There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Edwin Lawson Hughes, Aug. 11, 1924-Jan. 10, 2009

I did not grow up with my father, and today the memories of those earliest years are only shadows. I remember games of catch that never lasted long. I couldn't throw and Dad got tired of chasing the ball. He did teach me to swim, though, taking me to different public pools on weekends. And there were trips to Disneyland and the zoo. But we grew apart and eventually the distance between my father and me was measured in more than miles.

It was only later in life that we found common ground. We were first brought together two decades ago when my father battled prostate cancer. Then there was my divorce and my remarriage. And then my own fatherhood.

Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “We never know the love of our parents for us till we have become parents.” The truth of that message arrived with my son, Richard Edwin, in 1991.

In recent years, I tried to bridge the distance between my father and me -- both physical and emotional -- with Sunday telephone calls, conversations on wideranging topics, from family and work to the latest technology. And we did become closer. I'm grateful for the time I had with Dad in his later years.

I converted to Buddhism many years ago. I have found deep satisfaction and, in a sense, enlightenment in Buddhism's theories of self-responsibility. I laughed out loud the first time it was explained to me that in the Buddhist view, I chose my father. Something I did before. Something I needed to resolve. A karmic alignment clicked in place. And everything else followed. I still chuckle at the thought.

Looking back today, I have greater appreciation for that choice. And I will miss my Sunday conversations with my father.

Edwin Lawson Hughes
Milestones in Computer Science and Information Technology

University of Illinois, Urbana
In January of 1948, the Board of Trustees approved the purchase of a computer from the Reeves Instrument Co. Unfortunately (or fortunately as it turned out), Reeves was unable to deliver the machine, and John von Neumann suggested we build our own. Thus started a long tradition. In January 1949, the proposal to build a copy of von Neumann's Princeton machine was approved and in February, one month later, the Digital Computer Laboratory was organized. Ralph Meager was named chief engineer. Joe Wier, Ed Hughes, Jim Robertson and others participated in the design.

Update: This post was deleted and is now restored with the same post date. The text is unchanged, but the photos in the slideshow have been edited.