In an earlier blog, I mentioned I was about to write a book in a new genre. It’s a “memoirography” which is a cross between an autobiography, memoir, biography and anthology.
The working title is Gold and Silver Wings and it will be is a series of aviation vignettes from my dad’s, my son’s and my flying career. Gold and silver wings refers to the color of the wings my father, my son and I earned. Air Force (and Army) pilots earn silver wings and Navy (and Marine Corps) aviators wear gold.
In terms of time, when I start writing, our three careers span ninety, that’s 90, years or nine decades. By the time my son retires from the Navy in two years (and it gets published), it will cover a century. Egads!!!
The book starts on May 20th, 1927 on a foggy, humid morning at Roosevelt Field. My grandfather and his nine year old son left their house in Flatbush, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, to watch Charles Lindbergh take off on his attempt to be the first man to fly non-stop from New York to Paris. The prize was the princely sum at the time of $25,000 that in 2017 dollars, is about $350K. That morning, my dad decided that he wanted to be a Army pilot.
The vast majority of the stories will not involve flying in combat but instead, unusual, scary, fun and sometimes dumb things we did in airplanes and helicopters. They’ll be interspersed with short stories from our family life that will make you smile and, may, on one or two occasions, cry.
So why did I decide to write this book? The answer is simple – I feel compelled to write it. It is our family’s story and even if it doesn’t get published, it will be there for generations to read. Second, I think others may like the tales as well. Growing up, one of my favorite books was Fate is the Hunter written by Ernest K. Gann. It was a series of stories from Gann’s aviation career flying airliners and is the model for Gold and Silver Wings.
In writing it, I have the advantage in that I know the three sources (and subjects) intimately. Rather than take a traditional approach and start with when my dad was born and trace his life that overlaps mine and then my son’s that overlaps us both, this memoirography is going to be different. I’m going to do it by decade, starting in the 1930s when my dad started taking flying lessons. Then, I arrive in 1945 and there are some stories from my childhood. Seth arrives in 1978. As a reference, I have our log books, other publications and my memory which isn’t as good as it used to be which is another reason to write this book.
Stay tuned, the outline is written and I’ve already started writing the fifty odd stories. How many will make it into the final draft is unknown, but I think it will be fun writing it.