My father was the son of first and third generation German immigrants. In America they made their living as lawyers, musicians, farmers, and engineers. The inheritance is evident among my 5 brothers and 4 sisters.
Two days ago, my lawyer-brother sent the family an engineer test, with the question: “Does anyone recognize anyone in our family?” The gasp of recognition was heard throughout cyberspace.
Since then we have been exchanging stories all suggesting that the incipient characteristics of the engineer were evident from an early age.
I remember – I’m probably the only living person who does — that when I was about three years old, my oldest brother, who was four at the time, decided I needed a cross on my doll house. He didn’t discuss it with me, but I went out one day and there was this big ugly thing nailed onto the roof of my lovely little house. We all had crucifixes over our beds, and there was Tom deciding that my dolls needed one too. Actually, I doubt he was making an attempt to rescue my dolls from the clutches of paganism. He just decided to try out his incipient skills as a construction engineer. It was terrible and I remember asking Mom for her scissors so I could cut it down. The adults in my life thought that was hilarious. My sister – who wasn’t around at the time – says she is sure it wasn’t supposed to be a cross at all but a lightning rod.
I have another engineering brother who at about the age of six thought that taking off one’s clothes to go to bed at night was a total waste of time, when you simply had to put them all back on again in the morning. So he developed a masterful time-saving plan: put one’s pajamas on over one’s clothes. When Dad found out, he called him to “come here immediately” in a scary authoritative voice of judgement he could use, so there wasn’t time to do anything but appear in full regalia. What those of us who witnessed the confrontation knew was that Dad was laughing so hard he could barely hold it together. Personally, I think that brother showed the ingenuity of a budding engineer.
Even my husband Peter (who grew up in a coal-mining village during WWII in England) could not believe the outfit Dad put on to “work on the farm.” It was the outfit his second wife forbid him to wear above the basement level.
Which demonstrates why we are all unanimous in our gratitude to the partners of the engineers in our family for supplementing the lacunae in their undoubted skills.
If you know any engineers, I’d love to know if you recognize any of the hall marks too. Double click on the test for engineers for the full authentic list.