Ellen and Gaye Lyn share “sister stuff” at dinner…three weeks ago. Veterans Air pilot Jack Stettner and 1945 VAE founder Saunie Gravely would have loved their daughters’ friendship.
First time Ellen Stettner and I met – it was telephonically. We talked on the phone for over an hour. Chatting like long lost sisters. That was July 2015 when my research discovered her dad, the co-founder, investor, manager and 1945 Veterans Air pilot Jack Stettner, living in Florida.
Less than one month later, in early August, I met Jack in his Florida home! Over the next few days, we celebrated the incalculable odds of our meeting. I also met Scott and Al, his two sons, and Ellen. The conversations rolled then, too. (If you don’t know that “reunion” story, I invite you to read it here.)
Ellen and I hadn’t seen each other in the elapsed two years, though we facebooked and sometimes she followed my website. Then we were in touch during her Dad’s illness and passing in November last year (2016).
But on Thursday, July 27, three weeks ago today, despite all the time and Life that had ensued, we had dinner together and aah! the conversation flowed. At Batch Gastropuba (delightful place with an unlikely name in Boyton Beach), the evening passed too quickly. Then Ellen and I gave each other hugs saying, “‘til next time.”
If I were my boss, I’d fire me!
One hour later, I had a V-8 moment! I could have had photos of Ellen and me!! But I took none! My sweet RV Gracie and I had driven eight days and 2,113 miles from Santa Fe to south Florida to visit Ellen. And I was too happily ensconced in our myriad topics to remember I’d want to report back to you. Have photos for you to see the two of us together. If I were my boss, I’d fire me!
I did better in 2015…
I know I’ve posted these photos at least three other times! But I also know Ellen and I look just as young today! (You’ll have to trust my veracity on that one!) So, here we are Ellen and I eating breakfast in 2015. And Ellen with her dad, Jack. And the brilliant smiles of brother and sister, Ellen and Al. And here are Scott and his wife, Kitty. (I’m happy to give Photo Credit for each of these to…myself!)
Girl stuff…ricocheted…segued…sister stuff.
What did Ellen and I talk about at dinner? Never you mind. Girl stuff. Sister stuff. Unencumbered, disconnected, segued stuff. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
Plus Ellen consoled me about not paying my respects at her Dad’s grave. Too late in my visit, I discovered it meant a three-hour drive round trip – thru Miami. I had not allowed for the unexpected time and circumstances. Not going has truly been a deep disappointment. Veterans Air pilot Jack Stettner was my first “find.” It’s Jack who brought me to Ellen and the Stettner family.
It was Jack who flew the Gaye Lyn, Veterans Air first DC-3. And it was Jack who read to me from books he authored. Books his “kids” encouraged him to write about his Second World War experiences – and his exploits with my Dad’s passenger and cargo air line.
Memories of the Jing Bao & Beyond is my favorite. It holds all sorts of episodic adventures I never would have learned about if not for Jack’s telling. The hilarious “floating” KOTEX event reminiscent of The Three Stooges. (You just have to ead the book. Page 42). And the original, but failed notion of delivering cargo with gliders. Or the signed-for-and-delivered, but actually missing-in-action lobsters – 30 barrels of live cargo! And more.
A bond born and ties that bind over seventy years.
Again, a thread, a connection, a bond born of Saunie Gravely and his 1945 merry band of aviators. His risk-taking investors (many of whom were his Vets). The cadre of men and women just mustered out of all branches of the United States armed forces. Home from war and grateful to have survived. Looking, as Jack Stettner wrote, to find “a place in the sun.” To do something worthwhile with their newly acquired skills. Adventurers all.
Ellen, Ellen. Thanks for our 2017 Memories!