Archive for February, 2019


Being an inventor is something anybody can do.  It’s not because you’re smart, or educated; it’s because you pay attention to what the world is telling you.  My father, the genius inventor, confided to me one day when magnanimity got the better of his usual parlor palaver, “If you keep quiet, people think you’re a blooming genius; if you open your mouth they will soon disabuse themselves of that assumption.”


My father, Kelsey Martin, sailed through his life paying attention to what went on, and making spectacular note of it.  He parleyed those observations into a lifetime of patents, businesses created to milk profit from those protections, and a devoted following of amazed believers.  He was originally called to be a Methodist preacher/orator, but gave that up as his fascination for electronics bloomed into a cottage industry, Texas style.


I have met many of my dad’s boyhood friends.  They knew him when he was just a barefoot boy with considerable cheek.  He was a healthy human in the making.  Nobody called him normal.  That would make him out to be like everybody else.  That he was not.  He was an exception.  His running buddies loved him because he didn’t lord anything over them.  He kept quiet until asked.  He didn’t raise his hand, but knew the answers when called upon.


His rise of intellect corresponded with the first appearance of radio in the popular imagination.  He sent off for a crystal, wrapped a wire around a toilet paper roll, and made his own crystal set.  The rest follows.  Making use of the radio-frequency spectrum was going to happen.  He was just there when it did.  That first victory stamped its signature on his incipient psyche, and he didn’t look back.


My dad was the one of us who got to address a clean slate.  There was nobody preceding him suggesting that he couldn’t possibly be as good as Dad.  It was his job to confound those who followed, convincing them that what drove him was something only he could fathom.  I have never met a KM descendant whose eyes didn’t go all soft when speaking of his accomplishments.  That act of release, spoken by the eyes, acknowledged by the heart, was the crux of the KM forever-after curse.  “I could never…” colored every reach, every want, every dream.


I’m here to tell you that it’s a farce.  Kelsey Martin was bright, but he wasn’t the brightest.  Martin family members are all quick to point out areas where their personal aptitudes echo the great man’s intellectual proclivities.  We all wanted our piece of the KM gene.  This is not unusual.  In fact it’s typical for children of an overachieving father to shrink from their perception of his god-like proportions.


This leads to the core of my message: what made Kelsey successful wasn’t as much chromosomal as it was attitudinal.  He was a still pond awaiting a pebble.  I can say this with the clarity of hindsight.  I was mud-puddle to his pond.  He had a gift for sequential abstraction; I was just a girl.  How quickly the milk clabbers!  In spite of being only a girl, I did enjoy a wild ride as designer-inventor.  What must not outlive me is the idea that what I did was anything special.  Anybody’s daughter could have dreamed up my brainchildren.  I intend to prove that with this very honest memoir.

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I must have slept last night since I remember a marvelous dream that knitted together what has been a long recurring nightmare into a glowing hopeful masterpiece of remembrance.  Every time I entered this worrisome landscape, I was beset with concerns about components that were mislaid, perhaps lost forever, carefully positioned in some special place and then forgotten.  I needed to locate them and complete some important project, but every visitation only increased the heavy overlay of anxiety.


The problem was exacerbated by being strung out over multiple venues.  It took place in many different houses, offices, manufacturing facilities, located across a whole panoply of real estate.  It was while trudging from one location to another last night that I met the key to my dream’s resolution.  Like a vision imported from Gibran, I met her walking upon my path.  There she was, holding in her arms the entirety of my project’s components.  Carefully arranged within the clarity and safety of plastic was every dear part that I had worried near to distraction with my strivings and agonizings.  There they were, with all the tape and glue and wishes and dreams I needed to bring them all together into a great cohesion of finished.


The package glowed in her arms.  Were the parts made of gold, or did they only seem that way?  And the woman—was she me at some past juncture?  Younger?  Stronger? Totally assured?  That mane of hair glowed with its own inner light—a lush swirl of blonde—more living than life.  No grisly used-to-be-blond tangle here.  This was the me that used to stalk the halls of the military-industrial complex and beat them at their own trumped-up silly game.  This was the Dorothy that played with tools and machine concepts invented just for the fun of the encounter with the marvels-of-things.  Pay was incidental.


OK dream—I can take it from here.  Thank you Dorothy-that-was-me.  I understand.  This all came together when Lane, my son, and Remington, his son, along with Rem’s new wife Emily, gathered with me for lunch at the Longhorn Steak House this past Wednesday.  That meal was the next shoe to drop following my insistence on the read-around of “Aunt Margaret” after the Martin family Thanksgiving repast in Richmond.  It turns out they had been perusing my blog, even discussing “Change Happens.”  They were throwing around references to morethanenoughtruth.com like it was part of family lore.   Emily’s eyes glowed with the recognition of meeting a kindred spirit.  She, as it turns out, likes to write.


When my boys were small I made a pact with them.  Any book they read from my personal library became theirs.  It was their way of building their own personal bookshelves.  Before long I had lost every one of my treasured collection of Robert Heinlein to Lane’s gathering bibliophilia.  It was good.  It was very good.  Now I take more pleasure in Lane’s growing home library than I ever did in my own.


I learned last night that while in New Orleans, overpaid guys in tight pants where bashing heads together, my family and I were getting to know each other here in Cincinnati.  A visit to Word Press/Site Statistics verified that Emily Valentine Taylor is now following my blog, morethanenoughtruth.com   Praise the Lord, and pass that blooming dictionary!  After last night’s adventure, my dreary never-ending dream of desolation should not be haunting my REM episodes.  I just might get some restorative sleep.

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