Friday, August 12, 2011

In Memory of Bruce Elving

By Kristine Stuart
July 25, 2011

Before my husband proposed to me, he decided to take the old-fashioned approach and ask my father for permission to marry his daughter. My father was not a conventional sort of guy, however. When Dave called him on the phone (because we lived too far away for him to visit in person), he wasn't sure what to think when my dad asked him, “What radio stations do your parents listen to?”

That was a typical question from my dad, even as a criterion for accepting a prospective son-in-law. FM radio was one of his greatest passions for most of his life. He had even translated his enthusiasm for FM into a business, publishing a directory (beginning the year that I was born) of all the FM stations in North America and later publishing a supplemental monthly newsletter between editions of his book, as well as selling radios that he had modified to receive subcarrier signals. He also had a hobby of DXing--tuning in distant stations, which to the rest of the family usually sounded like just static. When I was very young, I loved turning the knob that rotated his outdoor antenna. We would say that we were giving rides to the birds that were sitting on the antenna.

Some of my earliest memories are of holding out my arms and pretending to be an airplane while my dad zoomed me around, and then I would put my arms against my sides and turn into a log, and he would roll me onto the couch. Sometimes he would sing silly songs like “Yellow Submarine.” Sometimes he would read to me; one of our favorite books was Winter Hut. Before I learned to read, we played a game that he called “Book Identification,” and, of course, he included his book, FM Atlas, in the game. When I was a little older, our favorite activity together was riding our bikes. By the time I was nine, I was going on 15-mile bike trips with him.

My dad was not always easy to get along with. In fact, he used to declare, “I thrive on conflict,” and he wasn't joking. But when I think of him, I'll remember the simple pleasures that we shared and the funny things that he said. I'll remember collaborating with him on his newsletter while I edited it for a couple of years during his semi-retirement. I'll remember the articles that he wrote for a local publication, reminiscing about sledding down the city streets of Duluth, Minnesota, during his childhood and sharing his more recent ice-walking experiences on Lake Superior. I'll remember the kids' fond nickname for him--Grandpa Brucey. And I'll remember his concern and caring for my mom during his last years.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

I look forward to that time when death and sorrow will pass away. Until then, rest in peace, Dad. I love you.

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