What We Did on Dad's Birthday - Livin' the Good Life
Jan. 29th, 2016
12:46 pm - What We Did on Dad's Birthday
Dad and I went to the WW2 Air Museum in Palm Springs for his birthday, yesterday. There is a lot of walking involved, so we said "yes!" when they offered him a wheelchair. Boy, did that make things easier for us! Dad has never tried a wheelchair before, and he was pretty enthusiastic about smoothly riding from hanger to hanger to inspect every single plane. He was delighted to see that, other than the Navy planes, he had flown every airplane there. When the docents discovered that Dad was a WW2 pilot, they all came running. They were the NICEST fellows... very polite and appreciative of Dad. These were older, retired guys who volunteer there because they love aviation. Many took pictures of Dad, and they all shook his hand and warmly thanked him for his service. Not being an airplane enthusiast myself, I was much more impressed with the wonderful reception my dad got there, and the quality of character those gentlemen exhibited. Some of them said they had never met anyone who had actually flown those planes. They all wished him a very happy birthday, and remarked at how healthy he looked for age 97. When I asked Dad if he wanted pictures of himself standing next to the planes he had flown, he nearly leaped out of his wheelchair to get the photos, startling the onlookers, since they assumed he was wheelchair-bound. Dad can walk, but half the time he feels like he needs a cane to steady himself, and when he goes to his yoga class three times a week (next door), he pushes a walker. He has been known to fall, but so far he has not hurt himself badly. He's definitely tough!
Here are a few of the planes he flew in the war. (Sorry, this first one's blurry. He must have been moving.) He wanted to make sure I got at least three of the four propellers in the photo below. It is a massive aircraft, and I think he is proud of the many flights he made to India, and beyond, in it.
I believe the airpane below is what Dad called "a trainer". Every pilot had to master this plane before they advanced to the big ones.