Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Harvards and War Heritage

My father in law in front of Harvard airplane. St Lazare.

On this blog, which is about the 1910 era, primarily, I have written about my father in law, Tom Wells, 90, who suffered a stroke on April 2, his ninetieth birthday and who spent two months in hospital, in care and in rehab.

For a while it looked like he couldn't return home, as he couldn't walk or care for himself in any way, but he has made great strides. Indeed, he was well enough to take a short trip to St. Lazare on Saturday to see an air show, where a Harvard was on display. My father in law flew a Harvard during the war, at pilot training school, where he was an instructor.

My father in law receives a disability payment for his hearing, as Harvard's were extremely noisy planes.

My husband asked him how many hours of training a kid got before he flew. Five hours my father in law said, and another five hours and the trainee was off into the wild blue yonder. No time to fool around back then.

I've also been writing about Heritage, as I am taking a Heritage Studies course at Athabasca College online. War stories are heritage, no doubt. Big time. I have visited the Imperial War Museum in England in 2006 and the Aviation Museum in Ottawa (many years ago with my kids).

Of course, my story, Flo in the City, based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/ takes place in 1910, when airplanes, or aeroplanes were just getting off the ground. The Aviation Museum has a lovely painting of a woman in big 1910 era hat and corsetted dress, at an air show at St. Hubert. My father in law taught out of St. Hubert and Dunville and Kingston.

I've also been reading up on the Ferry Command, where my British father served, in the Montreal Gazette archives on Google. The Ferry Command was headquartered in Montreal. My father flew mostly mosquitos, so I remember him telling me.

Anyway, the Harvard took off for home in St. Donat,leaving us quite literally in its dust, and we returned home, where my father in law scaled the steep steps into the main part of the house. Imagine, a few weeks ago he couldn't stand without help.