An Anchor in a Whirlwind

Gail Chumbley

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Helen seated below flag in stripped tank and blond hair-Monte Carlo 1932

Chum once told me that he never suffered from jet lag.  And he later flew jets.  The early flights didn’t reach ten thousand feet in altitude and the duration was relatively short.  Time zone hopping took a lot longer from the east to the west, and back again.  Flights landed before the body or even the mind was too zapped.  I asked him how he sustained himself waking up in a different place nearly every day.  He looked at me with a perplexed expression, as though he couldn’t fathom the question.  “I never had any problems,” he’d repeat.  “I never struggled to sleep, and my appetite was always good.”

Those few, still living when I began River of January told me, amused, that Chum made a habit of standing on his hands, heels against the hotel wall every…

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