Friday, August 12, 2011


What better introduction to my childhood than this Top Gun video? Before Tom Cruise my dad was the original Maverick~ who really flies their daughter under the Golden Gate bridge? (this was way back in the early 60's when it was alright to do crazy). Actually, I think this was the first story Jeff heard about my childhood from Al... welcome to the family!  Jeff incrediously asked, really? To which I replied, "Hasn't everyone?"
I think, this is one of Jeff's fav stories. As a result of this story and in celebration of my independent spirit Jeff created an original acryilic painting entitled flygirl.

My dad was a private pilot. It was nothing for him and mom to ask each other on the spur of moment, "What do you want to do tonight? O, let's fly down to Palm Springs and watch Louis Prima and have a great dinner!" I had logged in hundreds of hours of air time before I even arrived! Growing up I just wanted to have normal childhood weekends; sleep-overs with my girlfriends, playing Barbie....
Two of dad's best friends were North and Jones~ the trio were inseparable. Jones' brother-in-law, Nieson, was the manager of the San Jose airport and had a ranch in Livermore where we would have WWI private fly-in weekends. I thought, growing up, that everyone had this lifestyle. Looking back it was an extraordinary adventure that I wouldn't trade for anything. And, while these planes were restored beautifully, riding in them? Afterwards, felt like you had been attached to a personal jackhammer~ a small price for the luxury of flying in the seat of history.

 Rotary-type engine on Nieson's WWI Tommy Morris.

Nieson doing a fly-by (on his private field) in his Tommy Morris.

    North, Dad & Jones having a honk.

Art in front of a WWI Stearman. Restored.
Nieuport, WWI French fighter plane.

Nieuport, WWI French fighter plane, up close.

WWI Stearman Trainer. Restored, up close.

Nieson's WWI vintage restored Tommy Morris.

Cockpit of 1916 Spad. I loved flying in this plane on dad's lap as a very little girl!

J.F. flying his 1916 Spad~ only original Spad still flying.
Bette in front of WWI Spad.

Art in front of J.F.'s restored 1916 Spad. Restoration cost on Spad
$50,000 (almost 40 years ago).

My romance with flying that began even before I was aware of the meaning of the word continues....
While cataloging photographs to be placed into new albums I came across these fly-ins and thought I would share some of them with you.


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