I don't know why, but even as a kid I was fascinated by airplanes. There weren't many of them around back then, but I'd read everything I could about them and about the men who flew them. The school was on a hill, and I remember when class let out, I'd step outside and look out over the valley and think this must be what pilots see all the time. I wanted to see the world that way as well.

My Dad and Mom were great. They were very supportive of all their children. They never discouraged my dreams about flying, even though the idea must have seemed preposterous. Here we were, a family of nine living on a farm out in the sticks and barely able to keep a roof over our heads, and I was jabbering on about flying airplanes.

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