could also be titled "Papa's Delicate Condition.
As a youth, my father gave me a subscription to
Popular Science as a birthday gift. Shortly after the novelty of
having mail delivered on a monthly basis with my name on it wore off I
realized how interesting the magazine really was. There were current
advances in science, "how to" articles, inventions, funny ads, and a kinda
gruff old mechanic down at the Model Garage. I lived in a working
class neighborhood in Chicago at the time and somehow the small town feel of
the series appealed to me. My father was a "Gus" of sorts and seemed
to be able to accomplish most anything.
I kept that subscription going all the way into my young adulthood, saving
issues and re-reading favorite stories. Gus enticed me into working on cars
which led to becoming a mechanic and then going on to teaching mechanics in
high schools from North Dakota to Vermont to Colorado to California.
Along the way my collection of Popular Science was lost. Youth
travels light or perhaps youth must learn value.
I finally got out of the teaching trade and became enamored with graphics
and the computer. My wife encouraged me to try working on a web page
and after much cajoling I devised the Gus project and started by researching
Gus on the web. The only solid reference I came up with was Don Miller's
site at arcpress.com. He had beaten me on the
Gus idea and had begun to compile and transcribe the monthly stories.
We corresponded and then I started the first part of the project-the
gathering of the stories.
Ebay proved to be my salvation and curse. The stories increased as my
checking account diminished. I began by scanning each story and each
monthly cover and soon realized that the scans would take up too much space
to just post, so, following Don Miller's lead, I started to transcribe
stories into Word documents. I am a two finger typist and they went
sloooooooooow. Around that time, my secretary,
volunteered to help. Without Mary's efforts this project would have
been short-lived. Trooper that she was, Mary was typing in her
spare time for 5 years. Transcribing these stories isn't as
easy as one might think. At times the scans left an awful lot to be
desired. We now have 100% of the 529 stories
transcribed and posted and have gone through 3 major reviews in search of
inacuracies or typos. That hunt continues with the help of visitors to
the site. Step on up and meet
Gus Wilson. He's an amazing guy.