A Ride in a Biplane Before School

There was a chill in the air when half the neighbors, wearing overalls or housedresses with aprons, out in their yards, were watching the clear sky for the small noisy plane buzzing above them.

A biplane had landed in a field east of Gowdy’s farm and now was roaring over the town of Dexter, Iowa, population in the 1930s of about 750 souls. The Wilson family’s little black and white dog Spats barked at the plane.

Early, before school.

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Danny, Junior, and Dale Wilson–a few months after this episode.

As the low plane roared overhead, a boy’s cap blew out and sailed down onto Leora’s late green beans plants in the family garden.

“Well, if that don’t beat all!” Leora Wilson wiped her hands on her apron. “My boys are having a ride!”

“Which ones?” Addie Cresswell was the Wilsons’ next door neighbor. 

“Dale, Danny, and Junior!” Leora and Addie both headed for the cap in the garden. Spats had already located it. “When they heard it go over the first time, those boys ran out to Gowdys’. The pilot told he’d give them rides for $1 apiece. You should have heard them counting out all their earnings from taking care of this garden and mowing and such.”

“Your boys are good workers, that’s for sure.” Addie still watched the sky. “Do you s’pose one of them threw his cap out?”

Leora checked the tomatoes, which she planned to can that morning. “I reckon it was no accident!”

It wasn’t long before three breathless boys in overalls had run the mile and a half home.

“Wow, what a ride!” Junior, the youngest, was in fourth grade. “Where did you find my cap? I threw it out right over the house.”

“It landed right in the green beans. Spats found it first. You’ll sure have something to tell at school this morning!”

Danny was a grade ahead of Junior. “Best day of my life! I gotta get my hair combed.”

Dale was a seventh grader. “That was a swell ride! I’d sure like to be a pilot someday.” 

“You boys get yourselves a drink of water. It’s about time for school to commence. Hurry!”

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Danny, Junior, and Dale with the new sled their older brothers bought them just before leaving for the Navy. Early 1934.
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Both Junior and Danny carved planes for school exhibit. April 14, 1935, Dexter.

After that wonderful ride in a biplane before school, is it no wonder these three boys wanted to become cadets when WWII broke out less than a decade later?


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