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.)