John Thornton Walker Book Status and Some Etc.

For the umpteenth time, apologies to Connie and the male Strouses, Bill and Richard and families  for unanticipated delays. When I most recently posted about the book John Thornton Walker: the Hero Who Didn’t Come Home,  I was transcribing his second log book into the large format (8 1/2 x 11 inches). Today I resume where I left off.

It’s been a tumultuous month. My frustration at “Fate” carries a one-two punch to my production here at the AeroKnow Museum and to my outlook: depresses the hell out of me and slows me down. That combined with the anxiety and uncertainties connected with surgeries that removed major cataracts from my eyes (left eye, March 10 and right eye, March 24) and the worst cold I’ve had last week (I’m recovering, but I’m  back to 90% of myself today) . . . have limited the types of activity here at AKM. I can’t work on the book when I’m less than 95%, but God willing, I’m going to finish transcribing that 2nd log book today to show I still care about the book! By the end of this week, I will have made my final trip to the eye doctors and will have been fitted for eyeglasses to optimize my close-in activity.
As the weather began to warm I began to tackle what I believe will e my last “marathon-maximum effort” with the Research Room files update. I have culled  articles (one whole page and more), clips (half  to 3/4 page) and  scraps (smaller than half page) and next week will begin the really time-eating process of adding that material to files in the Research and Miscellaneous Rooms. It would waste your time if I tried to explain details of the process here. But, this I know for sure: once this mass of material has been integrated and intact magazines distributed  in the Magazine Room . . . maybe by mid-summer . . .  unless AKM receives MAJOR PUBLISHED MATERIALS for processing and distribution, everything received after April 18 will be stored in boxes until winter 2015/2016, at which time the Walker book will have been completed and offered for sale (free to the Strouses, of course) for M O N T H S, and I can throw my attention back to catching up with that.

I’m beginning to get really REALLY serious with models here.  I just counted the models on display here in the WELCOME ROOM.  There are 276.  Supporters have donated 35 of them. Three are “factory-built” models. There are also five models in the display window that  faces the wall leading to the hangar. I don’t have time to count the built models in storage or this unbuilt kits in the Process Room and Kits Room upstairs.  There are models depicting airplanes that visitors should know about and learn about which are not displayed, in part because the erratic building times — especially over the winter when there is almost no heat in the Process and Research Rooms and no heat in the rest of them.  I’m okay with that. The space is rent-free. Ninety-nine of 100 visitors most likely come in and out of the Welcome Room and never ask “Where’s your Martin B-26?” or “Do you have an SR-71?” But I KNOW what needs to be displayed, and I am concentrating henceforth on filling some needed voids: SR-71, YF-12, F-22, B-25,  B-26, beginning with the B-26 and SR in 1/72. There are several more 1/48 I need to add: RA-5C,  Me-262. Cessna 172, F-86, MiG-15, MiG-21. There are more models now under construction now than I want to list, among them Martin PBM-3, Boeing CH-47, Douglas AC-47, Stearman PT-17, P-51C of Tuskegee group, Ju-87B, Hawker Hurricane in “Battle of France” colors. I’ve decided having so many underway cripples the prospects for finishing any one of them. I really need to finish and repair the probably 100 “projects.” I’ve also taken several kits home to build to decal application stage and then finish in the Process Room . I need a second model hobbyists’-type airbrush for the home office work room. The only thing I’m doing in that room is building models,but with my life lately, I’ve not spent enough time there either.  I need to get cracking!

I am starting this exit from the tomb of incapacity. I STILL NEED HELP in the form of VOLUNTEERS who want to learn about aviation and aviation history. I do not want younger people I don’t know well. Anyone under 18 who wants to help here and can come with an adult family member to assist is absolutely welcome to come and learn.

At present, I’ve decided, based on experience over the past few years AKM has been here, that no more that FIVE walking adults OR three walking adults and five younger people and be accommodated for tours here. Most rooms here are as spacious as a submarine in a combat zone. Some terrific people who want to bring their scout troops here have been disappointed, but in present quarters this is the best I can do.

Finally, AKM is producing an eight-page monthly newsletter distributed free to all supporters, those who have joined Abe Lincoln’s Air Force or provided their e-mail address when visiting here and signed our guestbook. If  YOU are a supporter who has not received the Lincoln Flyer newsletter and want to receive it, e-mail me — and I will send you the first three issues via e-mail.

Thanks for reading this post.

Happy Easter!   🙂

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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