Jack D. Hunter's Blog

3 November 2007

As of this writing, the web site takes on a new look. It's meant to reflect the change in emphasis and priorities caused by natural evolution.

Over the past months, my own diversity has been getting in my way. I paint, I sketch, I write, I put out a blog. But now I’ve got a couple of new services I want eventually to introduce, and I worried that if I were simply to hang these newcomers onto the existing pages my web site would soon resonate with that great old Bob Newhart comedy bit about “The Mrs. Grace L. Anderson Storm Door and Airline Company.”

Above all, the last thing I want is a site so complicated it becomes a chore to read, so to head off that possibility, we have decided to go with this new simplification and reorganization. We hope you like it.

Warplane Nostalgia

Dan, one of my buddies, called today and said, “Hey, we gotta see this. Two World War Two bombers have landed at the St. Augie airport. The Air Force Heritage people have them on tour, and the public’s invited to look them over. You and I are public, so let’s go look them over.”

Well, Dan was talking about my kind of airplanes out of my kind of war, and there was no way I could refuse the invite. So Dan came by, stuffed me and my World War II-era legs into his snappy little hybrid, and off we went, sunglasses and baseball caps firmly in place.

I’d had a somewhat stressful week, and I think Dan knew that and was trying, in his intuitive, steadfast-pal way, to brush away some of my blues by getting me out in the warm sun and cool breeze. And for a moment, as we strode out on the flight line toward the B-17 and B-24 parked there, hulking and somber in their war paint, I wasn’t sure he’d done me a favor.

Memories came piling in. The nostalgia nearly froze me in my tracks, tightening my chest with something close to a sob, and, after 65 years, I thought I could hear the rumbling of those mighty engines and the squawking in the headset, smell the gun oil and spent gas and feel the trembling fuselage around me and the bitter, high-altitude cold howling through the open machine-gun ports. I remembered faces and voices: Buzz Crowley, Bill McGivern, Tom Perkins — so many other guys bundled in sheepskin and huge boots and parachute harness and leather helmets and firing off raunchy jokes to make the fear go away. They were all gone now, some early in their young lives, left to lie in obscure patches of an uncaring Europe, others, like me, puzzling in our white-haired anonymity why we were chosen to live so long when so many more worthy ones fell away so quickly and so bravely.

Then, somewhere in the afternoon, the pain gave way to a feeling of what could only have been pride. I was one of those guys, by God. I was there. They trusted me, and I trusted them, and for all the bantering and macho malarkey, a kind of love was there in the bond. I was there, one of them, and nobody, I mean nobody, can ever take that away from me.


Bad news about The Ace, my novel recreating the turbulent, epochal events that accompanied America’s effort to build a world-class air force overnight after the declaration of war against Germany in 1917. The story, whose spine is the meteoric rise of a poverty-battered kid from the slums of Buffalo, NY, to world fame as an ace fighter pilot, is facing a publishing world in which little respect is given today to the American fighting man — or to American values, for that matter. The New York editorial consensus — so far— is that, while the book is deeply researched and very well written and carries the pedigree of a widely published author, it’s impossible to determine just how to position it in their inventory. It’s a niche book, they claim, produced by a has-been author who hasn’t made all that much money for them in recent years.

So, if any of you folks know of a nice niche that might accommodate an old geezer who sometimes gets all teary over American values and his days among American fighting men, pass me the word. There are some Noo Yawk types I’d love to give the finger.

Copyright © 2007 by Jack D. Hunter.  All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.