"One day I was snooping around his shop going through his junk, the little guy that I was, when I came across a small rectangular piece of wood that looked all the same as having been a mousetrap at onetime, but instead had coiled wires and other electrical stuff mounted on it with printed words identifying it as a Dot 'N Dash Telegraph Set. The old man told me it was one half of a two part set that when hooked together with wires and a battery could, by using a series of dots and dashes, send messages back and forth between two or more people over long distances."
The "his" in the "One day I was snooping around HIS shop" as found in the opening quote above, referred to an old man, or at least to me he was old, who was the grandfather of the girl next door. The girl, probably age 14 or so, worked for my mother, either babysitting or watching my brothers and me as we played in the neighborhood. The old man, her grandfather, was sort of a Rube Goldberg inventor type guy that seemed like he could fix or build anything. His shop was a junk filled top-to-bottom floor to ceiling detached dirt floor single-car garage in the backyard of the babysitter's property. He was always collecting, working on, and making all kinds of things he said was to thwart the "impending invasion," meaning by the Japanese.
As for the electronic stuff like the Dot 'N Dash Telegraph Set, if you discount any outside spiritual or inexplicable forces driving me to do so, as I got a little older from that meager start, I began building what was called foxhole radios, because they could be put together and used at practically no cost, being made up mostly of readily available already laying around parts that were cheap, easy to build, or free.
TYPICAL FOXHOLE RADIO USING A RAZOR BLADE AND PENCIL LEAD
I built crystal sets pretty much for the same reasons and in the same way, except for one or two I made from actual purchasable commercial over the counter products. If I bought the first one new or traded something for it from another kid I don't recall, but one way or the other I ended up with one. I remember the set well to this day, a Philmore Crystal Radio Detector. It came in a box with instructions just like in the photo below:
(for larger size click image then click again)
WESTERN UNION STANDARD RADIO TELEGRAPH SIGNAL SET
KLONDIKE BIG INCH LAND COMPANY
FIREHAIR, QUEEN OF THE SAGEBRUSH FRONTIER
ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.