Once Upon a Time…there was a little boy…
I find myself…
living a fairy tale…
on a yellow brick road…
to unfold before me.
Once upon a time… there was a little boy…
He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 14, 1953. He was like most other little boys. He liked to play in the dirt. And he would get lost in a world of dreams and imagination.
This little boy had a fascination for designing and building things. He loved to tinker. Seeing this interest, his parents made the mistake one year of buying him a tool kit for Christmas. He was four or five. It came with a hammer, screwdrivers, a saw, and other things you might find in your basic tool kit. For many years after that Christmas, the little boy slept in a bed with saw and hammer marks for all to see in the footboard. Fortunately, he was not given any nails! As the little boy grew older, his tools would become bigger, more sophisticated, and more expensive. He liked to build things! This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
This little boy had a fascination with learning. And he loved to be creative. When his class studied about dinosaurs, he played with plastic ones in the mud. When they studied frontiersmen, he built forts. When they studied about the Pueblo Indians, he built a mud house. He loved to learn and apply what he learned. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
This little boy was born to fly! The first sign of this fascination for flight came one day when he was about two years old. As most kids do, he would discover the world around him by putting things in his mouth. As with most parents, his had to be watchful of this. One day, while the little boy was playing outside, his mother noticed his cheeks bulging. She kept asking the little boy what was in there, but she got no response. His mouth was full. As any parent would do, she stuck her finger in the little boy’s mouth and opened it. His mother got a big surprise when out flew a big grasshopper! The little boy had shown an early fascination for things that flew. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
Obviously, this little boy was not afraid to bite off more than he could chew. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
When he was eight, the little boy built his first airplane. He saw it in a book. It was a biplane, and he was fascinated by it. He built the two wings by using some boards he found, and with other pieces of wood, he made struts. He tied them all together with string like the bracing he had seen on the plane in the book. Fashioning a tail, he connected it to the wings with another board. He finished it off with the name Curtiss on top, just like the plane he saw in the book. Building the landing gear was beyond his technical capability at the time, so he put his airplane on top of his toy wagon. He learned to improvise. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
This aircraft was not really airworthy. It was still early in his flying career. But he learned to build on the foundation of what he and others had already done. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
The little boy proceeded to fly his airplane down the street on top of his toy wagon. Fortunately, it didn’t take off that day because, if it had by chance, there was no way to control it. He hadn’t thought that far ahead, but he continued to make progress. With the wind blowing in the little boy’s face, he would race down the street, dreaming about flight. This made a big impression on him, and his dreams would always lead him towards his future. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
This little boy was a pretty independent child. One day his family went to the beach, many miles away. It was very crowded that weekend. After a while, the little boy got separated from his family. He could not find them anywhere on the beach. THEY were lost. So he proceeded to play and have a good time by himself until he sensed it was time to go home. He started walking. After a while, he realized this was going to take a long time, so he stuck his thumb out, as he had seen other people do, to hitchhike home. Fortunately, a nice person saw him on the side of the road and gave him a ride home. The little boy told the nice man exactly how to get to his house and directed him right to his doorstep! The little boy seemed to have a good sense of direction in life. He was six. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
This little boy had a father who was a scientist. He had a nice mother who liked to take the family to church on Sundays. The little boy didn’t like church. There was something about church that didn’t seem right, something he couldn’t explain. The little boy could sense his father wasn’t very excited about it either. And while he didn’t completely agree with his father, he didn’t completely disagree with his mother. He sensed there was something more to life, but church didn’t seem like the place to find it. From all of this, he became fascinated with the worlds around us we cannot see. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
As he grew older, he became fascinated with whatever the interest of the day was. When the James Bond movie Goldfinger came out, he was a secret agent. Miniature cameras, secret compartments, and special weapons (stink bombs) were the order of the day. When the TV show Batman came out, he sewed up a costume and became his own save- the-world crime-fighter. At night he would sneak out the window, climb up the chimney, and onto the roof of his two-story house. He would lurk around . . . in the darkness . . . doing all he could to save the world. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
The first real fork in the path of this young boy’s life was when he heard a song on the radio, “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron!” It was as simple as that. His DNA had been pre-coded. The foundation of his life had been laid, and it was now time for life to lead him off in a very specific direction. He read every book he could find about WWI aviation, the aces, and their aircraft. From this simple event, the little boy went on to develop a passion for flight and the freedom it could give him within the world around us. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
The young boy also continued to explore his fascination with the worlds around us we cannot see. These are the worlds we cannot touch, see, or feel with our five senses. He began reading everything he could about ESP, psychic phenomenon, out-of-body experiences, and things beyond the physical. He became fascinated with developing an inner freedom within the worlds within us. This would become a pattern that would follow him later in life.
Over time, the little boy grew up. Well . . . at least he aged.