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the kite stations not many years ago

By
Clarence R. Kallquist

Wonder if OIC Frank Cole at Mobile City Office remembers the rabbit traps in Due West, S.C., and how whenever he found a rabbit in a trap he would remove the rabbit, take it home for hasenpfeffer, and place a quarter in the trap instead. Wonder what the trappers thought when they found the two-bits instead of the rabbit.

Wonder why, in the old days, at the kite stations there never was any fuss and carrying on about working a few hours overtime and never getting anything back for it. We old-timers worked overtime just for the love of our work. Many a date Mr. Cole has broken for me with the following remark: “Come on, boys, break away – let’s get after those kites.”

picture of men with weather bureau kite
Kite being prepared for launching with kite-reel house in the
background. Image obtained from an old glass lantern slide.

We kite station personnel enjoyed those days and really had the interest of the Bureau at heart. It was a treat to welcome the Chief of the Aerological Division, Mr. Willis R. Gregg, to that little country town and show him around. He enjoyed it tremendously and talked about it years later.

Wonder what happened to all those kite station employees – the ones who were at Due West, especially – Brooks, Long, Smith, Andrus, Cole, Pruitt, Stevenson, Rampey, and others. Perhaps we should organize a Kite Fliers Club.

The Due West members of the club would remember Mr. Cole’s singing in the ARP choir – he had a fine voice. He loved English history and many’s the time we got out of cutting hay on the kite field by starting an argument on England’s past. He would then start in to tell us all about it. Result: two to three hours in the shade of the reelhouse… And Mr. Andrus – courting that lovely girl he married. Mr. Andrus was always active in church work. His favorite topic in those days was the free balloon flights in which he had participated, both national and international. He talked more about that than I do about dahlias – and that’s going some… and Mr. Roy Smith with the old-time Ford “strip-down” roadster, courting all the girls in the community, but still bashful and shy. He was a quiet worker all right.

Then there was Arthur Brooks with the lovely sisters – all blondes. Many of Arthur’s boy friends came to see him and then spent the evening with his sisters. As for me, I was a quiet city boy, just out of the Navy. I was faithful in my attendance at the Woman’s College (my personal interest was piano), and carried frequent messages from the Erskine boys to the Woman’s College girls.

In looking back over those kite station days – we all had a serene, but active life. Due West may have been a small community, but it was a fine place to live in.

In: “The BREEZE”, Vol. 4, No. 10, November 10, 1947. P. 6.

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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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