Having aspirations is one thing, but fulfilling them is quite another. There was no way I could earn enough money on the farm to pay for flying lessons; there had to be some other scheme. Just about that time, a new outfit called White Castle had opened a hamburger place near my high school in Frankfort, and it was drawing a lot of customers. The business seemed pretty simple, so at sixteen I opened my own hole-in-the-wall hamburger stand in Frankfort, but on the opposite side of the Kentucky River from my competitor.

Business was good almost from the start. By pricing burgers and Cokes at a nickel each, I sold a lot of them. Trouble was, I wasn't making any money. So I doubled my prices (there was a volume discount, of course - a dozen burgers for a buck), and suddenly I was making money. Pretty soon I had a couple of other hamburger stands, and I hired my school buddies to run them.

The sole purpose of that burger business was to finance my dream of flying. In fact, I called my burger stand the Little Hawk because the name had a certain aviation ring to it. The profits went to flying lessons in an OX-5-powered Waco based at a grass-strip airport near Lexington. I soloed when I was still sixteen.

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