Tag Archives: WWI

A 2016 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous~Part 1

4 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


The name for this series of blogs is the main subject of my most recent road-trip. Every two years, several WWI enthusiast groups come together to put on what is called the “WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous” airshow. This fabulous event takes place adjacent to the USAF Museum located in Dayton, Ohio. They have full scale WWI flying replica aircraft, German, British and American field hospital re-enactors, restored WWI vehicles, and all types of WWI memorabilia for sale.




The local model airplane club brings and flies many of their ¼-scale WWI R/C model airplanes. This sounded like just the kind of event I was looking for as the main attraction for my next road-trip. Since I found several museums to visit in the Columbus area, I gave myself a couple of days before the air show, to scout them out and then get over to, and situated in, Dayton for the October 1-2 “WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous” air show.




Day 1 (Thursday 9/29/2016)


My Orlando airport check-in and security check this morning was a breeze, compared to my last trip (I’ll never fly on Friday again). The Southwest Airlines flight to Columbus, Ohio was smooth and we arrived right on time. (I flew non-stop to Columbus, not available to Dayton). Baggage claim at the small Columbus airport was a little slow, but not a real problem.




I took a shuttle bus from the airport to the Days Inn hotel, and called Enterprise Rent-A-Car (the “We’ll Pick You Up” guys) for a free pick-up from the hotel. Somehow my reservation turned out to be at a different Enterprise office from where I expected to rent my car. They said the hotel location was outside the radius for their office pick-up (?).  They told me they would transfer my reservation to a closer office for the pick-up.




It took them some time to do the transfer, work out all the details, and get a car to the hotel to pick me up. After finalizing the rental agreement I put my bags in the car and was getting ready to leave, when I noticed that this car did not have cruise control. The agent wanted to increase the rental price for a car with cruise control, but I told the manager that I had requested a car with cruise control at the price they quoted. He was kind enough to switch cars for me at the same price.




It had taken me longer to get from the airport, and rent my car than it had taken me to fly from Orlando to Columbus! I plugged in “Greta” (my Garmin), and we headed for the Wagner & Hagans Auto Museum located there in Columbus. This was a small museum of approximately 20 cars, consisting of several early 1930s Packard automobiles and 1950s Classic cars. Steve Wagner gave four of us a private tour of his and Mark Hagans Collection.


Steve informed us, that the cars there in the museum were only half of their collection. He explained that they only had room for the cars displayed, and had to rotate the others into the museum from time to time.




Next on the list for today was a visit to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame located in Pickerington, Ohio. This was a large two-level museum, displaying hundreds of motorcycles of all makes and models. The majority of the museum’s collection, were modern dirt bikes and racing bikes. This museum reminded me of the recent mini-series I watched titled “Harley and the Davidson’s” except there were very few vintage motorcycles in the museum.




Now I headed south to visit the McDorman Automotive Museum located in Canal Winchester, Ohio. This is a small museum created by Bob McDorman, who was a local Columbus Chevrolet dealer for years, and known for his Corvette collection.




As it turned out, this museum was closed, even though their sign out front said they were open Wednesday-Saturday 1:00-5:00.

Next it was on over to visit the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, which is an American cartoon & comic art museum affiliated with the Ohio State University library system. The location of the museum/library, there in the bustling university area, made it impossible to find a place to park, much less avoiding almost running over six or more students. So, I just took a picture of the library building and headed for the next museum on my list for today.




A few miles south, I wanted to visit the Rickenbacker Airport, to see if I could find the Rickenbacker ANG Museum that I assumed would be close to the airport. Well, the museum was nowhere to be found, and there were no signs to indicate that the museum was anywhere close. I guess I’ll have to Google the museum again for better details when I get a chance.




By now it was getting late, and I headed for the tonight’s motel located in Obetz, Ohio. On the way I saw a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, and decided to have dinner with Colonel Sanders this evening. Boy, do I like their fried chicken! I had their two piece dinner with green beans, mashed potatoes & gravy, and a biscuit and honey for desert. Yummm!




—–To Be Continued—–




Old Age is Not for Sissies

17 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistWhen the movie star, Bette Davis, became elderly, she had a pillow with these words embroidered on it. “Old age is not for sissies.” I admired that platitude and to this day, I try to live by it. Last week we met a woman in a rehab facility who is an example of courage in the face of aging.

In 1919 when World War 1 was ending, Helga was six years old, and it was almost Christmas. The teacher was busy planning a Christmas program so before school one day, Helga took an empty paper sack and smoothed it out so she could create a poem. It is a medium length poem about the birth of Christ. Helga recited every word by heart. She’s also a modern day, on- the-spot poet. Here’s the one she spoke for me.

“There’s a lady in a jacket of pink.

When she used to wash dishes, she stood by the sink.

Her blouse is full of flowers.

I hope the Lord gives you many happy hours.”

After the poem Helga invited us to sing along as she played on a battered harmonica about twelve inches long with key of G holes on one side and key of C holes on the other. She sat in the seat of her walker and told stories of her childhood. She asked us to say the words from John 3:16 with her, which we did, and to sing, “You are My Sunshine,” while she accompanied us. Here’s a bit of her story:

“In 1913, I was born of German parents in a Hoboken cold-water, walk up flat. By the time Americans entered WW 1 in 1917 I was four years old, and I thought Germans were nice. Mama taught us that Jesus wanted us to love people, and that we should never put ourselves above anyone else. I was amazed when I learned during the war that we could be thrown in jail for speaking The Father Tongue. All along American Germans were persecuted as spies. When word came that the war was over, the streets filled with people. We hugged and sang. Folks in wagons and cars drove past waving or honking their horns. One wagon was pulled by a white horse and had a saloon woman sitting on the seat next to the driver. I knew she was from around the corner where we were never allowed to go. In the back of the wagon someone had stuck a dummy, head first, into a toilet bowl and everyone was saying it was the Kaiser.”


Hoboken, New Jersey


Helga will be 103 in February of 2016. I wanted to ask what she believed had kept her going this long, but I thought I knew the answer. I had once asked another 103 year old woman and her husband, who was 105 what kept them strong. They said it was being a follower of Jesus. I believe it. The joy of the Lord is Helga’s strength, too. That makes Helga no sissie at all.

WWI Trench Art

12 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites



For DiVoran’s birthday I took her to the Orange County History Center in Orlando, Florida so she could view the “Gone With The Wind” exhibition on display there.   She loved it. While she was enjoying the exhibits about that famous story of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara, I strolled around the galleries on the other three floors of the building. It was a pretty impressive arrangement, with exhibits covering mostly Florida history.


One exception was the WWI Trench Art exhibit. I was simply amazed at what some of those soldiers had done with what was called, in one description, “War Waste.” There was no end to the creativity shown by the many different examples displayed. There were creations using the smallest rifle cartridges, to those using some of the largest canon shell casings. There were pieces ranging from a small crucifix, to a multi-bulbed desk lamp. And some of the artistic work was breathtaking!


To think that in the midst of one of the world’s worst conflicts, and in the cold and muddy trenches filled with the smell of death, that it was possible for men to be able to remove themselves (thoughts and emotions) in a way as to create such beauty out of some the very components that they were using to perpetuate that devastation.


It’s disturbing for me to think about the millions of young men who have had to go to a war for any reason, but especially those with such talent as displayed in these art forms. Of course, there was the much used reference of “Turning Swords into Plowshares” which didn’t help when I tried to imagine how much talent has been wasted over the centuries because of the many wars that have been fought around the world. There was a picture of a huge pile of shell casings, which must have been the source of some of the “War Waste” referred to in one of the articles about Trench Art.


There were several WWI posters (collector items by now) encouraging Americans to “Buy War Bonds” to support the war effort. I remember the stories about how the people of this country tried to stay out of the “War Over There” but how they rallied together to support out military once the U.S. joined the fight.


It reminded me of pictures and stories of my dad, who had been a medic and ambulance driver with the U.S. Army in France during WWI. I’m sure he saw his share of terrible things during that conflict, as did many, but like most of them he never talked about it to us.


If you get a chance to visit the Orange County History Center in Orlando, Florida in the near future, be sure to see the “WWI Trench Art” exhibit (there until 12/31/2014). If not, you can go on the internet and Google WWI Trench Art and you’ll be amazed, as I was, with what you will see posted there, and with many references to other links. Enjoy!


—–The End—–


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