Thursday, April 7, 2011

86 Uncle: The Airplane Block

In preparing my Diary Quilt, I jotted down my most vivid memories from all ages of my life thus far.

The absolute clearest memory from my early childhood really isn't a single memory at all, but a patchwork itself of many trips over the years, all taken in one small airplane, piloted by my grandfather.

may need to be trimmed/added on to yet
done using this tutorial
the 86U is embroidered on, a 1st for me!

I'm told that my very first trip up was exactly, to the minute, one week after my birth. Many trips followed, sometimes just going up in the air and circling our city below, sometimes heading off to distant (or not so) locales.

Many of these trips were to a certain island near us, accessible only by plane or boat. I remember my Grandpa laughing as he pointed out that the "No Trespassing" signs were only on the beach side, thus clearly only applied to those coming in by boat and not those of us coming by plane.

I remember playing with an airplane wheel, a discard given to my sister and I. We stored it under a bush in the backyard, and pulled it out for all kinds of games.

I grew up, and that plane was always there. Grandpa always referred to it by a portion of the call letters: "8-6-Uncle" and so I came to know it that way as well.  I brought a group of friends home from college and what did we do? Went up for rides in 8-6-Uncle.

I got married, had kids of my own, and Grandpa took me up for flying lessons. I think he was disappointed I didn't quite have the same knack for flying that my dad & his siblings all had. Too many instruments, and too many numbers to watch all at the same time. But what fun it was, trying to learn, my Grandpa patiently showing me what to do, passing down his passion, pouring himself into his oldest granddaughter.  I didn't learn, but I'll never forget that single day he spent trying to teach me.

Eventually the plane was sold, but I will never forget 8-6-Uncle, flying through the decades, carrying me from one happy memory of my grandfather to the next.

What happy memory do you have of your grandfather? 


  1. My Grandfather spoiled us rotten! The intercom between the houses (we lived next door for a time); the kiddie rickshaw he made grandmother pull; but most of all taking me to a fancy restaurant in Chicago every Friday night and letting me order Lobster while I was still high chair little. It all boils down to love love love.
    Thank you for putting a big smile on my face this morning!

  2. Oh, that's great!

    Sadly, I don't really have any great memories of my grandfathers. One we saw too little (though I connect him and Texas A&M as well as bird watching) and the other... well... it's a long sad story.

    Anyway, that's one of the reasons I am so stinkin' happy that my children really know and spend time with their grandfathers.

    Maybe someday they'll make a quilt with him 'on' it. ;-)

  3. What a lovely set of memories. I'm glad my kids have had a chance to grow up near a set of loving grandparents.

    My grandpa used to let me eat ice cream and read his comics :)

  4. What a wonderful man full of memories! And you captured it all in your beautiful block. How touching!