A Happy Lunch with the Honeywell Engineers

June 15, 2016


Above: The missing award, engraved to C.R. (Dick) Stone. Front and back composite.

Sometimes things go missing from your home. It’s not always clear about how this happens. You don’t have to be elderly to have this happen.

Some time ago C.R.’s Sweatt Award went missing.

Five years ago an engineer who used to work at Honeywell happened to be looking at antiques with his wife. He saw a medal, in its red-lined case, sitting in a glass display case. He didn’t recognize the name of the engineer engraved on the medal, but because it was only nominally priced he bought the medal.

Later he contacted another engineer who worked at Honeywell for a longer stretch of time. This engineer said, “Yes I know Dick Stone. I have lunch with him every month.”

And because of that incredible coincidence—that an engineer who knew what a Sweatt Award was would find it, buy it, and have a friend who knew a man—C.R. received his award again, last Wednesday.

He was incredibly touched. And happy to have it back.

The H.W. Sweatt Award was given to Honeywell Engineers who made outstanding contributions in their field.

It was a touching sign of respect that someone would find it and return it to him.

I was very happy that I had been invited to lunch with this group of (mostly) retired engineers.

I laughed and told them that one of my fondest memories had been going to C.R.’s retirement dinner and seeing all the younger engineers, after some speeches, take out 5 inch squares of astroturf, painted white, and wear them like hats (with the help of elastic cords) to “simulate” the bright white flat top of C.R.’s haircut.

On Wednesday, after the award’s return, we all had pie! We also had an interesting discussion of current projects (some of which are patent pending so I can’t share them with you), the Wright Brothers, and sidereal clocks.

Later two of the engineers helped me walk C.R. to the car. Since the ride to the hospital a few weeks ago, he’s even more frail than before.

After we were on our way, I turned to C.R. and said, “Wasn’t that fun? What a coincidence. That he would find your award and it would be returned to you?”

“Yes,” he said, smiling contentedly. “It’s amazing.”

“And you, you just fit in. Talking to all of them. Understanding the conversations…” he continued.

I laughed and spoke loudly (so he could hear me—as we couldn’t convince him he needs hearing aids!), “I was raised with my brother who is an engineer, I have been married to your son who Is an engineer for 36 years, and I have you as a father-in-law. I think I know how to speak with engineers.”

He laughed, and his eyes got very bright. He reached out for my hand. “I’m glad to have you in my life,” he said.

I squeezed his hand, “I’m very glad to be in your life.”

Old age can be extremely isolating. It can cause your mind to focus on what is lost, not just in physical objects, but in capabilities. I’m glad that he could see how much his peers,whom he respects,respect him, one more time. And that I could be there to share it with him.

(I haven't shared the other engineers' names for privacy.)

    • SusanLily
    • June 15, 2016

    This brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful and touching story. I’m so glad for C.R. and happy you got the share the experience with him.

  1. Reply

    A lot of wet eyes reading this, I think. Very touching story, and a testament that you never know what will happen. What is lost turns up in the strangest ways and unexpected times. You are so caring with your in laws. A lot of love shows and as hard as it is too do the work of caring sometimes, I know you will miss it when you no longer have to. I know you will cherish moments like this one.

    • Leslie Schramm
    • June 15, 2016

    First thing I bought on in 1999 was the Temperance pledge of the father of an elderly gentleman at my local church. How his dad’s 1879 pledge ended up in Aberdeen is anyone’s guess.He was really touched by it. The uk version of ebay was so small then I had actually read every single listing. And folks are right, these are the moments you remember. My elderly mum had the carers gobsmacked last week, telling them about the Queen’s wedding in 1947 as she’d been in the abbey; having been one of the many Royal dressmakers (not really ) invited to attend. (She’d actually been Lady Cunninghame’s maid, but when the Ladies in Waiting got the invite to sew on squilliions of pearls on the frock, she sent my mum; instead of going herself. And when it was done, the Queen made sure my mum, and all the other ladies, got tickets.)

    • Eleanor
    • June 15, 2016

    Thank you for all your touching sharings!

    • R. Staadecker
    • June 15, 2016


    I too am teary. I feel like I had a chance to share a very special time with Uncle Dick, thanks to you. You are the very best friend and daughter to him, and all of us in the family are so grateful and happy for the rich experiences you have shared with C.R. and Phyl.

    Thank you a thousand times over!!
    XX Your cousin,
    Robin Lee

    • Frank Bettendorf
    • June 15, 2016

    Very touching story and I appreciate you sending it to all of us. Congratulations to your father-in-law.
    Frank B

  2. Reply

    I love this story Leslie!

  3. Reply

    Thanks Frank, I hope you’re doing well!!!

  4. Reply

    Robin, no tears, the way I see it CR and I have sat through some pretty marginal theatre together so now we get to do the good stuff!

    • Sheryl C
    • June 18, 2016

    Such a very touching story! I shed happy tears for you and C.R. both, that you’ve enjoyed a rich, rewarding relationship and you each recognize it!

  5. Reply

    Thanks Sheryl.

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