Today is a date that people look back on with dismay, horror and sadness. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F Kennedy.
In our family,
today's date marks an important day in the life of one our family's most important members, my father. This year he would have been 95!
A large coincidence has occured in my life lately. I am living in an area that my father, my mother and I visited in 1969. My father had his own small airplane and in the "Summer of 69" he decided he and I would make a cross-country trip from Toronto, Canada to Fullerton, California. My mother, not a fan of the small plane, opted to go by train and met us there.
The name of that town has always stuck in my head since that trip when I was 10 years old. It was to that town's airport that we landed after passing by the Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Las Vegas and Arizona after several days of flying.
Well, it happens to be quite close to the "Happiest Place on Earth", the place I had dancing around in my head the entire trip.
The coincidence? Well, our new home happens to be about 15 minutes away from Disneyland and Fullerton is just another 10 minutes up the road. All these years I never really understood why we landed and stayed in Fullerton. In fact it wasn't until yesterday that I realized that we landed at the Fullerton airport - or that they had one.
Mr. Tennis called me from the road and said, "when you and your dad flew here, did you land at Fullerton Airport?" Well, it hadn't occurred to me, but of course we must have since we stayed in Fullerton during our California visit.
So, in between puppies today I drove to Fullerton to see for myself where we most likely landed 44 years ago.
My dad loved that plane and called it "Romeo" after the first letter in it's call sign.
RGE - Romeo Gulf Echo.
Seeing the small airport didn't stir any particular memories about that trip, but I admit to getting misty-eyed looking at the small planes on the tarmac. Surely that's where we parked Romeo and tied him down.
Surely that windsock has been replaced overtime, but it's one of the things I always look for at a small airport as my dad was always consulting them for wind direction.
Surely my father was smiling today as he saw his daughter return to what must be where we left Romeo while we visited with Mickey and the gang, went swimming in the Pacific at Long Beach, drove up to Hollywood and toured Universal Studios.
I could only find these prices from 1967, but my haven't times changed?
I know I'm smiling as I remember being 10 years old and experiencing the magic of Disney for the first time with my late parents.
I need to return to Disneyland for the second time, now that we live here. When I go, I will try to hear my dad's laughter as he too enjoyed "The Happiest Place on Earth" for the first time with his daughter.
The daughter for whom he flew his little plane all the way across this massive country so she could see some magic.
Now that's an E-ticket ride!
Happy Birthday to my father, Richard S. Hughes!