I am sitting in my grandfathers den right now, surrounded by mementoes of his lifetime. The wall are covered with photographs, mainly of aviation, but some of family as well. In one corner are photos of my father and uncle, twins. I think there are equal numbers of photos of each one. Fishing, wrestling, canoeing, playing football. Moving around the room clockwise are photos of people he worked with at Allison, photo collages of his work with the Central Indiana Soaring Society. Pictures of he and General Scott, who flew one of my grandfather’s P-40 fighter planes over Burma, with their arms around one another like two pals whose greatest accomplishment’s in life made a significant mark on American (& world) history. A mounted bass above the closet door. Then comes my favorite part. An 18×24″ framed photo of my grandfather, as a teenager, posing with the glider he built by hand. The next photo over is him in flight with his brother holding the wing steady until he gained a few feet of altitude.
Framed documents for the national air & space museum, Sons of the American Revolution, a diary page from the Wright Brothers (duplicate), then several photos of miscellaneous aircraft that were important to him in one way or another. Then comes one of his favorite…his patent for a veined diffusuer to be used on aircraft jet engines…the P33 shooting star if I remember correctly. The remainder of that wall is his desk. I’ll get back to that in a little while.
To my left hang framed photos of several P-40 flying tigers, the warplane that was finally built because of the gain in horsepower from his design innovations back in the early 1940s. His days in the nation’s last calvary unit can be traced by the photos of his horse, “Brownie”, his unit in formation, cannons being loaded & shot in field exercises in and around Ft. Bliss in the late 1930s.
Finally is a column of photos that he cared for as much as anything else in the room…The Voayger’s non-stop, non refueled flight around the world by Jeana Yeager and Dick Rutan in 1986, a year before I graduated high school. Multiple signed photos, plaques, Stamps, and letters of thanks for his support in the project.
There is more in this room, much, much more. The photos only scratch the surface of the man he once was. I found a letter from me to him that I wrote when I was 9 years old. In it, I write that he still hasn’t answered all of the questions that I had. The very last line of the letter is, “When are you coming back?”
I miss him terribly. Papa, you still havn’t answered all of my questions. When are you coming back?