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Archive for the ‘Indiana’ Category

No dog of Pavlov has been more profoundly imprinted than the neighbor of Byron and Anne and daughter Wendy. (Those from the neighborhood, none of whom read this blog, as far as I can tell, will remember their last name. It’s not important here.) He and Wendy were born the same year. The dau was nice enough, but there was never any “chemistry” between the two. And though her mother never knew, as far back as he can remember, his first lasting impression of a woman who was not his mother or 12-years-older sister was a young married woman named Anne. She was the first really beautiful adult woman he met. Anne would come over for coffee some mornings in the really early years when both were stay-at-home moms. No movie actress resembled her and vice versa. Doris Day was of the same “carriage” (height, movement) and Dinah Shore (“See the USA in your Chev-ro-let”) had her voice; a patient, mellow, mid-range that never squeaked and never rasped. It was as smooth as mink. Sometime, during the early years of his life, Anne’s young neighbor three doors south made up his mind that he was going to marry a woman named Anne. He never confessed this to a living hummin’ bean.

He didn’t have to go out with women named Anne. The first Ann he met who was his age was Anne Kessler, and she was vivacious and easy on the eyes, but he never asked her out. They were in junior high home room together, and probably a few classes too. During high school he dated around, always hoping to find and go out with someone attractive named “Anne with an e” but never searching for anyone named “Anne with an e” and still having a pretty good time, Almost anyone named Linda was great company, he learned.  The closest he came Anne was Jo Anne Walusek when both attended college.  She was from Chicago. It didn’t work out. Summer happened, and they never reconnected.

He was also smitten with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, famous poet, wife of New York-to-Paris aviator Charles. He read her poetry and Listen, the Wind, a book about flying with her husband.

He came close to getting married only twice: to a woman from Hobart, Indiana who had moved to Springfield and a woman who lived on Peoria Street in Lincoln, Illinois. Both were named Ellen.

That name might have worked for him and marriage, but he seems to have given his “man-soul” to a Mary Ann whom he loved passionately and reasonably well, but who would not consent to marrying him despite his hanging on like a breathless swimmer to a twig of hope in the middle of the Pacific.  He would make a new man-soul for Anne; maybe purchase one at a Salvation Army Re-Soul Store. Maybe return to the “faith of our fathers, living still.”

He’s still looking for a woman named Anne today. True, he’s not dated for years, more than he cares to admit. In his current employment circumstance, sans significant cash, sans significant future, despite generally acute powers of the mind demonstrable in journalism, verse and song, and a modicum of regard by those who still know him in his town.  Some would say he’s too OLD to get married, but he doesn’t believe it. A fellow misses the companionship which he used to consider akin to a hankering for Vlasic Mini-Dill Pickles or a thirst for Wild Turkey. He misses the wisdom, the aroma, the affirmation, the laughter, the validation of what he is. He’s still looking for a woman named Anne to complete his destiny, but he’s decided to stack the cards in his favor at this late phase of the game, so to speak. Today, he’s not looking for just any garden variety Anne, the kind who would walk a mile for a quart of gin and a pack of Camels . . . . or thinks Ezra Pound was a great poet. He’s looking for the ULTIMATE Anne, and what kind of woman is that, you may wonder?

He’s looking for a woman named Anne . . . who is looking for a man named Job.

Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.

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When I took the last sip of Carlo Rossi Burgundy in the duplex I was renting in about 1989, I had no inkling that I”d have that bottle with me in a duplex I owned 22 years later. It moved when I moved: from 326 S. MacArthur to 521 S. Glenwood to 1213 Interlacken to 428 W. Vine, and today it moved to my WELCOME Room office of AeroKnow Museum at the airport.a bottle of good cents

a bottle of good cents

It came to the airport  because the thought of someone breaking into my home and stealing this investment of time and memories was more than I wanted to live with. At best the burglar would have taken it. At worst, he or she would have dropped it to the floor from where it sat on my bedroom chest of drawers since 1997 and left me to filter the valued metal alloy from the shards of broken glass — pretty much what I’ve been doing recently, metaphorically speaking, as I approach the big SIX FIVE.

It came to the airport also because putting every penny I brought home from purchases here and there was not filling the bottle fast enough for me. I was determined that I would not go to a bank and exchange a $20 bill for the equivalent in pennies. That would be cheating.

At this time in the blog I concede there is nothing artistic about the process, I do not intend to write a poem or folksong about it, proclaim the name of Cheeses (when I talk to myself I call myself Cheeses as in CHEESES, that was stupid of me!), talk about restaurants, silver dollars,  Facebook, how much I love Chicago or Fort Monroe or Ft. Wayne, Indiana or Manitowoc, or the Shymansky family (my sister Dorothy’s side) Johnny Appleseed or Vachel Lindsay, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and yardcare. I’ve been ticking off these items on my categories list so I can suggest to readers this post is about them . . . . . and thus court additional readers who pay attention to blogs when these categories are mentioned. NOW . . . . . . . where was I?

the bottle and the barefoot boy with cheek of tan

Oh, yes, I remember. . . . The photograph of the boy behind the bottle is of the same boy ahead of it when the picture above was taken.  If I was three years old, the year was 1950. I will post more about the picture as I approach September 5. Suffice to say now that I show that picture to darn near every visitor to AeroKnow Museum. My goal, starting this morning, is to give visitors who don’t care to share heavy dough-re-mi with the museum will lighten their pockets of pennies. I want to fill this the bottle by my birthday.

There’s a nearby donation jar for those who care to be extra-nice with larger coins and folding money.

So if you find yourself of mind and spirit to see this bombastic enterprise in the weeks ahead, please bring pennies. The dollars . . . . almost . . . . won’t . . . . matter.

Live long . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and proper.

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After I shared the news — at Honey and Quinine and my AeroKnow Museum blog — of my interest in learning about John Thornton Walker, Richard and Connie Strouse, key contributors to what I shared about him in my book Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing wrote me to correct some information.

Richard and Connie will visit Springfield to deliver and donate to AeroKnow Museum a 63 lb brass plaque displayed for decades at Fort Monroe, Virginia. It was presented by General Mark Clark and dedicated to John Thornton Walker when Walker Army Airstrip was dedicated after World War II. General Mark Clark, who was a frequent passenger flown by Walker during the Allied campaign in Italy presented the plaque at the dedication. 

Walker’s wife Geraldine (Gerri) was from Indiana and lived in Springfield during the time she was married to John. They had one child, Connie, and following John’s death in Italy,  Gerri returned to her home state with Connie. Walker is buried at a cemetery in Washington, Indiana.

I am writing a book, probably about 100 pages long, that will share the story of John Thornton Walker. Needed for this book are photos, memories of him during his life in Springfield, in the Illinois Army National Guard and his regular Army service. I intend to have all but the final chapter written, at least in a draft, when Richard and Connie come from their home in Delaware to  Springfield later this year to see John’s city almost 70 years after Walker said goodbye, never to return.  The final chapter will be about the Strouse’s’ visit to John’s home town. 

If I can find a publisher for the book, it will be available from the publisher. If I cannot find a publisher, I will publish it under auspices of AeroKnow Museum, the first of what I hope with be a series of books and/or pamphlets about important Springfield area aviation people.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

If you have photos and information to share about John Thornton Walker please call me — 217-544-6122 — or leave a comment following this post. Because I am administrator of this blog, I will see your e-mail address and will respond to your comment.

The book will be written

Thanks for your help.

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