Things On My Desk: My Grandpa's "Lemonaid Loader"
I made a passing reference
to "Lemonaid Loaders" (although I spelled it incorrectly), an old mail-order gadget meant to fit in-line from a data cassette tape deck, somehow cleaning up the signal, making failed loads (very common on the TRS-80) less likely. My grandfather Wayne Lemons built them in his converted garage workshop in his home on U.S. Route 65 in Buffalo, Missouri. I even helped him build a few when I was a toddler until it became clear that skill with a soldering iron wasn't part of his genetic legacy.
stumbled on that post I made and recalled it when he found an old Lemonaid Loader among the detritus of his TRS-80 (Model 1) stash. Being a gentleman, he sent it to me.
I'm so excited to have one, as after my grandfather died most of his workshop got parted out among the family (I have his TRS-80 4P luggable, while I'm told the Model 1 was donated to the Smithsonian
, although now that I remember that it seems too odd to be true; I'm checking up on that). Nobody thought to save any of the Lemonaid Loaders at the time — there were just too many around to be thought of as valuable.
My grandfather was a huge inspiration, a man who gave me a love of technology, music, and the joy of being a recalcitrant bastard from the moment I could first think. He built the town's first radio station by hand. He wrote the "Learn Electronics Through Troubleshooting" manual that was the Army's basic electronics manual for years (much to the embarrassment of my uncle when he went to West Point). He received a letter from the first television station to broadcast in Kansas City when their transmitter went online; he was the only person they knew of in Southern Missouri who had a television — because he'd built one by hand. He was a writer, a cartoonist, and a musician with his own home recording studio decades before that became commonplace. He was a Radio Shack franchisee. (Nobody's perfect.)
Most of the artifacts I have of his life were destroyed over the years through neglect and an unfortunate double-whammy of fires, so all I have left of his technical achievements are the textbooks he wrote and this Lemonaid Loader. Which is plenty. So thank you, Gary.
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