Happy Independence Day!

by chuckofish

And, of course, Happy Birthday to my dear brother, who I imagine will enjoy a day fishing followed by a view of the myriad firework displays that can be seen from his cottage on Lake St. Claire in Michigan.

Not my picture, but it is Lake St. Claire

Not my picture, but it is Lake St. Claire

Due to technical difficulties too complicated to enumerate here (it’s a long, sad story to do with a car crash, damaged electronics and a decidedly bruised energy level), I don’t have a witty post or great pics of the birthday boy to share. Fortunately, my dual personality captured the birthday party spirit in her post yesterday.

What I do have are a couple of family history tidbits to share. First off is my mother’s high school graduation picture. I found this yearbook on ancestry.com. I don’t know to whom it belonged, but my mother signed it! Cynthia Coghlin was one of her best friends as well.

mother's year book

It’s clearly a small world. In my internet wanderings, I also came across a wonderful syndicated newspaper article about police aviation, in which my grandfather, Arthur Newell Chamberlin, Jr. figures prominently.

Miami_Daily_News_Record_Wed__May_7__1930_Written in 1930 when domestic (non war related) aviation was in its infancy, the article details the new aviation traffic regulations. It refers to our grandfather, who formed New York City’s first aviation unit, as a “pioneer in air-lane traffic regulation” and describes his position thus:

ANC quote 1It neglects to mention that he was a pilot in WWI, which is why he was involved in the police aviation thing in the first place. He was also a lawyer, having graduated from Georgetown law. Although he passed the Washington DC bar, he never practiced law. For some reason (probably the excitement), he always preferred newspaper work. In fact, he had been slated to become editor of the Burlington Free Press, when he got called up for duty in WWI.  The aviation article quotes him further :

anc quoteHe also explains why the planes are not equipped with guns:

ANC quote3Here’s a close up of the lovely pic.

ANC 2Well, the aviation unit was a great idea and it flourished for a few years, but when the Great Depression really got going, it meant budget cuts to the NYC police department and the unit was among the first to go. That spelled the end of my grandfather’s flying career.

Happy Independence Day to all of you! We’re going to spend ours quietly drinking tea and reading. I’m currently enjoying Sax Rohmer’s The Hand of Fu Manchu, first published in 1917. It’s not exactly highbrow literature, but it is really fun. Given my current intellectual potential, it’s just perfect.