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birdguy

My First Love...

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I don't get over here much any more for personal reasons and to those who have PMd me concerned about my absence I thank you.  I am alive and well and still installing scenery and aircraft on my new computer here in the old folks home.

This morning I installed an old favorite.  One I wrote a story about it once.  I know I have published it here before but some of you might not have read it.  So here it is again.

My First Love
 
I was in about the 7th grade.  It was after school and I was going to a friend’s house along Van Ness Avenue, the street that all the automobile dealerships were on.  

I was almost to the corner of Sacramento street when I saw her.  I think it was the Studebaker dealership.  There she was standing to one side of the floor.

I went inside and walked right up to her and put my hand on her side.

A dealer walked up to me and said, “How do you like her kid?  Do you want to sit in her?’

I didn’t say a word, I just nodded and stepped into the cockpit of a Luscombe 8A.  It was beautiful.  I had no idea then what the instruments on panel were for or any idea how one mght fly in her.  But I gently put my hand on the stick and curled my fingers around it.  I moved it back and forth sideways and fore and aft.  I luxuriated in the smell of her.

I noticed the rudder pedals and scrunched down a bit and moved them forward and back with the toes of my shoes.

After a while I got out and just walked around her touching her here and there.  I had never seen a real airplane this close before but I was suddenly in love.

As I started towards the door of the dealership one of the salesman yelled, “Come back anytime kid.”  

The next afternoon I went to the library and picked up some books on airplanes and how they worked.  

I went to the dealership every day after school.  I would sit in the airplane and walk around her for a while and then go home and read my airplane books.  I learned how an airplane flies.  How the controls worked.  

One day after school when I was loving my beloved Luscombe a man in an elegant suit and tie came over and said, “What’s your name kid?”  I told him, “Noel.”

“Well, Noel, climb in and I’ll show you how it works.”  He told me he had flown P-47s in the war.  Then he proceeded to demonstrate the controls for me.  We climbed out of the cockpit and he walked around the aircraft while I followed and he moved the ailerons and rudder and elevator and explained what the aircraft did when those controls moved.  I just got my first flying lesson.

The next afternoon I went to the dealership and my beloved Luscombe was gone!  I went inside and one of the salesmen told me the boss had taken the wings off and moved it to an airport on the Peninsula so he could start flying.

I was heart broken.  But I still had my books.  I started buying flying magazines with my allowance and eventually found a picture of a Luscombe I cut out and taped to the wall beside my bed.

As time went on I graduated from the 8th grade and went to high school.  Then after a summer working high up in the Rocky Mountains in Glacier National Park I came back home and joined the Marine Corps.

Four years later, after I got out, I got a job as a file clerk for the Southern Pacific Rail Road in their claims department.  I was still living at home with my parents in Mill Valley.  I took the bus to San Francisco every morning and when it went through the underpass of Highway 101 on the way to the Sausalito bus stop I could see Commodore Center across the road.  And on the pier on floats was a beloved Luscombe.  Not the yellow one I had seen when I was in the 7th grade but a blue one.  Along with the Luscombe was a Republic SeaBee.

One Saturday I borrowed my Dad’s car and went over there.  I found out I could learn to fly that Luscombe on the GI Bill.  I signed up and they helped with the GI Bill paperwork and in two weeks they called me to schedule my first lesson.

My introduction to flying was in a Luscombe 8E on floats.  The side by side seating and the stick instead of a yoke was familiar since I already had several hours just sitting one of them a decade earlier.

I soon soloed and did my solo cross countries to San Luis Reservoir and Clear Lake.  San Luis Reservoir was fun because I flew by the San Francisco and Oakland airports and would sometimes see a DC-3 or DC-6 landing or taking off.

I still have a picture of a Luscombe hanging on the wall.  The hours I have flown Cessnas 152s and 172s and Piper Cherokees and Moonies and even a Piper Aztec have not diminished my love for my beloved Luscombe.  I think our first loves remain in our hearts forever.
 
Noel
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The tires are worn.  The shocks are shot.  The steering is wobbly.  But the engine still runs fine.

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It's so lovely to hear from you again Noel, thanks for that tale,

All the Very Best Noel

Phil

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Welcome back "home" my dear friend! 

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Fr. Bill    

AOPA Member: 07141481 AARP Member: 3209010556


     Avsim Board of Directors | Avsim Forums Moderator

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Noel,

Kinda like I feel about airplanes.  Semper Fidelis!

Jim


Boeing777_Banner_Pilot.jpg

James M Driskell, Maj USMC (Ret)

 

 

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Great to see you back again Noel.

It is always a worry when someone goes missing!

I liked your story as well.

Edited by VH-KDK
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