Yesterday I spoke of dreams, in particular one of mine and that was to fly. I’m not the first, and I definitely won’t be the last boy to dream of such a lofty ideal. Today, I’m going to share a story about the ignition point of that dream. This story was written yonks (a very long time) ago; it was published on my original personal blog, hosted by Blogspot. Then Google disappeared my account, 14 Blogs, 7 years of work, irreplaceable photos, all gone. That was about 2009/10.

I recomenced my blogging, giving BlogSpot a wide berth, and trusting Google NOT.

Hence we have “Labyrinth”.

The Long Way Home

circa 1959

The year is a bit foggy, you lose so much in the course of 60 years. It was a time when kids played on suburban streets, came home late, and parnets didn’t panic. It was also just a dozen years after WWII, the memory of which still permeated through society. Kids were on the periphery of these memories, but still they descended to the echelons of kids our age. And, like many boys everywhere, we played “war.”

Sometimes I would go the long way home; turning right from the school gates instead of left. Together with my friend Stephan we’d head of, pats Martin’s place and into the cemetery with its sombre concrete graves and Gothic statues. Great things for irreverent boys to scramble over and climb.

After dallying there for a bit, we left by the northern gate. It was there on the way to Stephan’s place that we discovered an old plane hidden amongst the trees. The plane wasn’t a whole plane, it was just the fuselage lying hidden just waiting for two boys and their fertile imaginations.

We had no idea but the memory and later adult familiarity determined that we had discovered an Avro Anson, or some such. The RNZAF had various similar that eventually became war surplus fated to become toolsheds or chicken coops. Once through the trees we scambled aboard squeezed throught the narrow doo and into the cockpit, drommped our school satchels on the seats devoid of their original upholstery.

Void of instruments

The control yoke still moved imaginery ailerons and elevators, although we had absolutely no notion of what they were. Gaping holes in the instrument panel like the eyes of the blind, there remained buttons to push and swithes to switch. All this added to the realism as we prepared for take off.

How we knew, I have no idea because at this age I had’t flown before. But, we took off with engines howling fit to bust and decrepit airframe vibrating ready to pop rivets. Off, into the wild blue yonder in search of the enemy. I dont recall just who the enemy were.

This how we imagined ourselves

Nevertheless, the enemy we found, dog fights ensued, we emerged victorious, always victorious, regardless of their number. Machine guns hot and smoking, the acrid smell of iomaginary cordite filled the cockpit; two battle-worn boys returned to base, sweat on our brows faces smudged with the grime of ages in that forgotten hulk readily rubbed off on us.

We lkanded, sometimes on fire, other times minus an engine, but skill always saved us.

How we knew all this I’ll never know.

Our adventure over, late home. There was never an inquisition; just a casual where had I been, and an equally casual at Stephan’s with out any elaboration. Maybe an admonishment for the grime or a tear in my school clothes… old fuselages are so unfriendly to school clothes. Ushered into the bathroom, a flannel and soap to wash away my battle scars. My secrets safe from the prying world of grown-ups.

I lived to fly another day.

Abridged to save you from boredom.