Laughter-filled visit with daughters of Veterans Air DC-4 Flight Engineer Thomas E. Cowart

Sweet tea, fresh peach ice cream shake, and the daughters Cowart…nearly impossible to capture!

My road trip offers one particularly narrow window. South Carolina is a must be-there-and-gone by August 3rd! Or I miss hugs and laughs with Angie and Joy, the daughters Cowart. And, for the all world, I would not miss my second visit with these fun-loving, energized and energizing women. I’ve coined my own phrase for them, the daughters Cowart, because they are oh! so the Spirit of their dad, Veterans Air DC-4 Flight Engineer Thomas E. Cowart. He crewed UNRRA cargo for Saunie to Prague (twice), Warsaw and Athens between April and September 1946. (Read an earlier account here.)

"Daughters Cowart" Angie and Joy. Gaye Lyn grinning in the middle. Gracie, the RV, behind us.

Angie, Gaye Lyn and Joy. We’re sisters, don’tcha know! Photo Credit: Angie Cowart. It’s a Selfie!

Gracie and I arrive on August 1st.. And for the first time in 16 days and 2,822 miles on the road, we will “boondock.” In RV-speak, that means we will be without outside hookups for electric, water and sewer. I accepted the invite to park on Joy’s driveway rather than to waste precious time commuting to/from an RV park. So, totally self-contained, here we are. Under the gorgeous blossoming Myrtle tree, the daughters Cowart and me (the day after I arrive).

Beware, Walmart Shoppers! Bill is on a mission!

Joy’s husband Bill volunteers to take me to the store for provisions. It has been awhile and I do need some things. Have you ever had a Walmart Personal Shopper? Like wow! Bill memorizes my shopping list and whips us up and down those aisles! We were bagged and out in record time! If I had gone alone, I might still be there!!! Fun way to get acquainted. Thanks, again, Bill. For steerage thru the store, your great pulled pork dinner, and the fresh grits Joy cooked for breakfast. Yum!

Here’s a capture of effervescence! And everlasting love!

A photograph that deserves an award. Fabulous capture of Thomas and Loney Mae Cowart.

Thomas and his bride of 64 years, Loney Mae. This is love! Photo Credit: Cowart Family. No date.

Thomas traded in all uniforms for his trademark overalls, suspenders and plaid shirt. Seen here smiling sweetly at Loney Mae in front of a Christmas tree.

Loney Mae and Thomas. A look to inspire a song, “I only have eyes for you!” Photo credit: Cowart family. Year unknown.

Thomas Cowart and his lovely wife Loney Mae laid a unique foundation for Angie and Joy as children and throughout their 64 year marriage. Sadly, I didn’t meet her, but I sure get a peak of their joyfulness through these photos. The extraordinary love and tenderness speak volumes.

And today? Today I get swept up in fun and bantering and laughter, laughter, laughter! At dinner, in the car, at a restaurant, everywhere. The daughters Cowart wrap me up in their delicious Southern delivery and expressions! Don’tcha know! It’s captivating, if not “captureable”!

A Flashback before we go forward.

Before I continue, I must finally share a Cliff Notes version of what I promised you on December 12, 2015. That was right after my meeting Thomas in person. Here he introduces his after Veterans Air story. In his own words:

When I got back from Athens on 9 September 1946, it seemed apparent to me there was nothing much else going to happen at Veterans. They had filled a need in a void – Vets needed a job, the military had aircraft available, they get a government contract, and found businesses that needed cargo flights. But seemed like they didn’t have enough money. So I left for South Carolina and enrolled in college. That was the end of aviation for me.

The college was Bob Jones University where Thomas became a minister and later a missionary, as was prophesied for him when he was only15. (If you didn’t read this story link above, here it is again.) It is also at Bob Jones, in his final year on the first day of class, that Thomas first sees Loney Mae Warren “on Monday at Noon in my class.”

(Dear Reader, I include “Monday at Noon” because I hold no doubt Monday at Noon is precisely when Thomas notices his future wife. I learn over the course of our extraordinary (but oh! so short) friendship that his memories and his details are unquestionable.)

Not long after he was Veterans Air DC-4 Flight Engineer Thomas E. Cowart, he became a husband, father and missionary in India. Seen here with this lovely wife Loney Mae dressed in native dress.

Thomas and Loney Mae Cowart in India.

Thomas and Loney Mae married in August 1949. And in January 1953, with both daughters Cowart under the age of five, the family arrived 100 miles north of Bombay on the West Coast of India where Thomas and his wife serve as missionaries for the next 13 years.

In late 2015 Thomas talks to me often about this period of their lives.

“India is a country of many, many languages. Of course, we knew nothing before we got there. But Loney Mae and the girls “picked up” the local language – Gujerati. And I learned enough to teach the Bible and hold conversations. I still have my hymns and Bible. And I still can read them today.”

It’s there that Angie and Joy spend their formative years. Life enriching and life altering. It’s in India they receive their schooling. All classes taught in English. First at Sunrise School, which only went to 7th grade, and then Woodstock School in Mussoorie, India, a boarding school for children of missionaries and non-missionaries. Angie is in the Woodstock Class of 1969. (While she does not attend there through graduation, her classmates are the first-ever graduating class to wear traditional Indian dress for Commencement, according to their website. I’m sure had she been there, Angie would have loved to be part of their glorious processional!!)

Angie with five of her mates from the class of 1969 from Woodstock School in India. Each of them wears a wonderful grin and very colorful attire.

That’s Angie Cowart, top row right with the beaming smile. And her 1969 school mates from India. Photo credit: Unknown.

Off to India in 2017…well, Boston, really. Woodstock School Reunion, Class of ‘69.

So, now for the rest of the story. The daughters Cowart are departing the night after I arrive to touch again that exceptional episode in their lives.

On the evening of August 2, they position themselves closer to the airport for an early flight to Boston. “Woodstockites” reunion, here they come! Angie has attended a Woodstock event before; and both Joy and Angie have attended a Sunrise School reunion. I can only imagine the hilarity they’ll add, the two of them together in Boston!

No place to put a period.

I could go on, but must stop here.

Thank you, Angie and Joy.  You are dear to me! Don’tcha know!


CORRECTION 9/4/2017
Angie was not graduated from Woodstock School in 1969. I misunderstood. She was part of the Class of ’69, but was graduated after returning to the States. Joy was in the Class of ’68.


 

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someonePrint this page
Help spread the word

Leave a Reply

Contact Gaye Lyn

Always happy to see your Comments at bottom of a Post you've just read.

Or, for one-on-one exchanges, please click HERE to use the Contact page. I'd very much enjoy hearing from you.

[Do not, however, try to sell me something. That definitely is a No! No!]

Then & There…

A RECOMMENDED READ and irreplaceable for me: "Memories of the Jing Bao & Beyond," Authors Choice Press, 2001. Written by our own JACK Z. STETTNER - Veterans Air Express Co-Founder, Investor, Pilot and Operations Manager. As well as his considerable WWII experiences, Jack's book revealed new details about Veterans Air Express...plus the spirit and character of this organization that Jack obviously loved!