Awhile back (It was quite awhile, actually), I read a book called “All The Ships At Sea”, by William Lederer. I thought, “What an imagination this author has!”, as he described different episodes of life in the Navy. One of them was even made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray.
Only after serving some time in the Navy did I begin to realize that the author did not really have such a spectacular imagination – these kinds of adventures actually do happen! The lives of many of our veterans include times of adventure, humor, and deeds of daring-do. Some we hear about, some never see the light of day.
Grampaw Pettibone was essentially the “Dear Abby” of the magazine Naval Aviation News, written and published by the Navy at Naval Air Station Anacostia, in Arlington, Virginia. People, mostly Naval Aviators, would write in describing their adventures (or often, misadventures) and “Gramps” would answer with his admonition about what could, or should, have been done. Sometimes these were not just anecdotes of interest, but poignant lessons to the rest of us to help us avoid loss or injury. Grampaw Pettibone was like a coach.
Our hot summer days are now cooling down, and it will soon be time to put on our coats, again. And to go with the coats, our members can show their enthusiasm for Gramps with golden lapel pins. We have miniature Naval Aviator wings, Association of Naval Aviation (ANA) wings, and even a leather-helmeted “Gramps” to wear or give to a favorite person. (It used to be “lady”, but now they fly, too.) Pins are $5 each, available at the luncheon. Come join us for lunch. Now and then some of these interesting tales get told.