Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Another item--Dad prepared for his General exam a few years before we did the Novice together. I don't think he ever took the test, but he had qualified on Morse at 15 WPM in the Army Air Force during WWII and started again with that. That patient who got him started was a recording engineer and quite serious about it all. He loaned Dad a two-LP set of Nikola Tesla's biography at 20 WPM, and I remember Dad sitting at our dining room table with his then-new stereo writing this out night after night. I shudder to think of it now! He still seems to know an awful lot about Tesla.
Fist notice of licensure was usually a box of sample QSL cards from a Texas outfit, The Little Print Shop if I recall correctly. They must have figured out Freedom of Information laws early and got daily mailing lists from the FCC.
Cleveland hams may remember Dixon's Radio Key, an incredible trove of war surplus parts and junk. We never had anything like New York City's stores, but Dixon's and Research Electronics downtown (now on Broadway, not far away) mostly filled needs. Poly-Paks was a good mail order place then.
Ham radio took me on to an electrical engineering major in college, so I am genuinely grateful to the community of hams for all their patience with a child on the air, and to the ARRL and other publishers for all the written reference material.