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Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

USAF Museum
at Wright Patterson Air Force Base
Dayton, Ohio

I love this museum! I’ve been to it quite a few times. I love to see my old favorite planes and exhibits and there’s always something new, or anyway, new to me, that I missed in previous trips.

The Air Force Museum gives a history of flight, a history of the use of flight in the United States military and a war history as well, in a tangible way. You see the planes, get an actual feel for the size and the power. It makes the historical lessons more meaningful. It just makes the more fascinating.

I remember the shock and wide eyes as I covered my mouth the first time I saw “The Strawberry Bitch” with it’s scantly clad strawberry blonde pinup girl painted on its side when I was ten years old. I remember the same looks from Rina and Tori when we took them there when they were four! But there is one trip there of which I have the fondest memory.

In 1990, I made my solo trip down south, where I made the acquaintance that encouraged me to go to broadcasting school. I head “Georgia On My Mind” on the radio as I was crossing into Ohio on the way home, as I was leaving Dixie. It choked me up! But I wasn’t going all the way to Michigan that day, Thursday. The plan was to stay in Dayton and spend a half day at the Air Force Museum before going the rest of the way home. I was the first time I’d been to the USAF museum on a weekday. Any other time before or since, I’d been on a Saturday or Sunday. What a privilege it ended up being to go on Friday!

To start with, it was much quieter than I’d ever seen it at the open of the day. It wa summer time, so there were some tourists, families on vacation. And there was me, just me. I enjoyed getting to pass some of the exhibits I’d seen so may times but were the ones I enjoyed less in favor of spending more time really reading and studying the things that the groups I’d been with had nt enjoyed as much. The best, absolutely the best, part that day was checking out the World War 2 planes! You see, weekday mornings are when the local men who flew those planes get together! I as there, alone, granddaughter aged and interested. Talk about bell of the ball!

My new adopted grandfathers for the day were all too willing, all too pleased and proud to tell their war stories an the tales of camaraderie from the war days. Showing me planes that were the models they flew, sometimes listening to a conversation amongst two or three about how they handled or what they were used for. Every question I asked only made them beam more. I was getting a private tour and a better tour than any paid tour guide could give.

It was a wonderful morning! I had planned on a brief three hour stop before heading home and stayed over four. The times I’ve been back since, have been interesting and fun, but they'll never compare to that day when I was the sweetheart granddaughter to a half dozen men!


carjazi said...

I've never been there, but have photos of my boyfriend there as a kid. We have the Mott's Military Museum here in my backyard. Hoping you get a great seat for your fireworks. Enjoy your holiday and stay safe.

seamhead gypsy said...

If you are passing this way along to the Dayton AF Museum again, ring me up and I'll either tag along or meet your there!! I've never been there and but I'll bet that Katie would love to see the planes up close!!

Diana said...

Such a neat memory to have. Thanks for sharing it!