Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Airplanes in the Attic

Stack of books in the attic.  Corner of a yellowed pamphlet showing between two red books.  Pulled it out.

And my postprandial walk is taking me along a narrow street in what is clearly a small town.  To the west and to the south sunlight reflects from the granite of the mountains which darken to blue in the distance.  Nice little patch of sweet corn to my left.  Someone will have some good eating in a few weeks.

Two small boys, eight, perhaps nine years old are standing at the edge of the corn patch.  They look to the sky, one of them points.  The other riffles through the pages of a pamphlet.  I look up to see what has riveted them.  An airplane, clearly a military aircraft.  This village is at least forty air miles from any military base, remote one might say, nestled next to the mountains as it is.  Not many airplanes of any kind fly over this burg.

"What's going on, Son?"

"We are spotters, Mister. We are watching out for enemy airplanes.  We can't be too careful, you know."

Yes, I know.  The world is in total chaos, what with the Axis pushing across Europe and North Africa, tearing up the South Pacific and our Naval forces. Indeed it is an ugly world, and the Allies are hard-pressed to repel the evil ones. We have so immersed ourselves into the patriotic fervor that two small boys in a remote village, fifteen hundred miles from any ocean and those oceans between us and the action are involved in the "war effort."  They are doing their part.

"It's not a Nazi plane, is it, Sir?"

"No.  Look!  You can see the stars on the wings.  She's all-American.  I think it is a B-25.  I've not seen one of those over here before.  Check that in your book."

"I think you got it right!" The boy shows me the silhouette drawings of the B-25.  "We saw a P-38 yesterday, and a P-51 last week."

Then I hear the roar of a single-engine prop plane as it banks away to the left above me.  There are no little boys, no cornfield.  There is no World War at the moment, but there shall always be conflict somewhere.  I am back in the twenty-first century, and the days of my juvenile, "war efforts" return to their nook in the attic of my memory.

My neighbor's restored P-51 starts its climb into the eastern sky.  Bill does a fly-over about once a month.  That's how he keeps his memories alive.

©2015 David W. Lacy


Secondary Roads said...

As a youngster, one of my prize possessions was a WWII Aircraft Spotter's Manual. I have no idea what became of it.

Pearl said...

That was lovely, mister. :-)


vanilla said...

Chuck, I suppose we have all mislaid some item that meant something to us at one time. But then, had we saved everything we would have run out of storage space. So, memories!

Pearl, thank you very much.

Vee said...

Wow, is this a pamphlet from your childhood or something you acquired later?

vanilla said...

Vee, in truth I had such a pamphlet when I was a child, and Donald and I used to search the skies over Canon. I am no longer in possession of the physical object. Can you say "internet"?

Lin said...

I had a friend (elderly gentleman) who had them on playing cards. He could identify planes AND play cards. :)

vanilla said...

Lin, the US Playing Card Co of Cincinnati made aircraft spotter cards (think Bicycle). While widely distributed and used, playing cards in our household were anathema, the devil's bible, so to speak. So we had pamphlets.

Sharkbytes said...

Neat memoir. I never managed to get interested in planes. Just give me a train though...

vanilla said...

Sharkey, I am much more into trains. First off, tons of metal and plastic cannot fly. But I am off on a tangent here. I would still travel by train, but by plane in dire circumstances only.