We can catch the same flight out tomorrow night

Our visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum engendered a bit of nostalgic feeling in me as the various manned space capsules on the main floor brought to mind my youthful interest in NASA's Gemini and Apollo programs.*  But it was washed away when I went upstairs and saw Tingmissartoq, the plane in which Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh flew the Great Circle Route to China in 1931.

Tingmissartoq is the name given the Lindberghs' plane by an Eskimo boy when
they landed in Greenland; it means "One who flies like a big bird".

Anne Lindbergh wrote about the experience in her book, North to the Orient, which I think is one of the best books ever in the travel by flight genre.  In fact, it got me started reading a number of other books about pioneering flight experiences.  And that made me realize how many people died in plane crashes, and that made me promise myself I'd never ever ever go up in a small plane, not even if you promised me a chocolate soda afterwards.  Not even if the chocolate soda was made of solid gold, because then I couldn't even drink it.

When I was in college, everybody and their grandmother was reading Bring Me a Unicorn, Lindbergh's first volume of her journals, covering her early college years.  I tried to read it a couple of times and kept falling asleep.  But North to the Orient is a beautiful and honestly written account by a skilled writer of a fascinating and adventurous flight in the early days of aviation.  So it was a bit of a thrill to see the actual plane that the Lindberghs flew in.

I will say that, because of North to the Orient, I went back and tried Bring Me a Unicorn one more time and enjoyed it enough to finish it.  I also read several other volumes of Lindbergh's journals, including my favorite, War Within and Without, which covers the years before and during World War II, and which, along with North to the Orient, is one of my all-time favorite books.  I recommend both.

I also saw The Spirit of St Louis at the museum, which was cool.  (And I also read the book, hereby recommended as well.)

*As I was writing this, I learned that Neil Armstrong died today.  That made me a little sad.


Shannon said...

1. I thought the Spirit of St Louis was at Balboa Park? Or at Lindbergh field? Or somewhere else in San Diego?

2. Everyone is so sad that Neil Armstrong is dead. He was 82, sick, and lived a very full life. I say it's okay that he's gone. (Not to say anything bad about your personal grief though)

Janeite42 said...

1. It's a replica! The one in San Diego, I mean. There was one at Lindbergh field, too, but it was also a replica. I don't know if it's still there. The one in DC is the real McCoy.

2. I'm not really sad or grieving that he's dead, because, as you say he was 82, etc. But it's another part of the past gone, so I guess what I feel is more a sense of regret at the impermanence of some aspects of life. If that makes sense.

Megan said...

I'm trying to remember if I've been to this museum. Like when I was 13. Humph.

Yes, to your reasons why we can be sad about N.A.

I hate this stupid code you have to type. Hate it, I say.