Archive by Author

How I Met the Love of My Life-Part 5

23 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

On the following Tuesday morning, I headed back to the ship and DiVoran began looking thru the “Want Ads” for a job.  Her first interview was for a receptionist position with a local funeral home.  They liked her, but told her they couldn’t hire her because she was too young, too cute, and too cheerful.  That didn’t bother DiVoran at all!  After several phone calls and interviews, she finally found a job as a waitress in the San Diego area, where she could start right-a-way.  DiVoran says she realized that the waitress job was just the kind of job her parents were trying to protect her from, by encouraging her to finish her education.  However, she knew she would much rather be doing that, and being with her Bill, than she would be languishing away in Albuquerque without him.

I got permission to spend the nights “on the beach” as long as I was back on the ship in time for roll-call each morning.  DiVoran rode the bus to and from work at the restaurant, and when I didn’t have “the duty” on the ship, we would have the weekends free. But, going places was not a lot of fun for DiVoran at first because the car I owned, at the time, was a 1932 Ford five-window coupe.  I had bought the “Hot Rod” (A Bucket List Item) from a guy who had stripped it down to use for drag-racing. The interior had been completely gutted, with only a plywood seat bolted to the frame for the driver, and plywood sheeting for all the rest of the car’s interior flooring (no seat for a passenger). I had started restoring the car with the engine (of course) and had not bothered to do anything about the interior until now, because nobody ever rode with me.  DiVoran had to sit on the hard plywood and hang on to the window frame, to keep from sliding under the dash during turns.  To say she was not happy with that arrangement would be an understatement.

I finally found a guy on my ship that wanted that Hot Rod real bad.  I traded it to him for a really nice 1950 Mercury four-door sedan, plus, he gave me $300 dollars in cash (what I had originally had paid for the Hot Rod).  DiVoran was thrilled, and it was a great deal for us.  The engine ran good, it was quiet, and it rode so much smoother than the Hot Rod.  That was really great, because now we could both ride in comfort where ever we went.  That was the day I said goodbye to my “Dream Car.”  But, I have to say, that Mercury was one of the best cars I ever owned, and it did well by us for a long time.

—To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

How I Met the Love of My Life Part 4

16 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

A month or so later, when my mother’s friends were on vacation, they stopped in Albuquerque to visit my mother.  DiVoran was introduced to them, and at some point during their visit, they invited her to accompany them back to their home in La Mesa.  Divoran was thrilled at the chance for a free trip to San Diego (even if it was in their noisy VW bus), for a short visit to see me.

Her mother and dad agreed to let her go, and said they would pay for her return train ticket.  She would be staying with mother’s friends there in La Mesa, so she wouldn’t have to worry about her room and board. The last thing her mother had said to her before she left was, “DiVoran, please don’t do anything foolish while you are out there.”   Dream on Dora!  We had been so glad to be together again, that we didn’t even want to think about being separated again.

Because La Mesa was a short drive from the Naval Base, I could see DiVoran any time I could get leave from the ship.  The days passed, and we had a wonderful time running all over the San Diego area, visiting things like the Embarcadero, where we went on board the historic Star of India sailing ship, Balboa Park, and the famous San Diego Zoo.  We went to the movies, drove across the Coronado Bay Bridge to check out the resort city of Coronado’s car show, and wondered thru the historic downtown San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. 

Toward the end of her stay, DiVoran started talking to me about getting married. I found out later (many years later) that on the trip from Albuquerque, my mother’s friend, Joan, had asked her when we were going to get married.  Joan was excited about the possibility of helping with a wedding, and DiVoran got caught up in the idea.  They talked about it during the entire trip.  DiVoran and I had been so close and such good friends, before, and the six-month separation had been very hard for both of us.  So, it wasn’t surprising that with only a little encouragement from Joan, we decided to “tie the knot” right then and there.  That would give us at least four months of “Marital Bliss” before the USS Hector sailed for Japan.  

Joan went to work making all the wedding arrangements with the pastor of her church, while DiVoran and I got our blood tests and marriage license.  We called our mothers to give them the “Good News.”  When DiVoran told her mother we were getting married, she moaned, “Oh!  DiVoran!  What about your college classes?”  And DiVoran said, “Don’t worry mother, everything is going to be alright.  Both mothers knew marriage was in our plans, just not this soon, and so far away.  Both of our fathers were away from home, on business trips, and could not make it to the wedding.  Both of our mothers pulled themselves together and came to California.  One of Joan’s friends (who just happened to be the same size as DiVoran) let her wear her wedding dress for the occasion, and my mother had brought my black suit from Albuquerque.   Everyone worked together really hard, and we were married on Friday September 6, 1957 in the small local La Mesa Community Church.  We had found a small furnished one-room efficiency apartment (that we could afford) in the North Park area, overlooking a portion of Balboa Park, and that was where we spent our wonderful Labor Day weekend “Honeymoon.”

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

How I Met the Love of My Life Part 3

9 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

My friend, Bud, and I had joined the U.S. Navy Reserves in the middle of our senior year (big mistake).  We did this to impress the girls (before I met DiVoran) when we wore our uniforms around town, on Friday nights, after our reserve meetings.  But after graduation, I realized what a foolish thing I had done, and I wanted to get my “active duty” over with so I could go to college.  Some of you may remember that back in those days, when you signed on the dotted line to serve in the military, there was no getting out of your commitment.  You were in for the length of your service time, and that was all there was to it.  I had asked DiVoran to marry me, gave her a diamond engagement ring, and asked her to wait for me until I got back from my active duty.  She wanted to get married right then.  After talking it over, I finally agreed to us getting married as soon as we could, and she agreed to wait for a while.  We also promised to write each other every day I was away, and we did.  

After boot camp I shipped out on the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) for a Med Cruise.  That was a wonderful experience for this 18-year old swabby.  I got to visit most of the countries that ring the Mediterranean.  When the ship’s tour of duty was over, we were relieved, on station, by our sister carrier the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42).   The voyage our ship made across the north Atlantic, returning to the United States, was one of the roughest I was ever on during my time in the Navy.  We ran into one of those historical nor’easter storms, that sailors have talked about for centuries, and believe me it was brutal.  We docked at Norfolk, VA to off-load the air group, non-essential personnel and equipment.  

The ship was scheduled for a major two-year overhaul which would include the addition of a canted flight deck.  There were no dry-docks available on the east coast, so the ship made the trip around South America (the ship was too wide to go thru the Panama Canal).  We visited cities on the east coast of Brazil, made our way round Cape Horn and stopped at Valparaiso on the west coast of Chili. We also stopped at Panama City, on the west coast of Panama, and finally at San Francisco, CA as we made our way north to Bremerton, WA.

I was able to watch the “Yard Birds” work on the ship for a month while I waited for my transfer orders.  That was an amazing experience and I learned a lot about the ship I had never knewn.  I finally received my orders transferring me to the USS Hector (AR-7) in San Diego, CA.  The Hector was going to be tied up to Pier 1, at the San Diego Naval Base for about six months.  It was during this time that I was able to attend a Diesel Engine Mechanic School and obtain my rating as an Engineman.  My mother had good friends living in La Mesa (not far from the Naval Base), and they invited me to their home for dinner several times.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

How I Met the Love of My Life-Part 2

2 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

The way I remember it, over time I kinda lost some of my interest in Rita, and found Divoran to be a lot more interesting and easier to talk to.  Soon, we were talking to each other, on the phone, almost every evening.  I believe she was losing interest in Bud at the same time.  One day I told DiVoran I had something I wanted to ask her, and could I come over to her house.

When I got there, DiVoran remembers, I seemed a little nervous, so her mother offered me a basket of potatoe chips.  I set the basket of chips on the footstool in front of the chair I was sitting in.  As we talked and I munched away, I dropped some crumbs on my pants.  In a nervous jester to brush the crumbs off my pants, I inadvertently knocked the basket of chips over, and the chips spilled all over the living room rug.  Divoran burst out laughing.  Boy was I embarrassed!  But then we were both laughing, and she assured me that it wasn’t a problem and helped me pick up the chips.  The reason I had gone to see DiVoran was to ask her if she would go out with me.  When I asked her, she said, “What?  I thought we’re just good friends!”  “We are.” I said.  Then she said, “But I’ve never flirted with you!  You are the only boy I haven’t flirted with.”  She was surprised, and didn’t know what to say.  But then, after she got over the shock, she said, “Yes, I’ll go out with you, but what about Rita?”  I told her that I didn’t think Rita was really very interested in me anymore, and that she had all but told me so.

The next thing I remember, we were enjoying running around together all over town, on my motorcycle or in my 1940 Chevy; going to movies, roller skating, playing miniature golf and going to the local A&W Drive-in for hamburgers and malts.  One night we were parked, in the Chevy, on a high ridge overlooking the city lights, and one of the local radio stations was signing-off (midnight).  Their theme song was the beautiful “Canadian Sunset” instrumental softly playing in the background.  The announcer said, “At this time we are closing out our day’s activities with the beautiful “Canadian Substitute.  Join us tomorrow at 6:00 AM…” by then we were both laughing our heads off.  To this day, we still laugh every time we hear that song played.  I asked DiVoran to go steady with me that night.  I gave her my class ring to wear around her neck on a gold chain.  She said it was too big and too expensive, and gave it back to me.  I was so upset by her rejection that I threw the ring out the car window.  She was shocked!  Then we both got serious and got out to look for it.  She finally realized how serious I was about her having my ring, that she took it and wore it.  We finished out the school year having a great time going places, talking and laughing our way together.  

—-To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

How I Met the Love of My Life Part 1

26 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I bought my first car during my senior year of high school.  A 1940 Chevrolet Coupe that cost me $50.  It wasn’t much of a car when I bought it, but I spent a lot of time and elbow-grease restoring it.  As it turned out, all that work was well worth the effort, because I managed to finish fixing it up just in time to use it when I happened to meet, DiVoran, “The Love of My Life” (of course I didn’t know it at the time).

I knew DiVoran’s brother, David, from working with him at Furr’s Super Market.  When he told her he knew this guy named Bill Lites at work who had a car and a motorcycle, she said, “I know a Bill Lites from school.  He’s in my English class.  He seems like a nice guy, except that he’s a clown, and drives our teacher, Miss Miller, to distraction.  One day, he came to English class wearing a pair of bright red corduroy pants and a matching red corduroy “Ike” Jacket.  Boy did that disrupt the class.  Miss Miller was beside herself.  She was walking sideways, back and forth across the room (like a crab), rubbing her hands together.  He is also in the typing class before me, and uses the same desk and typewriter I do.”

Until then I didn’t know DiVoran was David’s sister, and she didn’t know that I knew her brother.  She also didn’t know my best friend, Bud, who I also worked with at Furr’s.  Somehow I discovered she knew this girl, Rita, I was interested in.  So one day, after English class, I asked her if I could walk her to her locker.  I took her books, and we talked about surface things until we got to her locker.  She exchanged her books, and when we were ready to head to our next class, I said, “Can I ask you a question?”  She said, “Yes.” And I asked her if she thought Rita would go out with me.  She hesitated for a second, and with a startled look said, “I guess so, but you’ll have to ask her.”  She told me later (many years later) that she was impressed that I asked to carry her books, as no one had ever carried her books before.  She also told me she thought, at the time, that I was interested in her, and was going to ask her out.  I guess that was the reason for the slight hesitation and startled look, after I asked her about Rita.  

At some point after that my friend, Bud, said he saw me talking to DiVoran, and wanted to know if I thought she would go out with him.  I told him to ask her, and see what she said.  By this time I had gotten up the courage to ask Rita out.  So, when Bud asked DiVoran out, and to make her feel more at ease, he suggested that since she knew Rita, maybe he and DiVoran could go on a double-date with Rita and me.  Everyone agreed to that arrangement, and things seemed to work out, and the four of us started running around together.  After a while, for some reason, DiVoran and I got to the point where we felt more comfortable around each other than we did with our partners.  I began calling her to find out how Rita felt about me.  When I did, she would ask me about Bud’s feelings for her.  This turned into a regular thing, and over time the two of us became good friends.

—To Be Continued—–

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

I Love to Travel Part 2

19 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

So now, this is an example of how I plan one of my road trips.   I select a specific Aviation museum, from the Guide Book to visit.  I preferably like it to be in an area of the country where I haven’t been before.  Using the guide book, I research the other Aviation museums in the states surrounding the target museum.  Then I use Wikipedia (“Museums in Colorado”) to find all the different types of museums in the states surrounding the target state, that interest me.  I locate the museums, using MapQuest, to establish a route, in those states, and that becomes my itinerary.  I find a major city, nearest my route, with the best airline rate, and my itinerary starts there.  I usually fly Southwest Airlines because I can fly free with my Reward Miles.

My direction of travel does not depend on moving clockwise or counterclockwise, as long as the big two-week itinerary circle brings me back to the same airport.  That way I can pick-up and return my rental car at the same location without any addition drop-off charges.  Rental car costs, gas, food, and museum admissions are usually my only our-of-pocket expenses I have (unless there are tour fees or special tickets. etc.) for one of these two-week trips.  I have my own Accident Insurance, but I’m not always sure my Auto Insurance will cover everything on the rental car, so I usually purchase Travel Insurance that covers anything that could happen to me or the rental car on the trip.

I figure a day’s travel miles (as close as possible) where my itinerary will place me at a location where I can get good motel rates (larger cities generally have more motels to choose from, and their rates are usually lower).  I make advanced motel reservations (usually free with credit card points), so I don’t have to do that on the road.  All of this planning can sometimes take me weeks to arrange, but once it’s all arranged, and I have conformations for everything, I’m ready to go.  

I like to print out a copy of all my conformation notices for airline, rental car, and motels.  Then I make a copy of the description of each museum, which includes name, address, and phone number (days & hours of operation).  I arrange the museum sheets in the order I have decided on for my itinerary, so I will have them at hand in the car as I go.  That way, all I have to do is plug-in the address on my Garmin (Greta), and off I go.  This also gives me a record of everything I might need in case Greta or I get lost, or any other type of problem I might run into.  Sometimes Greta, will take me to the wrong address, or not be able to locate the address.  If that happens, I can refer to the information sheet, for the place I’m heading, and call to ask for directions.  Those sorts of things have happened more than once on my trips in the past.

At the end of each day’s travels, while relaxing at the motel, I record the hi-lights of the day’s activities on my cell phone and email it to my computer at home.  When I get home I use the emails and the internet to thoroughly research each museum for any special or historical data I can find.  It’s amazing how much more interesting my blogs can become with that expanded information.  I arrange the museum’s information in sequence, for that day, and that becomes a short blog (500-700 words).  Then I post one blog per week on the “Old Things R New” website.  This allows others to enjoy my trips (vicariously) if they like that sort of thing, and maybe learn a little something new at the same time.  Writing up these blogs also allows me to re-live the fun memories of the trip again.

I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at the reason “I Love to Travel” and how I go about choosing, researching, arranging, and reporting a two-week “Bucket List” road trip.  These trips are so relaxing, enjoyable and freeing for me.  I can really recommend travel.  Just getting away from the every-day mundane things of life, and hitting the road to somewhere.  It doesn’t have to be a BIG trip.  Just get out and go.  We have a big country out there, and there is a large variety of very interesting and beautiful places and things to see.  So enjoy it.  If you are ever interested in some of the places and things I’ve encountered on my past trips, you can find my travel blogs at www.oldthingsrnew.com. Enter the Title & Part # (if any) of the blog you would like to read in the search box, at the top of the opening screen.  Press “Search” and that should take you to the blog you are looking for (by Bill Lites).  I wish each and every one of you Happy Traveling and enjoyable reading.

Bill

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

I Love to Travel Part 1

12 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I guess I must have gotten my “Travel Genes” from my father as he was on the road a lot, for his work, when I was growing up.  Then as a teenager I worried my parents when i made several long trips on my motorcycle.  When I joined the U.S. Navy they took me all over the world, and by the time I got out, I was hooked on travel.  After DiVoran and I were married, and I was going to college in California, it didn’t bother me a bit to travel across the “Great American Desert” to visit my parents living in Albuquerque, or to drive to northern California to visit DiVoran’s parents in Livermore.

After I finished college we moved to Florida for my work on the Apollo Manned Space program.  Over the years I ended up working for several of the major aerospace companies, and traveled quite a lot for my jobs.  I retired from the Manned Space program in 1996, after 35-years, as what I called myself, “An Aerospace Nomad.”  I had been shuffled around various areas of the country during all that time and I was ready for a change.  I was working for Lockheed (LSOC), in Florida, when NASA decided to change their Space Shuttle processing contractor.  I was going to have to change who I was working for again, and that was the last straw for me.  I was just 58 years-old when I retired.  I felt like the “Aerospace Hassle” had made an old man of me before my time.  I was ready for a rest from the fast pace and constant pressure of the NASA schedulers.

I’m sure my first year of retirement was like a lot of men, wondering if I could adjust to all that time with nothing in particular to do.  I also wondered if I would be called back to the job like many men I knew were.  If that happened, what would I do?  I would just have to wait and see how I felt about that, if and when I was called back.  As it turned out, I was able to adjust fairly well.  It took a while to take care of all the repairs around the house, but I managed.  A couple of years later I started volunteering, one morning a week, to help at the Car Care Ministry at our church.

A year or so after that, a friend talked me into volunteering, as a Tour Guide, at the Warbird Air Museum here in Titusville one morning a week (that wasn’t hard).  I am interested in all kinds of airplanes, and this allows me to keep up with the warbird community as well as the on-going evolution of the aviation industry.  I love the time and the comradery I get to spent with the friends I have made over the years at both of these weekly volunteer occasions.

Then in 2012, in addition to the volunteer work, I took up a new hobby – travel (one of my favorite things to do) and blog writing.  While browsing thru the gift shop at our Warbird Air Museum, one volunteer day, I happened upon a book titled “GUIDE TO OVER 900 AIRCRAFT MUSEUMS.”  This guide book covers museums in the U.S. and Canada.  I thought, “WOW!  This is just what I need to help me find museums to visit.”  As you might have guessed, I have developed a love of going to museums.  All kinds of museums.  Airplane Museums, Auto Museum, Train Museums, Maritime Museums, or any other kinds of museums I happen to come across.

Using that guide book, I have established a method for my travel plans.  I usually try to make one (two week) trip in the spring and one (two week) trip in the fall of each year.  Note: My 2020 trips have been interrupted by shoulder replacement surgery and Covis-19.  I have had to postpone this summer’s trip twice (from July to September) because of travel restrictions, but I am determined to get at least one two-week trip in before the end of the year.

—– To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Our Chicken Little Experience

5 Aug

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

It was sometime around 2008 and our son, Billy, and his family lived on 5-acres in rural Orange City, where they had started keeping chickens for the eggs.  Every once in a while they would get overstocked with eggs, and we would be the lucky recipients.    Billy had gone to great lengths to protect his chickens with a nesting shelter and a chicken coop, but over the years his flock had been diminished by foxes and the occasional bobcat.

At the time of this story he only had two of the Road Island Red chickens left.  They wanted to go on vacation, but he was afraid that if he let the chickens run free, a fox was sure to get them.  So he asked DiVoran and me if we would keep them for the 2-weeks they would be gone.  He assured us that they were well-mannered and would be no trouble.  We said, “Sure” since our backyard was fenced and backed onto a wildlife area (no neighbors to bother).  Billy brought over a nice “portable” coop for the chickens to sleep in, and we set it up over papers, with food and water on our screened back porch. Every morning we would let them out into our backyard, with food and water, and they pretty much took care of themselves.  They did a dandy job of free “Pest Control” in our back-yard.  We were glad for that, but I’m not sure how happy the birds were about it.

Now this is the amazing part of the story.  Every evening around dusk, the two chickens would let us know it was time for them to go to bed.  They would jump up on our kitchen window sill and peck on the window.  I kid you not!  Just so you would believe me when I told you this story, I took this picture of them on our kitchen window sill looking in.

DiVoran and I took turns going out and picking them up off the window sill, and carrying them in and putting them in their coop.  They didn’t seem to mind being picked up or handled.  They didn’t try to struggle or fly away.  They would just let us pick them up and carry them to their coop.  We would give them more food and water, and place a blanket over the coop.  They were quiet and happy all night. 

We enjoyed watching them scratch around the yard as if it was a new area to investigate every day.  We also had a good time each day looking for the day’s cache of eggs.  It was like a daily Easter Egg Hunt.  It was quite a challenge since they never seemed to lay them in the same place two days in a row.  It was a fun short-term experience, but DiVoran and I both agree we wouldn’t want to do it as a living or even as a hobby.

—-The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

God is Good

29 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

The other day I was working on a blog for the website we support (www.oldthingsrnew.com).  I had some relaxing instrumental guitar music, from YouTube, playing softly in the background.  As I was typing along, suddenly the music went off.  I didn’t pay any attention to it at the time, as there are sometimes small breaks between songs.  But then when my attention was drawn away from my blog by the silence, I clicked on the music icon to get it started again, but nothing happened.  Then a message appeared in the middle of the screen that said i had no internet connection.  Well shucks!  There went my music.  That happens now and then when AT&T is doing something that interrupts the internet signal.  So I just went on with my blog work and forgot about it for a while.

After a while, I remembered a phone call I needed to make and got up to make the call.  But no!  There was no dial tone.  I walked over and turned on the TV.  Yep, no signal there either.  Well, this had lasted a while, so I guessed AT&T was taking longer than usual today.  I would give them a couple of hours before I called in a trouble report.  I hated the thought of having to go thru the hassle of talking to their computerized answer machine that thought it was smarter than I was, and wouldn’t let me talk to a real person.  I went back to my blog and forgot about the loss of my music for another hour or so.  The next thing I knew it was time for lunch, and then a quick power nap.  After my nap DiVoran said we needed to run to the store for something important (I can’t remember what it was).  So we got ready, got in the car, and headed to the store.  As we headed down our street, we passed an AT&T service truck parked a few houses down the block.  I stopped and backed up to ask the technician if he knew what AT&T might be doing to the internet and how long it would take.

I quickly told him my internet interruption story and asked him what he thought might be going on.  He asked me where our house was, and I indicated that it was, just down the block.  He said he had just finished an installation at the house next to ours, and he would come take a look at our situation.  We were thrilled that he was going to take the time to check out the problem, and didn’t just tell us to call in a trouble report.  I showed him the power-pole that we shared with our neighbor.  He said “Yep, that is the house I just finished working on.  He went up the power-pole and inspected the work he had done there.  When he knocked on the door, he asked me to try the internet music.  It worked.  Then I checked the TV and the phone, and they all were working perfectly.  

Then he told me that he had found the problem at one of the power-pole connections.  He was very happy to have found the problem before we had called in a trouble report, as I’m sure it would have been discovered that it was his mistake, and there might have been repercussions for him.  I was thankful that I had not had to go thru the nightmare of having to wait (sometimes days) for a technician to have time to come (from where ever they come) to fix the problem.

Now my question for you is, who had that AT&T service truck in that location at that particular time?  I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe my loving God had that truck in that very location, at that very time, so that He could help the AT&T technician avoid any repercussions, and He could make us happy at the same time.  Now if that isn’t a case of God being good to His children, I don’t know what is.  Thank you Lord.

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

Bill

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Into The Light Again Part 1

19 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

As a part of the aftermath of the First World War many political and economic changes were seen in America. The national trauma of the war created an ever increasing attitude of isolationism in this country.  One of the immediate results, by the political establishment, was to reduce the military.  The elimination of the unneeded military forces was a large factor in helping to reduce the nations War Debt.  A feeling of relief, celebration and prosperity ramped up during the 1920s until the Great Depression was cast upon us in 1929.  Then the struggle of the 1930s was mainly centered on survival.

Typical “Bread Line” of the 1930s

Even with the buildup of Nazi forces in Germany in the late 1930s, most Americans didn’t want to think about getting involved in another war.  So, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the United States was not ready for a war.  Even though hundreds of thousands of men immediately signed up for the military services, the U.S. military buildup was slow, with training being a large part of the equation.

U.S. Military buildup and training took time

At that time, the U.S. Navy only had a few operational aircraft carriers to help defend America’s coastlines, most of which were assigned to front-line duties, in the world’s oceans, fighting the Axis powers.  However, the Navy needed qualified carrier pilots, and they needed them ASAP.  As it happened, a far-sighted naval commander named Richard F. Whitehead had presented an out-of-the-box proposal for qualifying carrier pilots in early 1941, but the plan was rejected at the time by the Navy department.

Description: https://chicagonavymemorial.org/application/files/7615/6658/7523/Whitehead_banner.jpg

Commander Richard F. Whitehead 

But after the Pearl Harbor attack, Whitehead’s plan was quickly approved and expedited to provide the badly needed carrier pilot qualification source.  In March of 1942 the Navy purchased two early 1900s side-paddlewheel steam ships (SS Seeandbee & SS Greater Buffalo) that at one time had been luxury cruise liners servicing the Lake Michigan waters.

SS Seaandbee

The Navy essentially removed the superstructures and upper decks of both ships, and installed a 550’ long flight deck on each.  When the conversion of the Seeandbee was completed, she was renamed USS Wolverine (IX-64) and was commissioned in August 1942.  With a maximum crew of 270 officers and enlisted men, intense naval carrier pilot qualification operations commenced immediately.  The qualification of 59 pilots on the very first day of the ship’s operation almost doubled Commander Whitehead’s original pilot training estimate.  When the conversion of her sister ship, the Greater Buffalo, was completed, she was renamed USS Sable (IX-81) and the ship was commissioned in May 1943.

USS Wolverine & USS Sable at Chicago pier 

It was not long before the two ships began to be casually referred to as the “Cornbelt Fleet.”  Pilots would take off from their NAS Glenview training base, just north of Chicago, and head out over the lake in search of the USS Wolverine or USS Sable to begin their carrier qualification practice landings and takeoffs.  Once a pilot found his assigned ship, he would land and immediately takeoff to go around the pattern for another attempt.  Over the course of the war, U.S. Navy records indicate that almost 18,000 carrier pilots were qualified on these two ships, including one of the youngest Navy carrier pilots to be qualified, future president George H.W. Bush.  In addition to pilot training, the two ships were also used to train some 40,000 sailors and Landing Signal Officers (LSO) in carrier flight deck operations.    

Landing Signal Officer (Paddles) and Trainer 

It should be noted that, at the time, each pilot who was training to be assigned to flight duty on a frontline aircraft carrier, had to complete eight “successful” landings and takeoffs before he could qualify as an aircraft carrier pilot.  For most of these pilots, this was their first attempt at trying to land an aircraft on a moving deck, and they didn’t all have the steel nerves to do it right the first time.  It is said that as many as 400-600 landing and takeoff operations were performed on these two ships in a single day.  These operational schedules continued seven days a week (weather permitting) until the end of the war.  With all this activity, you might expect that there were some accidents along the way, and you would be right.

Carrier pilot qualification

—–To Be Continued

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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