Whistle   — – – –

A young lad in Hamilton had an extensive range to roam.  The days events could include walking uptown, biking over to the school, hiking to the River and mostly enjoying life with the neighborhood kids.  There were numerous yards, garages and homes to play in and about.

It was of major importance to Mom to keep track of us and she needed someway to call us home when meals, errands, chores and other activities required our presence.  Her vocal chords could carry a block on a good day, but we might be engaged in 'important' and 'noisy' activities that prevented us from a timely response.

Enter the whistle.  Just like a dog's, our ears could pick up the shrill blast coming from an assortment of whistles.  There were nickel plated brass, basic black plastic, scout and etc.  My favorite was a light blue, elongated plastic one that looked somewhat like a bird.  There were holes on the side that could be alternately opened and closed off with the thumb and finger that changed the pitch of the whistle sound.  The whisles hung on cords near the front door.

Well, the system worked very good.  We heard the whistle and scurried away from our activity and headed home without fail.  Alas, the system worked too good.  Soon other mothers in the neighborhood were whistling home their kids and we became mixed up as to which summons to respond to.

Mom, the ever-wise, ever-thinking genius came up with the solution in no time flat.  She sat us down and explained what the Morse Code was all about. (Dad had been an amateur radio operator in Philadelphia in his youth - another story).  It was determined that the letter "B" would serve well. ("B" for Bobby).  Soon one long blast and three short became the norm.  Of course the ··· was heard all over the neighborhood and now stood out from all the rest.

We responded to the call.

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