Monday, February 14, 2011
LIGHT THE WAY
Thomas Edison was a strange child, from the beginning as seventh child of the family, he remained silent, for which his parents may have later been grateful. Not until age four, did Edison speak something that may or may not have been caused by a partial hearing loss which worsened before he was out of his teens.
However, he did something in common with other children; his most frequently asked question was "Why?" For Edison soon became interested in the working of things that caught his attention. That interest would end his formal education at age seven, after three months. His teacher, frustrated at the constant questioning, sent Edison home, observing that his broad head and jaw indicated a mental defect. When in fact, Edison looked just like his mother.
From that time on, Edison was home-schooled, which wasn’t a new idea in 1854, was certainly not the norm. His mother taught the Bible, and the three Rs, while his somewhat undependable father rewarded him with a dime, for every literary classic he read. By age12, Edison became a mini entrepreneur, running his own printing press and putting out a newspaper he sold on local train runs, while using an empty car for his laboratory, a freewheeling and independent education.
Scarlet fever at 14, and or a cuff on the head from an irate conductor when his experiments set fire to a rail car, robbed Edison of most of his hearing, leaving him with only about 20% in his right ear. Historians surmised that lack of noise-distractions actually helped Edison's mind focus on his theories and premises as he ploughed his way towards fame.
After spending his youth as a traveling telegrapher, Edison's first success as an inventor was a "repeating" telegraph device. Fame swirled around him, but Edison seemed to set himself apart from it. When asked once if he were afraid of anything he replied "I am afraid of the dark." Thomas Edison died Oct.18, 1931, with all the lights burning in his New Jersey home.
Moral of his story: “there’s always light at the end of the tunnel”