For those of you who are of grey/no hair status, you’ve probably heard of Paul Harvey.
So, in his famous tag line: NOW THIS IS THE REST OF THE STORY
This is the continuation of the Sat Mar 23, newsletter.
Now. The story of going to Mark’s place and then Wayne’s place.
The phrase that comes to mind is: DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN. Mark leads me down the road apiece, about 4 miles to his “homestead”. We turn down this paved lane/road that’s lined with 40’ pine trees.
About ¾ mile down the road, we come to a clearing. Brand new house, at the 2 o’clock position. A guy in the field/grass is mowing with his pit bull standing guard.
At the 9 o’clock is a house/cabin that looks like an old railroad station. I go straight into a laneway, make a u-turn so that I’m facing out.
Mark comes from the new house in his golf cart. I’m thinking we’re going to his “hangar”, but we make a sorta kinda detour. Mark takes me on a tour of the property. We go past some old barns that have an array of old rusted farm equipment. Next, is the old original farm house. A little farther, we make a left turn and go past Marks’ sons house. Go past my car, we’ve just made a circle. We head straight past Mark’s house and head into the woods. Dueling banjos is playing in my mind. Go about 30’ and come to a mowed hay field. He stops the golf cart and tells me that this used to be the field for the club. By now, a few years down the road, it’s being farmed for hay.
Still going at a 45 degree angle, we go between a couple old buildings that have rusted tin roofs and old barn wood sides.
Inside the over hangs are some 50’s military trucks. We head farther and more to the right. Lots of older cars and trucks, basking in the sun. We finally come to the front of this 40’x80’ 30’ tall steel building. There are 2 double axle covered trailers in front. We head to the first one, Mark opens the ramp/door.
First thing to hit your senses is a BIG BLUE CORSAIR fuselage hanging on the right wall. It has to be 6’ tall. Extremely shiny dark blue covering with multitudes of WWII markings on it. The wing is hanging on the left. It’s about an 8’ wingspan.
Mark recalls the story of being at Joe Nall one year flying it. He’s flying it for a friend. This is in the time of 72mh. This means cross chatter can mess up someone else’s plane controls.
Marc is zinging this thing everywhere. Eventually comes in for one of his perfect landings. 4’ off the ground, straight in front of him and the rest of the crowd, someone turns on their transmitter.
KERSPLAT! One crashed Corsair.
No one owns up to being the “culprit”. Which means, at that time, you pick up the pieces and go home.
THIS IS NOT MARK’S PLANE. The owner is so bummed out, he pulls the electronics out of the plane and says take it. Mark takes it home and its back in the air the following week. Who says you can keep a good pilot down?
The rest of this trailer is loaded with shapes and colors and styles of planes. He’s got a story for each one of them. OH! To be able to turn back the hands of time and be there with them.
Next is the second trailer. More of the same, and stories for each one. AND! I’m loving it. Wish I could remember all of it.
We “mosey on over” to the steel building. OMG! This place is packed. Every square inch is either bits and pieces, tools, farm equipment, STUFF, and everything is covered in about 3/8” dirt or dust.
Worming our way around the tables and storage shelves, we come to a clearing. I make a 360 and everywhere the same.
COMMA BUT! There is a table as soon as I walked in with 6 planes stacked on top of one another.
The only covering on them is the dust. All the while, Mark is narrating about what he’s done in there. This is Wayne Huffman’s building. Wayne and Mark have been buds for decades (sorry boys). They have done more work and storytelling in this building than you can imagine.
The door opens up and in walks this guy. It’s Wayne. I do the introductions, tell him I’m impressed with all the “toys”. You need to get out and fly!!! Been busy he says. Plus, didn’t know when anyone was at the field.
Mark educates Wayne about what’s been going on. And the fact that I took over Marks position. We keep walking straight ahead. There’s an 8’ lathe, 4’ metal sheer, 6’ metal brake, a couple of welders, drill press. Is there anything ya’ll can’t do in here? They look at each and grin. Follow us. As they lead me towards a closed in room, I can’t help but notice this storage rack to my right. From top to bottom are planes. A T-28, P-51, then planes I have no clue what they are, all stacked from waist height to about 15’ in the air. All with the “dust”.
We go into this room. It takes a lot to impress me, but they did. This is their workshop. Lathe, Bridgeport, CNC machine, steel work table, ………, it don’t stop.
There isn’t much they can’t make in there. And have.
We head back out to the main area. I know I’m in trouble when both Mark and Wayne sit down. It’s a tag team match between the two of them reminiscing about days gone by. The fields they started, were kicked out of. Having to find new locations. Stories of pilots and flying.
As they are talking, Mark gets a “light bulb” moment. He stands up, goes back towards the machine shop room area. He digs around doors, plywood and whatever else is there, “searching”.
Found it! He brings out this 3’ x 6’ board covered in Polaroid pictures. These were the shoot, pull out, develop on their own, pull off the covering , and see the photo. They are stapled in an orderly fashion on this board. The date on the pictures is 2011. The field logo is an original CVRC one.
Both Mark and Wayne are struggling to remember the names to the faces. The “fun” part, were the “characters” in the club from “yesteryear”. One notable, was Cecil. He’s wearing a beat up old ball cap, white-ish T-shirt, suspenders holding up his Levis, and a big toothy grin.
Turns out Cecil was kind of a “scrap” man. He’d show up to the field with a plane that was “frankensteined”. Fuselage from one plane, wing from another, bits and pieces of every description.
BUT! He could fly. He ticked off a lot of other members who had the “good” machines. A couple of guys felt sorry for him and bought him a brand new plane.
The very next week, he brought it to the field. But, he had “frankensteined” it. OH WELL! Can’t change a leopard’s spots.
This same scenario went on for about 80% of the rest of the pics. The remainder seemed to be lost in time.
I thanked Wayne, asked him to definitely come out and fly. I could see a glint in his eye, thinking about what he could scrounge up to bring. We said our good-byes and back to Marks house.
Mark then took me to HIS trailer/hangar. These plane were no slouch. Cap 32’s and a Super Decathalon the size of my car. On the floor were the left overs of 3 Gremlins. On the walls were about 10 other planes. I’m just shaking my head. These were during Marc’s IMAC days.
By now, I’m into sensory overload. Made my good byes, see you at the field, bring Wayne. Then it’s a long drive back to Maiden. The hardest part of all this is trying to remember it all and get it presented to all of you, and do it justice.