An Architect's tale for Mom...

At 4 years old it was the best idea I had ever had, literally in my whole life.  It hit me like a light-bulb turning on in my brain.  I would build a house out of Legos, like usual, but this one would be better.  This one would have lights!  My budding architect's brain had it all planned out and all that was left was to build my vision.

By this time in my life I was an experienced Lego builder with an impressive attention span... for a 4 year old.  At some point every young architect realizes the importance of light in defining space.  Light and shadow, positive space, negative space.  Most architects discover this in their mid 20s.  At four, I was ahead of my time, a legend in my own mind!

The technique I so cleverly invented involved removing the shade from my Raggedy-Andy lamp, and turning it on its' side.  I carefully built my house around the bulb.  Already viscerally aware of building codes, I left egress compliant holes for a door and window.  The window would show off the lighting to great effect.  It looked something like this...

Pretty impressive, I know!

Pretty impressive, I know!

I flicked the light on as I put the finishing touches on the roof.  A few minutes later, when it was perfect, I went to get mom to show off my creation.  Dragging her by the hand, we rounded the corner into my room where we were greeted first by the smell of burning nylon, then the sight of smoke coming out of my house!  This was a surprise since I hadn't thought to build a chimney.

Mom lunged for Raggedy-Andy.  As the lamp was lifted, hot and sticky goo stretched like taffy from the bulb to the floor.  The bulb had left a black egg-shaped crater of melted nylon smack-dab in the middle of my room.  You might think that was the most obvious damage, but you'd be wrong.  The smell was definitely more noticeable from just about anywhere in the house.

The fact that I'm still alive proves irrefutably that I have the best mom in the world. I played with Lego's for many years after that.  But it took a while before I had another bedside lamp.  I can't imagine being an architect today if I didn't have the most loving, patient, and supportive mom in the world.  She has always been a light to me.

Love you Mom!

Brian Van Winkle, Architect

P.S.  Thanks for being such a wonderful Grandmother too!

No carpet was harmed during this re-creation. Now we have LED lamps that emit 60 watts worth of equivalent light using only 3 or 4 watts. I don't think we could burn a hole in this carpet if we tried!

No carpet was harmed during this re-creation. Now we have LED lamps that emit 60 watts worth of equivalent light using only 3 or 4 watts. I don't think we could burn a hole in this carpet if we tried!

Happy Mother's Day everyone!