On the third page of ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds, relating living with my artist uncle some years following the death of my mother, I write that it was under his auspices somewhere approaching or near age ten that I first read the Leonardo Da Vinci story as found in True Comics, No. 58, March 1947 titled 500 Years Too Soon. Within a few days of having read 500 Years Too Soon for the first time I saw the 1947 Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie titled Tarzan and the Huntress. No sooner had I seen the movie than my interest in Da Vinci flying machines exploded after I saw the scene where Tarzan's son Boy builds a glider-type plane capable of flying and their chimp Cheetah, apparently gauging the glider's potential, steals it. Hanging on for all it's worth Cheetah jumps off some rocks and covers quite some distance before crashing into the trees. Haranguing my uncle over and over on the idea of flying in the same manner, he eventually laid out a life size drawing of a Da Vinci like craft on the floor of the studio and from there, together, we built an actual machine capable of flying while carrying a person, hopefully me, in flight.
THE WANDERLING'S FIRST FLIGHT USED A LILIENTHAL DESIGN, ENDING WITH THE SAME RESULTS AS DA VINCI'S
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A good portion of my early to mid childhood years following my mother's death I fell under the direct supervision of my Uncle. During that period the two of us had been overseen even higher up by the ever watchful eye of my Stepmother. It was she who picked up the tab on all of our expenses and adventures. It was she who gave the final yes or no to any wild scheme my uncle or I cooked up. And it was she who had the power and ability to pull the strings to get us out of anything of an undue nature we may have accidentally got caught up in. All of which came crashing down when, for reasons unknown to me, my dad and she decided to call it quits and divorce.
"Little did I know that those easy going comic book reading days were numbered, ending with my stepmother's ranch being sold, my dad and stepmother going to Mexico and South America for a two year stretch and me once again being thrown into or under the auspices of another foster couple."
THE CODE MAKE, THE ZEN MAKER
A year or so passed with me living with the aforementioned foster couple when I decided to run away from home. I did so after hearing that my stepmother, actually my ex-stepmother by then as she and my dad had since divorced, bought a new ranch in the Mojave Desert almost as soon as she returned from her two year travels in Mexico and South America. Without approval or anybody's knowledge I took a Greyhound bus to the then little town of Palmdale hoping to come into contact with someone who might know where she was. By the time I got to Palmdale it was a little to late to learn much so I went to the ranch that neighbored the ranch I used to live on seeing if the owner could put me up for the night.
After telling my story the family welcomed me in with open arms. Although they had long since had dinner the lady of the house, that is, the mother of the kids or wife of the rancher, whatever you want to call her, a beautiful cowgirl ranch-type woman of roughly age 45, put together a scrumptious meal. When I sat down at the table five of their six kids, all five girls, did too, watching me take in every bite and hanging on my every word. Although none of them knew it was the end of only my first day on the road, and before previously when I lived on the ranch back up the road, not one of them ever gave me a tumble, but now, three short years later and a runaway, they all looked at me as though I was some kind of big time world traveler and adventurer --- of which I continued to let them think, maybe even playing into it.
Later, not unlike so many families during the 1952-era, in that there was no television set in the house, after a little time in the living room everybody retreated to their respective rooms or sleeping areas. The mother and father put a few blankets and a pillow on the floor in the brother's room creating a nice little space for me to crash for the night. The brother and I immediately began reading comic books with the brother digging out one specific one he insisted on me reading. He said the first time he saw it he thought of me specifically and always wished he could share the comic with me because of a story I told him once he never forgot, a story about a flying machine I built based on a Leonardo Da Vinci design that I actually flew.
The comic book was of course the March-April 1951 Tomahawk with The Flying Frontiersman story. Struggling to finish reading it because I was so tired I closed my eyes and soon fast asleep. Sometime during the night, with the room totally dark and me in a deep slumber, one of the five sisters, and to this day I still do not know which one, snuck into the room and crawled under the blankets with me, slipping her hand into my underpants. When I awoke the next morning she was gone. I ate breakfast with all five sisters and the brother at the same table at the same time, with me receiving no sign of which of the sisters entered my room the night before. When I was done eating I hooked a ride into town with the father and never saw any of them again.
Although it is true I was never able to discern which of the sisters came into the room that night, it is without a doubt that the person who did come in and cuddled so closely next to me was female, easily determined through scantily covered if at all, portions of her anatomy. I am just as sure that she wore a ring as well because when what was being done was being done, I was clearly able to feel the ring. The thing is, the next morning at the breakfast table not one of the five sisters had any sort of a ring on any of their fingers. The only female in the house that morning wearing a ring was the mother.
Before my dad and stepmother went to South America my stepmother, always thinking of me in a good light and the best for me as she viewed it, wrote a letter that ended up being responsible for me landing a fairly good part-time after school and weekend job. It was money from that job that helped finance my bus ticket and finding her that summer. The letter was addressed to a man named Russ Miller, the owner of the Normandie Club, one of six legal poker casinos in the city where I was living at the time, with those six being practically the only legal poker clubs in the whole state. After giving the letter to Miller I told him I was looking for some kind of regular after school or weekend work. He asked what grade I was in and stretching the truth a bit I told him I went to Gardena High in that junior and senior high schools were combined together on the same campus. I started work that week.
Fifty or sixty years following the Flying Frontiersman's "flight" as described above in the Autumn of 1771 using a flying machine based on a design by Leonardo Da Vinci circa 1490 AD, Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, the inventor of the ultimate in lighter than air machines was born (1838-1917). Zeppelin made his first powered flight in southern Germany with his first Zeppelin, the LZ-1, on July 2, 1900.
In comparison, the Wright brothers didn't make their first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft until December 17, 1903, two-and-a-half years after Zeppelin's maiden voyage.
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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
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ZEPPELINS: HIGH ALTITUDE WARSHIPS
THE HEIGHT CLIMBERS