This article written
by Mary Bittner appeared in the Contest Calendar of CQ magazine, May 1992:
“Contesters’ Women Speak Out”
Mary Bittner, XYL of WØAIH
‘Twas the night of “the Contest”
and all through the house…
All the Creatures were stirring, including the mouse…
The children were whimpering in their beds as the light build above them glowed
The rest of the parody, written many
years ago in the pre-photo copy era, has mercifully been lost. It was the
attempt of a young mother of three very little girls to have a little fun during
those grim contest weekends that threatened to destroy a fairly happy little
household. Why would a normally nice, considerate husband and father turn into
an egomaniacal monster? How does one explain to little girls that Daddy has
turned EVERYONE out; he is going to sit in his hot, stuffy little room; NO ONE
is going to get any sleep because there is going to be either steady talking or
steady chirping for 48 hours; and the light bulbs are going to flicker on and
off all night long.
And then we moved.
We now live in a valley. We are back
in the good old USA where people watch TV—a lot. They especially love football
games on Thanksgiving weekend. They do not like TVI (television
Now there are four little girls.
Though they all agree that the contest weekends really tarnish the “perfect
father” image, they stoutly defend him. We all take our turns fielding the
telephone complaints and compare notes on the color and clarity of the messages.
As the years go by the towers grow
taller, the beams bigger, more feedlines, more patch cords. A new buzz word
enters the household. The frantic, frenzled, pre-contest focus earns their
father his title “Hernando Woldmueller.” Stay close to the wall, folks,
Hernando is in the gazelle mode again!
Yes, WØAIH had gone multi-op. It
started out with just a “couple of guys.” Then, like a modern-day Trojan horse,
there were 14 of them in that little basement! We “gender challenged” ones
carried on. The TVI was lessened now, but we still had to make peace with the
48 hours of non-stop talking, chirping, toilet flushing, showering, and the
cigarette smell that wafted through the heat vents.
Once in a while a bleary-eyed male,
usually a father type, would crawl out and honor us with a visit, but not
often. Our hearts softened a little when we peeked into the battle zone and saw
one poor fellow sleeping on the floor, nose to nose with our cat who was using
his litter box!
And then we moved.
Now we live on a corner lot
surrounded by power lines. Two girls stayed in Minnesota and mother went to
work in the hospital. No towers, no TVI, no chirping. For over three years
Hernando Wolfmueller was not seen.
And then we moved.
A beautiful hilltop location was
purchased. Tower seeds were planted. They sprouted! Feedlines, beams,
beverages like tendrils now cross over the land. Hernando Wolfmueller was
back! Only one girl remained at home. New contesters came to try all the
“hardware in the sky.” Even some of the “Minnesota Contingent” came back.
Several even talked quite freely with the mother, and one seemed to be quite
interested in the daughter. He even took time out from an “all out, beat ‘em or
bust” contest to play a piano duet with her. And on a non-contest weekend they
And the years passed. The many
voices of WØAIH arch the globe. Computers move in. Logs spew out—neat,
precise, regimented. Familiar “dit-dahs” become friendly faces and open doors
when we visit the states and abroad! The dream of being capable of “tearing a
big hole in the air” is being realized.
And the mother says, “GO FOR IT,
Hernando Wolfmueller. Your joys have become mine!”
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