What A Nutty Year

The more I accomplish at AeroKnow Museum, the busier I become. MANY good things have happened in the last month since I FINALLY completed restoration of the upstairs duplex Shannon Smith trashed when she broke her lease. A terrific fellow, Ernie Moreland, renovator extraordinaire, put the place back together incredibly well. The new renters are equally fabulous. Their rent money is a balm for my anxious soul. I am eating like a pauper (no public aid for this boy) so I can make double payments to my very patient roofing contractor, Smith General Contracting, who didn’t make my life miserable (more miserable) during the troubled “null zone” delay. I can pay a little monthly toward some accumulated medical bills too. The cataracts in the eyes were fixed, I’m wearing prescription glasses now, mostly to protect my fully=functioning better eye — and to read fine print — and I am “street legal with an eye doctor’s statement” to drive the streets.  And yesterday I cleaned my kitchen sink  around the faucet and top for the first time since 2009. As I said the new renters are a balm for my troubled mind. On the other hand, my hours at my “employer” have been cut by 60 percent, and I don’t know if I’ll even be working there in late September. I will deal with that bridge when I come to it. I may have to eat like a poor pauper when the heating bills come marchin’ in.

On the other hand, AKM has recruited its first regular volunteer. Jack Tefft is a retired radar specialist/scientist who had a distinguished career in the Colorado area, moved to Springfield in May to be live in an area retirement home, closer to his happily-married daughter. Jack has helped one or two days a  week for the past month and a half. For many years he was an active general aviation pilot, so he knows a Cessna 310 when he sees one. He is happy to  help, and I am happy to welcome him aboard.

A major AKM focus in recent months has been the book I promised to write about Springfieldian John Thornton Walker, who learned to fly at our city’s older airport in 1938, went on to become US Army General Mark Clark’s personal liaison pilot, flying L-4s, later L-5s, for the headquarters squadron in Italy.  Walker died in a transport plane crash as he was returning to Springfield in February 1945. His wife, Geraldine, had moved back to her home town when he went overseas, and when the Lt. Colonel’s remains were returned to the US, she insisted (justifiably) that he be re-interred in Indiana where she lived. That’s why I named the book John Thornton Walker: the Hero Who Never Came Home. Writing the 64-page book, packed with pictures and scans of official documents, too much longer than I anticipated when I promised his only child Connie and her husband Richard, in 2012, and demands of AKM led me to procrastinate far too much getting the book together. This summer, I put most of the museum activity on hold and finished writing the book. Connie and family read the proof, approved it, even sent a check to help with the cost of getting a first edition (200 copies) printed. NOW I’m asking help to raise the rest of the $500 remaining so I can take it to the local printer. If you want to help, please contact me — akm@eosinc.com. The sooner I can pay for it, the sooner it will be printed. Loans are welcome. If you donate $50 or more, I will sand you an autographed copy of the book!

AKM’s “monthly” newsletter, Lincoln Flyer, has been delayed while I worked on the book. I’m almost done putting the newest issue together.  I will add you to the  e-mail subscriber list and will e-mail it to you if you contact me at the address above.

Thanks to Jack Tefft’s good help, moderating, cooler weather and reduced hours at my “employer,” recent weeks have been devoted to processing articles and clippings that have accumulated for more than a year in the Intake Room in the un-air-conditioned upstairs at the airport. The task will take well into the fall, probably the winter as well. I need at least four more four-drawer filing cabinets to accommodate the material. Will you help with their acquisition?

To reduce the major clutter in the Process Room and make it less off-putting to visitors (Have you ever seen a junk yard that looks nice? Me neither.) I have brought many model building projects “in process” home to a spare bedroom to work on kits when I’m not at the museum. The change also gives me more space for photo processing.

What I’ve described is about 20 percent of what I  want to say to readers of this blog. I’m also waaaay behind with the AKM Gallery of Flight blog and INTEND to catch up as soon as I reach plateaus with the other activity.

Thanks for reading this post. Have a good day. 🙂

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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