Merton and Andrew

Andrew (left) and Merton consider an Eagle

The two visitors were amazed when I explained that the last person to hold the Revell model of the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle was the Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Without fanfare or cupcakes (part of the first day of AeroKnow’s second year at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport) we observed the first day of our third year, Monday, May 29,  with something special we did not have last year: visitors from out-of-town. Andrew and his uncle Merton (he spelled it for me) are from Decatur.  The younger is seven years old, and they came in through the open WELCOME Room door as I sat at my computer. Merton had glimpsed inside the room the previous Saturday when transiting through the airport in a turbo-charged Bonanza, owned by a friend and bound for home in Decatur. He did not come in, but said he wanted to bring his young friend over to see the models. And on Monday he did.

reading the model identification card

I was impressed within seconds of their arrival. Andrew looked up at a model of a Ju-88 and declared it was a “bad airplane.” I congratulated him for knowing so much, so young, and explained Ju-88s had bombed England during the Battle of Britain in 1940. He nodded as though he knew about England; not familiar with the B of B, and that’s okay.  Merton quickly engaged him in reading the identification cards next to the models. I was amazed how Andrew read five or six without any help as they moved around the room. Merton helped him sound each syllable out slowly as the sprout learned new words, including “DeHavilland” and “Mosquito.”

a plywood “Mosquito” modeled in plastic

The 1/32 models on the lowest shelves seemed most interesting to  Andrew, and that was the happy result of placing the largest-scale models closest to the eyes of the smallest visitors.

Charles Yeager made aviation history before Andrew’s father was born when he flew the Bell XS-1 faster than the speed of sound. Revell 1/32 model.

The youngest visitor was very patient as Merton and I talked about other models. He was learning, and he wanted to learn. We were not imposing anything on him. I believe that when they departed after 30 minutes or so, both were glad they came. I sure was.

Merton said he wants to visit to see the rest of the collection upstairs, and I’m sure he will.

As for observing anniversaries of our being here at the airport, I’d rather have visitors than cupcakes . . . any day of the week.

Fly safe!

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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