The Beautifully Unbroken (BU) series I am weaving into my blog because, amidst our struggles, I believe it is important to remember the good things that have happened in life. Along my journey, I have not had many mentors and, in fact, have only had two of them. The first one I met back when I lived in CA and, although it was for a very short time, she left me with one of the best memories of my life. This story is one of redemption and one that I remember with such great fondness.
I practically grew up in a bowling alley because my parents regularly participated in three to four leagues at a time. My siblings and I did some pretty crazy things while the ‘rents bowled! Young children left unattended in a bowling alley for several hours is never a good idea! But we also met a lot of different people; and amongst them was a man named, Jack. One time, when I was around twelve, he and I were chatting, and he started talking about his airplane. My eyes opened wide, and I exclaimed, “You have an airplane?!” He laughed and said “Yes, and I would be happy to take you and your brothers and sister up sometime.” Now, you have to remember that we lived in the projects and didn’t have much, so an offer like this was literally like a dream. He talked to my dad and set up a date to bring us to the airfield. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening!
The week that we were supposed to go, it felt like Saturday was taking an eternity to arrive. My excitement was beyond what I can explain. When Saturday finally came, I jumped out of bed and threw my clothes on. I couldn’t understand how anyone could sleep in on a day like this! So, I woke everyone up! While they were all getting ready, I was playing and, I can’t remember exactly what I did, but it wasn’t anything huge. I may have knocked something over or something silly like that. Regardless, my dad got angry at me and said, “Just for that, you are not going today. You will stay home while your brothers and sister go on the airplane.” In a flash, my whole world crashed in on me. I was in disbelief that he pulled this out from under me without a second thought. I ran outside and cried as I watched them load up in the car and drive away. Later that day, I was walking into the backyard when I heard the sound of an airplane approaching; I looked up and there they were. Jack was sad that I couldn’t join them and thought I would like it if they flew over the house so I could see them. I didn’t like it. In fact, seeing what I was missing made me sick to my stomach and I sat down in the dirt and cried even harder. A month or so later, when the pictures came and they started recounting how much fun they had that day, I quietly snuck away to my room and cried again.
This event really stuck with me and, when I was about 25 years old, I was recounting the story to a lady that everyone called “Mama”. She was so sad and said that she wanted to do something for me. What I didn’t know at the time was that her son was a pilot. She called him up, recounted the story, and told him that she wanted him to take me up for a flight. She even offered to give him the money for the cost of the fuel. When she told me about this, I was stunned! It didn’t seem real that I would get my flight after all! But, sure enough, her son, Curtis, took my husband (at the time), my 1-year-old baby, and myself on a sunset flight! We flew over the Catalina Islands, Ventura, and the Pacific Ocean as we watched the sun sett over the water! That was a perfect day and one that still makes me feel genuinely happy whenever I think about it!
As I have shared (breaking begins, Nini), I have been through a lot of tough stuff in my life. However, experiences like these are the ones that have kept me going. There are a lot of good people in the world and Mama was one of them! She took a terribly sad story and re-wrote it; for that, I am forever grateful!!!
Until next time, stay safe!