[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Remembering My Dad

September 23rd, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Benj's Birthday FaxBenj's Birthday Fax

In 1993, I was heavily into BBSes and all things telecommunications, so my dad, an electronics engineer, lent me his old fax machine to set up in my bedroom. I hooked it to the second phone line in the house (used for my BBS at the time) so I could send experimental faxes to it from my dad's office.

On my 12th birthday, just over 20 years ago, this particular fax came in as a surprise. It was a happy birthday note written by my dad. Receiving my very own fax (probably my first one) delighted me at the time, and I tucked it away for safe keeping. It was one of the most thoughtful personal notes my dad ever wrote to me.

Earlier this year, just after my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I re-discovered the fax in a box of childhood mementos. Being printed on thermal paper, it's now heavily faded, but the message of love, acceptance, and encouragement it conveys is still strong. It represents some of the best things about my dad.

He is the reason I'm here — both in a literal, existential sense, and also as the enabler of my passion for technology. Growing up, if I wanted to experiment with something, he made it happen. If I was curious, he was curious with me. We shared thousands of tech adventures together, and that made him an awesome dad.

Yesterday morning, my father passed away after a 9 month bout with that terrible disease. There will be no more tech adventures between us, and that breaks my heart. But there's a new generation coming up, and I will do my best to continue his legacy of encouragement and gentle guidance with my own kids, who already possess a passion for technical and mechanical things like their grandpa.

Thanks, dad. For everything.



31 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Remembering My Dad”

  1. Jay Says:

    I'm sorry for your loss, Benj. It's good that you have such wonderful memories of your time with him. Hopefully they will help you as you go through this.

    Rest assured the thoughts and best wishes of all your followers are with you.

  2. TNLongFellow Says:

    Man I am sorry to hear about this. Benj you have my deepest sympathies on your loss. Keep those adventures in your heart so you can pass them on to others.

  3. Carlos Bragatto Says:

    I am sorry for your loss.

    Carlos/Brazil

  4. Eagles409 Says:

    I'm sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

    Matt

  5. John Says:

    My thoughts go out to you, Benj.

    John

  6. technotreegrass Says:

    I'm so sorry for your loss, Benj. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your whole family.

  7. DNA Says:

    Condolences Benj.

  8. Matt Says:

    Very, very sorry. I hope I can be such a great dad to my kid so that she remembers me when she chooses her path.

  9. Zoyous Says:

    Sorry about your dad's passing. It sounds like he was a good dad and a cool person, and his legacy lives on with you and your family.

  10. Dbot Says:

    Sorry for your loss and thanks for sharing your story. One of the most gratifying things in life is a father-son relationship and it sounds like you and your father were blessed with a great one.

  11. John Says:

    What great memories. Thank you so much for sharing this touching story at souch a tough time. You have my sympaties and prayers.

  12. Brian R Says:

    My condolences, Benj.

    That was a very moving tribute to your father.

  13. Lawrence Says:

    Benj, I'm terribly sorry to hear about your father - my thoughts are with you.

    I can relate - I lost my mother to cancer two years ago, and if it wasn't for her insisting upon getting our family a computer back in the early 90s then I wouldn't have learnt programming at school, I wouldn't have learnt computer graphics, music production, and all sorts of other things. I wouldn't be in my current career at one of the world's largest computer entertainment firms.

    Our parents shape us more than we can imagine, but by the sounds of things we had great ones and although gone, their memories will certainly endure and their actions will be carried down through us and our children and our children's children.

    All the best, and take care.

  14. V Says:

    I'm very sorry for your loss. It's awesome that your dad passed his love of technology on to you, and it's equally awesome that you now do the same for *thousands* of people (like me), most of whom you've probably never met, but who look forward to each blog post.

  15. Moondog Says:

    I'm sorry for your loss.

  16. ChasBeau Says:

    Benj,

    I appreciate that your father continues on in the passions he nurtured in you for things tech. I have selfishly enjoyed the fruits of his love for you in my delights that arise from your work.

    Thank you for all that you do, and please believe that we all indirectly benefit from the life's efforts that your father invested in you.

    Be well.

  17. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    Very sorry for your loss, Benj. My heart, prayers, and condolences go out to you and your family.

  18. Geoff V. Says:

    I'm sorry for the loss of your father Benj.

  19. Commanderraf Says:

    Mr. Edwards,

    I am sorry to hear -well, to read- about your recent loss. The important thing is that they never really leave us: their teachings, experiences and love will remain forever with us. They'll remain being part of us for the rest of our lives.

    Take care.

    -Commanderraf

  20. kartmaster Says:

    Sounds like the kind of man every person would wish to have as a father. May you continue to honor him with your own family. You have my prayers for you and your family. God Bless.

  21. Benj Edwards Says:

    We have quite a crew of thoroughly kind, decent people reading this blog. Thanks for all the kind words. I truly appreciate it.

  22. Rowan Lipkovits Says:

    Old hardware lives on through emulators; old software in backups, torrents and source code printouts. Wetware has no preservation solution. You just have to enjoy it while it lasts and ensure it's well documented.

  23. Alejandro Says:

    Condolences Benj. Argentina

  24. Jim Says:

    Condolences Benj.

  25. Clint Says:

    I've never posted here, but I have really enjoyed your blog, and I just wanted to pass along some words to say that I'm sorry to hear about your dad. Sounds like he was one awesome dude. Best wishes to you and your family over the next several weeks.

  26. Alexander Says:

    My sincerest condolences, Benj.

    You are a tribute to his legacy of passing on a profound sense of curiosity and fascination with technology of any many eras. And not only from you to your biological children, but the adoptive kids across the great aetheric sea who learn from you as you learned from your father.

  27. Ant Says:

    :~(

  28. Heather Says:

    So sorry to hear this, Benj.

  29. Luis Mercado Says:

    Benj. I've been reading your site for years.

    You had a father me and millions would like to have. Treasure his memory.

    My condolences.

  30. Mat Says:

    I'm sorry to hear this Benj. I wish you and your family all the best and hope you're doing well.

  31. Yang Says:

    So sorry to hear about your father, Benj. He sounds like a fine man. I lost mine 7 years ago, and I had, and have, similar feelings. He was the literal and figurative source of who I am, and I'm humbled and honored to have had him as my dad.

    My thoughts are with you.

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