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Sitting in the Lap of History

Posted by kqr on July 13, 2011 - 10:35am

The person with the neatest job at the AAVSO (besides me, of course!) is Dr. Mike Saladyga. He gets to wallow about in the history of our organization on a daily basis. And that, of course, enabled he and Dr. Tom Willams to write a book on our history, which everyone should read! History sometimes bowls me over, especially history that I'm at least parenthetically involved in.

A few weeks ago we got a new Margaret Mayall Assistant named Ben. Ben is helping Will, our Webmaster, with various things. We'd decided that he'd take my desk since its close to Will for them to work together, and I was temporarily sitting at Ginny's old desk pinch-hitting while we searched for a new Admin Assistant.

So, at one point Ben is in the chair and Elizabeth and I are around. Ben is fooling about with the chair a bit and finally asks if there is a way to raise it. Elizabeth says, "I don't think so. Not easily. The chair is supposed to be that short. It was Janet's chair."

My eyes go wide. Janet's chair??  I'm using Janet's chair? I have Janet's chair???

"Well, it makes sense," Elizabeth says. "Janet wasn't a big person. She was about 5'2", so it makes sense for you to have it. (I'm 147cm (4'10")). For Elizabeth, this just made sense. I, on the other hand, was walking around in a daze for about 15 minutes with my head just ringing, I have Janet's chair!!

Anyone who has been part of the AAVSO for over five years or so really doesn't need to be told about our former Director, Dr. Janet Mattei, who passed on about five years ago. Even if you've joined us in the last five years, if you've been active at all, I'm sure you've heard at least a couple of stories. If not, I very much invite you to come to an AAVSO Meeting - perhaps our Centennial meeting this October! - and just pick out someone who looks like they have even just a smidge of experience. Sit down and say, "Can you tell me a little about Janet?" Make sure you do it with a drink in your hand, because you'll be there for at least a half hour.

Janet is a critical piece of our AAVSO history.

And now I have her chair!  Wow!



Actually, this is a great way to say what I think and not get swallowed up with alot of computer jarcon. Hope I spelled it right.  Anyhow, I have been wallowing in Harvard College Observatory history and Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston.  AAVSO is in there somewhere and especially enjoyed Dr. Tom Williams and  Dr. Owen Gingerich as mentors.  It is difficult to say "Hey, I got some background that you probably don't have and would love to share it.  Please say "Hi" when you see me, I don't have letters after my name. But, love sharing what I do have in our archives. 

Looking forward to see you at the October meeting.  HNL

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