This Week, 1935


The old pilot’s time with us grew to mean a great deal to me, personally, but made it that much harder to let him go at the end.

Chum’s last years brought him out west to Boise. It was much easier for my husband to care for him than the semi-regular flights to Miami, sorting out some kind of preventable crisis. Once his father settled in here, they were together every day at the assisted living facility. I believe their time together gave both of them a lot of comfort.

As for Me? I just loved to sit and talk to my father-in-law. If he had felt more spry I would have dragged him into my history class for my own version of “Show & Tell.” I mean, really! William Howard Taft was in the White House the year Chum was born! His life was a damn book. (see River of January)

On one particular Sunday we drove over for a visit, and brought him Mexican food . . . Chum’s favorite. I was anxious to talk to him because we had rented “The Aviator” the night before, the film about Howard Hughes, and Chum had worked for the millionaire at one time.

Me: So we watched a movie about your old buddy, last night–Howard Hughes.

Chum: Ha. He kept the Kleenex business in the black.

Me: (Oh, geez! How could he know that?) And your old girl friend, Kathryn Hepburn.

Chum: Yeah. Katy. She was a nice girl.

Me:(Katy? A nice girl?)

Chum: Her boyfriend, that theater producer, Leland Hayward–I taught him flying lessons, and she came along.

Me: Yeah. (Yeah)

And here it is folks, if you didn’t see at the top. The old history student has to whip out the proof. Have a nice weekend.


Gail Chumbley is the author of River of January. Available on Amazon.

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