There is a delicate mixture of ego and humility that one looks for in an aspiring pilot. If the person sitting next to you does not think he can handle the airplane in just about any situation, if she does not look forward to increasing challenges, then you begin to wonder if the person is cut out to be sitting in the left seat of the airplane.
Flight, with its intoxicating blend of graceful beauty and adrenalizing daredevilry, was custom-made for cinema, which exults in movement—they are called motion pictures—and delights in vicariously transporting audiences to seemingly unreachable places.
By 1929, though, Archie League had crossed over to safety’s side and taken a job with St. Louis’s nine-year-old airport. Every day, he walked to the end of the Lambert Field runway with a wheelbarrow that held a deck chair, a beach umbrella for summer heat, a notepad, his lunch and, most important, two flags.
She floated, so to speak, on the higher echelons of fame and she had fun. In fact, her second book, written after her solo transatlantic flight, was called The Fun of It.
It was all safe as houses, and twice as fun—an opportunity of a lifetime, and powerful enough an experience that I still have a hard time overlaying it on my childhood dreams of flying in a Jenny. For now, let me say that on this day a complicated little freedom machine called the Jenny—built to aid warfare, at once fragile and powerful in its utility, and as beautiful as a moth in the daylight—transported me through time and space and let me return to people I love.
Before taking charge at Lambert, Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge held management positions with its later deserters, American Airlines and Trans World Airlines. Thus she has spent most of her career in St. Louis, riding the city’s swings between Midwestern pride and a Midwestern inferiority complex.
When we kiss, the world drops away. We are warm lips and darting tongues, soft cheeks or stubble, arched necks, wrapped arms, tingling pressure, tenderness and hunger. We drown in a good kiss, suffocate and come up gasping for air and do not care, because such a kiss insists that we are loved and wanted. Our breath intermingles. For the time it takes a cloud to pass the sun, our souls join.
I have come to my own conclusions about the meaning of the event, and using the narratory and rhetorical tricks of a writer and former teacher I may temporarily make you think you agree. But I stand here filled with distrust of stories in general, having waded through so many of them. It is a time of strong beliefs in shallow stories.