As you will see elsewhere in this issue, the Mini-Reunion in Peterborough is nearly upon us. There will be all sorts of exhortations from various quarters that any and all veterans should make the effort to attend. There will surely be some who haven't been back since VE day, but that isn't what the focus of this column will be.
I'm naturally interested in talking to those who flew with my father, partly because it helps me appreciate what all of them went through, partly because aviation has been a significant part of my whole life, including a career. So an opportunity to visit with some old friends and make some new ones isn't to be treated lightly.
I made my first trip to Glatton in 1990. What an experience! For a variety of reasons, my wife and kids didn't go, but my mother and father (Mildred and Les) as well as my brother (Jerry) did. It was kind of like reliving our youth when the four of us traveled during the summer (Mom and Dad were teachers). In any event, staying at the Bull, meeting Bernie (sadly, not possible any longer) and Sadie, going to the airfield, the side trip guided by Gordon Townsend, Mattingly, Duxford, the banquet, Queensgate, all created indelible memories that were only slightly mitigated by Linda and the kids not being there. And of course the week in London afterwards...
I repeated the trip in '92, with my family this time, as well as Mom and Dad and my brother, and it was no less memorable. All the elements mentioned above were repeated, and it is safe to say that repeating them three, eight, or even ten times would not take the edge off the excitement of visiting old friends in a foreign land and making new ones, too.
I hope there are still some veterans in the Group who have not been to Glatton who are going to be there this year, but more importantly, I'd love to see a significant contingent of our Second Wave, the children of the vets, go over and see what Dad (and in some cases, Mom) have been talking about all of these years. There is no substitute for standing on concrete that your father made war from more than 50 years ago. You'll gain more appreciation in one minute standing in the Connington church yard for what they did than you will in hours of reading the books or hearing the stories.
Okay, call me a hypocrite. I'm preaching that all the second generation should get over to Glatton '02, and I have to confess I won't be there. Events have conspired against it for me, and although they are happy in their own right, I really, really wish I was going. You be the judge; our daughter is expecting a baby, probably by the time you read this, and our grandparent duties will impinge on the timetable for the Mini Reunion. Just as, or even more important, my wife, Linda, is graduating from college at about the same time. She's wanted this all of her life, and we're not going to deprive her of it.
So, I hope there is a fine turnout, and I know there will be a good time. I also hope that when the Second Wave is sitting in the pub adjusting their attitudes after the days activities, that they'll raise a glass for all of our fathers who fought from Glatton, and maybe splash a drop for me who dearly wishes he was going to be there, too.