I was thirty-two the spring I spent two days flying circles in a sardine-tin airplane with Bert Acosta. We took off in the Columbia from Roosevelt Field at 9:30 in the morning: Bert coffee-fogged and a little hungover, me minty and spiced where Willda had slapped on my aftershave. Bert cast a sideways glance and chuckled at my argyle and knickerbockers. I was a loud dresser then. My personality needed the help.
It was April 1927, before we knew Lindbergh was anyone to worry about. It was a time when it seemed like the first Atlantic crossing was anyone’s for the taking. It could have been me flying first into Paris that summer. It could have been Bert. It couldn’t have been both of us, but we weren’t talking about that yet.
Willda had been up before me that morning, of course. Starched, smoothed, slicing a banana into a row of soft, even coins in the hotel kitchenette. She arranged them over my cornflakes and watched me eat—it made me nervous, like the way cats do, sometimes. You know.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
I nodded, crunching.
“I mean,” she said, “do you feel ready?”
I swallowed. “Of course.” I could feel her looking at me, concern and tension and what I then thought was wifely ardor but I know now was the look of a woman who knows better, nursing a bitten tongue. I bristled at the attention. The early morning. The jangling nerves I thought I couldn’t feel. “What’s to be ready for, anyway,” I stretched, smiling. “We’re just jogging laps.”
It was a strange time to be a pilot. We’d been useless since the war ended—no heroics left, and no passenger airlines to fly for like they had in Europe. I’d been barnstorming, stunt flying—dives and rolls and squeezing through spaces so tight they nearly clipped my wings. I wasn’t near as daring as Bert, though. He used to scoop a handkerchief from the ground with the tip of a wing, snatch it and pivot like he was flipping a pancake. But I was bad enough to make Willda shriek, and set her hands trembling for hours after I landed.
Sometimes there were mail runs, hops from New York to Philly and back with drifts of paper cumulating somehow to a crushing weight. Aerial photography—leaning sideways over sports fields and coastal hamlets and letting the plane bank or dive until I got the shot. A few months after my flight with Bert, I’d snap shots of the new Yankee Stadium, zip through the danger zone of a Babe Ruth homer. Or there was advertising—dropping fluttering leaflets over New Jersey towns, trumpeting the casinos and hotels I could see from my cockpit but which seemed a faraway escape from their Main Street. When Bert and I took off that April, I was in trouble with the law for leaflet-bombing a Jersey town that turned out to have a strict no-litter policy. Sometimes I’d give rides at county fairs—a week after Bert and I finally landed the Columbia, Charles Levine would pull rank as its owner and have me take up his doe-eyed little daughter and her friend. I’d have to make an emergency landing on one wheel after a pin sheared off the shock absorber during takeoff. It’d be the best landing I ever made, near perfect, but it’d set the plane back enough for Lindy to beat us to Paris.
What I’m saying is, there wasn’t a way to be a pilot back then that wasn’t dangerous.
Though Bert and I had found the closest. It almost felt embarrassing even then, the most timid kind of record to try for: just staying up as long as we could, to prove that a plane like the Columbia even could make it from Manhattan to Paris without running out of fuel or coming apart. That, and there was a French endurance record to be beaten—45 hours, 11 minutes, 59 seconds—and the Yanks needed a win.
And maybe more than anything else, there was Levine and his money. This was before he ever tried to swindle me out of the payment my contract promised me. Before he made me risk his little girl’s life as a publicity stunt. Before he lost everything when the market crashed and tried to off himself with a stovetop range. In ’27 Levine had made himself a millionaire on dealing scrap metal, and he was as hungry for fame as he was for more money. He was after the endurance record for the first. The Orteig Prize—$25,000 to the first plane across to Paris—was step two.
Willda hated Levine, which should have told me something. He was two years younger than I was but seemed somehow older—something about the way he looked at you, like he was calculating your uses, thinking harder and meaner about you than you ever had. Bert and I had the same use to him that spring: we were good pilots and wanted to take a shot at the Orteig Prize. Or, we had nearly the same use—Bert photographed better than I did, a thick shock of black hair and a jaw-cracking smile. You’d like to think a thing like that wouldn’t matter. Levine was getting ready to choose between us, though we weren’t admitting that we knew it. The Columbia had two sets of controls, and the flight was long enough that two able sets of eyes and hands were far safer, even—we thought—necessary. Two pilots made sense. But we should have known from the start there was no way Levine would pay for a plane to cross the Atlantic without him in it.
Willda didn’t bring him up that morning, but I know now that she wanted to. That when she asked how I felt she meant why. Part of me wishes she’d asked. But maybe I didn’t know the answer, yet. Maybe I’d have said it was important—to beat the endurance record, and then to be the first across the Atlantic. To say “I told you so” to everyone who’d ever refused to sponsor my flights. To prove to Levine that great flyers didn’t need to look like movie stars. I might have said that these things mattered, if she’d asked.
“Alright,” Willda said, stacking bowls in the hotel sink. She kissed me, pressed my waist. “Your tie’s awful,” she said, straightening it. “There.”
I felt something well up in me and labeled it happiness.
There was a solid crowd for the takeoff, not unusual for that spring. I didn’t like the people. Hatless kids in dirty shirtsleeves and unbuttoned vests wheeled the Columbia out of its hangar—a plain, cavernous warehouse in a row of identical others. The monoplane was one of a kind, though, and welcoming. It was sprightly yellow, with its windows slid open to let the April breeze air out the two-seater cockpit. It perched light on the runway’s pavement just beyond the row of onlookers’ parked cars, looking as if it’d trundled up to say hello to its earthbound cousins. It had space for six, but we’d replaced the surplus passengers with a second gas tank topped with a thin mattress. That was better.
Levine was there to see us off, of course, stocky in wide pin-stripes and a broad-brimmed hat. He’d been bullying Bellanca, the plane’s engineer. I could see it in the set of the Italian’s shoulders, stiff and high as he stalked the runway muttering to his workers. That April Levine was already dead set on fitting the plane with a radio, so it could call down from over the Atlantic with daring reports for the newspapers. Bellanca broke his sweet temper and called it a waste of weight and space. It was. Even then, before I knew my own mind, I knew that flying was about escape from that kind of nonsense. Levine would order the radio installed three times that spring, and each time Bellanca scrapped the thing and make him pay for it all over again.
Levine squeezed each of our hands in both of his. “Nice day for it,” he said. His smile was second-cousin to a wince. Bert grunted.
The takeoff was a dream, with me at the stick. Bert hunched beside me over his own instruments, both of us bulky with fleece and leather, our knees vibrating with the Columbia’s metal shell. The little yellow plane had 385 gallons of fuel in it, more than it had ever carried, and the sixty pounds of whiskey- and steak-weight Bert had over me and my string-bean limbs—and just the one engine to lift it all. The Columbia coasted down the runway like a parade float. It didn’t seem to occur to it to take off, at first. “Come on, gorgeous!” Bert shouted. His little square of a moustache—like the matinee idols had, back then—twitched to the side of his mouth in a grimace.
And then we were airborne, suddenly, having used up less than a quarter of the runway. We coasted well over the telephone wires at the end of the airfield. “Take that, ya bastards!” Bert said, glancing back as the earth fell away.
“Who?” I knew there had been bets against us taking off with that much fuel; now there were only the bets against us staying up long enough.
Bert shrugged cartoonishly. “The French! Gravity!” He resettled in his seat. “Levine.”
There were minutes of silence as we pulled into our route: a circle over Long Island, New Jersey, and the tip of Manhattan, a rough triangle eight miles to a side. I still have every view that route afforded committed to memory.
“What’s the worst you ever crashed?” Bert asked, apropos of nothing.
“We’re safe up here, if that’s what you mean,” I said. Bert cupped an ear. “I said, we’re safe!” I shouted over the engine.
Bert sucked his teeth. “You ever hear about me and the Sperry Messenger?”
“No,” I lied.
“Sure you did.” Bert stretched to push his shoulders against the seatback, negotiating with the fuel tank behind him for more space. “Six weeks I was in the hospital after that. Plowed the airfield like I was farming it. Dented the cowl with the ol’ noggin.” He rapped absently on his forehead, then nudged my elbow. “Had a redheaded nurse.”
That made me blush, a little. Bert was already on his second marriage then. In those days, that was something. I thought that’d never be me.
I think he could see he’d gotten me. He chuckled a little, shifting again as much as he could in his seat. “I–” he began again, but choked on the rest as everything went to hell.
The engine cut out. For three heartbeats there was nothing but wind and sudden, yawning silence.
“Fuck,” Bert said, when it seemed clear it wouldn’t catch again.
“Yuh,” I said, and snatched off my goggles to keep them from splintering in the crash. A clump of hair tore from my temple with them. I flung them in Bert’s lap and sighted along the Columbia’s nose as we coasted back toward Mitchel field. “I can do it!” I said, still yelling over the engine that wasn’t there anymore. “I can dead-stick it!” I could feel the plane gathering speed and weight as she fell. My body set into a thrumming rigor of adrenaline, the checklist for dead stick landings I knew too well. I’d kill the ignition before we hit, and hopefully there’d be no fire. Oh, Christ, poor Bellanca. I’m sorry, I thought. I’m sorry about your plane.
I’d keep my eyes open to the last minute so we could brace ourselves best for impact. I absolutely would not close my eyes this time.
“Jesus!” Bert said, scrabbling through a check of the controls. “Jesus fuck, Clarence, the gas cutoff is tripped!”
I looked. He was pointing at the switch like it had insulted him. I reached over him and mashed it back on.
Six more heartbeats in the space of one, the plane veering crazily now that I’d taken my eyes off the field, and then: the deafening roar of the engine was back.
I sucked in great lungfuls of air and woofed them out, slowing my pulse. We climbed in silence for a minute or so, the tree line falling away again as I wrenched the plane back away from the earth. I hoped it hadn’t looked too bad from the ground.
“…I do love a redhead,” Bert forced, his voice thick. “I surely do.”
I got that panicky feeling that goes along with talking to this kind of man. Like I was less of one.
I didn’t say it out loud then, but here’s the worst I ever crashed: two years earlier, in 1925, in a race. Also a Bellanca plane. Also out of Mitchel field. It was just after the Chicago Tribune had refused to back a flight I’d proposed, an attempt at the crossing to Paris. I’d been racing in a modified monoplane with a trick wing that dropped at high speeds. I’d planned to take it easy. I’d planned to. But at the last minute, Greg asked to climb in with me–a young kid with a driving cap and too much hair, you know, and these huge gray eyes that made him look younger than he was. He was obsessed with flying, and he liked me, and I felt like I had something to prove after the Tribune. And you know already how this ends. It was a telephone wire, when I tried to pull up after the wing drop. I’d opened the throttle half by accident, trying to impress the kid. I didn’t know he’d been killed until later. I didn’t know anything when they pulled me out of the plane. I forgot my last name. I forgot I had one. They told Willda I’d died; they put it in the paper. The hospital bill was half my savings.
I suspect now that I did die on Willda then, a little. Some part of me did. That blandness that would give Levine so much trouble settled in deep under my ribs after that crash. It’s been hard to forget that I was supposed to be alone.
All I was letting myself think about then, when the Columbia’s engine came back to life beneath us and Bert dropped the needle back on his philandering memories, was that I didn’t need to hear it. I didn’t know exactly why but I was already livid to be boxed up there in a two-seater sardine tin with a motor and wings and Bert Acosta lolling next to me sizing me up, thinking about all the different ways he could out-drink me, out-fight me, out-fuck me.
But not out-fly me. I found myself clinging to that in the early hours, that first conversation. At the time I felt like he was sparring with me, like he was playing with his food. I said it like the rosary, again and again: this Casanova bastard can’t out-fly me.
I don’t suppose anyone ever took a loop of clear sky over Long Island more seriously.
It was boring almost as soon as it stopped being deadly. That was the way with flying back then. We swapped control back and forth, nursing the throttle to save fuel. Bert was frustrated–flexing his hands, wanting to open her up, take her through a dive or a roll. Chase the horizon. I think that if I’d suggested breaking for Paris right then, he would have done it. Anything to liven it up. If I’d suggested it. Bert already held the airspeed record, then. Slow and steady was nonsense. Slow and steady wasn’t flying.
“You know Byrd’s backers’ got $500,000,” Bert sneered, unwrapping a tuna sandwich. “They’re set to wheel that plane out of the factory any day, they say.”
“You like their chances?”
I shrugged, the gesture all but lost in my jacket. Two days after Bert and I landed, Richard Byrd’s plane America would land nose-first and flop onto its roof at the end of its first test-flight. Broken limbs; a propellor blade through the co-pilot’s chest.
“Good as anyone’s,” I said.
“What about that Minnesota kid? The worse version of you–counts coffee as booze?”
I looked sideways at him. He was grinning. “You know what I mean. The baby. You met him, didn’t you?”
I nodded tightly. “In February.” Levine had tried to sell Lindbergh the Columbia in front of me. “I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t think he has a plane. Or else they’re building him one in an awful hurry.”
We swung out over the water.
“He’s such a kid,” I said. “He looked like he was cutting class.”
Bert guffawed around his sandwich. “Good. I hope he was.”
Some minutes passed in silence. I was waiting for dusk. It was the only thing to wait for.
“I got expelled for chewing tobacco in class,” Bert said dreamily. I laughed in spite of myself.
Night fell and we wheeled over the yellow-molten strip of Broadway. “It’s a beautiful city,” I said.
“Sure,” Bert said. “If you like that sort of thing.”
He saw it first–an orange flag flickering in the distance. “Holy hell,” he said, and coasted us up the island.
The new Sherry-Netherland building was on fire—or at any rate the scaffolding around the unfinished upper stories was. It looked like a birthday candle, the top fifteen floors—not that we counted; I learned later—bursting bright yellow over the dark stone below. Timbers of scaffolding peeled off in chunks and fell flaming to the street. Bert and I circled above the blaze. Firemen hosed uselessly at the bottom stories, as high as they could reach; the crowds of spectators were blank masses in the dark. “Quite a view the Plaza parties will have tonight,” Bert said. “God, it’s almost beautiful.”
I was mesmerized. Part of it was the way fire always grabs at something deep and solid in you, makes you feel like you don’t have to blink unless you want to. You know. But I was thinking too of the night, earlier that year, when I’d jettisoned 150 gallons of extra fuel onto the pitch-black airfield after a canceled flight—we did that back then, to save strain on the landing gear—then flicked a match to burn it off so someone else didn’t do the same thing by accident. The fireball that I’d watched, peaceful, hands in my pockets—until there were sirens and policemen and poor Willda fainting in the crowd, a run in her stocking. All of them thinking I’d blown myself up.
“We can’t do anything about it,” Bert said, his voice careful.
“What?” I blinked. “Of course we can’t.” I snapped, more than I meant to. “Who said I wanted to? What would I want to do?”
“All right, all right,” he said. “I just figured you’re the type to…” he kneaded his fingers. “…play fire brigade. Land.”
“We’ve been up eleven hours!” I shouted, hollow and warm.
“Yeah,” Bert said. “I just mistook you. It’s fine. There’s no problem.”
“You’re darn right there’s not,” I bristled.
Bert took us around for another pass over the flames. My mind revved the noise of the engine back onto itself. “Well,” Bert said on an inhale. “That’s what they get for building too high.”
Flying back towards Long Island from 5th Avenue, the darkness seemed to reach out to swallow us. Bert pointed our nose toward the airfield’s distant searchlight.
“I’m going to Paris, you know,” I said. “I’m going to cross. I can stand to see a fire without landing.”
“You bet,” Bert said. “Only, hey,” his voice halted. “You know, Levine’s gonna want–that rat bastard, you know–he’s gonna want someone who’ll mug for the cameras. Like, a newsreel hero type.”
“He’ll want a pilot,” I snapped, reaching behind me for my bottle of milk. It was a great comfort food to me in those days, rich and cream-topped like my memories of Iowa in my childhood. “He’ll want a pilot. And one who won’t weigh down the plane.”
It was a cheap shot. We were both right. Only one of us was being honest about his fame-grubbing.
My milk had gone hot and sour against the gas tank.
We battled buffeting turbulence all night and didn’t speak. I took the stick, steeped in airsickness—you learn to manage it, not avoid it. Bert pissed in the empty milk bottle and emptied it out the window, then dozed on the mattress we’d shoved on top of the gas tank behind our seats. The Sherry-Netherland kept burning all through the night, an orange glow to the north. By dawn I had boiled down to a hard kernel of anger, stiff and sleepless.
At 8:30 Bert reemerged and scrawled a message to drop over the airfield. “What are you writing?” I asked, voice thick after hours of silence.
“Last night from midnight on was not so very good,” Bert read. He stared at me, mouth quirking slowly into something like a smile. He dropped the message out the open window almost without looking and handed me a Thermos cupful of cold soup. “I’ll take the stick,” he said. “Sleep. It’s awful, so you know.”
It was. The sawing roar of the engine was everywhere. The mattress was thin and lumped and vibrating with the plane. I swooped and dipped against the pockets of turbulence, my insides sloshing. But I was tired, and worn out by boredom and anger, and out to prove that I was an airman. I slept.
Willda didn’t, the whole time Bert and I were in the air. She told me later, and I believe it. She was running on a manic sort of fear, sure, but also that part of her that made her love fast cars. Made her agree to marry an engineer. When Bert and I passed the record, another day and half after that first fuel tank catnap, the newspapers caught her saying “It’s all too wonderful!” I think she was hoping—that fast-car part of her—that this was it, the pizzazz. The aftershave, the colorful clothes, and now the endurance record. All Willda ever did was give me what I thought I wanted.
I slept fitfully and with strange dreams. I dreamed of Denison, of where I came from. I dreamed of it from the air, Willda’s house and mine and the churches and shops and garages laid out like a living map. The dark river interrupting every human line. The low hills scattered, looking like lumps under a quilt. The farms and fields fading into a blue haze at the horizon in all directions. And Willda strolling somewhere down there, maybe looking for me along Main Street, young and easy. I dreamed I had to navigate Denison by instruments alone, blind. I dreamed I didn’t know the place. Or it was suddenly Paris, spiraling out from itself like a wheel from above. Or it was the dead space of the Atlantic, white-capped waves and weather and nothing for hours and hours. Or it was the repeating cycle of New Jersey to Manhattan to Long Island, and I wasn’t allowed to go home.
I woke, somehow, to the sound of voices. When I climbed back into my seat–scrambling, scraping skin off my right knuckles, feeling no less tired than before–Bert had his window open. There was another plane alongside us. Someone had taken up reporters. “They’re taking pictures!” Bert said by way of a greeting, turning back to wave to them. Someone in the other plane produced a megaphone. The noise that came from it was human but unintelligible, distorted by the gadget and swallowed by the Columbia’s engine. Bert raised his hands to mime a shrug, pointed to his ear and shook his head. I refused to look. Eventually they went away.
“How’d you sleep?” Bert asked, passing me control of the stick.
“Yeah.” He worked out rough numbers on his fingers. “It’s past one. Seventeen hours ‘til the record,” he said. “Then another five ‘til fifty.”
“Okay,” I said. “Lord. Okay.”
“If they come up again,” Bert said, gesturing with his head toward the empty air where the press plane had been. “You know, if they come back, you wanna take her around so they can get an angle on you?”
“No,” I said, still childish with sleep.
“Clarence,” Bert said. “You gotta get yourself an image.”
“I don’t,” I said. “That’s not what flying is for.”
“I know you don’t care,” Bert said. “I know you don’t. But Levine does. The people do. You gotta… I don’t know, grandstand a little. Enjoy it.”
“I do enjoy it,” I said. “
You do,” he said. “You know what, I know you do. You’re nuts, but I can…” he threw up his hands. “I’m saying, I know you do.”
“Well,” I said. “Thank you.” I guess he was trying, that second day, to understand my way of loving flying. He might have understood it better than I did, then. Bert was a lout, but he knew it. I mean, sometimes he knew it. He could sense the dark parts of people, too—knew something I didn’t yet about speed and crowds and distance. He could see that dark, solitary part of me I’d whitewashed well enough to fool myself and he still liked me. Or at least wanted to, for a while. Pretended to. I wish I could have done him the same favor.
Near sundown, another plane buzzed up beside us. It was John Canisi, our construction superintendent, checking in. I did not look at Bert. I lowered the window and waved, hesitantly. The wind was cold and snatched at my fingers. Bert laughed. “It’s just John,” he said. I felt ashamed in two directions at once, something like vertigo.
We broke the record at 6:30 in the morning on April 14th. At the time—tired, hungry, head wrecked—it did not feel important. It did not feel useful. Even Bert’s whoop, his string of bleary slurs against French aviators, seemed half-hearted. We were ground down. We were frayed. It was dawn again, our last dawn in the air. My hands and knees smarted. Part of me—just part—felt ready to cry.
Bert’s conversation was still landing suckerpunches on me. “You like your life, Chamberlin?” he asked suddenly, rummaging for the sandwiches. “Aside from flying, I mean. You like your wife?”
“Yes, obviously,” I said, feeling a swell of whatever it really was, for Willda and me and us together. Our life. The aftershave that had vaporized sometime the day before. My tie. A Denison childhood; an East-coast marriage on a shoestring budget. “Obviously.”
“Well,” Bert said–too quietly for the plane, but I saw the word leave his lips. He ate a sandwich in two ponderous bites. He stared ahead as the lights of the Woolworth Building swung into view again, yet again. “Well, Clarence. I’ll be honest. I wish I could figure out how to be any good in this business and still like what you’ve got on the ground.”
“Are you saying I don’t?” I shouted to be heard, to be convincing.
Bert shook his head, slowly. “No,” he said. He banked a glance at me.
His eyes were glazed from sleeplessness and stiffness and the lack of that coffin-varnish bootleg booze he must have been missing terribly by then, but it was a knowing glance all the same. Bert the showman, the matinee idol, Bert the adored, had felt himself unwanted since takeoff—and in that anticlimactic vacuum after we passed the record he quietly figured me out. Put his finger on me. He realized, long before I did, that there was nobody else I preferred. It wasn’t his moustache or his two-day flop sweat or his stories about redheads and wives. It wasn’t him. It was people.
At the time it just felt like one more thing to hate, a snide sideways leer from a man I was tired of, but now it’s that glance from Bert I remember when I think about the endurance flight. It’s the glance I deserved. For making a woman like Willda live in hotels and go without children. For calling those shallow roots good enough to hold us down, and believing myself. For learning to live with, for coming to depend on, the things that made me sick. For years I’ve kept thinking about those days and trying, like Bert was, to figure out who I was trying to impress. Who I wanted with me, if not him. If not Willda. I was still so far from admitting it wasn’t Willda. But part of me must have known—the part that crumped at that look from Bert, that look that said he could tell it wasn’t her.
Levine tried to get rid of me first that summer, for not being camera-ready. Before he did he tried to hire another pilot, promising two seats to three people while simultaneously planning to snag one for himself. He told Bert and me he’d have to flip a coin. He told Bert he was too heavy for the flight to Paris. He told me I was too bland. He told us he couldn’t possibly decide. Bert took the high road I couldn’t—stormed across the airfield and joined the Byrd team, rebuilding the America after the first disastrous test-flight.
I shook hands with Levine—shook hands with the man who told me I wasn’t interesting enough to be a pilot, who delayed the Columbia until after Lindbergh stole our thunder, through negligence and being so unpleasant his employees took him to court. I shook hands with him and flew him from New York to Berlin. We were second across the Atlantic, for what it’s worth. What’s it worth? I was under contract to a man who made his fortune dealing scrap metal.
The contract promised $50,000 for Willda if we crashed. I thought that was enough.
It took Levine and me forty-three hours—forty-three hours in the air, halfway around the world with a man who thought I wasn’t much of one. But I spent seven hours longer in the Columbia with Bert that April, and I think I convinced him of my manhood, though I’m not sure I’m proud. We landed to a crowd, and I let myself be swept up in it and away from him. I let the firm grips of strangers hold me upright and usher me to Willda, to sleep. I forgot as much of the feeling of the flight as I could. I forgot enough to go up again. That’s what being a pilot meant.
Bert eventually got his license suspended, then revoked, for crazy stunts. Chasing fame to the point that he stopped listening to physics, to his planes. He was determined to squeeze under a bridge with pilings closer than his wingspan. That’s when they got him. He collapsed in a bar when he was fifty-nine. TB.
I got famous, in a way. Always in Lindbergh’s shadow—all of us were—but look where he ended up, and it seems like the shadows were the place to be.
Willda and I didn’t make it. You already know how this ends.
On the ship back from Berlin, I finally did something first, alone. One day out from the coast, they rigged up a wooden runway and I took off from the deck. Nobody had ever done that before. That’s a flight that haunts me, too. They all do—but that’s another I think of often. Rocketing away from Levine and everyone else chugging through anything so thick as water. Catapulting up and away, solo at last, a day away and pointed at a place I’d been promised would feel like home. Without a radio, like Bellanca knew—Bellanca understood—I needed to be. Just trying to get a single day, alone and headed somewhere.
Photo: Avro 581 Avian G-EBOV by kitchener.lord