Mondays with Melitas – March 18, 2013

OUR AIRPORT:  ANOTHER TALE                             MARCH 18, 2013


I have told you how my bro’ Buddy and I had put in the little airport on Aunt Mae’s property unbeknownst to her. We were going to have WWII Veterans learn to fly thanks to the US Government’s plan to give them schooling in a career of their choice.  Bud had cleared off walnut trees and orange trees to lay out the landing strip, found an Air Force Lieut. Colonel and a Major for Instructors, and we were in business.  The planes we had were just those little puddle jumpers like Aeroncas, Luscombes, and the like.

(See blogs Jan. 23, 2012 “My Flying Career,” and “Close to Lights  Out at Airport,”  Jan.30, 2012)

Bud got his pilot’s license first — He would’ve been a real sorehead if I had beat him to it.  I did beat out his wife, Evelyne, however.  It was a race for the three of us, and we had fun trying our best.

In the past, I used to drive up to San Francisco to visit the many friends I had there — drive all by myself overnight, stay a couple of nights, drive back in time for work at Douglas Aircraft, or back to San Juan if I was living there.

Now, here I am a few years later, and I have this license to fly.  Well, the young noggin that I had at the time, came up with a swell idea. (“swell” was very popular in my vocabulary in those old days.)  And so here is what I would do.  I would fly off to San Francisco from LAX on a commercial plane.  This is really all about how I got to LAX.

Our little planes were not equipped with radios — we were cheap, cheap, cheap.  So I would have to get into my chic ensemble to fit into “The City;” the high heels, the dressy dress, fur-collared coat, hat, gloves, nice purse. One did not just arrive in San Francisco in Southern California get-ups. You had to be dressed to “the nines.”  Then I would have someone like my Brother, or one of the others around the airport, the future Mayor maybe, who would fly with me to LAX, and then they could fly our little plane back to its little hangar.

I would already have the roundtrip ticket for the big plane, then I would call the LAX Tower for landing instructions since we had no radio.  I would give them the time (about 45 minutes) that I would be arriving, and they would give me the altitude for me to fly in the holding pattern while waiting for the tower to give me the light to then proceed to land.  We had to taxi to the area under the tower where it was clear, and those guys in the tower were always looking out those big windows watching us.  One time, a gust of wind nearly blew the plane over — the tail whipped up, and I thought we were goners, but it straightened out.  As we were crawling out a bit disheveled those fellas were killing themselves laughing at us.  I felt like giving them the Italian Salute, but thought better of it since I was all dressed up in “those nines.”

Future Mayor was with me that time.  Another time when Buddy was with me, the tower had us in that pattern for a very long time, and we were just so nervous having to think about our gas supply, and I was thinking about missing my plane.  Whew!  Then it was a race for me with all my gear — thank the Lord I was only staying 2 nights — to the Airline gate.  I never missed a flight.  I must’ve been the fastest female runner in HIGH HEELS at the time.  Yes, at 30 years old, I could’ve given Babe Didrickson a run for HER money!

When I returned, one of my guys would be there to pick me up.  During these jaunts of mine, Bud and his wife Evelyne would baby sit my son Gary.  He spent a lot of time there with Sistie their daughter.  He was around 3 years old, and Sistie 5.  They did a lot of growing up together, and that will be another story for me to get out.

If there’s a picture with this story,  my get-up is not the chic one.  Cannot locate the real one right now.  Gary is acting out something or other with his fake gun, but doesn’t have his usual Hopalong Cassiday cowboy hat on.  Oh well, that’s all for now.

Gary and Mena 1950 Victoria Dr 2013-03-17 002





2 Comments to “Mondays with Melitas – March 18, 2013”

  1. Dear Mena,

    I am too tired to comment on this tonight; but it looks like a wonderful story. Snow storm tomorrow. I’ll have time then.


  2. Dear Mena,

    I just knew it would be another wonderful story. Boy, I cannot imagine what it was like to fly without a radio. That took guts. I wish I was in Cal. We got over a foot of snow today; and it hasn’t stopped yet.


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