Archive for November, 2013

The Measure of the Man, II

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

By Bob Gaydos

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

The first editorial I wrote for the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., appeared on the 20th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I wrote the headline, too: “The measure of the man.”

Trying to “measure” the meaning of the life of a man who was literally loved and idolized by millions of people is no easy task, especially for a rookie editorial writer’s debut effort. But that’s what newspapers do and, in truth, I took it as a good omen that remembering JFK was my first assignment. He was a hero to me as to many young men my age when he was elected president. It was a combination of things: his youth, his wit, his easy-going style, his intelligence, his words, his sense of justice. Plus, we shared the same birthdate: May 29.

As fate would have it, JFK would come to be remembered, not on his birthday, but on the anniversary of his death. And not so much for what Americans received for having him as president for 1,000 days, but rather for what we lost by not having him much longer.

That first editorial said, in essence, that it would take more than 20 years to measure the meaning of the man. It acknowledged the things we had learned about JFK in the years since the shooting in Dallas — the flaws that made him human — as well as what I felt were his positive contributions.

Thirty years later, no longer a rookie editorial writer — indeed, retired after 23 years of writing editorials — with Nov. 22 approaching, I realized I had to write about JFK 50 years after his death (because that’s what old newspaper guys do). Before I started, I asked one of my reliable sounding boards, my son, Zack, what he knew about JFK. Zack is 19 and better informed than a lot of young people his age, so I figured his answer would provide me with a fair sense of what our education system had been telling kids about Kennedy.

“He was the first Catholic president,” Zack said. Correct. “He had an affair with Marilyn Monroe.” Uh, correct. ‘There’s still some theories that there was more than one shooter.” Right. “Do you think the Kevin Costner movie (“JFK,” directed by Oliver Stone) was true?” Well, the people portrayed were real. “The Bay of Pigs didn’t go too well.” No, it didn’t.

I took the opportunity to point out that Cuba was the site, not only of Kennedy’s biggest failure in global affairs, but also his biggest success. I was a little older than Zack is now when the world stood at the brink of a nuclear war over the presence of Soviet missile-launching sites in Cuba, aimed at the United States. I was a senior in college and knew full well, as did all my classmates, than no 2-S deferment was going to exempt me from what might happen if the Soviets did not — as Kennedy demanded — remove their missiles.

Kennedy ordered the U.S. Navy to blockade Cuba to prevent the shipment of Soviet missiles and equipment. Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet president, who had initially denied the existence of the missile sites, sent a naval fleet to Cuba, loaded with supplies and armed for battle. As the world watched and waited and prayed, Kennedy and Khrushchev exchanged messages. Kennedy prevailed. The Soviet fleet stopped short of Cuba and turned around. I lived to write this remembrance. Kennedy was dead not long after.

So here I am 50 years later, still looking to take the measure of the man and still wondering how that is possible. Kennedy had the gift of engagement. He appeared to be comfortable with whomever he was speaking. He had tremendous appeal to young people, being so different from the older, stodgier presidents who preceded him. He created the Peace Corps — a legacy that continues to this day with not enough fanfare. He made many Americans — and this is not a small thing — truly proud to be Americans. Not in an arrogant, flag-waving, we-know-better-than-you way. Just proud.

And he cheated on his wife and kept his serious health problems a secret from us and sometimes needed to be prodded by his brother, Bobby (another tragic loss) to take the proper (courageous) stand on issues. So the question I still ask myself is, what might JFK have done, what might he have meant to America and the world, if he had lived longer? What did we lose at Dealey Plaza?

Certainly, whatever innocence we still possessed. The wind was sucked from our sails as a nation and our domestic politics have slowly and steadily deteriorated into such partisanship that is virtually impossible for any president to speak to the minds and hearts of a majority of Americans the way Kennedy did. Maybe it would have happened even if Kennedy had lived a longer life and gone on to be an ambassador to the world of what America stands for. Or maybe not.

It dawns on me in writing this that it is an ultimately frustrating task to try to take the measure of another man or woman. I know what JFK meant to me personally. I know a lot of others feel similarly and others do not. I know what history has recorded (he was also the youngest man to be elected president) and what the tabloids have told us. I have a sense of what I would like to think Kennedy would ultimately have meant had he not died so young. But it’s only speculation.

The only man I can truly take the measure of is myself. It is 50 years since that morning when I was waiting at home to go to Fort Dix, N.J., to begin six months of active duty training. How do I measure up today? That’s a question I work on every day. It wasn’t always thus, but the years have a way of insisting on perspective. Maybe the answer will appear in some other writing. I have neither the space nor the inclination to do so here. I will say that, on balance, I’ll probably give myself a passing grade, but there’s still some stuff I’m learning.

For now, I’m through trying to take the measure of JFK, as man or president. Let the historians have at it. I’m going to try to take his advice and ask not what life can do for me, but what I can contribute to life. And I’m also going to remember to honor him not on the date he died, but on the date we both were born.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 11/22/13

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 48x48

Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 48×48

By Carrie Jacobson

One of the reasons that I love to paint is that I love the way it makes me feel. I love where it takes my head, where it takes my heart.

When I am painting, it seems that the world goes away. Well, that’s not really right. My surroundings recede. My worries recede. Whatever is dark and sad in my life recedes, and I am left with what is joyful and full of promise. I am left with color, and with light, and with faith.

I paint – and especially with something like this piece, this big, bright, heavily textured sunflower piece – I find a rhythm that helps transport me, helps bring me to that transcendent place, that place where sorrow is something just out of the frame, just off of the horizon.

We euthanized our 15-year-old Pekingese on Monday. He had had trouble walking for a couple of years, and his back legs pretty much gave out a couple months ago. This weekend, one of his front legs seemed to be on the way out. It was arthritis, the vet said, and Looie would not get better. He would not come out of it.

Loo had a good long life. He was the top dog for a long time, and one of his major roles was to stop all playing, whenever possible. We called him the fun police. Kaja, a German shepherd/chow I loved dearly, is also dead. Kaja spent many joyful afternoons in Maine running into Looie at full tilt, knocking him ass over teakettle. He would roll and tumble, and then get up, barking, and chase Kaja until she’d do it again. To see photos of Looie and Kaja, please click here.

 I understand when people say they can’t think of having another dog, because of the pain at the end of their too-short lives. I understand. But I wouldn’t change a moment of this awful pain for a moment less of life with Looie or Kaja or any of the others.

And so I painted, and painted, painted beautiful, bright, rhythmic sunflowers. I let myself get lost in the colors and the light and the promise, and the healing.

The Way It Was

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

By Jeffrey Page

Walter Cronkite took a lot of heat over the years for what amounted to his 10 seconds of dead air. It was, of course, in the Kennedy story.

Did you tune in to CBS on Channel 2 in New York 50 years ago today? There was Cronkite in shirtsleeves, a dark tie in his button-down collar, and a pair of heavy black eyeglasses. CBS, like the other networks, had taken over the airwaves to announce that someone had fired on President Kennedy’s motorcade in Dallas and that the president was thought to have been hit.

For a few wretched minutes Cronkite could only report rumor and unconfirmed accounts of what had happened. He switched to a local reporter who was supposed to cover a luncheon where Kennedy would have spoken. Cronkite repeated several times that reports of the president’s death were rumors and that there was no official word yet. Then he said that Dan Rather, CBS’s White House correspondent at the time, was reporting that Kennedy was dead. But Cronkite was loath to report this as fact until officially confirmed.

And then it came. Someone handed Cronkite a sheet of paper. On went the glasses. Down went the voice. “From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official: President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time….

Glasses off.

“ … 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.”

Thus began about 10 seconds of dead air as Cronkite seemed to gasp for breath. Once or twice he pursed his lips tightly, perhaps trying to establish control over his mien. He looked away from the camera for a moment, then inhaled deeply, and finally continued his report, noting that Vice President Johnson would be taking the oath of office as the 36th president. As he spoke these words, his voice thickened and he sounded like a man speaking underwater.

Critics have railed for 50 years that Cronkite lost his objectivity in that report. But I think this has been just a bunch of words spoken by people who have no idea in the world how they would have reacted if they were at a news desk when the story broke.

In watching tapes of Cronkite’s report on You Tube this week, I saw an American shaken to his very core by the loss of his nation’s president – his president. You didn’t have to be a Democrat to feel the loss of John Kennedy. You didn’t even have to like him. You just had to have a soul and a concern about your country.

I remember the waiting in 1963, hoping Kennedy would be all right and somehow knowing that we had lost him, just as I remember the waiting in 1981, hoping Reagan would be all right after he was shot, and being relieved when word came that he was alive.

Are you supposed to be objective when some 35-cent Marxist like Oswald kills your president? Or when some lovelorn loser like Hinckley tries to prove his devotion to a movie actress and nearly kills another president?

I watched that footage of Cronkite again and saw him as a reporter in a flawed news medium I would never be part of. And I saw him as E.E. Cummings might have described him: a “human merely being.”

Sarah Palin’s War on Atheists

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

By Michael Kaufman

It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet and already Sarah Palin is kvetching about the so-called war on Christmas. And she’s not just kvetching. She’s written a whole megillah about it! Her latest book published by HarperCollins and released just in time for the start of the holiday season, is titled Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. As described by Katy Steinmetz of Time magazine, “Many chapters center on made-up tales that illustrate Palin’s concerns, what she calls ‘stories based on reality.’ She bolsters these with related real-world examples.”

Steinmetz summarizes an “imaginative ghost-of-Christmas-future scenario,” in which Grandma Sarah visits grandson Tripp at college in 2028. There she learns that “the school has kicked out all the Christian groups, administrators liken the end of Christmas celebrations to the end of slavery and someone mistakes her for Tina Fey. Also, Mitt Romney finally gets elected on his sixth presidential run.” (Palin may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier but she does occasionally come up with a good line or two.)

Like fellow buffoon Bill O’Reilly, Palin hates the notion of making the holiday season a bit more inclusive. “A central trope in the book,” says Steinmetz, “is Palin’s disgust and frustration at people saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’” She lauds stores such as Hobby Lobby that use Christian religious imagery in advertisements (and by the way also does not stock any Chanukah items even in areas with a substantial Jewish population) and lambastes businesses like Target and Wal-Mart that have opted for a more universal approach.

In many ways, notes Steinmetz, “Christmas is just the occasion for Palin’s book.” Palin complains that Christians are being “reviled and marginalized in American society.” She thinks Christian faith should be more central to culture, politics, schools and public squares. Some chapters, says Steinmetz, “lean heavy on the evangelism,” as Palin recounts Biblical stories and pushes for more “Christ in Christmas.” (Now there’s an idea for a bumper sticker.)

“God,” writes Palin, “is the only cure for what ails us.” This brings to mind one of my favorite cartoons, by Jennifer Berman, titled “God Having an Identity Crisis.” Against a backdrop of the heavens the booming voice of God declares, “Yes, but who created ME?” Besides, Sarah Palin doesn’t know what she’s talking about: I know for a fact and have raised my children to believe that a dip in the ocean will cure whatever ails you.

Palin bemoans the recent increase in the number of people in the United States who openly identify as nonbelievers. She depicts atheists as aggressive and power-hungry, and claims that the logical result of atheism is severe moral decay. And so she proclaims, “We must resist their efforts to push God out of the culture, to characterize us as silly and superstitious.” I don’t quite know how to respond to that. But as an agnostic Jew I try to be respectful of the beliefs (and non-beliefs) of others. I don’t try to push mine on other people and I resent those like Palin, O’Reilly, and others of their ilk who do. And to that list we can now add George W. Bush, former president and war criminal (in the eyes of many) who at this writing is still scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for an evangelical Christian group devoted to getting Jews to “see the light” and convert to their beliefs. To all of them I say “Happy Holidays and Gai mit dein kop in drerd.”

Michael can be reached at



How the News Arrived (1)

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

By Geoffrey Howard

Part 1: I was a 20-year old Peace Corps volunteer, newly arrived and just settling in to Kaolack, Senegal’s second-largest city and the generally acknowledged fly capital of the world. My job – I’m not making this up – was to be one of the national wrestling coaches of this 2-year old West African country.

We were four volunteers living together in one house, three English teachers and me. About 8 o’clock, just as we were finishing dinner, there was a timid knock at the door and this African kid, maybe 9 or 10, was standing there. We looked at him, he looked at us. No one spoke until he said in half French, half Wolof, “Le chef defa dey” The chief is dead.

None of us reacted because we had no idea what he was talking about. Then someone figured it out. Since the Senegalese thought all toubabs (whites) were French, the ex-colonial power that was still very present, there was an obvious explanation: “He must mean De Gaulle.”

The kid spoke no English, but he got the De Gaulle part and his response was emphatic: “Didit! [No!] Votre chef, Kennedy!”

Of course that made no sense – a kid we didn’t even know, how could he possibly be the bearer of such impossible news? Anyway, because none of us had a short wave radio, I was delegated to get on my motorbike and go to the nearby Senegalese army base to see if I could find out anything “official.” That turned out to be a very easy task. The sentry guards confirmed it: “Votre president, il est mort, assassine.” And that’s how I got the news. 

Part 2: I went back to the house and shared the sad news with Ralph, Pat, and Barbara. I don’t recall if we cried or continued with our that-just-can’t-be-true denial, but we all got on our motorbikes and went down to the single French-run hotel in town where we knew they had a big short wave set and that the patronne, a formidable colonial era hanger-on who had been there for decades, and who, the one time Ralph and I had stopped in for a biere, had made it clear that she had little use for Americans.

Well, the four of us walked into the standing-room-only bar – wall-to-wall French – and everyone was listening, transfixed to that radio. Heads swiveled as we entered and before we could even say a word or ask a single question, Madame shooed four regulars off their bar stools and made it clear that we were to sit at the bar near the radio. Then, again without our asking, four beers appeared and someone switched the radio to the Voice of America. We had many beers that night, all on the house. And that’s how the tragedy sank in.

Part 3: The next morning, a truck pulled up from the Lycee de Kaolack, where we all worked. The Directeur got out, accompanied by a work crew that began unloading and setting up chairs in our small courtyard, maybe 30 in all. While that was going on, the Directeur explained to us what would happen. He was dressed in a dark suit and told us to change into “appropriate” clothes. We did.

Very shortly thereafter, people began drifting in, mostly men, but some women as well. The men were dressed in their grand boubous – long, elegant robes – that signified an important occasion. (The Senegalese are famously tall and slender; their second president Abdou Diouf, at 6’10” was the only head of state in the world who could dunk.)

We knew none of these people and yet they came up to us, silently shook hands with each of us as we stood in a line, and then took seats. There was no talking. They would stay for maybe two or three minutes, then rise silently and leave. Not a word, just respect.

* * *

After his two years in the Peace Corps, Geoff Howard had a 35-year career as a management consultant and trainer. Now retired and living in Warwick, he is the chair of Sustainable Warwick and treasurer of Community 2000. 


How the News Arrived (2)

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

By Glenn Doty

I was a young sportswriter at The Times Herald Record in 1963. Politics, to which the late editor Al Romm introduced me a few years later, really didn’t mean a whole lot to me then.

Sure, I voted. That’s something several college classes suggested was important, and I voted for Dwight Eisenhower when I turned 21. The General – that’s how I thought of him – just seemed like the right person. After all, he was a pretty successful military man.

And then 1960 arrived and a Navy man, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a PT boat commander, wound up with the Democratic nomination, not that the party meant much to me, although my mom and her dad were both Democrats.

Funny, it really didn’t sink in that Kennedy was from a very rich and influential Massachusetts family. I do remember stories that his time as a U.S. senator was less than auspicious. But he was Catholic, and that’s how I was raised. If elected he’d be this country’s first Catholic president, and I think that meant more to me than his political party affiliation.

It also meant that my kids, if they decided on a political life (and none did), could aspire to the White House.

So, sports aside, I followed Kennedy’s march to Election Day 1960 and I couldn’t wait to vote for him. Wow! He won a tight race.

Funny, down through the years since, inaugural speeches haven’t been that important to me, although after Jimmy Carter I really wanted to hear what Ronald Reagan had to say.

But the Kennedy speech in 1961 was important. And he started the day the right way – with Robert Frost, who was my favorite poet, delivering a prophecy that everyone, I think, hoped would be true.

As for Kennedy’s inaugural speech, it probably ranks right up there, but it’s his forever-to-be-quoted conclusion that has stayed with me: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

I seem to remember a little moisture around the eyes then. And every time I hear or read those words, that moisture returns.

There were mistakes during his short term. The Cuba invasion fiasco was one, but he did get Russia’s missiles out of there.

But there was Jackie, and then they had Caroline and then John Jr. And despite some of his problems, including getting us deeper into the Vietnam war, he looked like he might well be the Democrats’ nominee for a second term, which is what led him to Texas in November of 1963.

The great never-to-be-answered JFK question: Would he have continued our Vietnam involvement?

I don’t remember much more about Nov. 22. It was one of those days when I went to the office early – probably there were basketball games scheduled for that night. But then, a little after noon, the United Press International wire machine bells sounded and I had to see what was up. The bulletin: The president’s been shot! My God, the anger I felt: Who in hell would do that? And then, a few minutes later: The president is dead.

Tears? There weren’t many of us in the newsroom that early in the afternoon, but there were tears – and disbelief. And anger. Who would do that?

It’s been 50 years. We’ve learned a lot about JFK, and not all has been good. But he was a hero to many of us and the memory of that afternoon? It still produces tears.


* * *


Glenn Doty is a former managing editor of The Times Herald-Record and former editor of the Legislative Gazette.

Victimizing the Victims

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

By Jeffrey Page

I’ve been waiting seven days now for a former schools superintendent in Orange County to demand a retraction of quotes attributed to him by The New York Times. Surely he will say he was misquoted, or that his comments were taken out of context, or that the Times story was just dead wrong.

I don’t know the man but eagerly await his response because without it, he might be seen as an educator with some very bizarre beliefs about anti-Semitism and swastika display, and student violence.

The story, which ran on Nov. 8, was about the appearance of swastikas on school property and the continual physical and verbal harassment of Jewish students in the Pine Bush School District, and the fact that the parents of three Jewish children in the district have brought a federal law suit alleging that the Pine Bush district did little if anything to eradicate anti-Semitism employed against their children. Note: The charges were roundly denied by Pine Bush residents at a public meeting this week though The Times quoted a deposition by a Pine Bush principal who said, “There are anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred that we need to address.”

As a result of The Times story, Governor Cuomo ordered the state police and the Division on Human Rights to investigate. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is conducting his own probe. So is Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The community of Pine Bush and its school district of course will be vindicated or damned, but in the meantime, former Superintendent Philip G. Steinberg’s words speak for themselves.

The Times reported that Steinberg – who is Jewish and said he had been the victim of anti-Semitism in his life – had the gall to question the Jewish plaintiffs about their faith and about their original decision to move into the Pine Bush district. Instead of taking strong action against anti-Semitism, Steinberg acknowledged to The Times that he told the plaintiffs, “I said to them, ‘If being Jewish is so important to you, why would you move into a community that does not have a synagogue?’”

Aside from its being one of the more vile questions you’re likely to hear a public official ask a resident, Steinberg apparently was unaware that most communities in Orange County have no synagogues. So where would he suggest a Jewish family live?

It doesn’t end there He used a classic anti-Semitic stereotype when he descried the law suit against the district as “a money grab.”

And in response to a complaint about the alleged harassment of two Jewish girls, Steinberg said: “I have said I will meet with your daughters and I will, but your expectations for changing inbred prejudice may be a bit unrealistic.”

Changing “inbred prejudice” may (or may not) be unrealistic, but asking a school administrator to take responsibility for changing unacceptable student behavior is simply asking him to do his job.

Steinberg, perhaps unwittingly, raises a fundamental question: If anti-Semitism is inbred in Pine Bush – which it probably is not – what actions did he take to eradicate its manifestations, such as physical harassment, Nazi salutes, and a swastika remaining posted on a bulletin for weeks after it was reported?

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 11/08/13

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
131106 A Day without Lou Reed 20x20

A Day Without Lou Reed

By Carrie Jacobson

The Times Herald-Record laid off all of its photographers and several experienced editors this past week. And Lou Reed died this past week, too.

It would be a stretch to say that the events were linked in any way, even metaphorically. But I can say that they both made me sad, and both made me long for times long passed.

The editors whose jobs the Record eliminated were incredibly hard workers, talented and bright, with experience and the amazing ability to solve a huge range of problems. They’d learned to work without pretty much everything that an editor needs to run a good paper – and yet, they persisted, building the best paper they could with the meager resources left to them.

The four photographers whose jobs were eliminated were among the best shooters I have ever seen. They documented the life and times and people of the mid-Hudson Valley for decades, and they did so with precision and verve and a big dose of love and art.

In its heyday, when Mike Levine was the editor of the Record, and I worked as Sunday editor and art director, the paper had a rough and tumble quality that I loved. We wanted to do something different, we wanted to be a paper that mattered. We wanted to be the paper that we were, heart and soul, not some weak echo of someone else’s idea of a good newspaper.

And making that tenuous stretch, that yes, perhaps tortured connection, I’d say that that was Lou Reed, too. Far as I know, he never wanted to be anything other than himself. Yes, he had his moments of doubt and pain, his weaknesses and his failures – and the Record did, too.

But even if you didn’t love the end result, I think you had to respect the integrity of the Record and Lou Reed.

I’m sorry they both are dead.

Adventures With Mike Carey

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

By Jeffrey Page

I have two terrific stories to tell about Mike Carey who began his career as a photographer at the Times Herald-Record 44 years ago and who has just retired as the newspaper’s local editor.

I got to the Record in 1973 and was assigned to the Sullivan County bureau to work for the great Bill Lowry. Around that time Bill was writing investigative pieces about the “superfecta,” an exotic wager at Monticello Raceway whose payoffs often were stupendous and in which heavy favorites occasionally were passed by horses whose winning percentage was so bad you’d swear they only had three legs.

A man named Leon Greenberg was president of the track and also a Sullivan County International Airport Commissioner. He didn’t like Bill – or Bill’s colleagues, such as me – on several counts. There were those superfecta stories and there was the fact that Bill embraced the waggish explanation of why the name of the little-used county airport included the word “international.” Why? Because migrating Canada geese often landed on the runways to rest and never were disturbed by takeoffs and landings.

One day I got a tip that Robert Abplanalp, a friend of Richard Nixon’s, was interested in being the fixed-base operator of the airport and would be flying in to discuss matters with the commission. We were told there was to be no press, which didn’t stop us.

I met Mike at the airport and we waited. Across the terminal about 25 feet away stood Greenberg and the other commissioners. Greenberg was furious at my being there and ordered Mike and me to leave, but a sheriff’s deputy reminded him that the airport was public space.

At which time, Greenberg turned slowly from the deputy and started walking toward me while muttering a little too loudly, “I swear I ought to …,” whereupon Mike, bigger, broader, and taller than Greenberg, stepped in front of me and asked, “Ought to what?”

Greenberg turned away and to this day I believe that my nose owes a great debt of gratitude to Mike Carey. For a while, he generously used the pronoun “we” when telling the story.

Then there was the Patty Hearst story. There had been rumors that the kidnapped heiress-turned-terrorist had spent some of her time on the run in Sullivan County.

Finally, a UPI reporter covering Hearst’s bank robbery trial in California called to ask us if we knew anything about a creamery in Jeffersonville because there had been trial testimony that that was where Hearst and some of her cohorts spent a summer. It turned out to be a creamery converted into a house.

An editor in Middletown sent Mike up to Monticello so we could have photos with the story. I was set to drive to Jeffersonville, but Mike, who seemed to know every inch of the paper’s circulation area, said he wanted to shoot from the air.

He contacted a pilot he knew and the three of us climbed into a small plane. I announced that I hated flying, and Mike said I’d write a better story if I could see just how close Hearst was to Main Street.

Just go low and slow, I asked the pilot.

We were at about 1,000 feet when Mike spoke words I’ll never forget: “Hey, can you do any tricks with this plane?”

Before I knew it, the plane was rocking and rolling side to side. Then the pilot aimed the plane downward. Not 90 degrees but certainly about 30 degrees, which was steep enough. I held a handle and heard Mike laughing, then asking, “You OK back there?” I was not OK.

(When I spoke with Mike this week, he said, “I’d heard the expression about someone’s being so sick as to have a green face, but I never saw it. With you it was true. You were green.”)

Once Wilbur and Orville up there in front were finished with their tricks, we headed for Jeffersonville and after two or three passes, Mike spotted the creamery.

He got terrific pictures. Hearst really was very close to town.

Later we went back to the bureau where Lowry asked how it went. “Smooth as silk,” Mike said. “Page is fearless at a thousand feet.”