Thursday, December 5, 2013

b&w stories: nada sander baxter circa 1941

this is my aunt nada.  my dad's sister.  the one who practically raised him.  the only girl amongst five boys.  i think i only met her once when i was very small and we went on our epic family vacation to new york state.  listening to dad's stories, i know she was one amazing woman and i wish she was still here so i could get to know her . . .

dad "imagines" she was born in 1925.  she was about 16 when this photo was taken.  uncle bob, dad's oldest brother, carried the photo with him through world war 2 and told all his buddies that she was his girlfriend.  ten years later, when my dad was in california getting ready to ship out to korea, nada happened to be living there and came to visit him.  when she pulled up for him in her cadillac, of course, he told everyone that she was his girlfriend.

during the time this photo was taken, she used to ride her bike to the airport to wash piper cubs in exchange for flying lessons.  while learning to fly she met her husband, kelvin "barney" baxter.  kelvin began his flying career barnstorming around the country, landing in fields to give people a ride is his airplane for $1.00.  in october of 1939, he and buddy robert mcdaniels set an endurance record, by staying aloft in "miss sun tan," a piper cub, for over three weeks.  food and fuel was sent up via buckets, cables, and poles affixed to a truck pacing below them on the ground.  this was groundbreaking enough to warrant a photo op with eleanor roosevelt.  then he was a civilian contract pilot during world war 2.  he was part of the "forgotten battle," flying soldiers and supplies into attu and kiska in the aleutian islands of alaska.  a small japanese force occupied those islands for a little over a year during the war and this was the only time u.s. soil has ever been taken.

kelvin and nada settled in new york for a time where he flew 747's to tokyo and back.  nada, true to her country heritage, became an expert skeet shooter, winning the new york state title three years running.  dad says she finally quit shooting against other women because they were just no competition.  what a woman.

1 comment:

  1. That photo is incredible, and the story, even more!