My brother Larry and I went to summer camp for a week at Camp Bishop at Lost Lake in western Washington state, USA. We slept in cabins and we ate our meals in a big hall near the dock of the lake. The water in the lake was cold, but I swam in it anyway. Under the dock jutting out into the water, I found salamanders swimming on the bottom.
For fifth grade at Rieverview Elementary School in Raymond WA USA for the first time I had a male teacher, Mr. Lloyd Jackson, who was also the principal of the school. He made us kids really think. For science he had one kid press his finger into some kind of gelatin that was then kept cool for several days in a refrigerator. Mr. Jackson then showed us that a film of bacteria proliferated on the gelatin at the location of the thumbprint. He talked to us about theoretical space-travel, and he wondered aloud how a rocket could move in empty space if there was nothing to press against. I did not know either, until I learned years later that the exhaust of the rocket goes so fast that the rocket moves away in an equal and opposite reaction according to Sir Isaac Newton's Second Law of Thermodynamics. Mr. Jackson had some kind of resource book with the addresses of big corporations that would send a person educational materials upon request. I sent away to General Electric or some such for booklets about electronics. I had a little plastic crystal-radio device with headphones, and Mr. Jackson pointed out to me that such a machine would never wear out, because it had no moving parts.
My uncle Ted, after whom I was named, became a teacher at Raymond High School, where the students called him "Tweedy". He taught me about induction coils which I could make by looping wire into two coils and bringing them close together so as to energize one coil with battery power and induce a weak but positive current in the other coil. The Rankin family lived nearby and Mr. Rankin worked for the telephone company. He gave me the mouthpiece part of a telephone handset. Later on, in Seattle, I made my own short-distance intercom system. In Raymond I was making more and more complex circuits on wooden boards. I would sit in Mr. Jackson's fifth-grade classroom and watch the sea-gulls flying outside, or fantasize about how many boards of electonic gear it would take for me to make a really complex device like a radio transmitter. I did not know it at the time, but the urge to make ever more complex mechanisms was leading me inexorably and ineluctably to the multi-year and multi-decade attempt to make an artificial Mind.