In 1957 the "Asian Flu" ravaged this country.The virus came to the United States quietly, with a series of small outbreaks over the summer of 1957. When children went back to school in the fall, they spread the disease in classrooms and brought it home to their families. Infection rates were highest among school children, young adults, and pregnant women in October 1957. Most influenza-and pneumonia-related deaths occurred between September 1957 and March 1958. The elderly had the highest rates of death.
I was one of the afflicted. I was 13 years old and home sick. Literally nothing to do . Even TV had  only two channels. All you could do was lay there.My only visitor outside the family was the Doctor with his black bag. Many of you never saw that.
Rarely do life changing events occur in such conditions. In my life they did. After at least 5 days on my back, I heard the door bell ring . I heard Dad and Mother conversing with someone. I hoped it was not the Doctor again.( I hated those shots)
Mother walked into my bedroom  with Weldon Butler -- "Joe" Weldon Butler.
He was the preacher in our new church --St Paul Methodist in Amarillo, Texas. I thought he was going to give Last rights.
He pulled up a chair and handed me a box. In the box was a code oscillator and a key ( you wouldn't know by me) . He hooked up the batteries and as he talked to me he started making these funny tone sounds.
 He told me if I would learn the Morse code, he had more he wanted me to see. 
I devoured the code and recovered from the Asian Flu. Several Sundays later we were leaving Church and in the reception line and he stopped and looked down. He said "Michael what is "Y" in Morse code.?" I immediately responded "dah dit dah dah"  He laughed so loud the line behind us cringed. He turned to Dad and said " Creighton, please bring the boy to my house on Wednesday night after supper" .
I forgot but Dad reminded me after dinner that Wednesday and off we went. As I got out of the car at the Preachers house, there was something in my vision I had never seen. It was a 70 foot telephone pole behind the preachers house with a ( as I now know)two element ZL special for 20 meters. God, what a monster.
Dad rang the door bell and the door opened . There he stood-- "JOE" W5ILJ.
COME ON IN BOYS!! Just follow me down the hall to the shack."  My life was about to change. There sat BC610, Super Pro, Prop Pitch rotor indicator and the lights in the house dimmed when he "sent".   He handed me the microphone in qso with the "mojave desert" in California.
A ham was born that evening. 

W5ILJ passed away in 2004 in Plainview ,Texas. I think he knew what an impact he had as he gave me the Novice exam ,before the Methodist Church made him regional supervisor and he moved away. The Big pole was taken down at the parsonage. 

God literally gave me Ham radio. 

Our beloved hobby is dieing slowly. We are all old now. If you have a chance to introduce this greatest hobby on earth to a young person, do not miss that chance. It may be one of the best things that ever happened to him or her. It was for me.

Genesis 11:1


 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.

Mike W5ZO