First World War Fighter Plane

Posted by on Jan 20, 2018 in Blog | 1 comment

When I was little, say around ten, I’d get a balsa wood U.S. fighter plane kit from the toy store downtown and spend days putting the plane together out of the balsa wood cutouts, covering the fuselage with rice paper, painting and pasting on decals, and always the same plane with rubber band motor and plastic propeller with a balsa wood machine gun mounted on the nose of the plane.
Then I’d go up on the roof of our house with a can of lighter fluid, spray that on, wind the prop counter clockwise till it was tight, then light the plane with a match and let it go, watch its journey as it circled and eventually crashed. I never tired of it. Well, maybe in high school, y’know.

I did this many times after I’d saved allowance. It was beautiful and the feeling went to the core of me. I didn’t know why I did it, but it may’ve had something to do with dreams I had of flying just such a plane and being shot down in the First World War.

I didn’t share this with anyone till now. This was just after the Second World War was over. One of the shot-down pilots from the Pacific War who stayed on in Santa Fe after being discharged from the Army hospital at Bruns General, I’d see walking around town with a part of his face flesh melted into a fluid kind of way, and whenever I’d see him our eye’d lock and there’d be a moment of kinship. I didn’t take it as kinship till now. Back then I was horrified. But I kept making the same biplane over and over.

I wonder….

One Comment

  1. I sure remember those beautifully crafted little airplanes , the smell of the balsa wood, the thin tissue paper and the decals..So many young boys were fascinated by the process and how great it developed discipline in them too.I never connected it to a past life in another time slot. …the first world war ,how Interesting , seems to me it was always done after dark with a lamp after school ,maybe because there was no television in those days, just Kick the can until mom called. The repeated flaming descent from the roof is an amazing connection. Thanks John , sending love to you and your cherished family.