It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a...

Sounds fascinate Jack and Owen who are 4- and 2-years of age. Whenever they hear a siren, they will look in the direction that they heard the sound hoping to see either a fire engine or a police car. Whenever they hear the noise of plane or helicopter, they look into the sky searching for either. I have no idea where they obtained their quest to identify the noises and their hope to see whatever it is that is making the noise.

Nevertheless, Jack and Owen's fascination with sounds has trained me to do the same even though, at 71, I would not normally even notice the sounds. One day while playing in the yard, we heard of noise coming from the sky and coming toward us. Jack was first to hear it and said that a plane is coming toward us. Then he rescinded his statement about it being a plane. He said that it was not a plane but a helicopter. Finally, I paid attention for a few seconds and dissed both the plane or helicopter idea. It was still coming toward us, but it was not insight yet. Regardless, I knew it was neither. So there we stood, the three of us, waiting until whatever it was flew over the trees.

While we stood there looking for whatever it was, I attempted to add a bit of humor by saying, "It's A Bird. It's A Plane. It's Superman." Both Jack and Owen ignored my comedic routine as they continued to the noise got louder and louder.

Suddenly, there it was...a blimp.


As it flew over us, I tried the impossible of getting a picture of the blimp and Jack and Owen watching it. However, I was standing too close to them to get them and the blimp into the picture. Therefore, I quickly took a couple of photos of this airship as it passed over and vanished behind another tree.

Blimp 2

And it was gone....

Then Jack and Owen sat down to talk about their excitement of seeing the blimp. We talked about the noise not sounding like a jet or a helicopter. We talked about where the passengers sat and what made it fly. However, most of the time, we talked about the picture of Snooper being on the front of the blimp.

Blimp close up

As we reviewed the pictures that I took from the viewer in the back of the camera, I noticed something...the two ropes that were hanging from the nose of the blimp. Then long after the airship had gone, I told Jack and Owen about when I was not more than a couple of years older than Jack and a blimp flew over my home.

I lived in Merchantville, NJ after WWII. It was not far from the shore and many military bases like Lakehurst, which was about 40-miles from Merchantville. Therefore, as a child I saw blimps many time either as they patrolled the waters around New Jersey or when they are on military operations out of Lakehurst. One day, an airship came directly over my home just as it had for Jack and Owen. However, that day back in Merchantville, it came over very low. I noticed as a very young child the ropes hanging from the front of the blimp. It interested Jack and Owen that I had experienced that same excitement as had they. Then I told them the rest of the story....

Seeing the ropes passing directly overhead, I decided to run after the mooring ropes in hope of grabbing hold of them. I told Jack and Owen that I did not know what I expected to accomplish by holding onto the ropes. Maybe I thought that I could use the ropes as if it was a string to a kite. The blimp could be my giant kite. Nevertheless, I clearly remember that the rope was well within my grasp to grab. Therefore, I ran as fast as I could get ahold of my huge silver kite. They were fascinated by my story. I did not tell them that what I did over six decades ago was at best foolish. I will let them think of their Papa as Indiana Jones for the time being.

Finally, we went inside and had lunch. While Owen took a nap, I showed Jack this National Geographic video.

I never mentioned the crash of the Hindenburg at Lakehurst, NJ. The Hindenburg exploded in May of 1937, which occurred only a dozen years prior to my attempt at catching another airship. People living in South Jersey all knew the story of the Hindenburg quite well.

Hindenburg disaster

Hindenburg disaster

These two videos neither Jack nor Owen viewed due to the disaster of the Hindenburg crash at Lakehurst, NJ in 1937. The first is the actual news film of the crash.

This video is the attempt to come up with an accurate theory explaining why the Hindenburg crashed.