Today I looked for a bunch of items; my glasses, Dobbie the cat, my special embroidery scissors, my
glasses again, my wallet, my husband, and yes... my glasses. But as it turns out, the most important thing that I searched for today was the sky. Not any old sky, mind you... but the perfect sky.
What's a perfect sky? Well, it's got to be the right blue with just the right amount of "clouds", too. Not that fake bright blue but a gentle, summer day kinda blue. The kind he liked the best. And the clouds... they should be those wispy, floaty ones that seem to be almost imaginary... yeah... that's what I want. That would be perfect. See, Dad, I do remember.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING
It's been 2 years now since he passed away from Pancreatic cancer and today is Father's Day. In a few hours families all over the country are going to wake up and celebrate each in their own way. Some of you will be joining with your Fathers and some, like my husband and I, will not. It's ok, tho. I mean, I miss my Dad... but when I was going through my photographs for this project... I was smiling. Wow. It really IS ok.
No matter the state of our individual "Dad-ship", I venture to say that we each wake up today "looking for something" simply because of the meaning of the day itself. Some will find a good answer to that quest and some will not. It took me until the day of my Dad's passing to find an answer that would let my heart rest and that too, is ok. Today, like the title says, finds me looking for the perfect sky.
My Dad was a pilot ( just for fun altho he held several advanced ratings.) He was the youngest licensed pilot in the US for several years way back in the day. That would have something to do with my Grandfather owning an airport and my Dad's Godfather being the supervisor of Mitchell Field in Milwaukee. But hey, some kids take advantage of getting the keys to the car - my dad got the Cubbie! ...in a snowstorm. He was the impatient type. ...No relation.
BEEN THERE, FLOWN THAT
Anyhoo, over the years he filled an abnomal amount of log books, learned to fly many types of aircraft, did stunt flying and got me out of many a boring class to fly with him to lunch. He had his moments but he could be one seriously cool dude! After I started my embroidery business I made him a jacket that had "Been There, Flown That" on it with a list of all the aircraft that he had flown throughout the years. Funniest thing about it was that I gave it to him after he had moved from Wisconsin to Arizona...and he wore it anyway. Had to be the only "Cotton Swab" in a jacket when it was nearing 90 outside! LOL He wore it and proudly told EVERYONE who made it and why... told strangers, told waitresses, told the mailman. Never told me. Stubborn old coot. ...No relation.
Sooooo, why the perfect sky? Because he grew up in an airport... and so did I. I grew up playing in the hangers of a little airport outside of Waukesha, Wi. that is now known as Crites Field. Dragging wooden wheel chocks around on their ropes like playtoys, playing with my sister in the shadows of Cessna wings and always being the "Ready Freddy" if someone needed a passenger to practice "touch and go" landings. I wonder now what MY logbook would look like if I had kept one of my passenger time! My sister and I had a VERY different idea in mind than most of our friends when we begged our Dad to "make us go upside down!" And so, today...this Father's Day... I am looking for the perfect sky.
I PINKIE SWEAR
I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the last few months of my Dad's life out in Arizona with him. We had some special times working together late at night and one of the things we talked about was that I would make a quilt for exhibition about the airport and our family. He made me promise to do so. The danged airport and the quilt. Pinkie swear. Ok...maybe not pinkie swear but you get the idea. Well, I have since traveled up to the airport that my Grandpa founded and taken photos and started the process of getting old photos to THEM... check. But now... it's time to start the quilt which means it's time to find me a sky.
I'm going to have to look for one biggo piece of fabric that is just so... so wish me well. I want to start with something worthy of that special pilot. This is going to be a memory quilt, an art of the airplane, if you will. So you see...not just an y piece of blue will do. I even have photos of my Great-Grandparents in early, early J3-Cubs and other such incredibl e pictures that will trace my family's history...
Heck, I even have one of the frame of a kit plane that they were putting together. The funny part of the story is they had moved it to a new "barn/garage" which happened to be an old soap factory. The first time they fired up the engine the pressure expanded all of the boards in the building and the old soap flaked off and it "snowed" like crazy down on them! Took them forever to figure out what was going on and shut down the plane! Again, I say... no relation.
WEST BEND AIRWAYS ALWAYS
I have my Grandfather's business card, his aviation club member ship
and other wonderful items that I am going to build this quilt around. The bottom will be a hanger with "West Bend Airways", my Grandpa's place, over the door and all around will be those photos showing our past... There's going to be two little girls dragging some chocks around the corner and a brunette sunning herself by the door. Hi, Mom!
And in that perfect sky with the perfect clouds you're going to see that perfect plane of his. The circus kitty. The Mooney. Keeping company will be the rest of his fleet. The Aeronica and the Apache (wings intact, Dad, wings intact!)...the Gypsy Moth and the Waco, the Taylor Craft and the Twin Aztec... and above it all will echo your famous words. "Been There... Flown That." ...and all in a perfect sky.