Remembering The Fabulous Boeing 707

Boeing’s game-changing 707 jetliner connected the world like nothing ever had before. Another registration number for the history books….N748TW…a Boeing 707-131B workhorse from the time it was birthed from Boeing’s Renton, Washington plant at the cusp of the 1960s to its end in 1980.

Hard to fathom now – but the 707, the 727, and the massive 747 were all 600 mph airplanes and they could do it at 39,000 feet. Today – the average is 550. Thanks to the vision of Pan American’s Juan Trippe and Boeing’s gutsy CEO – Bill Allen, Boeing birthed the “367-80” jet demonstrator – aka the 707.

The Boeing 707 served a long and distinguished career hauling passengers around the world thanks to Trippe and Allen. It saw every corner of the world. Britain’s misfortune with the ill-fated Dehavilland Comet jetliner (crashes from explosive decompression) became Boeing’s good fortune. It sold a lot of 707s and the stubby 707 known as the 720.

N748TW was a domestic 707 void of the telltale antenna sticking out of the vertical tail for overwater communications. N748TW crisscrossed this country every way imaginable from the early 1960s until 1980 when it was surrendered to the Arizona desert in 1980. When the airlines retired 707s – the USAF snapped up every 707 it could find to get engines, pylons, and tails for its KC-135A re-engining program. The KC-135 needed the 707’s more powerful JT3D engines and its improved tail to make them KC-135Es.

You can see N748TW’s remains below at David-Monathan AFB, Arizona in more recent years. Its remains are still there today.

I loved TWA in its best years in classic TWA colors like the black and white image below. My Uncle Dick and Uncle Johnny on the Smart side of the family flew Boeing 707s for TWA. My cousin Steve Bisig is the late Captain Dick Bisig’s son and we have been the best of buddies since 1961. In those days – my uncles flew Connies and ultimately jets for Trans World.

In December of 1965, N748TW was inbound to JFK/New York when it collided with an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-1049 or L-1649 Super Connie (Constellation). The Connie was the best looking airliner ever done – period. My God it was sexy. N748TW lost 20 feet of its right wing in the collision and managed to land safety at JFK with a load of soiled underwear on board. Eastern wasn’t so fortunate – it crashed and all were killed. N748TW was repaired and returned to service and flew another 15 years.

On a chilly November night in 1979, I boarded N748TW at St. Louis for the short ride down to Oklahoma City and the 135-mile drive down to Altus, Oklahoma (Altus AFB) where I lived from 1977-81. I had no knowledge of its death-defying history over New York.

N748TW would depart OKC for Phoenix and San Francisco – and that’s what 707s did in those days. They did the milk runs and they flew vast distances. UNITED, in particular, flew the stubby 720 domestically. It was never upgraded to 720B status. They flew the nation. My first ever airplane ride was a UNITED 720 in 1961.

My ride that November night aboard N748TW would be my last 707 ride ever. By 1983, all of TWA’s 707s would be gone. In due course all passenger 707s would be gone – hauling freight or giving up their parts for the KC-135 program.

In the late 1980s – I worked on Boeing 707s for Independent Air – which was a charter from St. Louis down to Mexico. Independent Air had three 707s at STL. Two were former American Airlines – 707-323Bs while one was a TWA 707-331B. As I wrenched on these classic Boeings, I marveled at their history. American’s had been meticulously maintained – pristine. The TWA – not so fortunate. One of them later crashed in the Azores.

To me – Boeing’s 707 was the epitome of what we were as a nation at the time. Our post-war greatness in the Kennedy years. We were headed for the Moon and there was no going back.

Spending Valuable Time with the Elderly

They say youth is wasted on the young.


Throughout our lives are stages….chapters…phases to get through.


When we are so very young, we cannot fathom growing old. We grow old one day at a time across the decades. One day, we’re looking at photos or perhaps ourselves in a mirror wondering what happened.

I had the good fortune of growing up around old people. I’ve always possessed great empathy for the elderly. I’ve always loved old people and been eager to embrace and reassure them all will be well. There’s depth in their eyes only they understand. Their eyes are windows into their souls and the lives they have lived. There is profound sadness and yet euphoria in their memories.

When I was so very little growing up in the apartments just across the Potomac River from Washington, my grandparents were elderly…in their 60s. I am currently 67. I watched my parents journey through their sixties too. My dad – gone at 72. My mom – 84. And here I am on the downside of my sixties.

Remarkable, isn’t it?

What I love most about my early memories hanging with old people were their many and varied stories from their lives. Hanging with old people is an opportunity to learn something about our past. We are the last generation to hear stories about horses and buggies and those first motorcars. They sat on the lawn behind the apartments watching traffic roar by on Route 50 as they told their stories.

I’d look at Civil War era Fort Myer across Arlington Boulevard and wonder of its history. I’d listen to the old folks’ stories about the World War I, the Great Depression and World War II. I couldn’t relate to any of it. I’ve known people who were on the beaches of Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge. Those who saw action and death couldn’t talk about it. They lost close friends – brothers in arms. It doesn’t get any closer than that. They kept one another alive. They grieved over their Fallen.

My mother was a Washington girl born and raised – sheltered from the Great Depression living in the District where the city was a company town and the masses were employed by the federal government. Everyone had a job. She worked at Agriculture.

As my mother came of age at the cusp of a world war, she watched my Uncle Wayne go off to serve in the Marines in the Pacific. She said he came home a different person. Of course he was… He was a bombardier on B-17s high over the Pacific. He understood fear and lived through the sadness of loss of those he served with. He came home to a different sister too who had grown up.

Washington wasn’t the same place either.

It has always been easy for me to spend time with the elderly. I’ve always loved their wisdom and experience. I’ve always known they’d had it tougher than I ever have.

If I can offer any wisdom – it’s to spend time with old people. Hold their hands. Listen to their stories. Take an interest.

They’ve been there…

Remembering Traditional Neighborhoods

Do you remember the old neighborhood growing up? Everyone knew each other. There were block parties and summer picnics. We played kickball and hide and go seek. If you acted up, someone would tell your parents. There was accountability for one’s actions that included consequences. When a neighbor was in trouble, everyone pitched in to help. There was a strong sense of community on a single block.

Whatever happened to that?

I firmly believe we grew up in a better time than our children and grandchildren. We didn’t have video games and electronics. We had only our imaginations and each other. I believe we were more connected than our offspring even though they have cell phones and personal computers.

We lived our childhoods face to face with a lot of interaction. We had sleepovers, plastic army men, dolls, and board games. We watched Andy Griffith and Captain Kangaroo. There was a lot to be learned from both.

Seems every metropolitan area had a Sheriff John or some other children’s programming host on local Metromedia (now Fox) stations. In Washington, D.C., we had WTTG Metromedia 5 with Ranger Hal and Captain Tugg followed by the Three Stooges, Popeye, or cartoons.

It was a great time to be alive.

In winter, we had sleds and ice skates. We learned how to endure the bitter cold and warm up inside to ready ourselves for another trek into the great outdoors. In summer, we learned to sweat, play in the sun, and live without air conditioning. And who can forget the terrific toys and other playthings we had. Every fall after Halloween, there were the teaser toy commercials from Hasbro, Marx, and Mattel. We had to work out a strategy for letting Santa know what we wanted.

Millennials have become sick and tired of hearing about boomer childhoods. However, we had a better time growing up with less creature comforts and entertainment than they have. We were more connected to each other. We addressed our friends’ parents as Mr. and Mrs. We spoke respectfully to them or got our chops busted by our parents. It was about proper breeding or the unfortunate absence of it, which seems to be the core problem today.

If I can offer young people any advice, it would be about exercising mutual respect and keeping insulting, offensive comments to yourself. Social Media has groomed a society of ill-mannered creatures who appear to have more courage at a keyboard than in face-to-face interaction.

The best thing we can impart to our young is to spend less time on a cell phone or personal computer and more time getting to know your neighbors.

Memories of The Great One

There could have only been one Jackie Gleason – and no matter how old you are, you know this great performer whether you were alive during his time or not. Even young people today, who never witnessed “The Honeymooners” or “The Jackie Gleason Show” back in the day know who this man was.

Boomers remember and love “The Great One” for the entertainment he provided at the dawn of television. Gleason also exhibited his greatness on the big screen in a wide variety of diverse roles. Gleason’s very soul and creativity came right out of his Brooklyn, New York roots. He was a street wise city kid who learned the ropes early. He grew up without a father under the love and tutorage of his mother. He understood hard times and learned via raw tenacity how to forge his way to the top.

Gleason understood working class New York and modeled his many characters after the people he grew up with on the streets of Brooklyn. Gleason was Ralph Kramden and Ralph Kramden was Jackie Gleason. Gleason dropped “The Honeymooners” after just 39 episodes because he knew it was time for him to move on.

Most memorable was “The Jackie Gleason Show” developed from The Honeymooners from the late 1950s well into the 1970s. Gleason was Mr. Saturday Night for decades. The show endured well beyond its time as a variety show because we just couldn’t get enough of The Great One. The Gleason show originated from New York’s Park Sheraton Hotel before moving south to Miami Beach in 1964.

Johnny Olson opened the show every Saturday night on CBS with, “Live from Miami Beach, it’s The Jackie Gleason Show!” and boy didn’t we know it. Gleason didn’t do anything low octane. His monologues have kept us laughing as did his many characters for decades. My personal favorite was Joe the Bartender. He did Joe so well we’d forget he was Jackie Gleason. Frank Fontaine would wander in and strike up a conversation after Joe stuck his finger in the middle of his beer foam.

We laughed hysterically at Reginold Van Gleason III and his antics in the world of fantasy with a smattering of reality. The Poor Soul was vintage Gleason. We felt such great empathy for this Gleason character. Sometimes, we wept. On the big screen, Gleason moved us with a wide variety of characters. Minnesota Fats up against blue-eyed Paul Newman in “The Hustler.” Requiem For a Heavyweight” was another memorable Gleason flick.

Who could forget Gleason’s “Gigot” film where he played a Parisian custodian and laborer, a mute, a simple man with a big heart who was the butt of jokes by society who didn’t understand him. Gigot was a sweet tender man embraced by a prostitute and her daughter. He took them in, gave them shelter, and they became something of a family though perhaps short-lived.

Gleason is probably remembered best for his “Smokey and the Bandit” role as Buford T. Justice, a hysterical character in hot pursuit of Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in a hot Trans Am. Though certainly not Gleason’s greatest role, he made us laugh.

Gleason had a secondary career in his “Music for Lovers” franchise in the 1950s and 1960s. Many a life was conceived to his soft mood music on the turntable. “Music For Lovers Only” remained on the Billboard Top Ten Charts for 153 weeks, with his first 10 LPs selling over a million copies each. He was not a musician, nor did he even know how to read music. He knew how to convey a mood and he understood how to unite lovers with his work. I can still see his Capitol Records labels on my father’s Hi-Fi while my mother prepared dinner.

Gleason’s final wrap-up was the obscure 1986 Garry Marshall film “Nothing in Common” with Ton Hanks, Bess Armstrong, Eva Marie Saint, Hector Elizondo, and Barry Corbin. “Nothing In Common” was a great tribute to Gleason and his work. With the debut of “Nothing in Common” we said goodbye and “so long” to The Great One, who was very sick with stomach and colon cancer who, despite how sick he was, never failed to deliver a great performance.

There Was Only One Queen

Baby Boomers have had the good fortune of growing up in The Jet Age. We’ve managed to see a whole lot of firsts in commercial aviation – from props to jets to the jumbo jet. My first jet trip was in 1961 on a United Air Lines Boeing 720, which took my family and me from Baltimore’s Friendship International Airport (now Baltimore-Washington) to Kansas City’s old Municipal Airport to spend Christmas with family before heading off to San Francisco and Hawaii for a two-year stint with my father on Oahu with the NSA before jetting back to the Washington, D.C. area.

Jet travel became possible thanks to great visionaries like Pan Am’s Juan Trippe and Boeing’s Bill Allen. Trippe made air travel possible around the world with a succession of aviation firsts. He took big risks. It seemed there was nothing he couldn’t do. Boeing had a good grasp of how to build jets with the B-47 and B-52 post-war bombers. The problem with the B-52 was the sluggish KC-97 piston tanker, which struggled to keep up with Boeing’s eight-engine 600 mph bomber.

Allen saw this issue and bet the entire worth of the Boeing company on what was known as the “Jet Demonstrator” 367-80 “707”prototype – which led to the KC-135A jet tanker and ultimately the Boeing 707 commercial jetliner. Britain’s misfortune with the failed Comet program (catastrophic crashes from airframe failure) was Boeing’s good fortune. It enabled Boeing to bring high speed jet travel to the flying public.

On a chilly October evening at New York’s Idlewild International Airport (now JFK), Pan American World Airways warmed up a new Boeing 707-121 and jetted for Paris, France at dizzying speed at an altitude unheard of with Pan Am’s classic piston propeller Clippers. Overnight, jet travel was upon us to just about anywhere you can think of around the world.

It wasn’t long after the 707’s inauguration Trippe sent a missive to Allen asking for a really large 600 mph jetliner capable of hauling 400-500 passengers. As in the early 1950s – both men took huge risks to develop the most enormous jetliner ever built – Boeing’s 747 Jumbo Jet.

To build the first 747 prototype, Boeing needed a really big building. It carved out a huge section of forest land outside of Seattle in the middle of nowhere in a place known as Everett with a team led by Boeing engineer Joe Sutter known as The Incredibles. In roughly two years’ time, with strict deadlines and its share of setbacks, The Incredibles rolled out their 747 on September 1968. It took to the skies the following February and the world hasn’t been the same since.

Boeing’s very last 747 – one of the 747-8 freighters, rolled out of the Everett factory amid fanfare and sad farewells and took to the skies several weeks later signaling the end of one hell of an era of air travel. For Boeing and for the flying public, it wasn’t the end – but a new beginning with better technology – the updated 777-X (777-8 and 777-9) which will enter service in 2025. Get ready for a new age of quiet high tech jet travel where the world will become even smaller.

The 777 has already changed the world and been flying vast distances across the globe since 1995. The 747 has gone down in history in more ways than I could ever get into here. Salute! It took a Boeing to shrink the world in wide-body comfort and extraordinary style.

The Life and Music of Burt Bacharach

Most of you are familiar with the work of legendary composer Burt Bacharach even if you don’t know who he was. If you grew up in the 20th century, you’ve heard and remember his music. His music is a reminder of the times of our lives – our memories. You heard his music from an AM radio in your first car. You danced to his music at your senior prom. Walking the mall – you hummed to his work. Burt Bacharach’s music touched our lives every way imaginable.

The birthplace of such great American pop music has passed at age 94. Few lived a fuller, richer life than Burt Bacharach. You would need a sizable spreadsheet to document his work and the many performers who brought it to life. I figure his music is on the air at any moment throughout a given day around the world. His music will continue to be heard for generations.

Burt Bacharach was born to our world in Kansas City, Missouri May 12, 1928 deep in the American heartland. It wasn’t long before a very young Bacharach found himself in New York City. His mother, Irma Freeman, an artist and songwriter, encouraged him to pursue his God-given talent at a very early age. His father, Bert Bacharach, was a newspaper columnist who took a job in New York.

The younger Bacharach never missed his mother’s message. He learned his craft at the Mannes School of Music, McGill University, The New School for Social Research, and the Music Academy of the West. He was highly educated at what he loved most. He also served in our armed forces where he never missed a beat. He mixed his military duties with his intense love of music.

Bacharach worked closely with composer Hal David. Together they created the music of our memories – “Don’t Make Me Over,” “Reach Out for Me,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?,” “You’ll Never Get to Heaven,” “Walk on By,” “Trains and Boats and Planes,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “What The World Needs Now,” “Here I am,” and goodness knows a host of others that escape me – yet trigger our personal memories. You can’t think of Bacharach’s work without thinking of Dionne’s Warwick who put his music to voice and words. She did this so many times, further enhancing our memories.

I supposed it can be considered ironic Bacharach wanted to be a sports athlete. Imagine if he had pursued sports instead of music and how different our lives might have been by not growing up with his music.

It was difficult to learn of the passing of Burt Bacharach. Burt Bacharach has been us and we have been Burt Bacharach for decades. Personally, I remember him most from my youth – Teen Club on Friday nights in high school, cruising the drag in my hometown, listening to his pop tunes at the retail clothing store where I worked at the mall, enjoying a much-anticipated hot date on a warm summer night, and sitting in the living room with my mom at dusk absorbed in Bacharach’s talent gazing at the stereo’s red pilot light and softly illuminated dial.

It can be safely said Bacharach has made great contributions to the world of music and the memories we hold dear. As we bid farewell to a great American composer and musician – I will sign off by saying what the world needs now is more Bacharach.

To Every Life, There Are Seasons

Each and every day—I think of the journey—the time span that encompasses our lives from birth to the moment we pass.  I think of each life as chapters or phases—periods of time that come and go in our lives.  One ends and the other begins.  Sometimes two melt into one—a continuance.  Experiences are either positive or negative.  Sometimes—they’re somewhere in between. 

I’ve had a good life—more good than bad.  The bad, however, has surely been life changing.  Some of it permanent—forever—never to return to what it was before the trauma.  Sometimes, it is best to take three steps backwards to move forward in a more positive way.  And sometimes, we must circle in an altitude hold until we can sort out where we are going. 

Sacrifices made in order to have a better life. 

My father always stressed cutting your losses and knowing when to quit and move on—and he was in no way a positive man.  My mother always termed him a “man’s man…”  Well, what the hell did that mean?  That he never let anything bother him?  Didn’t mean much on a personal level.  He was not the guy to go to when you were feeling beaten and needed someone to tell you all would be be okay. 

My mother was good for that.

My dad was a product of his experiences – the rough and tumble way he was raised during the Great Depression and the damage done to his psyche’ during his formative years growing up in Kansas City. He didn’t know any different but to tell you to buck up and deal with it much as he was told as a child.

We heal by taking a bad experience and gaining inner strength from it, which is easier said than done.  Pain is pain. It teaches and it remembers.  It makes recovery challenging when we’re feeling so badly.  Because we have a memory and store memories of the past, we tend to relive pain again and again.  However—to become stronger from what we’ve been through, we have to look pain in the eye and commit to beating it.

Some experiences are harder than others.  A traumatic experience is challenging to recover from.  When I go through a bad experience, I get into head work for my very survival—to remind myself it is over and that there’s nothing I can do about it.  Once you understand there’s nothing you can do about a bad experience, you empower yourself by grabbing it by the throat and shaking the life out of it.

When all else fails – have a cookie…

Lyrics: Turn, Turn, Turn!

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

Take Heart…You’re Still Here…

If you’re reading this post, you’re probably 60-plus.

I crested 60 nearly seven years ago, which means I am on the downhill side of my sixties. Isn’t 60+ something your parents were – or your grandparents? Never you – right? How can it be? Our parents and grandparents are gone – or at least most of them are gone now. If you were born of long-living kinfolk, you may still have a parent around – well into their nineties – perhaps even 100.

My mother would have been 100 next December. She passed at 84 in 2008 peacefully in her sleep.

Whenever I hear myself cough, I hear the same harmonics in my cough that I heard from my mother’s larynx thousands of times when she was alive. When my oldest son laughs – I hear my mother’s laughter. My beautiful niece, who is nearly 40, is a reflection of my mother’s beauty.

Are you beginning to get the picture? Each of us is a miracle of evolution – survival. Each of us is the result of the amazing fluid process of genetics. We are each the sum total of who our ancestors were. Look at your hands and see your grandmother’s. Blow your nose and hear the same resonance of your father’s when he blew his. Behold your receding hairline and see the ol’ man’s. Blow up in the heat of anger and recall your grandfather’s demeanor when you were in trouble.

I hear a lot of you bemoaning the passage of time. We’re not young anymore – not by any means. We were the youth movement a half century ago. We were never going to grow old. Never trust anyone over 30. Remember that? Old was something the generations before us faced – but never us. And here we are – lamenting the passage of time and old age.

Well consider this – and feel good about it. Life is best when viewed as a book of chapters, only you’re not allowed to page back. You’re only allowed to turn back the pages via pictures, home movies, tape recordings, video and your sweet memory.

As you enter life’s twilight, embrace the moment and the wisdom you’ve gained via experience and all of life’s ups and downs.

You’ve survived…

Procrastinators Unite – Maybe…

Old Adage: “Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”

What makes us put things off until tomorrow? Or…next week? Next year? I think of my own life when I ask this question. I have a stack of medical referrals from my HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and I need to make appointments.

I’ll think about that tomorrow – maybe…

Psychology Today says, “Everyone puts things off sometimes, but procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and may deliberately look for distractions. Procrastination tends to reflect a person’s struggles with self control. For habitual procrastinators, who represent approximately 20 percent of the population, ‘I don’t feel like it’ comes to take precedence over their goals or responsibilities and can set them on a downward spiral of negative emotions that further deter future effort.” It becomes a continuing struggle until we become disciplined enough to shake it.

What makes us put off what needs to be done? Personally, I think people tend to put off what is challenging or going to consume a lot of time. Truth is, procrastination is the absence of self control. We let circumstances control us. Instead of doing what must be done, we simply put it off because it isn’t something we really want to do.

Tax preparation is a big one for procrastination. My tax accountant knows to expect nothing from me until October – the drop-dead date for tax filing. Every year I promise her better and, every year, I lie.

It is a given.

Oh…and did I tell you I am Attention Deficit? Not an excuse – a fact. This year will be different – I hope. I try… I write down what must be done each day, then, I tackle the list. I get some of it done, but not all of it.

Housecleaning…now there’s a big one because no one wants to do it. I feel a certain sense of satisfaction when I clean house. I look around and the place looks nice. Feels good to be clean and organized – when it happens…

What to do about procrastination? I am inclined to think about that tomorrow. However, life waits for no one. If you put things off, please understand you are likely to miss out because life marches on without you. You make plans with a friend for lunch but keep canceling because you just don’t feel like lunch that day. That evening, you learn your friend succumbed to a heart attack or car accident. Or perhaps you fell upon misfortune and will never have the opportunity again. This logic can be applied to a wide variety of scenarios.

When you procrastinate you miss out.

I’ve found, though I don’t always practice this, to do things when I think about them. In short – do it now. Then, it’s done, and you don’t have to think about it anymore. Procrastination is a tough egg to crack if you’ve been doing it all your life. There are challenging elements we are born with that make procrastination hard to beat.

Take your procrastination issues one step at a time. When you’re tempted to put something off, grab the task with both hands and jump into it with both feet. In 21 days, I’ve been told, it becomes habit.

Regret Keeps Us from Moving Forward

Funny thing about the past. It tends to keep us trapped. Sometimes, our memories can be our worst enemies. It is the remembering. The regretting. Feeling guilty for what we’ve done.

Failing to instead look at what’s ahead…

I’ve led a charmed life in so many ways. Blessed… I’ve also had dark moments where I wondered who on earth I was. As we cruise into the twilight of our lives, we tend to wonder how we got where we are. We have our regrets – moments that left us different people than we were before. Regret is the hand cuffs that keep us from moving forward because excessievly looking back has never been a healthy option.

Life is a series of chapters and events. When we are so very young, we are a blank canvass – a clean sheet of paper – with our future stretched out ahead of us. As a child, I used to gaze out into the night sky through a frosty window wondering what was out there waiting for me when I reached adulthood.

I couldn’t wait to grow up.

Suddenly one day you’re out of high school wondering what to do with your life. I remember my last day of high school in my hometown of Bowie, Maryland. I took the wheel of my 1967 Mustang and pulled out onto the main road that ran past my high school. It was a sad moment for me though I hated school with a passion and was a terrible student. I don’t even know how I graduated.

That chapter was over.

I’d find my way into adulthood one step at a time. I knew I loved aviation and determined that’s what I wanted to do. I decided to join the United States Air Force and learn how to work on big jets. I saw this as a life passion. I believed I would separate from the USAF and be working for the airlines. I would learn miserably after four years getting experience the house was full. There were no airline mechanic jobs to be had.

Life had other unrelated plans for me.

What I didn’t know then was, my life was about to change from bending wrenches to writing about how to bend wrenches. I had a deep passion for automobiles. I also liked writing. By pure dumb luck, I stumbled into automotive journalism in a start-up publishing house in Florida specializing in niche publications dedicated to the coming muscle car craze. It wound up being an opportunity I will never forget.

I took my experience as a mechanic and turned it into a writing career.

I thought this classic muscle car craze was a flash in the pan and would be over in a matter of time. That twist in the road became a career lasting more than 40 years. We don’t always recognize the significant moments in our lives when they happen and what they mean to our future. I sit in my shabby little office at 66 remembering that moment in time at age 28 when life changed forever.

I have my regrets. We all do. I’ve had two failed marriages. Made my share of foolish mistakes typically when I thought only of myself. With any luck, our mistakes and foolishness are few and we find a way to learn from them.