Flight Training - May 2021 - 8

AROUND THE PATCH BY JILL W. TALLMAN

Technical Editor JILL W. TALLMAN
has attended EAA AirVenture at
least 10 times and hopes to fly in
and camp there in 2021.
jill.tallman@aopa.org

OSHKOSH FAMILY

Pilots who fly to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the annual EAA
AirVenture often refer to their " Oshkosh family. "
Doesn't matter how long it's been-family is family, and your Oshkosh family is
as special as your flesh and blood. This is a story of how my Oshkosh family and my
actual family intersected.
In 2010 I was set to bring the Sweepstakes Remos out to the big show. It would be
my first time flying a general aviation airplane to the event by myself. I wanted to do
the Chicago skyline flight and the Fisk arrival-all of it.
I had another special mission that was to happen before AirVenture. I was to
meet, for the first time, my Aunt Doreen. She was my mom's half-sister, but they had
had no knowledge of each other's existence until 2009, when I did some internet
sleuthing and found Doreen and her daughters. They all lived in or near Milwaukee.
So now I not only had Oshkosh family, I had Wisconsin family too!
Mom and Doreen had been talking by telephone for several months. Both were in
their 80s, and neither was in any shape to travel to see one another, although Doreen
was game to try. Since I was going to Wisconsin anyway, I decided I would stop to
meet Doreen on my way back from the show.
A week before my trip to Wisconsin, Mom caught pneumonia and was admitted
to the hospital. A few days before I was to leave for Milwaukee, Mom's pneumonia
worsened into a sepsis infection, and she died. She was 89.
We were all in shock and grief, but Doreen especially so. She'd found a longlost sister, only to lose her again in a short time.
I didn't make it to AirVenture that year.
8  FLIGHT TRAINING MAY 2021

Editors Dave Hirschman and Ian
Twombly offered to fly the Remos out
and back, and I am forever grateful that
they and the rest of the AOPA Pilot team
took that responsibility off my shoulders
so that I could celebrate Mom's life.
But I still wanted to meet Doreen. A
few weeks later I flew out to Milwaukee via Southwest Airlines and went to
meet my Wisconsin family. Thus began a
10-year tradition.
If I was working at AirVenture I'd
stop in Milwaukee before or after the
show and visit. Doreen lived in a modest
duplex with an assortment of cats and
dogs. She had never learned to drive and
rarely left the city.
Once, I landed my Piper Cherokee at
Timmerman Airport in Milwaukee, left
it parked there for the week, and drove a
rental car the rest of the way to Oshkosh.
Timmerman was miles from where my
aunt lived, but I wasn't about to mess
around with the airspace or the ramp fees
associated with Mitchell International
Airport-not when there's a perfectly good
general aviation airport in the same city.
Doreen grew more housebound every
year. Our trips to the local Walmart and
the Organ Piper Pizza Palace in Greenfield
were no longer possible, but we still had
visits and long conversations.
Each visit Doreen would pull out articles she had clipped from the Milwaukee
Journal for me every year, even though she
had never been and would never go-for
Doreen, the 80-some miles to Oshkosh
might as well have been on another continent. And along with the articles, Doreen
would produce family photos. I had never
seen any photos of my maternal grandmother until Doreen unearthed hers. And
even if the separated sisters didn't have the
same father, they looked so much alike that
you couldn't deny their shared heritage.
In 2020, of course, there was no
AirVenture, and thus no opportunity to
visit Milwaukee. I did not feel comfortable traveling by airliner, and even if I
had flown myself, I could still expose an
elderly relative to COVID. In December
2020, Doreen died at age 93.
As this goes to press, it's still not
clear what form AirVenture will take in
2021. But if there's something happening, I will be there.
Aunt Doreen now has wings to soar
alongside me as my two families-Wisconsin and Oshkosh-become one. FT



Flight Training - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - May 2021

Contents
Flight Training - May 2021 - Intro
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover1
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover2
Flight Training - May 2021 - Contents
Flight Training - May 2021 - 2
Flight Training - May 2021 - 3
Flight Training - May 2021 - 4
Flight Training - May 2021 - 5
Flight Training - May 2021 - 6
Flight Training - May 2021 - 7
Flight Training - May 2021 - 8
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Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover3
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover4
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