Friday, June 09, 2006



(Source: Collings Foundation)



When I came to McKinleyville about 12 years ago I rented a shack at the end of Holly Drive. It was referred to as the “drive through house” because once a vehicle had literally driven into the living room.

That’s what happens when you have a house located at the end of a long straight-a-away – eventually someone gets liquored up and fails to negotiate the 90-degree turn.

This house was a real piece of crap. Where the floor met the walls, there was a crack where you could see outside. A frog lived in the bathroom. There was no heat. The oven didn’t function properly. It was drafty and the roof leaked. Next door were a couple of meth heads who snorted powder night and day and played “Back in Black” at 3 a.m.

It was far from the ideal house, but I didn’t have the luxury of being choosey.

I had just gotten a good job as the news editor at the Arcata Union. It was a sweet position.

I needed a place to live, one that would accept both of us along with our two dogs. Options were limited. So we grabbed the shack.

On the first day I moved in, the landlord was there trying to repair the roof. I decided to help.

I was smearing some tar around when I heard the sound of an airplane. I looked up and saw a B-24 Liberator coming right at me! It flew at a very low altitude almost directly over the house before banking west towards the airport.

For a second or two, I entertained the notion that this was a “Twilight Zone” moment – I had been inexplicably transported back to the early 1940s.

Later I learned that it was the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour. It’s a cool organization that has a Liberator and a B-17 – both fully functional. They fly them from airport to airport and give tours.

In this week’s paper, I printed an article about the foundation’s planned visit to the McKinleyville airport this weekend.

But I print a lot of stuff – week after week after week. So after the paper comes out, I clear my memory banks. Out with the old, in with the new. I don’t want the time, date and location of every bake sale, ball game and public hearing clouding my mind.

So I was driving down Central Avenue this afternoon when I heard an usual sound. I looked up and saw a B-17 Flying Fortress overhead! WTF?

Of course, the Collings Foundation.

I had my window rolled down and my head out the window admiring the aircraft. I was gawking as if I had just spotted a topless Victoria’s Secret model prancing down main street.

There’s something about the B-17 that triggers an emotional response. It’s not just an aircraft, it’s an amazing aircraft.

There’s all sorts of history behind it. It’s an icon. Maybe it’s all the movies I grew up watching.

On Saturday I’ll take some photos and climb inside.

2 Comments:

Blogger Fred said...

Yeah. Post the pics here. I've always wanted to take a look at those planes but never got the chance.

Saw the B-17 myself yesterday. Was out in the back yard and heard an odd aircraft type sound. Knew right away it had to be one of those planes. Problem was it was right up in the sun so I couldn't get a real good look at it.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Thanks for visiting Fred! I'm a big fan of your blog.

As you can see, this blog is made up of personal scribblings. Visitors are welcome, but it's not intended for mass consumption.

It's kind of a combination sketch pad/notebook. A doodle here, and doodle there.

Anyway, I did take some photos of the bombers which I will post later. There was a really long line, so I didn't get inside.

Not like the fellows at the T-S. They got a ride from Chico to McKinleyville.

Next visit I will pursue that option.

Photos to come.

Meanwhile, visit the Collings Foundation site for some really nice pics.

11:06 PM  

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