Back Home From Home…

I have just returned after a trip to the place I’ll probably always call “home,” despite that I haven’t lived there for almost four years now.  I grew up in the southwest Chicago ‘burbs, and every time I go home (about twice a year, on average), it seems like something is different–there’s a mall where there used to be open fields, there’s no new school where the old and dilapidated one used to stand, that kind of thing.  One thing that still stands intact and in use, however, is the private airport that was across the street from the house I grew up in.  My folks didn’t live on the airport, where the houses had their own hangars that backed right up to the taxiway, but over the twenty or so years that I lived there, we became friends with some of the people who did.

As I drove my wife around the perimeter, pointing out the building I got my first flight physical in and telling her how the guy who gave it to me used to own a cherry, legendary P-51D Mustang and sold it for a “mere” half million dollars, I became nostalgic.  I lived across from that runway since the age of five, and one of the local pilots gave me my first airplane ride at about 8 years old (excepting once when I flew on a jet down to DisneyLand at age six).  The wonder of flight never ceased to amaze me, and I went up with our neighbors across the street whenever Mr. Siegfried (Rick)–a 747 Captain with United–was feeling charitable and had some free time.  There, my want to be in aviation was born and nurtured.  In an old, classic Stearman, and an old, classic T-6 Texan.  I was (am) lucky to have known him.

I remembered back to the first time I was in a plane, then the first flight physical I had, then once I got my Private Pilot’s license, I felt like I was armed with infinite wisdom whenever my folks would ask aviation-related questions.  I had all these experiences that the majority of kids–of people–never get to experience.  I looked at the airport differently with each new thing I learned.

As I was driving the perimeter of the airport, it occurred to me just how long it’s been since I’d seen those areas–my folks have moved from the house since then–and I looked at the one, lone hangar on the small ramp/tie-down area, and realized that I could someday own it.  If I bought it, I could DO the maintenance, I could DO the flight instructing (given a little more time), I could turn that place into a business.  I don’t know exactly how yet, but I know I could do it.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that it’s so fascinating to me to look at something like the airplanes, or the hangar, and over time I’ve realized that the same object can mean so many different things to me.    I’ve always felt pretty in-tune with the way I perceive the experiences I’ve had, but this one kind of threw me.  I realized it at 38,000 feet, on the way home from “home,” and I have to admit that seeing the big picture surprised me.  From a self-actualization standpoint, I’ve reached the pinnacle thus far, I think.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

If any of you have had some kind of experience like this–or if I’m just a babbling moron–share it here.  I’d love to hear your stories, and soak in the lessons you’ve had to come by as honestly as I’ve come by mine.

    • Robin Laws
    • November 27th, 2009

    Yeah…I can relate…Don’t know exactly when it “hit” me…somewhere between middle school and high school. One night I looked up at the stars and thought…I wonder what it’s like to look outside my window and see the Earth.

    And from that moment…I was hooked. Somehow, somewhere–space is my dream…just how I’ll get there, I’m not sure-but I know one thing: I’m sure enjoying the journey.

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