We had several different sets of encyclopedias and when ever we had spare time John could be found deeply engrossed in learning how things work and trying to build things after he understood how they worked.
By stringing wire through the attic and down through our bedroom walls we were able to have a homemade phone system in each of our bedrooms that we could use to talk to each other.
Mom and Daddy encouraged his experimenting as he made a small telegraph machine and worked on making little battery powered motors.
Most of the time I found all of his experiments and his never ending enthusiasm for his projects a little boring. Until one day when Mom and Daddy had to be gone all day doing Christmas shopping leaving John and I at home to take care of any customers and babysit Ivan and Raymond.
We hurried with all of our work so we could have the rest of the day to do what ever we wanted to. It wasn't long before John came into the kitchen for more supplies for another experiment. He thought he finally discovered how to build his own voice recorder. I dropped my projects in the sewing room and went to help him. Working at the kitchen table with Ivan and Raymond watching we were both excited when we were able to play back a voice. it wasn't the greatest quality but we knew we were on the right track. Remembering a pile of old records in the attic left there by the previous owner we went to get them to see if the machine he had built would play those.
It did and for the rest of the afternoon we listened to old songs, and Tom Sawyer. We carefully tucked everything under John's bed before Mom and Daddy came home. We had a feeling they might think we had taken experimenting a little too far and weren't ready to part with our new toy right away.
That evening at the supper table Ivan, who was just beginning to talk plainly announced that "John put a funny man who talks under his bed."
John and I looked at each other, so afraid that we would have to confess what we had been doing, and were greatly relieved when Daddy said. "Ivan, it's almost Christmas time so you don't talk about secrets." We breathed a sigh of relief and vowed we would have to be careful that Ivan doesn't hear us the next time we wanted to listen to those old records.