Archive for Personal/Family – Page 3

Some Pilots’ Pilots…

John Glenn died on December 8, 2016 – four years ago today – at age 95. Chuck Yeager died yesterday at age 97. I didn’t know either of them, but they were models for the kind of pilot and person I aspired to be. Extraordinary men who led remarkable lives and became legends in their own lifetimes.

It’s difficult to write anything original about them. Their biographies are exemplary and posted everywhere, but what strikes me today is the contrast between these citizen heroes and the cowards currently serving in Congress and the White House. These two giants were courageous, quiet, hard-working Americans who answered the call to service, delivered in multiple wars and later in peacetime. John Glenn served 24 years as a US Senator from Ohio following his career as a Marine Corps fighter pilot and astronaut. read more

Paying it Forward…

You’ve got to admire a friend so eccentric, so eclectic, that his magazine subscriptions included The National EnquirerNew England Journal of Medicine, Popular Mechanics, The New Yorker and How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot). Dr. Fred Terry Simmons was that friend – a Boston brahmin, graduate of Exeter, Yale, and McGill University Medical School and all-around tequila loving polymath. 

In 1975 I sold him my 1967 Volkswagen Squareback. He named it F. Potato (yes, that F), re-registered it, drove it home to Los Angeles, ordered a vanity plate, kept the Idaho registration until they stopped renewing by mail, and drove it until it rolled down his steep driveway and self-demolished. Whereupon he bought an identical Squareback, named it The Biscuit, and drove it until he died and it was towed away in 2014. I often fantasized he might choose to be buried in it like one of the Pharaohs. read more

She Lived Her Dream…

Night before last, in the uncanny way of the unconscious, I woke up thinking about a woman I hadn’t seen in 50 years. In the morning, I Googled her name and was directed to her obituary. It wasn’t that she was a great beauty or broke my heart, but the news is haunting me. We knew each other for a short time when we were starting to grow into the people we would become. Then, we went our separate ways.

Judith Devereux Fayard and I met in Manhattan in 1967. We were both new to the city. She transferred from Time/Life job in Los Angeles to one in New Yorkand I left a law firm in LA to be a Pan Am pilot at JFK. I knew her as Judy then, but prefer to think of her now as Judith, the whip smart Catholic-school girl from Mobile who became a Parisian journalist/editor celebrated for her no-nonsense editorial chops and chic fashion sense. read more

Public Art and the Homeless…

This is public art (and science). Like all good art it’s unique and thought provoking. It sits in one of the less visited corners of Magnuson Park (the old Sand Point Naval Air Station) in Seattle.

Briefly… the artist, Perri Lynch, crafted 12 limestone pillars along a 1- kilometer line called the Sand Point Calibration Baseline where surveyors’ measure, test, and calibrate their equipment. There are about a dozen such baselines in the State of Washington, but some local surveyors worried that this one would be destroyed by unknowing visitors. They lobbied for public art monument to raise awareness and prevent its accidental destruction. read more

The Great Escape…

When I was 19, I ran for sophomore class president at the University of Washington. The night before the election there was a convertible caravan through the campus ending at a bonfire and outdoor stage where we candidates were to give campaign speeches. Great theater. The only complication was that I was a patient in the University Hospital. I had a classic case of mononucleosis – the kissing disease – and with swollen neck glands and a small fever university doctors thought it was serious enough to keep me in the hospital for a few days. read more