Archived Story

Remembering some of my 83 years

Published 5:55pm Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I was the only dad my kids knew who liked to go to work on Monday morning. Designing things and solving engineering problems is fun! I got my name on some pretty good airplanes, among them the Convair 880/990, Boeing 747, Vought F8U and A7, and McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (the Navy Blue Angels fly the older F-18 still; they get better gas mileage) Then there were 20 years of playing with NASA research projects, like making the Space Shuttle and helicopter rotor systems better.

Music is another facet of my abundant life. As my musical horizons broadened I learned from Mrs. Mazzy and others something of how to play pianos, and from Stuart Conner and others how to tune and care for them. Aunt Mildred introduced me to the worlds of both pop and classical music, and two seasons of the St. Louis Symphony programs let me hear the greats of the mid-century: Heifetz, Rubinstein, Piatigorsky, the Casadesus family, Menuhin, Milstein and many others.

Over the years Ann Landers helped me to better understand people. I have learned that every life contains some soap opera, and that everyone I meet is an interesting, unique person. I am on first-name basis with hundreds of wonderful people, from the ladies who clean the post office and friends’ bathrooms to the sheriff, county commissioners, former teachers and captains of airliners, armies and major industries. It is not so much the machinery (which I love and understand) as the people (whom I also love and too often do not understand) that make the world go ’round.

Y’all please continue to give me a hug, handshake or at least a wave as you go by, OK?

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