We gathered on Thursday afternoon. How good to see those we hadn't seen in two years, and, especially good to see some we hadn't seen in 50+ years. The following came: Bob & Emma Alms, Dan & Helen Brennan, Ken & Peggy Euart, Frank Hathaway, Jim & Dorothy Hearon, Jay Heckman, Seymour & Arleen Mark, Frank & Veronica Mato, George McCloud, Glenn & Darlene McMurry, Mel & Gerry Mergenhagen, Al Miziura, John Murphy & Garielle Durb, Emilio & Celia Parese, Pat & Christiane Soriano, and Herbert Waldman.
True we were small in number, but that didn't dampen our spirits. In fact, we had more time to really get acquainted with each other. What did make us sad were notes from many whose health or wife's health didn't allow them to come, such as Hubert Blount, Adrian Friedman, Dick Loach, Oliver Marheine, Murphy Meyers, Howard Revelle, George Salih, Bob Steele, & Mike Stosic.
Thursday night we saw a video of the 1942 government film "Biscuit Bomber" which was made at the 54th Wing. The guys had some lively discussion about which side the windows and doors were supposed to be on those planes. Memories were tested and found wanting sometime.
On the way to Niagara Falls Friday morning we stopped at the 914th Airlift Wing Reserve Air Base. Our guide explained the base operations and took us on board one of the latest C-series planes. In fact, we were allowed in the cock pit with its maze of controls and buttons. After lunch at the base, we continued on our way, enjoying the fall colors. Of course, the Falls, themselves, defy description, and, especially on the Canadian side, the flowers and shrubberies were beautiful and well-kept. Their flower clock was a high light. The weather was just right, not too hot and not too cold.
Three wives of reunion atendees looking
at Niagara Falls
That evening we had a great time playing Bingo for various items several had brought.
Since it rained Saturday, the planned trip to Letchworth Park was exchanged for a visit to Buffalo's fine Museum of Science and Art Gallery. This was enjoyed by all.
Emilio had great T-shirts for us with an airplane and our 54th TCW name on the front, and the 5th Air Force Insignia on the back. Each also went home with one of Darlene's 54th needlework magnets, Veronica's little boxes, Gerry's pen holders, and a small C-47 airplane magnet.
The Mergenhagen's kept us well-supplied with snacks, soda, coffee and tea when we were in our hospitality room.
At our Saturday night dinner, Emilio and others kept us entertained with jokes and memories of times in the South Pacific. Sunday morning we took time to honor our members who were deceased since last we met. Three of them, Ed Christensen, Bill Grisbeck, & Roger Winn, were at our St. Louis gathering. John Murphy read the following poem by an unknown Civil War poet:
This gave us all resolve to attend as many reunions as possible before our time comes to be among those honored at our Memorial Breakfast.
A big thanks to our host, Jay Heckman, for a good time. None can realize
just how much time and effort goes into planning a reunion until he had
done it. Again, Thanks, Jay!