Monday, October 13, 2008

Ode to Emmet

Recently, in preparation for a new freelance gig, I put together a site with some writing samples. I started at Microsoft in 1988 so some of these samples look ancient - but whenever I start to think of 1988 as old in technology terms, I remember my grandfather, Emmet Cameron (seen at left with his friend Dave Packard, aka the "P" in HP). As an executive at Varian Associates in Palo Alto, he was working in Silicon Valley decades before any of us had even seen a personal computer. Boy was he proud when my first real job was at Microsoft!

In later years he enjoyed the benefits of financial success - a sprawling house in Atherton and trips all over the world - but he grew up dirt poor. Though his father was a fireman and his mother never even graduated from high school, my grandfather and his three sisters were brilliant, all tagged early by Lewis Terman at Stanford who followed them from childhood through old age as part of his Genetic Studies of Genius research. Grandpa was an interesting guy; in addition to being so smart he was funny, inventive, and tender.

I miss him. I'm grateful for author Christophe Leacute, who has preserved the legacy of my grandfather and his colleagues by writing about the early, less glamorous days of Silicon Valley in Making Silicon Valley by MIT Press.

Tonight I think I'll have a very dry martin with a twist a la Emmet Cameron!

7 comments:

Barb Slaton said...

I still miss him every day -- especially at cocktail hour...

He taught me how to make the perfect dry martini along with some very practical advice about evrything else!!!

Aunt Barb

Christy Raedeke said...

Yes, you definitely inherited his brains and his mixology skills! That's some top-notch DNA...

Anonymous said...

None of the genius for me, but I inherited his face! The older I get the more I look like him. But, it isn't all bad. In spite of the dryness, wrinkles, moles, and impending baldness, when I look in the mirror I see him and think about him every day. He left an incredible legacy, and your blog made me cry.
Mom

Barb Slaton said...

I really like your face...I think you are beautiful. It never occured to me that it was because you looked like Dad.

What do you mean about you having none of the genius? Look what your daughters are doing -- it takes true genius to raise a creative little mind without screwing them up!

Then take a look at Juliet and Hank -- whew! Verbal, expressive and full of genius. Dad lives on.

Christy Raedeke said...

Okay, anyone who read my Mom's comment about inheriting her father's "dryness, wrinkles, moles, and impending baldness" may think I have a toad for a parent. Not the case! To see a picture of my marathoning/world-traveling Hot Mama, click here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1008485892#/photo.php?pid=30009622&id=1008485892

Don said...

Loved your entry about my Dad/your Grandpa. What a great pic of him and Dave! What you wrote brought back good memories. BTW, the pic of you and your Mom on Facebook is great! Where was it taken?

Love

"Uncle Don"

Anonymous said...

I miss your grandpa and father too. Uncle Emmet was a great guy. Wonderful sense of humor, and always generous with his liquor.

Char