Saturday, May 05, 2007

Secrets of the Old Coil Springs ...

The sounds were interesting but I didn’t know what they were. And I could only hear them at night when I was in my bed. If my head was on the pillow, I couldn’t hear them at all but if my ear was flat against the mattress, the sounds were loud and clear. This was not all of the time. Just sometimes. Now you may be as confused as I was when I began hearing these sounds. Let’s start at the beginning.
When I was four years old, my family moved to Beaumont. Our house was in the 1300 block of Pipkin Street, in South Park. There was a bedroom for my sister and a bedroom for my parents. I slept on a single bed situated beside my parent’s double bed. This arrangement was OK for a while but as I got older, my parents decided that I needed my own room. We had a screened back porch that ran nearly the width of the house. Dad boarded up that porch and constructed a nice room. Then he moved my bed into the new room. This old bed had been in our family for years. It had those big old coil springs and the mattress was very comfortable.
One night, shortly after moving into my new room I was in bed ready to sleep. I enjoyed listening to the Poom-Poom sounds of the steam pumps that operated out at the Spindletop Oilfield. But on this particular night I heard something else in addition to the pumps. It was a beeping sound and it was not coming from the oilfield.
This occurred several times throughout the ensuing weeks. This is when I figured out that if my head was on top of the pillow, I would not hear the beeps. But if my ear was flat against the mattress then the beeps could be heard. That is, most of the time. “Weird,” I thought.
One night when I was in bed, the sounds started up. I called my dad into the bedroom. Dad was a brilliant man. He was valedictorian of his high school senior class. He could solve math problems in his head without even bothering to write them down. He passed the C. P. A. exam without ever taking a college accounting course. If I ever needed to know something I knew that I could just ask my dad.
Dad came into my room and I told him about the sounds. He pressed his head down on my bed but didn’t hear anything. I explained how it happened at times but not all the time. He looked at me like he might be a little concerned for my sanity. But anyway he told me that he didn’t know what I was hearing. I was disappointed. There was actually something that Dad did not know.
After a few minutes, Dad returned and said, “I know what it is. You’re hearing Morse code in the coils of your bedsprings.” He had it figured out. The coils in my bedsprings were functioning as a radio receiver and picking up code signals. Likely the signals were coming from oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico as they approached Port Arthur. Or perhaps there was an amateur radio operator somewhere in our neighborhood. But we really never knew for sure where the code originated.
I decided to learn the Morse code so that I could understand what was being communicated. However, it was several years before I learned the code and by that time I was sleeping in a new bed.
I’ll never know the secrets of the old coil springs.

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


Blogger Unknown  said...

I loved this story. And I think you blog is great. I am enjoying reading all the stories. Thanks.

Thu May 31, 08:54:00 AM 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home