Paper Wings, from AMERICAN SKY

My first memorable aircraft sighting came when we lived in Maple Heights. My dad yelled for me to come out front to the driveway. He pointed at the sky—“Right there! Can you see it? A jet! No propellers.” The swept wings were dazzling. Perhaps it was a B-47, America’s premier bomber by the mid-1950s. We stood in the driveway craning our necks at its silent path across the sky and then heard a low growl as it passed overhead and soon disappeared.

Not long afterwards, maybe by seven-years old, I made my first pair of wings while spending the weekend with my grandparents in Cleveland. I put my brother in charge of gathering old newspapers and together we cut strips of paper and glued them to a long piece of cardboard. Using kite string, my brother attached the wings at my shoulders and wrists. Jumping off a tree limb or the garage roof seemed dangerous, so at first I stayed indoors, flapping about the house like a wounded crow.

The couch was my first runway. When I took off too close to my grandmother, who sat watching TV, a flurry of tiny fists appeared in my flight path and I crashed to the floor laughing.

I wore those wings from the moment I awoke. I ate with them on, played, and wondered how I would climb the pear tree in the backyard without damaging my creation….


Posted in Uncategorized by with 1 comment.
  • thanks,Fred. It all seems familiar: those kid longings and experiments.Nicely and concisely written.