The SwingSet – for Jud Grubbs

Arrived in Monterey 7 days after driving out of Baltimore, and had a few days of rest and relaxation, including a funeral. Family friend died of cancer during the road trip, so I headed to the service with my parents, both of which had key roles. I was just the support staff, but since he’d been a friend for so long, I ended up learning a lot more about my parents.

My favorite story my dad told during the service, and that I’d heard bits and snatches of, was that of the swing set. Jud, my dad and some other engineers at Univac – or maybe it was the Nameless Division of Intelligence, not sure — had a work room with blackboards all around. One day my dad started doodling a play structure for his 3-and-counting kids. Jud, his friend, and some other engineers got involved in the elements of design. It stayed on the wall for a month, getting tweaked and over-designed, and eventually they setup shop in my dad’s basement working on the thing. Once completed, they set it up in the yard, and Jud volunteered to be the Test Subject- it was a swing set that you could collapse and move, as well as be sturdy enough. Well, Jud is about 6’5″- but the swing set lasted, and lasted through all of us kid’s births and childhoods, and my family moving to 3 different houses.