Ed Phickle wanted to fly.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
He wanted to fly with the freedom of a bird. Unencumbered with the conventional method of flying. He wanted to will his ability to fly. As in “float through the air” type of flying. Even at a young age, Ed was eccentric to say the least. His parents said he had an active imagination. His buddies said he was crazy.

Submitted: April 01, 2015

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Submitted: April 01, 2015

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Ed Phickle wanted to fly.

He did not want to get a pilots license or fly in an airplane. He did not know what a pilots license was. Ed was six years old. He wanted to fly with the freedom of a bird. Unencumbered with the conventional method of flying. He wanted to will his ability to fly. As in “float through the air” type of flying. Even at a young age, Ed was eccentric to say the least. His parents said he had an active imagination. His buddies said he was crazy.

“That boy is crazy.” Said his friends.

Later in life, his wife would recall him as “an old coot” when asked what her husband was like or did for a living. “That man is just an old coot. Always thinking he can fly. Why, just the other day he said he was going for a walk but the neighbors saw him running! Imagine that. Running at his age," She would say. “And down hill at that! Still thinks he’s six years old. That old coot. But he is my old coot. Just love that man to death.”

Young Ed practiced flying almost every day. He would put on an old leather cap and a cape his mother made from an old pillowcase, then run down a hill as fast as he could. He actually achieved flight a few times. He would run down hill, going faster than his short legs could move thus tripping, falling. In the process of falling, he became airborne for a very brief period of time. This action brought about a number of “crashes” but it did not deter Ed. After one of his frequent “crashes” he would report to the first aid station run by his mother, to receive tender loving care. Ed considered the bandages “medals” for his efforts. After all, he was flying!

Ed, as a young teenager, tried all sorts of gadgets he made, just trying to prove he could fly. He rigged up a piece of flat board into the shape he imagined a flying wing would look like. This resulted in a running start, sliding down hill on the grass. He enjoyed this new found activity but it was not flying. He gave it to one of his buddies who went on as an adult to invent the snowboard, an activity enjoyed by so many.

One summer, as a teenager, Ed went to the lake side beach. There was a hill adjacent to the lake. By this time, he had made several modifications to the original “wing”. He went to the top of the hill, took a running start and ran downhill, landing on the board face down as he went. He was going so fast, as usual he fell achieving flight! However he “flew” right into the lake, skidded a good distance on the water before finally stopping. The wing was big enough to float, thus saving him from sinking. After paddling to shore, Ed declared he was though with trying to make the wing fly and gave it to a friend. His friend, Paulo, put it in the lale and paddled around the rest of the day. Having a load of fun. Others at the beach wanted to know if he, Paulo, could make one for them. Paulo said he would try to make another but said he thought, after exhausting himself paddling with his arms all day, canoe or kayak paddles would work better. Later in life Paulo added a sail to the board. Paulo then went on to achieve great things in the sport of wind surfing.

Ed went on with life. He finished high school. There was the general opinion he would hurt himself long before he could graduate, thus never finishing. But he persevered, not only finishing H.S. but went on to college. He graduated with a degree in aeronautics having finally learned what airplanes and mechanical flying was all about. He went on to a very good career designing airplane parts for a large airplane manufacturer. Along the way he kept up his pursuit of flight without an airplane. He married his H.S. sweetheart and raised a very fine family. He designed several inventions, at home, related to flying without an airplane. All were failures. This did not discourage Ed. Just made him try harder. And his bride put up with it. One day he thought of an idea for a simple flying suit.

He had been observing flying squirrels in the forest near his home. He observed they had a flap of skin under each leg when they jumped, the skin sort of inflated thus allowing the squirrel to fly or glide to its destination. Ed took an old pair of overalls, attached some material to the legs and arms thus imitating the squirrels flap of skin. Ed never got a chance to try the suit. His bride, not knowing Ed was working on his latest idea, saw the contraption and threw it out for the garbage pick-up the next day. By the time Ed had time to get back to working on his new invention the garbage truck had come and gone. He did not have another pair of overall so, as time went by, Ed forgot about the idea.

Unbeknown to Ed the suit would live on. The suit was picked out of the city trash dump by a homeless man who, for some reason, put it on too wear the rest of the day. Along came a man who was a hang glider of some know reputation. When he saw the homeless man walking along the sidewalk wearing the overalls, he immediately recognized an opportunity. The man bought the suit for one hundred dollars, took it to his gliders club house. Made a few minor changes, put it on and ran down a high hill. Not knowing just how this was going to work, he, just like Ed, tripped. It worked! He was gliding. For a modest distance. He made a new suit using new, modern materials, strapped on a parachute, went up in the club airplane and jumped out wearing the suit. He could glide for great distances. When he was out of space or just wanted to land, he pulled the ripcord. Another great success! This was a lot of fun. The hang glider went on to great success making and selling the flying/glider suit. It became a great sport in its own right.

The homeless man took the money, bought new clothes, applied for, and got a job. The job salary allowed him to get an apartment. He then applied for student aid, went to school. He became a finance adviser for a bank. The bank made bad investments, fired the man who then lost his apartment and was homeless once again. This time, he was able to apply for social security, which allowed him to live in assisted housing. The bank applied for and received government aid, recovered and to this day, continues to make bad investments.

Meanwhile, Ed and his bride raised a family, retired to Florida never having made a cent on his ideas. Never realizing the impact he had on the life of others. He still dreams of flying without an airplane. His bride is still calling him an old coot. He rarely hears her. Ed has a habit of turning down his hearing aids. The grand kids can get a bit loud when they come to visit. They live on the other side of the country. His bride, when asked what Ed used to do for a living would reply “That man is an old coot. Has the same dreams he had as a small boy. One can’t retire from being an old coot. Or a dreamer. But he’s my old coot.”


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