September 24, 05
Remembering my Life With an Engineer
After meeting a few engineer’s wives, I learned that many of them had the same complaints as myself. Most of them had met their husbands in college. I met mine in a roller rink before he became an engineer.
The common complaints were they couldn’t get their husbands to understand what wives and mothers had to deal with. The wives often wanted their husbands to listen and give them comfort. An engineer’s mind is trained to approach a problem, find a solution and move on. Engineers don’t approach a problem psychologically; their approach is more scientific.
Through the years the Westinghouse engineers found solutions to problems that were once thought almost impossible. Also the wives complained that when they talked to their husbands, instead of listening they would take over and decide how to find the answers. Obviously that wasn’t what they wanted. They blamed their husband’s education and training.
I strongly disagree with them. I told them that my husband was that way before he ever became an engineer. I thought he was born that way. He wants to understand what makes things work and why they work. I have to listen to why the ocean has waves and the earth rotates. He’s curious about outer space and the speed of light. He likes to talk about the oil deposits around the world and the great need for oil and how China is going to put a drain on the supplies. Then there is the problem in the Chesapeake Bay. Why the bay is losing it’s once large supply of oysters and crabs and how that could be corrected. He has unlimited interests in everything.
So when I tell him that my cake just fell. It didn’t bother him as much as it did me. He said, “Don’t worry about it, I will eat it later”. I was hopping not to get a long explanation to why the cake fell.
I once asked him what he thought was the greatest invention of the 20th century and his answer was the microchip. I said that I thought it was the microwave.
Engineers were once voted as bad fathers. That’s not because they aren’t loving and caring. They are. They have a very strict attitude. I decided a long time ago that whenever Ed didn’t understand the problem that’s when I would take over.
When my young brother-in-law, Richard, was a vacuum cleaner salesman many years ago, he told me that the salesmen hated to try to sell to engineers. They asked too many questions and expected more information than what was available. I’ll never forget the story about a Westinghouse engineer who went home one day and learned that his wife wanted a divorce. This came as a surprise because he didn’t know they were having marital problems. It’s a good thing she didn’t die because it may have taken a while before he discovered it.
Later he married someone he had met in high school many years ago. They have been very happy together, playing golf.
Doctors think about illnesses, judges, lawyers and police think about law. Educators think about education and military people think about war. I will always remember the statement that our former classmate, Jackie Cagwin, made at a party. Jackie was the widow of General Leland Cagwin. She said that when she married her husband, who was an army lieutenant at the time, she knew the army would always come first. She learned to live with that and they stayed married over sixty years.
In all the years that Ed and I have been married we find that our greatest understanding has come in our senior years. Ed has learned to listen to our grandchildren’s problems and help them in many ways. They love him dearly. I have tried to do the same thing. They ask one thing of Pop. Make his explanations shorter! If we try to live and learn, it can be a great life.
Audrey Teal Kaminski