spent this much time in such proximity we were on a family backpacking trip in 1972. It was a wonderful and new shared experience, but as teenagers there was always plenty to bicker about. Some things never change.
And although we still sometimes act like squabbling siblings, the things we argue about are no longer the outrages of personal space violations (“Mo-om, he’s looking at me funny”). Instead, they are the banalities of politics. On the things that matter, we all seem to agree!
Over the course of four days we came together under the roof of the house our parents enjoyed at the end of their lives and we applied our individual strengths and skills to the task at hand. We unearthed familiar artifacts, discovered old photos, revived faded memories, and re-told family stories as the contents of a very full house were processed by the “full house” of siblings.