Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
The moves we made for the first 7 years of our marriage were usually because of the Air Force. However, we moved many times while we were stationed at one base, always hoping to find a better place to live. We were the lowest in pay scale, and at that time, air conditioning was only available in the houses owned by wealthy people. Most of the rental homes around a base did not even have a foundation of cement, but rather wood studs, or whatever you call them. This allowed many, many cockroaches and other disgusting insects to get into our houses, especially in the kitchen. I will give you a few such situations.
Gpa was going to Flight Engineer School at Rantoul AFB, Illinois in 1953. When we moved from Rantoul to Champaign (just a few miles apart) it was because of large, overgrown, sick flies! We lived in a small lean-to that was built onto some kind of a business; seems like maybe it had to do with mechanics working there, or something. We had a small bedroom, which also served as a living room, a bathroom that had a door so narrow that when I was 6 months pregnant with our Rea Jo, I began to have to somehow twist through the door instead of just walking through it! The kitchen was tiny...that's all the rooms we had. The wood around the large picture window in the living/bedroom was rotting and full of holes, and we could watch the termites entering and leaving this favorite abode of theirs!
We adjusted to the termites and we didn't have to live there in the winter, so it wasn't too miserable.....UNTIL, one night when I got up to make a trip to the bathroom, with bare feet, I stepped on something that crunched and was also mooshy. I screamed and Grandpa jumped up and turned on the light to see what was wrong. (Now this is no exaggeration, although it will definitely sound like a Halloween story!) As we looked down at the floor, horrified, we saw literally hundreds if not thousands of larger than normal and slower than normal, black crawling flies. They covered our floors, our kitchen cabinets, sinks and everything that wasn't in a cupboard or drawer!
They couldn't fly. Obviously, they were somehow diseased or disabled. More and more of them seemed to be slowly emerging, congregating on the floors, so we followed their direction (backwards) until we found that they were coming from a hole in the baseboard near our back door! Every time I remember this incident, I still cringe. We left the apartment (?) and went to the store to purchase some poison spray. We sprayed into the hole and all over the house to kill them. After quite awhile, they stopped coming out of the hole. We gathered up our belongings (which were not much at that time) and immediately went to Champaign and rented a two room apartment in the upstairs of a very nice house, where we stayed until we were assigned to Randolph AFB, Texas.
We bought our own home in Bowers Beach, Delaware, and it was the happiest time of my life before we moved to Utah. We joined the church there in 1959, and our 5th child was born, so it was a huge turning point in our life. I dreamed of being back there many times, especially whenever trials came up in my life. It was as if my heart and mind thought that if I was back there in Bowers Beach, all the problems would be solved! It was always the same dream, and my joy was so great in the dream that I didn't want to wake up, even though I evidently knew it was a dream!
In the Spring of 1963, a major hurricane hit the beach area. I will never forget that morning. Grandpa was on a trip. The kids were just beginning to get up and start getting ready for school and/or the day. I went to the back window and looked out at the swampy area that was just beyond our back yard, and saw the water creeping up at a pretty fast rate, coming toward our house. I ran back up to the front of the house, yelled upstairs that we might have to leave, so they needed to hurry and get dressed. Immediately, I took another look at the back yard and was astounded at how far the water had advanced since my last look, so I RAN to the stairway again and hollered, "Never mind your clothes, just put your shoes on and come down to the car!" The quickly obeyed. Our car sat near the front door on the highest ground of our property, but when I opened the front door, the wind nearly knocked me over and I knew that only the 2 oldest children could possibly stand up in that wind, as the water was now up to the middle of the hubcaps on the car! I carried each child, one at a time, to the car. Rea Jo and Glenn had to also have my help, but I didn't have to completely carry them. I hung on to the support at the corner of the porch and then grabbed for the car door so that I could stay standing in the wind, and in the deep water I had to wade through. We ended up staying with a neighbor whose house sat on higher land, as we couldn't get out of town because of the deep water on the road. Our furnace was ruined in the flood. (It was a floor furnace) We didn't have the money to replace it, so we sold the house and moved in to Base Housing. That was a very sad day for us.
Side Note: Grandma and Grandpa Clodfelter were listening to the radio as the storm progressed when it was announced that a family in Bowers Beach with 5 children had drowned. Since it was pretty unusual for families to have that many children, and because there was no phone in service so that I could call them, they thought it must be our family. So, it was a pretty panicky time for them.
(3) Grandpa is not sure whether he told you this, so this may be a repeat. In 1964, Gpa was up for reenlistment, and had made the decision to stay in the AF 4 years longer. While he was flying on the day he was to sign the papers, he suddenly had the very plain inspiration that we were to NOT stay in the AFB, but get out and go to Utah. He came home that day, announced to me that we were getting out, and we started packing. He had no job, no insurance, no place to live in Colorado or Utah, but we knew it was right.
Why did we stop moving when we got to Kaysville? Because I was sick of moving! Also, because I fell in love with our house in Kaysville, as soon as I saw it for the first time. Even though Grandpa was worried about making a house payment that was a whole $20 more than the rent we had been paying in Centerville, he knew how I loved the house, and so he asked for a raise, got it, and we moved. It was such a wonderful day, and there's no doubt that THIS is my favorite place of all! Grandpa had to commute a lot to get where he was actually based for many years, but I had told him when we bought the house that I never wanted to move again....I wanted to be buried right here! He worked hard to honor that desire!
Well, that was probably a lot more than you wanted, but maybe some of it will be appropriate for your paper!
Love you, Lyndz!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
This morning, early, Glenn and Dad/Gpa got up and went flying in Glenn's plane. They went over Zion's and around. Now it is time for Conference. I am really looking forward to watching all of Conference this weekend.The Spirit is always so strong.
John and Ryanne are having serious water problems over at their house. Barely getting a little water occasionally until last night, then we had to have the water turned off completely, because we found out that the water meter is still running.....which means that there is at least a chance that water is running constantly somewhere, causing expense without the benefit of water in the house. It is such a mystery! Anyone have any ideas? WHY is it that every time we come to St. George, we have water problems of some sort at home???
Chuck, I have told them that they could come to our house for showers if they need to. They think they can get by for a few days until we can find the problem, so they probably won't be doing that, but just wanted you to know of the possibility.
Jeff, thanks so much for helping us with this problem. And Lynda, thank you for sending my forgotten flashdrive, camera and exterior back up disk. Sorry to have caused you both so much extra time and effort.
Often, as I am listening to a speaker, if I am blessed with the Spirit I find that truths come to my mind that are NOT what the speaker is saying, but are for my own particular learning. I can recognize these times because at each instance, I am able to comprehend all that is being spoken perfectly while simultaneously hearing the words for my own instruction. This morning, during Conference, Pres. Uchtdorf spoke of being sensitive to the needs of others. That concept led me to think of an instance recently in my life. I evidently said something one morning in a voice that was NOT sensitive to the feelings of my husband. I noticed all through the morning that he felt "down". Later that day, he said he was sorry for the times when he 'disgusted' me. Having no idea what had brought these thoughts to him, and not remembering being disgusted with him at all, I asked him when the last time was that I sounded disgusted. He said that it was that morning, but he couldn't remember what I had said or what it was about! I tried and tried to think what it could have been, and he did too, but nothing came.
Knowing that I have often said things that sounded different than I intended, I knew this was one of those times. I also knew that whatever had transpired was not at all the important
thing.........only my tone of voice had caused the pain in his heart. I would not have caused him that kind of pain for anything, IF I HAD JUST CONSIDERED THE SOUND OF MY WORDS BEFORE I SPOKE!
I've heard other spouses speak or act in uncaring and unfeeling ways to their mate, and I'm sure they didn't mean to appear that way at all. I have felt the hurt that has caused their spouse, although no verbal complaint was made on their part. It is then that I know I must change my own way of speaking and acting in all incidences. I intend to consider how my words sound before I speak, and how my actions will 'speak' before I act. I want to know that my words and actions speak only tenderness and caring, no matter the situation.
I also want to apologize and ask forgiveness for the times I am sure I have seemed thoughtless to all of you in my family. Please bear with me as I strive to overcome this weakness! I know there is absolutely no rigihteous reason for sounding or acting as if the other person, especially spouses and children, are not the most important thing in the world to me, because all of you are just that! If we can speak kindly to others outside our home and family, then obviously we can find a way to speak that way to our most beloved ones!
I wanted to share that with you, and tell you all that I love you very much.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I received a letter from Alaina this week with her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was truly a gift to me; and I have since had a strong desire to let you all know of my love for you, and because I love you, let you know of my own testimony and my yearning for your real joy in life, along with asking your tolerance in my own weaknesses as I have journeyed and will continue to journey along my own path.
In church today, which happened to be our Ward Conference, I learned so much! I felt the Spirit more strongly than I have for months (which of course, I lacked only because of my own doing and choices) and it was such a welcome cleansing for me. I felt purely and sweetly the strong love that my Heavenly Father has for our children, their children, their children's children, and for Dad and me. I felt overwhelmingly grateful for the gift of our family and the individual gifts that each of you has brought with you. What a blessing you have all been in our lives!
I felt such incredible joy (it kept leaking out)! In Alma 26:11 Ammon explains that he was "swallowed up in the joy of his God" and that this is the kind of joy which none can receive save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.....and I felt all of that - swallowed up in joy AND the blessed relief of repentance in my heart AND such a desire to more diligently seek the happiness that I know is available to all of us.
Happiness was the theme of our Ward Conference. I had silently offered a prayer before we left that our special speaker today would be Bishop Lundstrom, as there is no one from whom I draw more understanding as he talks. He did talk, and I felt as though Heavenly Father had anticipated my prayer as preparations were made for this conference.
I seemed to actually "visualize", as it were, the importance and great need for the plan of happiness which has been authored by God and Christ. How I wish I could just transfer my feelings into each of your hearts! I know that Jesus Christ lived and lives. I know that His love and our Father's love are so much more than we can possibly experience as mortals............I also know that is probably a good thing, as even the depth of what I experienced yesterday was almost too much to bear!
I know that the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon testify of each other. Together they give us each personal solutions that are far beyond our own wisdom and knowledge. I know that a whole lifetime of studying and researching other "words of wisdom" cannot possibly give us the strength of character and the wisdom we need to choose the paths that lead to the happiness we all seek. Only our Heavenly Father and His Son know the beginning from the end, and our happiness is their very purpose.
There is a multitude of things I do NOT know. As Alma said, “I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom, but behold my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God." And I have a great desire to continue to learn and grow and be of some service to my loved ones.
I want you all to know that when and if you ever have doubts about any of my beliefs, I only ask that you only pray with full intent to know. The guidance of our Father will never, never lead us in opposing paths, even if we perceive that it seems so at times. Therefore, the "end" will be as the "beginning" -- unity in love and purpose -- for all of us.
Jesus Christ atoned for our sins. It doesn't matter whether that fact is accepted or not, the gift remains. It is in Him whose love we all have, that we find our foundation for true joy such as I was granted today. When we have that foundation, then the forces of evil cannot have power to harm us, and we cannot fall.
Helaman 5:12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
God's commandments are given because He wants us to experience this kind of joy, eternally.
I love you all so much. You, our family, come first in our hearts as parents, grandparents and great grandparents! And I am sure that when we graduate, you will continue to come first along with all of those who will follow in our family circle. I pray that you will all feel our love, even then.
In all that truly matters, we are always and forever "on your side"!!
All my love,
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, believe it or not! Sometimes it kind of, almost, hurts. I’ve known and said many times that “Love is the Answer” to almost every problem we face in this life; if we really understood and knew how to use it in our lives and relationships.
When Mom and I were discussing our lives, one time, while I was trying to figure out how she had been so strong and continued to love me even during our most difficult times, she made the statement that she knew who I really was; a very strange comment it seemed to me. How could she know that, when I was living and demonstrating such an unworthy life?
Free Agency, while necessary for our growth and progress seems to almost work against our relationships and families; however if we knew who our loved ones are instead of what they are we could give them a chance to learn from their mistakes and grow into who they really are. It is hard to keep in mind that no matter what they are at this point that they are a child of God and due to the Atonement can yet overcome the natural man, which they are, here in this existence and truly become who they are…a child of God.
The road is rough for all of us and even rougher for some. We had the opportunity to observe this truth, not only from our own personal experiences but through our Addiction Recovery Mission and those who killed John for some drug money.
What I’m trying to get across is that we all are God’s children and we all have weaknesses. Some are hard to see and seem inconsequential but sin is sin and all would keep us from returning to our Father without our partaking of the gift of the Atonement!
As I witness the difficulties that many in our family are experiencing I could easily get very depressed and some might say it would serve me right. I can’t help but realize that my horrible example for many years is bound to have had an effect on all our family; yet hopefully I can be forgiven by them as well as the Lord through his Atonement for all who will partake of it.
I want you all to know that I love you and would encourage all, no matter what circumstances you are in at the present, to remember to look at your mates, children, friends and all you know as God does and love them, no matter what; that doesn’t mean accept all they do and what they are at this time, just continue to love them and encourage them to take advantage of the Saviors gift to all.
I sometimes get concerned about how the Lord is going to straighten out my life but I’ll leave it up to him. I know that he is aware of the love I have for all of my offspring and the desire for them all to prosper and grow, and for us to all be together in his Kingdom.
Well I guess that is about it for now. I only ask that you all consider what I have been trying to say here and remember the commandments, keep them and when you stumble repent and turn around.
Love one another for who they are and not what they seem to be at this time. Repentance is the first step in taking advantage of the Atonement.
Love one another through thick and thin, no matter what.
Love Dad / GrandPap
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
We've had a trying 10 days, at least trying for Dad who is having to take
care of me. I twisted my knee (I didn't FALL, though!) trying to adjust
the back swing. I had been having trouble with that knee for about two
weeks, and then when I twisted it, it "POPPED" so loud I couldn't believe
it came from ME. The pain was excruciating...I couldn't even put an
ounce of weight on it. Glenn, this was about an hour after I told you I
was doing very well! I was so encouraged when I talked to you;. I have
been swinging on the backswing and riding my bike, and it gave that knee
quite a bit of relief, so I thought it was getting well.
I didn't want to go to the hospital emergency because I was so afraid
they would tell me I had to have a new knee! I just don't want any more
surgery if I can help it...that's why I was so happy with the progress I
thought I was making with the backswing and the bike. I will see our
family Dr. this week and see if I can at least do some walking in an
effort to try and strengthen it.
Chuck has been doing all the cooking and dishes, all the mowing and most
of the trash gathering. He is a very big help, especially right now.
Gpa/Dad has been working on his new flyin' machine, in between his
wife-babying activities. He's only been up a couple of times this year,
I think! The red tape with the FAA now that they have to have "N"
numbers, is terrific. He has to go to Tooele to get his inspection and
training to finalize his license, and he couldn't do that until he got
his "N" number, so it is taking months to get everything done.
Years ago, I happened to strike up a conversation with a woman in the
Salt Lake Family History Library. Before long, she mentioned that she
lived in Dover, Delaware! I asked her if she was LDS, and she was, so
then I told her that we had been in that branch when we were baptized.
It was so amazing, because I don't usually get involved in conversation
with anyone when I am doing research there. We moved from that branch
the month before she and her family moved IN! She told me she was
writing a history of the Dover Branch and Ward! We knew a lot of the
same people, of course, so it was really fun talking to her. I told her
a couple of our stories from our Dover Days, and she included those in
her history This past week, I received a copy of that history! It was
so fun to read! We found out a lot about what had happened to those we
had been so close to.
One very interesting thing was about the little boy who was trapped under
the garage door and saw and/or heard birdies while he was unconscious.
I'm sure you have all heard that story. Well, he was the son of a couple
in the Dover Ward! We didn't know them, but that was fun to find out.
I'm making all of you a copy of it (at least the 5 of you who were there
with us.) as soon as I can. It is 91 pages long, so it will take a few
days! Or maybe I can scan it. Would Cute PDF take a lengthy document
like that, Glenn? It was sure fun for us!
Connie, Sarah, Jaycee and Callee were here to visit last night while Dad
was at the Temple. I really enjoyed having them....kind of a rare chance
when they get to come!
I was so sorry to miss the two blessings last Sunday. I don't like to
miss that kind of thing in our family! Those babies are all so darling.
Dad and Chuck are home from church, so I'll quit and eat the dinner Chuck
has made for us! We always love to hear how each of you are doing, and
LOVE the stories about your little ones!
Love to all,
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I was sitting here at my computer this afternoon, counting my many blessings and thought of one of the better decisions I have ever made in my life, but before I go into that day I want you all to know that I couldn’t possibly have had any better parents or siblings. I so enjoyed watching and listening to my Mom and Dad interacting with one another; they truly loved and enjoyed their time together. They laughed and joked around much of the time; especially when they would do dishes or other housework together which was practically every day when I was in high school and living at their trailer court. I remember once when they were kidding around and Dad popped Mom from behind with the dish towel; she laughed and grabbed a stick that was holding up the kitchen window by the sink and went after him, he squealed and started back stepping to stay out of her way and fell across the bed across the hall and laid on his back with his legs above his head. She started swatting him with the stick when all of a sudden he got the most startled look on his face and she stopped; it turns out that the stick had a little hail through the end and she had landed a whack with that; of course she was sorry about the whole deal but they both almost collapsed in laughter! They had so... much fun.
Even though I always felt loved I didn’t remember ever hearing my Dad tell me he loved me; men in those days were very reserved. I knew one man who was not reserved and that was my Mothers baby brother Floyd King, he didn’t care what anybody thought as he was big enough to take care of anything or anybody; he used to embarrass me and I’m sure my Dad; if Uncle Floyd had been away from the family for any length of time he would grab you in a bear hug and kiss you on the cheek when he saw you; of course nobody ever said anything as that was just Uncle Floyd and that was the way it was. You need to realize that Uncle Floyd had been a tri-state Golden Glove, heavyweight boxer in his younger years and was afraid of no one. I naturally, as I was growing up, wanted to be like him and even went out for boxing in high school for a short time but they always stopped the fight as soon as I got tagged on the nose since it would bleed rivers of blood; I (thought) knew if they would have let me go, even though bleeding, that I could have whipped every one of those guys. But, as everybody knows, they have silly rules in high school.
When we would go home for a visit after we got into the Air Force, Dad would come up to me stick out his hand for a handshake and give me kind of a halfway hug, which I would return. I decided that wasn’t good enough and thought about it for months before we went home again; I had decided that in one thing I preferred to be more like Uncle Floyd than my Dad.
The next time we went home we drove into the driveway at the trailer court and Dad came out to greet us. He stuck out his hand, I grabbed it and pulled him into me, gave him a kiss on the cheek and said “I love you Dad” He kind of stuttered a bit and said “I love you too son” We both had tears in our eyes and our greetings and goodbyes always included that kiss for the rest of his life and he would initiate it. I still consider that one of the wisest decisions I have ever made.
I determined from that day on to never be lax in letting my boys know that I loved them and to kiss them when departing or returning from anyplace; it was not easy at first due to my upbringing but I am so grateful that I stuck with it. I remember at times when a lot of people were around I still felt a bit nervous about it. But I started early enough with the boys that they thought nothing about it and when I would drop them off at school, or anyplace, they would all give me a kiss even if the whole gang was watching. As wild and rowdy as we all have been, I’m sure, nobody ever thought of any of us as sissy’s.
I want you all to know that I love you and am so grateful that we all are not afraid to show our love and gratitude for one another.
When I think about my Dad and that first time he kissed me and told me he loved me I still get teary. I’m sure he may have done that when I was a baby but I hadn’t remembered. I am also grateful for my Uncle Floyd who was my example of a “He Man” that had a very soft and loving heart.
Then of course we must not forget the girls! They never seemed to believe me that I couldn’t stand little girls, no matter how convincing I tried to be. The time I remember the best is when I came in the back door from an extended trip Ryanne was hugging my leg while I was kissing everybody hello, I looked down at her and said “you know I can’t stand little girls!” She smiled sweetly and said “But I love you Daddy” I was a complete failure with the girls too! I never fooled anybody!!!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
They had a special on TV a week so ago and while we were watching it I started telling Mom about the trip I made to Leipzig East Germany in the winter of 1973. We picked up a load of 200 breed hogs in Chicago, for delivery to Leipzig, with a fueling stop in Shannon Ireland. Hogs are a pretty delicate cargo as they don’t sweat so they need to be kept plenty cool. When we stopped in Shannon they had to bring fans and open all the doors to keep the hogs cool enough even though it was winter time; Shannon never gets very cold. We did lose about 15 or so even at that. There was some concern as to how we would pay for the fuel in Leipzig and they thought we would need cash so we took quite a delay in Shannon while they rounded up enough cash. As It turned out when the East Germans found out it was Saturn Airways they gladly accepted our credit card. Saturn had quite a reputation throughout the world. Howard Korth the owner was very honest and always kept his credit rating perfect. As an aside when he bought his first stretched DC-8 and the crew went down to pick it up at the Douglas Factory He paid them cash, something like $8,000,000. Douglas had never had anybody pay cash for an A/C and didn’t even know how to do it so there was a slight delay in getting out of there. A few months later Korth went down to buy the second DC-8 and they treated him like a King! He paid cash for that one also. When we landed in Leipzig it was snowing lightly and was quite cold. As soon as we opened the door they rolled the air stairs up to the door and I opened up; a very large frauleine came on board immediately and made us aware that she was in charge at that point, she would have made at least 2 of me, as far as size is concerned. They off loaded the pigs rapidly. The tower operator came into the cockpit to help in filing the flight plan for us to get out of East Germany. He was a nice young man and spoke English fluently. He was very careful of what he said to us especially when the fraulein was within ear shot. While they were cleaning the aircraft, which was pretty smelly by then, the lady, I’ll call her lady, as she was a female, was worried that somebody might stow away on the airplane and escape from East Germany so with me in tow she stepped over all of the little corrals, about 10 as I remember, to get to the back of the A/C where the lavatory was and make sure nobody had hid in there to escape. She went outside with me and watched as I did my walk around inspection. While walking around with me she noticed that we had 4 belly pits on the A/C where we normally carry the baggage and sometimes some freight. She insisted that I had to open each pit and let one of her police check in there for stowaways. It was so stupid as we had only been on the ground a few minutes and there was no one there that would even have the slightest idea how to open those pits, let alone get up in there without a ladder unnoticed; anyway I opened each, one at a time, and they hoisted a guy in to crawl around and see if anybody was in there; he actually couldn’t go very far as the pits were filled with the seats that we used for passengers. All of our jets were convertibles and it only took about 5 hours to convert from freight to Passenger and vice versa. When she was satisfied she placed a guard at each hatch with a rifle to make sure nobody tried to get in.
What we need to know is how precious freedom is. The people in East Germany were as bad off as those in Russia, and we need to realize that there is actually little, if any, difference between Marxism and Nazism, and I might add progressivism which many are trying to pawn off on this country at the present time; they are all one and the same trying to take away freedom and the Free Enterprise System. I wish all of our family could have the opportunity to visit all of the places I have observed during my many travels. Our freedoms are precious and we must not let those seeking for power to take any of them from us; there has been too much blood shed over the years to preserve them for us. Believe me there has never been a country in the history of the world that has done so much for the worlds millions. We can’t say we are perfect but far better than any previous government experiments. I suspect the only civilization to come close to our accomplishments would have been the Roman Empire in its’ earlier days before they were taken over by Emperors. They took a lot of progress to much of the world at that time, but the greedy for power got in control just like they are trying to do in our country. When the government has more people dependent on them for their living than those who are independent they will have the votes to keep the power hungry in control of the government.
Now to get back to East Germany: They only had the necessities of life with little, or no, luxuries. When I first came down the steps from the aircraft there were probably 20 or so police accompanying the fraulein in charge. As I came down the steps they all started pointing at my shiny black boots; wanting to trade for or buy them from me. That is what made me start noticing how poor they really were; they would have traded everything they had for my boots.
When we got back to Shannon Ireland we laid over while they cleaned the A/C and put the seats back in. We ferried it back to New York and 3 days later we took a load of people down to the Caribbean with 254 passengers. While they were refueling the heat and humidity caused a strange odor to show up in the airplane as they had fumigated it good in NYC to cover the pig odor. I was standing near the door when the next 254 passengers for the return trip to the states. By then we had been sitting on the ground a couple of hours so the odor was pretty strong though not a pig odor; it was more like the odor of some kind of perfume.
The DC-8 we were flying on that trip was one of the ones that Korth paid cash for. The stretched DC-8 is my all time favorite A/C. It was so reliable and you could still fly it with complete electrical and or hydraulic failures; I don’t know of any other large aircraft in history that you could say the same about. It was such a reliable, tough airplane that they spent millions to update it with modern turbo fan engines producing much more power yet using much less fuel.
I have always been pleased that the U.S. doesn’t make a big deal about all of the good we do in the world but unfortunately, since they don’t make a lot of hullabaloo about our exploits our own young people aren’t aware of half of the things we have done for the citizens of the world. I know, because I was involved in many rescue and humanitarian missions. The U.S. military was always the first on the scene of earthquake, flood, and hurricane disasters world wide, and yet even many in our own country talk negatively about our contributions to humanity: how quickly the world forgets about World Wars 1 and 2 when Europe and much a Asia were spared from being conquered by the Evil Axis.
I wish all of our posterity could have the opportunity of visiting almost any part of the world, outside of the U.S. and Canada, other that the tourist areas. You would all be amazed at the difference that Freedom has made in the standard of livings. Paris, London, Amsterdam….any of the civilized countries of the world are very poor when you get away from the tourist attractions. Well I guess I’ll make this it, for now.
I love you all so….much! I just want you all to be grateful for the privilege you have inherited by being citizens of this country! It has it’s faults but we should be doing our best to correct them and must be careful in who we elect as our Representatives and Senators etc. there are far too many people in this country who don’t realize that freedom and the free enterprise system is why we are where we are today and if we allow our leadership to continue on this progressive and socialist road all of these advantages will disappear quickly. Socialism has never led any group to a higher standard of living except for the ruling class; a close case in point is Cuba, right here at our doorstep. Where FREEDOM wanes, so does the standard of living. As previously noted in this epistle East Germany was virtually enslaved until that wall came down and the free enterprise system was reinstated to some degree.
I LOVE YOU ALL G-PaW.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
sure do have some men in this family who are skilled fathers, and who are
striving to become more so as life goes on. Thanks to all of you who
have diligently taught our grandchildren! Taking care of their hearts
and souls is your quest, and I am so thankful.
Thanks, too, to those who have taken on the extra joys and challenges of
loving the children of others and caring for them as lovingly as any of
their other children! What a blessing you have been to us and to those
Sunday, June 13, 2010
My folks took me to Udall, Kansas, where my Paternal grandparents lived, and I stayed there for two weeks by myself. I loved to be on the farm! I remember shucking corn, watching rabbits (wild ones) and walking what seemed like a far away area where the silo was, and right by the silo was the wheat "crib" that held the crop for that year. In the top room of the crib, Grandpa Clodfelter would let us cousins play in the stored wheat. What fun! In that hot Kansas sun, it felt so good to climb up into the cool wheat. The shade of the building with it's huge open sides to let any available breeze pass through so that the wheat could dry out - gave heavenly relief as we buried ourselves to the neck in the wheat kernels, wiggling our toes and trying to make "wheat angels"! (They didn't work, though!)
The silo itself was constructed of reddish, homemade bricks that my Grandfather made in 1914, when my Dad was 3 years old. I have pieces of that silo, along with a picture of it, in our entryway and I have attached a picture. My Grandparents rarely went anywhere in their car. They loved working on their farm and taking care of their animals. It was not convenient for them to go anywhere, anyway, as my Grandpa's right arm was severed about halfway up his forearm by a engine powered corn husker, when my Dad was 9 years old. He had a hook on his arm, and although he could drive just fine, I don't think he felt really comfortable in that operation! But their friends who lived a few miles away, had horses that they had invited me to ride while I was there, and so we got in the old Model A Ford and drove to pay them a visit.
I had never been on a horse before, but had always dreamed of riding. Of course, my in this dream, everything went perfectly smooth and I was in complete control. Reality presented me with a bit different picture! The owner of the farm brought out a young horse, one that he thought sure was gentle and calm, and I eagerly hopped right up into the saddle. They showed me how to hold the reins and how to get the horse to turn, etc., and off we went, down the long driveway to the West and then turned North on the dirt road. In just a few yards, we passed a place where the bushes were thin and I could see the barn by looking to my right, to the East. What I didn't realize was that Mr. Gentleness could also see that barn, which was his HOME where his MOMMY was!
Suddenly, he bolted to the right, crossed the deep ditch that ran between the road and the farm. He had decided to go back home! I hung on to the saddle horn with all my might, and was able to remain in the saddle as he continued toward the barn. I never saw the heavy wire clothesline ahead. A heavy winter quilt had been hanging on it for several days to air out for summer storage, stretching the wire into a sagging, choking danger. As I continued to glue my hands to the saddle horn, the wire caught me just under my chin! Everything went black, and I don't remember anything until I woke up on the ground several minutes later, with my sweet Grandpa bending over me, crying. When I looked up at him, I thought I was deaf because I couldn't hear his words. HE had thought I was dead; hence the tears. Later he told me that I had broken the wire with my neck (it was obviously the Lord that did that, not my neck!) He said I had stayed on the horse even when unconscious for about 10 yards, then my hands relaxed and I fell to the ground, and the horse continued on to the barn door. As I fell, his back leg kicked me in the forehead.
There were many signs that 1944 was not my time to leave this earth! If the wire had not broken in the center of the line, where it made contact with my neck, it would have broken at the end, in which case it would have whipped around my neck two or three times, probably decapitating me. The kick from the horse could have been fatal by itself! Also, it was a blessing that I had fallen off when I did, as the barn door that beckoned the pony to his home, had the top half closed. It would have struck a hard blow to my torso and face at the same time, knocking me off the rear
of the horse, if I had gone that far.
The ride to the "doctor" is clear in my memory, which means I was fully conscious as soon as I woke up. My grandparents couldn't afford the gas to ride to Wichita, where a licensed Dr. lived, so instead we went to the local midwife. She had no suturing materials, so she couldn't give me the stitches I needed. She simply filled my gaping neck wound with Iodine, the cure-all of the times. Iodine burns badly, especially when it is in an open wound! It was the most painful part of the whole ordeal! However, I do not even have a scar now, which is truly amazing!
On the way to the midwife's home, I pleaded with Grandpa and Grandma to NOT tell my parents, as I knew it would worry them! I guess I thought it would be all healed up and invisible by the end of my two week stay!
More than a year later, in 1945, I once again spent two weeks with my Grandparents. By now they had moved into town, Udall, Kansas, which was the nearest town to their farm.
My grandparents were Methodist, and lived just across the street from their church building. Grandpa was the janitor there, and on Wednesday nights, after prayer meeting, he could always be found putting the chairs away and cleaning the building for the weekend services. On August 14, 1945 was V-J day, the end of WWII. Grandpa and Grandma and I were sitting in their living room, reading scriptures as we did every evening, when we heard that news on the radio. Grandpa pulled on his shoes, told me to come along with him, and we quickly went into the church building and clear up the stairs to the tower! Grandpa started to pull the long rope that was connected to the bell in the tower, then he stopped, picked me up high and told me to pull the rope! I got to be the first one in Udall, Kansas, to ring the bell for the wonderful news that the war was over! I had no idea then, of course, what a momentous occasion that was! I just knew everyone was ecstatic!
I remember many things about my grandparents on both sides, but these two years were the most adventurous stories of my childhood!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Hope you all enjoyed a great Memorial Day! Connie, I didn't get you called to tell you we couldn't be at your barbecue because we were going out of town, to Craig. Thanks so much for inviting us, though!
We had a good time with Lois and Gale for about 2 ½ days. Uncle Gale has a memory that absolutely amazed us! He doesn’t listen well to what Lois says (like most husbands!)……but then, he can’t HEAR well at all, so that’s not surprising! He told Army stories for about two hours to Dad, and they were very interesting, very detailed! He could remember every name of the full names of people he worked with and even was slightly acquainted with during his time in the Army. He had a fantastic scrapbook about 2 ½ inches thick and each one seemed to bring up a great story!
We stopped in GJ and took Aunt Maxine out to lunch because she couldn't make it up to Craig. It was good to see her and she seems really healthy and doing well. Ben couldn't be with us.
I have to tell you a Jackson story! Jack and Natalie brought Jackson over last week in the evening while Jack got a massage from Chuck. I wanted to hold him, and he readily came to me, then laid his little head on my chest/shoulder and just stayed still for the longest time! Jack was amazed! He said he NEVER does that with anyone! Soon there was a noise in the foyer, by the organ, that he needed to investigate, so he sat up and leaned toward the noise. I tried to help him by lifting him closer to the door where he could see better. He immediately threw himself back against my chest and melded into me again! Again, he didn’t move for a long time! Everytime he thought he was going to lose his place there, he melted into me again! It was so darling, and absolutely and completely won my heart, of course! He stayed on my lap most of the rest of the time they were here.
Now a Gabriel story. Ryanne had all six kids in the car and as they rode, two of them started arguing and not talking very nice to each other. She said “Hey, is that the way we talk to each other?” One of them said something like, “well, I guess it is!”
Ryanne immediately replied “Not MY kids!”
Gabe quickly blurted out “You have KIDS?" and then in a very disgusted voice.."Why, you two timer!!” His humor is just so very different! Of course, that ended all tension in the car and everyone laughed together!
Another time, when Ryanne was just finished doing her one-day-a-week literature class at the little Christian school where her kids go and Gabe was with her, a married couple came in the school to inspect things and see if they wanted to have their kids go there. As they opened the door and peeked in to be sure they weren’t interrupting anything, Ry said, “Come on in!” And Gabe assured them, “Yeah, it’s OK. She doesn’t have a gun!” Ry could have died, but it was funny, nevertheless! When we stopped by their one day we saw a barefooted Gabe at the top of their city lamp pole at the corner of their yard. It is a black, slick pole. When he got down, I said, “Gabe how do you get up there?” He said, “I just lick my hands and then wipe them on my feet so they will stick better!” I told Ryanne about what he said, and she assured me she could have gone the rest of her life with having that visualization! He’s such a character!
Congratulations to our Brennen John! A mission call to Dallas Texas! I told him he will absolutely love the people and of course, they will love him! They are so friendly, or at least they were when we were there. It's a good thing, because the weather is NOT so friendly!! Has anyone heard from CJ? I am writing him an email today, wrote to JJ last week. JJ wrote a really nice letter on emaill, too.
This coming Monday and Wednesday will find our Jack and Mary another year older. Happy Birthday, you two! Ronnie just had a birthday, and Nikki, Shane Ford, Alaina, Kemarie and Rebecca all follow closely. Of course, if we go into the GREAT grandchildren, I probably don't have them all listed on my b.d. calendar. I do know Audrey Hart and Hyrum Wheeler and Tyler Hart all have their special days this month. I'm sure there are others this month. Everyone have a great celebration!
Aunt Maxine will be 86 on the 1st of July, same as Glenn's birthday. I really have a hard time thinking of her as being that old! Aunt Lois will turn 85 in November. All of your Dad/Gpa's and my generation is right up there in the top 3/4 of the century mark! Incredible.
We hope you will all come to the breakfast at DATC on the 3rd of July (Sat.) and tell them you are with the Whickers, 'cause Gpa is paying for all of us. Thanks, Gramps!
Glenn, we are praying for you as you approach this operation. I surely do hope that this ends at least most of the pain for you.
We love you all
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Yesterday was a supercalifragilistic day, following a great weekend.
Sunday, the chapel in Farmington was absolutely packed for C.J.'s farewell. Dad/Gpa and I counted around 60 from our family, and then there were all the Lindsey's besides many, many friends. C.J. gave such a great talk; we were all very uplifted by it. He will make such a great missionary! This morning, Rachael, Colten, Jacci, Buddy and his Rachel, and Bradley, the boys' cousin, all took him to the MTC and I hear that it was quite a tear-jerker when they parted! I know that C.J. is very excited for his mission, but this is his first time away from home, so it will be difficult in that way, at least for awhile. Let's flood him with letters....I'll send the address as soon as I get it.
Glenn, Pam, Katie and Lyndsey came on Saturday and we had a wonderful visit with them. RJ and David came to share that time for awhile Sat. night. Then Jami and James and their two little gals came on Sunday, and Alison. Perris couldn't make it. Connie and all of her children and grandchildren (except Mary, who only came to the farewell, and Richie, Jessica and Sierra) came over after the farewell, so we had quite a houseful! Rachael also came for awhile...we were so glad she was able to make it on such a busy day for her. It was a lot of noisy joy!
Yesterday (Wednesday) Spencer, Christopher and Colten all needed some assistance with their cars, so we got to see them all in one day! Grandpa enjoyed working with them all, and I enjoyed just visiting. Colten got a massage from Chuck while he was here and loved that, of course! Spencer was here too early for a massage. Spence brought us some brownies that he had made, and they were delicious. Very chocolaty (chocolatey? -- I know, there's no such word.) We missed seeing Jacci and Jessica. One more month (or less) and we'll get to meet little Brooklyn Ann Campbell!
In the evening, Jack, Natalie and Jackson came over for awhile. Jackson is just so cute that Jack can hardly stand it! (Natalie too, I'm sure, but she just doesn't say as much!) When I held him, he laid his head on my chest and just stayed there, calm and content! I thought it was because he was still sleepy from his nap in the car, but whenever I would move him a bit, he would glue himself right back to me and never let me separate us for at least half an hour! Jack says he never does that....lays so quietly and calmly and cuddly for so long! Natalie says he likes her Mom to cuddle with him, too, but not for that long! I was quite honored, as you might guess!! What an adorable 7 month old! I told them they have to come at least once a week now, because he is nearing the age where he may be a little afraid of strangers, so I want him to continue being familiar with who I am! He also sat on Grandpa's knee (Grandpa's usual baby-holding position) for quite a while, completely content and mellow!
Rea Jo and Anna came, too. I helped Anna a bit with a song she wants to play for her class today and RJ also "accepted" a massage!
So thanks, everyone for sharing your time and love with us.
Chuck is doing well in his school, learning a lot. He loves to have the practice of doing the actual massages, so please come on over if you would like one. Rebecca will be here in June for about a week. She'll get to experience a Kaysville 4th of July. Maybe some others will get to be with us, too. Fred and Penny, we hope you will come! I think Richie and his family will be here, right? WHICH REMINDS ME: Don't forget that Grandpa pays for all of you at the Kaysville breakfast. If you don't see us there in line, just tell them you are with the Whickers, as we will have already paid........assuming you won't be too early! We usually get there around 8:30 or 9:00. Call us if you aren't sure what the status is when you get there.
I believe Rachael Maria is planning to be here for the 4th, also. We'll all get to meet their new baby girl, too! It will be a great summer, and FULL of new babies! We are praying for all of you Mommies who will be experiencing that this year...........oh, and next year, too! (I won't tell you who that is, as she may want to tell you herself).
Love you all oodles!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Do you all realize how many very, very good mothers we have in our family alone??!! How thankful I am for all of you!
In was so impressed with the talk that "someone" gave at General Conference....I was almost asleep, and don't remember the person who said it....but I think it might have been Pres. Monson.....and he said that the women in the church are to lead, not to be led by other women of the world. For some reason that really struck me. And it brought the memory of a story I thought I'd share, in honor of those women in our family who are leading by example and obedience. This story has to do more with confidence than leading, but there is a link between the two, I think.
When we were in the Air Force and had not yet begun studying the gospel, I was invited to join the NCO Wives Club. I've never been a "joiner", but for some reason I decided to give this a try. So, I went to the first meeting. I was 23 years old, pregnant with my fifth child. Everyone there was dressed very nicely in fashionable clothes and beautiful hair styles. I probably wasn't as strange looking as I felt, but my clothes were at least 6 years old, because I know I had not purchased any new clothes until quite awhile after we were married (when I was 17). Being pregnant with my fifth child seemed to cause quite a stir among several women, and I didn't feel anything positive from them! I felt frumpy, out of style and completely unknowledgeable compared with the conversation that they shared with each other.
Well, you can guess that I decided I probably didn't fit in there! I lacked confidence anywhere at that time, and only felt worse in this group.
We began studying with the missionaries shortly thereafter. I think you all probably already know that it took us a long time....four months of very intense studying and praying. -- before we were baptized.. Your Dad/Gpa was converted long before I was. I had to prove everything by prayer AND the New Testament, since I wasn't sure about the Book Of Mormon yet. (That's another story, though!) Everything was definitely there, in the New Testament, but it did take a lot of studying.
Anyway, by the time that we were baptized, I guess I knew more of what my life's purpose was and who I was. I didn't realize that I had really changed in my feelings about myself that much until I went to my second meeting of the NCO Wives Club......(don't ask, I cannot imagine why I went to the second meeting!) It had been several months, and I think they were still trying to recruit me. The surprise was that all the time I was there this time, I had NO feelings of inadequacy, frumpiness, unstylishness or lack of intelligence! But my eyes were now open and it was clear to me now that the things these women talked about, that I didn't know anything about - were mostly very shallow and not much worth learning! I didn't feel "above" them in any way, but I was just surprised that I hadn't been aware of this before! Without casting any shadow on them, I have to say that they were still, without realizing it, women of the world. I had no interest in spending time with them when my time was such a rare treasure, in which I could study and read and learn! I wished that I could share the gospel with them, but I was way too young and shy and as yet unprepared to do that.
Thank you, all of you, who are so valiant in your leadership! Your role as mothers, friends, wives and sisters and daughters will have much more lasting value than you can realize now.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I had a philosophy professor who was the quintessential eccentricphilosopher. His disheveled appearance was highlighted by a well-worntweed sport coat and poor-fitting thick glasses, which often rested onthe tip of his nose. Every now and the, as most philosophy professors do,he would go off on one of those esoteric and existential "what's themeaning of life" discussions. Many of those discussions went nowhere, butthere were a few that really hit home. This was one of them:"Respond to the following questions by a show of hands," my professorinstructed. "How many of you can tell me something about your parents?"Everyone's hand went up.
"How many of you can tell me something about your grandparents?" Aboutthree-fourths of the class raised their hands.
"How many of you can tell me something about your great-grandparents?"Two out of sixty students raised their hands.
"Look around the room," he said. "In just two short generations hardlyany of us even know who our own great-grandparents were. Oh sure, maybewe have an old, tattered photograph tucked away in a musty cigar box orknow the classic family story about how one of them walked 5 miles toschool barefoot. But how many of us really know who they were, what theythought, what they were proud of, what they were afraid of, or what theydreamed about? Think about that. Within three generations our ancestorsare all but forgotten. Will this happen to you?
"Here's a better question. Look ahead three generations. You are longgone. Instead of you sitting in this room, now it's yourgreat-grandchildren. What will they have to say about you? Will they knowabout you? Or will you be forgotten, too? "Is your life going to be a warning or an example?
"What legacy will you have? The choice is yours. Class dismissed."Nobody rose from their seat for a good five minutes.
Friday, April 30, 2010
As we drove along a country road in Missouri, passing one of the sparsely spaced homes, Dad said, "Oh, look, they've got a white cross in their back yard. Do you suppose someone was killed at that spot?" When I looked, I realized there were TWO crosses! For a split moment I thought they must have lost 2 family member there.....then I realized there was a wire between the two crosses....it was a clothesline!! I guess it has been a long time since we saw one of those!
We happened to be going along a highway in Missouri that was close to a Mennonite settlement, and right at the time that they were going home from church. Their route consisted of mostly the side roads, but they had to use the paved highway for about a mile to get to the other side of the road, so we saw about four buggies full of families, the ladies all dressed in their long black dresses and bonnets. It was a neat sight!
We needed a gas station, and our GPS told us there was a Shell in about a mile. We were looking for it at what seemed to be kind of a main crossroad, and found that it had been there, but was now closed. It seemed very appropriate to have it missing when we saw the name of the crossroad..........a sign that declared that we were visiting Dysfunction Junction!
Well I’m Back and will try to write another episode of my flying career.
I think I will go back to the busy year of 1960. I really don’t remember exactly the chronological order of these experiences but just the year.
The worst earthquake and tsunami, they say in the history of the world, but I would say the known history of the world as I don’t think they have any way of knowing the whole history.
We were still stationed at Dover AFB in Delaware and I was still flying the C-124 though later in the year I changed assignments to the C-133. We loaded up with relief supplies for Puerto Monte, Chile in Houston and had crew rests in Lima, Peru and Santiago, Chile. Another crew would continue on at each stop and we would pick up the next A/C coming through then we would shuttle between Santiago and Puerto Monte with that A/C for the rest of the time we were on that mission or till they would rotate the A/C back to the states, then after several missions we would then return to the States as other crews were worked into the system. We were amazed on our first flight into Puerto Monte to find only a 7000 ft. 150 ft wide concrete strip up and a plateau above the town with no taxiways or even a paved road connected to it. They had just recently poured the runway and for the first flight in there; they had to remove the hay and straw that they had covered it with to prevent the concrete from drying too fast. We were the first flight in that day so we landed and taxied to the end where we turned crosswise to the runway and opened our clam shell doors in the front, let down the ramps (which you could drive truck transports in or out on) and also we had an elevator in the rear of the cargo compartment with which they could also load and unload cargo. As they started unloading us another C-124 came in over the top of ours and went to the other end, turned crosswise and started unloading; he had not been on the ground very long and a third A/C landed over the top him and taxied down next to ours and did the same, then another A/C (All C-124s) Landed over the two of us and went down by the one on the other end….we had 4 C-124s on the ground at the same time. After we were all offloaded the third A/C to land took off over the top of the two at our end, then the one next to us took off going the other way over the on A/C left at that end then the next one off had to go over only one and the last had the whole runway left to themselves. It was a very interesting operation and that went on for many days. After the first day we just shuttled back and forth and rested in Santiago. There were other crews shuttling between Lima and Santiago and other crews from the States to Lima. The A/C would come in loaded to Lima change crews go right on to Santiago pick up a new crew who would take the load to Puerto Monte and bring the A/C back empty where crew would take it to Lima and another crew take it on back to the States, or wherever for another load. I don’t know exactly how long this operation lasted but I believe that we were out over 2 weeks before we came back to the states with a layover in Lima.
That was the operation: Very interesting in itself but I was starting to really confident as an experienced Flight Engineer. We had a few mechanical problems during that time. One was the Auto Pilot went out and the pilots were upset, it turns out that one C-124 had a gear collapse on landing and they had it setting off on the side of the runway; I grabbed the 2nd Engineer, we went over and took the box out of the crippled A/C and exchanged ours and luckily we had an A/P back. The Pilots were ecstatic! In fact, as I recall, I robbed quite a few small things from that broken C-124 over the time we were there. We called that cannibalizing, or midnight requisitioning; even though in this case we did it in broad daylight.
Another interesting thing about that trip was that I was only a staff sergeant. And my 2nd engineer was a master sergeant. He had just recently transferred to MATS (Military Air Transport Service) from SAC (Strategic Air Command) I was a bit intimidated at first as I thought he might be the most experienced but it didn’t take long to find out that while he had been flying for almost 20 years that he had very little actual flying time. In SAC he was on the KC-97 in flight re-fueler; they got a lot of pre-flight experience but then they would sit in the bunker waiting for an alert; they would live in that bunker for several days. They would go out daily to check the A/C over, get it ready to go and then maybe set there on alert for a week or so, when they would rotate to time off for awhile. It turned out that he had only a couple of thousand hours flying time during that 20 years. All of us in Mats who had been flying for any time, at all, had much more experience as we were getting a thousand hours each year flying all over the world with little maintenance support, while on the road, other that the Flight Engineers. When we came back to the States I was working the panel on our descent into Houston when I felt a little nibble on the #3 throttle and since I had experienced that before I informed the AC that we would probably be laying over there as we had blown and exhaust stack on that engine; everybody on board Laughed thinking there was no way I could know that but it proved to be so and we had to wait for the parts before the mechanics could get us back on the road. It was interesting that when we got back to the States the other engineer informed me that he had learned more on that one trip than he had learned in all his previous years on the KC. Several years later I had the same experience here in the Utah Air Guard while we were shooting touch and goes at the SLC airport. As soon as I felt it I told the AC that we had better stay on the ground as we had blown a stack; he didn’t want to quit but finally stopped as I strongly insisted. The other Engineer who was one of our veteran check airman went out on the wing to look at the engine while it was still at idle and was amazed to find that I was correct, so that training flight was over for the night. It was very easy for him to confirm the problem in the dark.
I am going to have to finish this story at this point; I have been without this computer all week as they were building up a new lap top for me which is finished now but I don’t have all the stuff transferred to it; Jeff is going to help me with that tomorrow and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back to this project, so I’m going to send this before it gets lost or something in the shuffle.
I do want to say that I am ever grateful for the time I spent in the AF. I wasn’t much of a military type person but I certainly got some good training and experience which enabled me to make a descent living for many years.
I do wish I had been a better tourist and seen more of the world than just from the air; I had plenty of opportunities but just didn’t enjoy playing to tourist by myself; I thought maybe I’d be interested later when Mom could be with me but by the time I hung up my BIG wings I was not interested in traveling anymore and Mom doesn’t feel like it either; it won’t be long now till we’ll be able to go anyplace desire without wings!
Till Next Time
I am finally getting around with another installment of some of my interesting experiences; they were to me anyway. They may not be for many of you.
1960 was a bang up year for the M.A.T.S. (Military Air Transport Service) Here are some of the operations I was personally involved in; The Cuban Crisis, The Congo uprising against the Belgians, and the worst earthquake in the known history of the world in Puerto Monte Chile. I think I will start with the Congo.
I really got to see a lot of the world that year. We started for the Congo by picking up some troops in Tripoli, Libya who had been bivouacked beside the runway for 2 weeks waiting for transport to Leopoldville, Congo now called Kinshasa, We took them as far as Kano, Nigeria where we went into crew rest and another crew took them on down to the Congo. We let the ramps down on the old C-124 (It wasn’t very old at that time) for them to come on board which was much faster than if they had climbed up through the crew entrance behind the nose wheel. The poor loadmaster took the brunt of the punishment that whole leg of the trip as those troops were extremely Ripe, they had wool uniforms in that hot desert country. We, in the cockpit, quickly closed the door between us and the cargo compartment, we should have done it before they started loading. It is hard to explain but it was a truly traumatic experience and our eyes ran profusely!
Since it was so hot there on the ground I figured I would do them a favor and not turn on any heat, whatsoever, as we climbed out to 10,000 feet where we planned to cruise, as that is as high as you can legally fly without oxygen for everybody. (The C-124) was not pressurized) We were leveled off at altitude and getting comfortable, when I received a call on the interphone from the Loadmaster that they needed some heat back there. When the troops boarded they had been given some box lunches to eat in flight, which they already had done. They had decided it was too cold and had piled all those cardboard boxes in the middle of the floor, while the Loadmaster wasn’t looking, (I expect he was staying as far as he could from the sweat odor) and built a fire to get warm!! Needless to say I obliged. The scary thing about that is that the floor of that A/C was heavy duty plywood.
We got past that problem and by the time we got to Kano the A/C was really a mess! None of those troops except maybe the little Lt. had ever been anyplace civilized so when they used the urinals which just gravity drained out into the slip stream they had used the toilet paper nearby having been told to use it after using the toilet. By the time we got to Kano they had totally plugged all 5 or 6 of the urinals which had run over onto the floor; sometimes a language barrier can be messy! That whole A/C smelled worse than any pig sty that I’d ever seen or smelled by the time we landed.
None of that group spoke a bit of English except for the little Lt. and he could barely understand. He spoke French to the troops. After we landed the Loadmaster made sure that the little Lt. kept all on board till that whole deck had been hosed down and all the urinals etc. emptied and cleaned. We in the cockpit got out of there ASAP after we shut down. The relationship of that little Lt. and the men was amazing. All of the troops were big men, yet the Lt. treated them like dirt; he would be jabbering something to them in French and then suddenly back hand of them and walk off; the strange thing for us was that any one of them could have knocked his block off if they wanted to. I guess some of those people have been mistreated their whole lives and just accept whatever happens to them.
We spent a couple of weeks shuttling between Kano Nigeria and/or Accra Ghana and Leopoldville. All of the A/C kept shuttling back and forth with mostly military supplies and equipment. I really took a special liking to those Ghanaians; they were very smart and well educated as the British did well by them; the British were just starting to give them their independence at that time. I was told that their literacy rate was higher than the U.S at the time. Just as an aside I will jump forward 20 years to the 80s when I went back to Nigeria and Ghana again. During that 20 or so years the Government had been taken over by a dictators; the first being Kwame Nkrumah and the comparison was incredible! They had been ravished by several, or almost continual civil wars and Military Coups for most of that time. The beautiful hotels and the city in general instead of being in excellent condition with happy educated people all around had reverted to almost tribal conditions…Air conditioning didn’t work. Water was unsafe to drink. The comparison was enough to make one want to cry.
We had two interesting experiences during that tour. I’m not sure which order these came in but the first I’ll mention was In Accra. We were taxiing out for Take off, from a crowded parking area. The natives were awed by that big C-124. They had stadium seating around the parking of area which was jam packed with spectators. As we were taxiing out of that crowded area it was my turn to watch for the clearance of the wing tips from the top hatch. The Engineers swapped duties for each flight. The other Engineer was making that T/O and watching the wing clearance while taxiing was my job. The flight engineers swapped duties and made every other Take off and landing, it was my turn in the top hatch as the other Engineer was making this takeoff. The clearance on some light standards around the stadium was very close so we had wing walkers, also watching the clearance. They signaled me that we should stop so I told the AC to hold it, so he hit the brakes but for some reason he hit the right one first which made the left wing which was the one close to the problem; which sent that wing forward faster and the left wing heater climbed that pole, stopped and settled down impaled with the pole sticking up through the forward part of the heater with about a foot sticking through. I must say that colorful crowd was very impressed! I went out on the wing, inspected it and realized that actually no serious damage had been done to the heater and we really didn’t need wing heat in Africa during the summer anyway. We had them round up a hack saw and I had a native cut the pole off below the heater, then since we had no sheet metal people available we used speed tape to patch the holes and were off the ground within about an hour. As far as I know that A/C shuttled back and forth with that speed tape till it rotated back to the States. Several countries were represented during that operation, in fact I was able to get close to a Russian IL-18 A/C which was about the size of our DC-6; I was amazed that they hadn’t developed flush rivets yet when that A/C was built. Their crew wouldn’t let us go into the airplane (I guess it was still top secret) actually I don’t think they wanted us to know just how outdated and crude it was. We took them on a tour of the C-124. Speed tape was a wonderful thing and has even been known to get big jets back home after a bird strike knocking a hole in the leading edge of a wing without peeling loose; it is just heavy aluminum tape that is extremely sticky.
On one of those shuttles to Leopoldville we had and expander tube which is what actuated the brake shoes against the brake drum burst on landing at Leopoldville. We were able to stop with prop reversal but it was not safe to taxi and they had to tow us off the runway over to the terminal. The AC (Aircraft Commander) asked me how long it would take us to get the problem repaired to which I responded that it would depend on how quickly they could get the part to us. We decided to go get a bite to eat in the, very, new terminal before we made any decisions. We had heard some rifle fire outside the perimeter of the airport on our way into the terminal but were not very concerned. The restaurant area was on the 2nd floor. We, engineers, were following the pilots up the stairs when I noticed a few of the banister supports had been hit by bullets which had broken them, then I noticed that the wall had numerous bullet holes and blood splatters covering it; I caught up the AC and told him to go ahead and file his flight plan and that we would have the A/C ready to go by the time he was ready.
I then found the Major who was the acting Maintenance Officer and had him find me some plumbing type plugs for the hydraulic line which fed the brake lines, which he did. I plugged the line but then we needed to re-service the hydraulic reservoir which, if I remember correctly, required 20 to 30 gallons of fluid. I also informed him that we would have to run each inboard engine up to 1800 RPM to bleed the pumps and system. He had the AC towed over to the maintenance area for that operation. When I got there I noticed that he had the tail of the AC pointing directly toward his maintenance office which was attached to the side of the hanger. He had the main tires backed up right to the edge of the concrete ramp and there were several feet of pure sand behind them. I suggested that we should probably tow to another area and explained the 1800 RPM again; he got a bit irritated with me and let me know that he was the maintenance officer and that is where he wanted us; I just shrugged my shoulder and said “Yes Sir!” He had recently purchased a practically new Studebaker Hawk, and had it parked in front of the maintenance office, from one of the exiting Belgians who was anxious to get out of the war zone. I’m sure he had gotten a steal of a deal. We had his maintenance men pour the fluid into the reservoir. The other engineer got in the seat and I put on a headset and went out into the #2 nacelle, established communication with him and he started up the engine and put it up to the required 1800 RPM. I loosened the output line from the Hydraulic pump and bled the air out, tightened it back up and shuttled through the wing tunnel, fuselage and into the # 3 nacelle where we repeated the process. We shut everything down and I came down out of the nacelle over the landing gear. As I hit the ground I was met by an exceedingly disgruntled Major running up saying something which I really couldn’t understand and probably wouldn’t have wanted to. When he got settled down a bit he was irate because due to the door being open to his office the hurricane winds from the props had papers strung all over the place and the room was full of SAND and it was my FAULT! I kinda chuckled and reminded him that I had suggested that we move the airplane before we ran the engines. We walked back to investigate the damage and saw a sickening sight; That beautiful Studebaker Hawk had absolutely no paint on the side that had been toward the airplane. We had done a good job of sand blasting it right down to the bare metal! I suspect that Major had a tendency after that to pay more attention to suggestions from some of the old Sergeants floating around.
In regards to my job I really enjoyed 1960 except that I was gone from home for several long stretches of time.
This is becoming way too long for one setting so I will continue the Cuban Crisis and Chile Earthquake in a later edition.
I LOVE YOU ALL