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Author Topic: How I Lived My Boyhood Dream
Junior Poster
Member # 2723

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Under the Elm Tree
by Capt Enrico Bottieri

I am a man who has lived his boyhood dream. When I was a very young lad back in upstate New York, I spent my summers helping my dad, his factory was out in the country.

He did not give me much time off, but during a short siesta time after lunch, I was allowed to do as I
pleased. I was already into Jack Armstrong, Little Orphan Annie, Jimmy Mattern, sponsored by
Richfield Gas. Reading pulps like G-8 and his Battle Aces, even a member of the Junior Birdmen Club.
I spent my whole day thinking of airplanes.

I was tired and looked for my favorite cool spot. It was under a magnificent Elm tree, where I could lye down on my back and stare at the beautiful puffy white clouds. The wind would rustle through the leaves and the motion of the white clouds against the deep blue sky would soon put me in a mesmerizing trance.

My thoughts would turn to the future and my hopes of some day soaring up there among the clouds. My most reverent wish was to do just that, become a pilot and fly all over the world. To me it was just a dream, but I never lost sight of my goal. Some days I would fall asleep, only to be awakened by that familiar drone, the song only a DC-3 can make. “Yes here he comes I should see him any time now. He is always on time never varying more than five minutes or so.” Soon I see the unmistakable flash of sunlight off of his wings, the beautiful outline of a shiny DC-3 low overhead. As he passes over I can see the three large red letters under the wing, they spell “TWA”. My heart leaps as I think, wow, isn’t that the most wonderful sight and the sound of the engines just overwhelm me. I think, what would it be like to fly in an airplane like that?

Years later I went to work for TWA and even spent many summer afternoons flying over those same routes. Many a time I steered airplanes, even jets a little closer to my boyhood viewing spot as I streaked past that, to me, hallowed ground of my youth. I was now, Enrico the man, saluting that young boy on the ground from years ago. How interesting and fitting that it was the DC-3 that started it all.

For over ten years now, during summer vacation. I visit my favorite spot under the Elm Trees. Some times I overfly the spot with the Big Red Waco Biplane. Many times, small tears may form in my eyes. Is it the wind racing through the open cockpit or the spirits of years ago? I smile a broad smile as I am swept away into the past. Perhaps this is the reason you will see the small wooden sign hanging from the flying wires of the Waco, It says, “Time Machine’. You see, I had to share these moments with the rest of you. the DC-3 and me, we have spent a lifetime together.

Capt H.F. “Enrico” Bottieri TWA Retired
“The Beech Boys”
1946 Beech 18 “The Impossible Dream”
Come fly with us.

Posts: 3 | From: California  |  IP: Logged
Post Captain
Member # 1662

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Enrico- Your boyhood dream is much like mine except I was not under some elm trees, but hanging on the fence at either Grand Central airport (where my Dad worked for Bendix) in Glendale or Union airport (Lockheed Air Terminal) in Burbank California. And it was TWA and Lockheed airplanes I saw and dreamed about. I also admired a 1936 Monocoupe (NC15437) at both of those airports.
It would be my great blessing to later be employed at Lockheed as a test pilot, and following that, become a TWA pilot. What a great life! Today, my son is a TWA (now American captain). Life is good.
And today, I own that Monocoupe.
Thanks for the memory...George Andre [Cool]
PS- Where are you located in Calif?

Posts: 68 | From: Ojai, CA and Creve Coeur, MO  |  IP: Logged
Junior Poster
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You can find me (Enrico) at the Chino Airport. (CNO)
T Hangar building A-475 Hangar No 6. Wed, Thur, Saturday & Sundays. Look for Old Glory flying on side of hangar and most of the time my 1946 Twin Beech parked in front of the hangar

Happy to hear that for some of at least our boyhood dreams came true.

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The Big Boss
Member # 7

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Enrico....Thank You for the wonderful post...

George..You are one of my heros and your son is one of the sharpest pilots I have ever flown with. You are both a class act.

When you are out at Chino look up my cousin Ray Dieckman. He has a Corsair there.

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Post Captain
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Jack- Thanks for the nice comments. I wish that I could take full credit for the pilot and leadership abilities of my son, David, but I think much of the credit goes to the many outstanding and professional former TWA and Ozark captains he flew with in his early years on the line.
Best personal regards... George [Cool]

Posts: 68 | From: Ojai, CA and Creve Coeur, MO  |  IP: Logged
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Your son Dave was one of the best co-pilots I ever flew with (I figured that he hadn't picked up your Air Force attributes). Kidding aside, he is a fine young man and I'm sure you are very proud of him. I miss seeing you , George, and all of our old friends. Hope all is going well.
Take care, Larry

Posts: 14 | From: Cedar Park, TX  |  IP: Logged
Jim Elkan
Post Captain
Member # 1828

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Ol' George wasn't too bad to fly with either..

Posts: 38 | From: Overland Park, KS/ Tucson,AZ  |  IP: Logged

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