The Barnstormers by Carlos Najera

I still remember that day.  I was playing outside our house, when I heard a loud noise coming from the air. I looked up and I saw this thing flying overhead. I did not know what it was at the time. It was too big to be a kite, besides, kites don’t make noise. I watched it make noisy circles over our town. Then I saw it come down to the ground, then it went back up into the air and made more circles around town.

“Well.” I said to myself. “This was no kite.” So I ran over there to take a closer look. I got to an empty lot nearby.  It landed near the corner of Saviors Road and Seventh Street.

The lot was too small to be an airport but back then airplanes were pretty small and very maneuverable. Actually, I don’t think there were too many airports anywhere at that time. Those airplanes needed very little space to land and take off, and when I got closer I saw some men string up a rope barrier around the airplane so that nobody would get near it.

It was a biplane, which means two wings. It had three very small wheels. They were pneumatic tires, which means they had air inside. The man who flew the plane and his friends were sitting on folding chairs. They were talking real friendly to anyone who came by to take a look. They did not notice that I was sitting on the front wing checking things out. 


There was nothing around the pilot’s seat, just a lot of open air. The fuselage of the airplane was made of wood, from the pilot seat to the tail of the plane. There were a lot of wires that seemed to be holding the plane together.

The man who flew the plane looked over at me started to laugh.

“Do you want to go up for a ride?” He was pointing to the clouds.

I shook my head up and down to say yes. I was not sure of my English yet.

“Where is your mommy?” He asked me.

I shrugged my shoulders and raise my palms up to show him I did not know.

 He climbed to the pilot seat then reached down and put me on his lap. His friend spun the propeller and the engine started. In no time we left the ground and I could see everything below. I saw the whole town, even my house. I could see the sugar factory, even past Ventura towards Santa Barbara. We flew over the old Olivas place.  I saw the ocean and Port Hueneme. I saw the road that goes up to Ojai, the Channel Islands. We were almost as high as the mountains and then we came back down. I wasn’t scared but I have must’ve been a sight because everyone there was laughing, including myself.

I thanked the man then ran all the way home. I never felt freer than those brief moments in the air and I wanted to do that again. I was shaking from excitement still, but I knew I dare not tell my mom what I did. She did not like excitement. There were a lot of things I didn’t tell her.

About jedwardnajera

I am an artist and a Poet. I live the life of a poet. I published several novels. Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose, Dust of the Moon are among them, available through Amazon Books. I have spent over thirty five years in a classroom. I am now retired from that profession. My father kept a living record of his lifetime as he lived through the Twentieth Century. He was born in 1908 and almost lived long enough to see us enter the new millennium. He entrusted to me nearly 400 pages that he wrote through the years. Now I am continuing the tradition by posting my own stories and misadventures. I am trying to post a new entry or chapter each Friday. Check in on us at least once a week for the latest post.
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1 Response to The Barnstormers by Carlos Najera

  1. What a wonderful story & how lucky he was that the pilot took the time to give him a great memory so he could write the story. Our son has told this mother stories he held back because then I would not have approved.
    We live in Dayton,Ohio where the AF Museum is located & my husband was in the AF but way before that as a young lad he lived in Nebraska in a small town where the barnstormers would land & he was always trying to get a ride ( he is 78 ).He has never lost his love of those small planes. When we lived in Roswell, NM the Aero Club would take people up & around the city for a penny a pound. I think our youngest daughter was a couple weeks old on her first ride.

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