Jets overhead promise and portend – #atozchallenge

Jets overhead promise and portend. Tenth of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck!

At Whispering Chimneys, two things represented the larger outside world.

Out front was interstate Route 20 on which I traveled by car with my parents and grandparents –and later by school bus to Altamont Elementary.

And then there were the jets overhead — striping the enormous blue sky with their long white trails.

Commercial flights were relatively new in the early 1950s, so spotting passenger airplanes was a novelty. But military jets from nearby bases seemed ever-present in those post-WWII years.

Jetstream. By: Joe Hart

Sonic booms

I always looked up when the jets whizzed overhead, fascinated by their snowy vapor trails.

But at first I was terrified by the sonic booms that thundered over the countryside when they outran the speed of sound!

Fortunately, my parents and grandparents did a good job of explaining the startling noise — and after a while I got used to it.

Watching in wonder

I was a little post-war baby boomer when I gazed at the fighter jets streaking the sky — so I never thought about where they came from, where they were going, or what they were doing up there.

Then the jets’ glinting steel held the promise of flight, technology, and the wider outside world.

I never dreamed their airborne maneuvers might also portend a distant war in Vietnam that would profoundly affect my generation.

I couldn’t know about that then. All I could do was stare up at those jets with wonder.

Up next:  Kindergarten culture shock. Please stop back!

© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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12 thoughts on “Jets overhead promise and portend – #atozchallenge”

  1. I remember watching jets pass overhead as a kid. My favorites were ones traveling faster than sound, which was then followed by a deep boom. Interesting that they no longer fly that fast over US air.

    1. I’m guessing there were complaints made and noise ordinances invoked by the civilian population, resulting in the slower speeds. Haven’t heard a sonic boom in decades.

  2. When I was in elementary school, my father was stationed at Randolph AFB in Texas. We were in row housing, very close to a flight line. I remember our windows rattling daily! And, yes, sonic booms were the norm.

    1. Yes, it was definitely the military planes producing the sonic booms. I can’t imagine living so close that the windows rattled!

  3. I remember watching planes fly over when I was quite small, but they were not jets, just regular planes. I must have overheard the adults talking about a small plane that crashed near my cousins house and sometimes thought about that, although I don’t remember being afraid they might fall on me.
    Finding Eliza

    1. Planes are amazing things, especially to children. When my brothers and I were young, one of our regular family outings was to the local airport where we could all stand on the flat roof of the terminal and watch the planes take off.

  4. When did sonic booms become less common? I remember them as a feature of my childhood, but seldom any more. Maybe that was because of proximity to military bases when I was growing up? Or have they changed the rules a bit?

    I’m just old enough to remember when flying was a big deal–not that I got to experience it. Just leaving our island was a big deal when I was a kid.

    1. You got me thinking so I looked this up, and apparently jets are no longer allowed to go at those speeds — at least over US airspace. I too remember flying as a big deal. My parents flew on their honeymoon and my grandparents flew cross-country when I was in my teens. But my first flight wasn’t until I was a young adult.

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