Into the Home Stretch

200 feet from the AeroKnow Museum office

WHY — you may ask — have I included the picture of the Cessna Caravan at the top of this post? Because I’ve been a “single-engine Caravan of one” trekking the desert of fetid promises and diminished expectations” to this auspicious day.

It comes on the heels of a terrific Sunday when I moved nothing out to the airport but spent from 8:10 to 3:15 organizing the Magazine and Book Rooms. There was a sign on the locked office door downstairs directing visitors upstairs and to the end of the hall if they wanted to visit the office and rest of the museum, but — can you keep a secret? — I hoped and prayed no one would come calling so I could concentrate on organizing magazines and magazine drawers and books and models and . . . . .. And for the first time since I started working out at the Museum on Sundays, I was not disappointed!  I mean that sincerely.

Today, June 6, I moved the last of the magazine cabinets to the Magazine Room that only a few short years ago was the storage room for Springfield Air Rendezvous, an annual air show that was part of the community for 24 years. I have decided unless there is a divine intervention — meaning the appearance of a volunteer who wants to help move things from my home to the airport museum — the task of moving all cabinet drawers, all essential magazines and books, assembled plastic models worthy of public display, and all model kits to the airport will be completed by noon next Sunday, completing the task that began May 28, 2010.  In pilots’ language, speaking metaphorically, I have been just over a year since I reported 10 miles out, entered the traffic pattern, flown a long downwind to base leg and have just turned onto final approach. If I were a horse at Churchill Downs (a feeling not unknown to me over the last year) or a museum founder/administrator I would consider myself in the home stretch.

I am in the home stretch of the last phase of the second and third stages of the process of establishing AeroKnow Museum (AKM). The next stage begins as I complete this phase. I am my momma’s multi-tasker.

Stage 1 involved setting up an office downstairs where the air is cool. It was essential to look “presentable” to visitors ripe for recruiting as members of Abe Lincoln’s Air Force and as volunteers to greet visitors there while I worked upstairs. 

Step 2 involved bringing 20 file cabinets to the RR and one of the RATEOTH where I’m arranging miscellaneous files as well books.  It also involved setting up the KR.

Step 3 came late in my thinking: setting up the MR. I decided that to be an effective, complete museum, and for the long-term welfare 90 percent of the magazines which have been downstairs for years, I simply had to request permission from the patron saint who made this airport relocation possible. Success with that was followed by the most challenging part of the move: transferring thousands of aviation periodicals, without benefit of hand trucks and without benefit of assets that I saw often and gladly until about this time last year.  The absence of air conditioning is not an impediment to anything going on in the Kits Room (KR), Research Room (RR), Books Room (BR) and Magazine Room (RR), the last two collectively referred to as the RATEOTH (rooms at the end of the hall). As long as I can move the air up there with an electric fan, I’m cool with that. The important this is that the magazines and kits in peril for years by more humidity than I could minimize with one de-humidifier (which isn’t working at all this year)  will be out of that environs. Anyone who wants to see what terminal humidity can do to plastic kit boxes should visit the KR. I am less concerned about damage from warm rooms. All magazines are in boxes and cardboard and plastic vertical storage open boxes with contents not exposed to direct sunlight. The magazine cabinets permit flat storage of many of the most essential titles with no direct or indirect exposure to light except when opened.

All kits and non-essential publications will be moved to areas on my ground floor, away from humidity, and will be brought to AKM

Completion of Stage 3 will lead to the most essential task of re-organizing the myriad periodicals for easy access. I’ve shared no pictures of the rooms upstairs recently because the RATEOTH are incredibly cluttered and the disorganization there will not attract bees and sons of bees likely to support the enterprise.
I’m still finishing the office downstairs, which has evolved significantly since starting. Do you know how hard it is to find glue sticks when the only ones available nearby are “for school use” and the rest (I’m betting) are available at office supply stores, and the only office supply stores are on the far west side of this fair city? The printer ink and paper and tape are looking good. The only reason I visit the far west side is to buy them. I’m not about to waste fuel traveling 20 minutes at mostly 55 mph to the far west side to buy frikking glue sticks, even if it means I can complete the extended process of making signs for all the models displayed in the office and in the KR!  I have to go somewhere “out west” this afternoon. Here’s hoping I remember to visit Staples and get some glue sticks. 🙂  Yes, I’m smiling, smiling at the divine absurdity of life, the banana peel that appears from nowhere in time to drop the comedian with a cane in a silent movie and we all laugh because it wasn’t us.  There but for the grace of God, slips I.

It’s a big week for me — especially if a new friend who promises to help actually makes good the happy intentions (foiled by Sunday morning’s rain yesterday) and helps between Tuesday and Saturday, but I’m not setting the table until the door bell rings.

Share the vision.
Build the dream.

About Job Conger

I am a freelance aviation, business and tourism writer, poet, songwriter. My journalism appears regularly in Springfield Business Journal and Illinois Times. I am author of Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing and available everywhere. As founder/director of AeroKnow Museum (AKM) and a volunteer with American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS), I created this blog to share news about AKM activity and aviation history.
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