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Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 153 - Leaving the Nest and Early Days of Flying: Bird #2

It's Just Me Again No. 153 - Leaving the Nest and Early Days of Flying: Bird # by Chuck Hinman was first published 9 May 2008
The next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Chuck Hinman: IJMA 158, Putting up Hay in Olden Days

By Chuck Hinman

This is the second in a series of three telling of the efforts involved in the three Hinman kids leaving the nest. The country and farmers were just beginning to emerge from the worst economic times ever. Jobs for the unskilled were hard to come by. There was no money for college and it was in the days before technical schools came along. There were some government subsidized programs such as the CCC that provided some jobs for men, but not everyone. Times had been so bad for so long that kids who had reached the age to leave the nest were rightfully pessimistic -- the mighty United States, the "can-do nation" was close to losing its ability to dream. The Hinman family was caught in the center of this with three kids graduating from high school in 1937 (Bob), 1939 (Chuck), and 1944 (Joy Ann). Leaving the Nest and Early Days of Flying: Bird #2

This second segment is about my turn in leaving the nest in those days, not very pretty at times but eventually it happened. Like a pilot positioned on the runway of life, Chuck Hinman is waiting for clearance from the tower that he is cleared to take-off. Vroooom!


Most high school seniors of my generation didn't have an answer when asked what they planned to do when they left home. Many boys followed their Dad in his occupation.

Mostly because of the anticipated life-style I thought of working in an office. But I had not thought it through how I might qualify myself for such a job. I had taken typing in high school and liked it. One thing I was sure of was that I was not going to be a farmer.

A follow-up question is: "Do you have a skill or aptitude that might be worth pursuing?" My answer to that question is a strong "yes." The men in Mom's family, the Mousers, were painters and they were good at it.

When I was a sophomore, Grandpa C.D. Mouser of Blue Springs, Nebraska, was getting up in years and he offered me a job in the summers, living with them and teaching me how to paint. Well, I loved everything about it and I am surprised I didn't follow Grandpa and three uncles as a young painter after the "Mouser mold." All three uncles were quality painters in Wichita and Seattle.

In my high school years, Dad took a few of us musicians from Liberty High School to the MINK music contest at Peru State Teachers College in Peru, Nebraska. Over the years when he was at Peru with me I suspect he was "casing" the place to see if Peru might play a part in getting me out of the nest and able to fly on my own. This is essentially Dad's plan put together while I was doing my thing competing in the contest. The plan was simple and worked like this. It meant my becoming a school teacher -- something I had never considered. I would go to summer school at Peru, pick up nine hours credit that qualified me to teach a country school, of which there were many looking for a teacher. Then by carefully managing my take home pay, I could alternate teaching and going to college until I earned a degree.

For a family and a kid with no money, Dad was a genius. Ten years and a World War later, I had my Bachelors Degree in Economics from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was finally airborne never to live in the nest again. I fulfilled my teenage desire of working in an office when I retired in 1985 from oil giant Phillips Petroleum Company with 37 years service.

The ride wasn't without bumps but seventy some years later, there isn't much I would change. Written by Chuck Hinman, 9 May 2008


This story was posted on 2012-08-12 05:30:30
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