One of the things I rarely talk about is the fact that I grew up near a small airport. I don’t think of myself as any sort of airport rat. No one in my family flies a plane. And yet, it’s one of those things that I have a hard time remembering isn’t part of most people’s growing up experience. My sister and I grew up “at the end of the runway” of the Minuteman Airfield in Stow, Massachusetts. We could walk across the street and down the field that my Mom photographs so often and walk along the runway to the airport restaurant. My Mom would go get coffee there and talk to pilots sometimes. I remember they had a pretty good candy machine.
When my sister and I got older we both got jobs there. My job there was my first job ever, minding a coffee shop for a few hours after school. I made $2.10 an hour, plus tips which were scant. I was about 14 years old and at the end of my shift, I’d lock the door behind me and walk home down the runway and across the field in the dark. Sometimes the pilots would take us flying and we would fly over our house. Once I got to ride in a helicopter. We’ve had plane crashes happen both across the street and in our backyard. One was on my birthday. My Mom does some work for the same restaurant, the same people I worked for. They’ve owned the place since I can remember. She helps them with their newsletter, they pay her in gift certificates. We often go eat there when I’m in town. This is just a big explanation for why, when I went flying with my friend Mark (the pilot!) today and he said “Here, you want to fly it?” and handed me the yoke I could say “Oh yeah, I’ve done this before.” We had a really good time, you can check out the photos.
We flew over my house in Bethel, totally obscured by trees, and took a look at the quarry in Bethel which is hard to see from anywhere but the air. Then we headed north sort of following Route 91 and turned in at Route 25 and we were in the hills, just trees and trees and trees, mostly red, some green, pretty impressive. The photos are a pale reflection of how amazing it looked from up there. I looked down trying to find my actual place in Topsham, but it was obscured by clouds.