Yeager slips bonds of Earth last time

    Except he'd give it a Yeagerism, like "that wasn't too tough". Presumably there's a Flyboy saloon he'll be at for happy hour. Hope no speed limits on the other side.


    My Dad flew with these guys out at Edwards - rather shocked me looking at his flight school album one time, there's Francis Gary Powers, shot out of the sky over Russia later in a U2, there a few years younger looking fresh and bold. I gave my Dad a copy of The Right Stuff, and it opened up some things. He described crashing a jet, and the thoughts weren't, "oh crap, I'm in danger" or "i could've been killed" - it was "you big dummy, how'd you mess that up?" He screwed the pooch, simple as that. 

    Of course there were the fast cars (aka very slow for a fighter pilot pushing Mach I), too much drinking occasionally, and just the desert - i spent a bit of time not far from there, remember my first time driving across the Mojave through Barstow late at night not having slept too much the last 48 hours, half Hunter Thompson, half Jim Morrison and the dead Indians, half fighter pilot taking in the high desert - 150% out there. Pilots can be quite terse and taciturn - a lot of long hours finally broken up by some gag or event or, God forbid, a crisis. Not just theirs. My Dad got called up when Kruschev built his Wall through Berlin, and earlier his sightseeing time in Europe was interspersed with waking up each day to see if he had to go fly a nuke over Russia and then figure out if he could make it back how far. Such was the Cold War. Odd for me to watch astronauts headed out to space, knowing one had dropped by the house not long before. So as Tom Wolfe builds Yeager into his book as the cornerstone of the whole new space program, i have him as a mysterious God/coyote/trickster mixed in with my Dad and a whole era of Americana past. And my Mom was caught up in it as well - almost died as a stewardess flying through a storm to Hawaii while preggers with my brother, met my father on a flight from Paris to NY like some Hollywood movie starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley McClain.

    I've always had trouble being labeled as "Baby Boomer" - i was born with the space race and spaceflight, the new frontier, for sure Gen X with Jackie and JFK, long after the dust of WWII celebrations had settled, after Ike and the Beats and On the Road. The 60s were in color - Yeager's time was carried out in Black and White. And as someone pointed out, there's a timelessness in B&W - actresses can look as stunning at 65 as 20, whereas in color they're washed up by 35 max. And there's Yeager, looking timeless, and that Black & White father of mine that I only know from photo albums, the person he was before I came along, now presumably sitting at the same bar. Raise a toast.

    fun reading your memories and thoughts, thanks for taking the time to write them up

    Thanks, tweaked/added a little bit

    clicking on Annette Gordon-Reed's tweet, I see John Noonan added a followup to his photo

    Don’t know what’s most compelling about him. Being shot down and fighting with Spanish partisans, directly appealing to Eisenhower to see combat again, making ace in a single mission, doing 130 combat sorties over Vietnam, and oh yeah there was that thing about the sound barrier

    — John Noonan (@noonanjo) December 8, 2020

    And don't forget, "You look awful!"

    Which reminds me, i think pilots if this I'll were orey sparing on compliments - not the High 5 type of esprit, you either did it it you didn't.

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