When my grandmother, Hattie Byer passed away, her girls ended up with a lot of jewelry. Grandma loved her jewelry, and always looked so pretty in it. Of course, at the time my sisters and I saw the pieces my mother, Collene Spencer received, we thought many of them were pretty old fashioned…although there were some timeless pieces, because not all jewelry goes out of style. Still, Mom kept and cherished her mother’s jewelry, mostly I’m sure, because it was her mother’s. Now that Mom has gone to Heaven too, my sisters and I have been going through her things, and we have come upon her jewelry, as well as her mother’s jewelry. If Mom could have gotten her hands on all the jewelry we have come across, she would have been simply floating on air. We have found pieces that would have gone with so many of her outfits, and yet she always wore something else with them, because it was difficult to get to the stored jewelry.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there has been some stuff that we have looked at and wondered what the person who bought that piece was thinking! When you buy a necklace made of little plastic pineapple beads…dozens of them…well, let’s just say that since they were plastic anyway…they will be part of the little girls’ dress up jewelry. There were also pieces that, while one of us would never wear them, one of the others would. We all have slightly different tastes when it comes to jewelry, so very little of it has been left there with the thought of figuring something out. There were also pieces that, while most likely none of us will ever wear, we can vividly see our mother wearing. Those pieces when drawn for fall into the category of never to be worn, but it’s a Mom Necklace, so it will be kept. There were also pieces that, while probably not valuable, were obviously quite old. Those will be kept and treasured for the treasure they are, and probably only worn on special occasions.
The thing that amazed us the most, was the sheer volume of jewelry Mom had. Every time we come across another jewelry box, shoe box, or drawer with jewelry in it, we have thought, “Wow!! How much jewelry did she have, anyway?” We have even ventured to say that she simply had too much jewelry! Then I got to thinking…can a girl ever really have too much jewelry. I love jewelry, and I have a lot of it too. Like my mother and grandmother, mine is mostly costume jewelry with no real value to anyone but me, but it’s all jewelry I like…and wear. Now I find myself with a lot more jewelry than I had before, and I find that I am going to need to go through what I had before, decide what to keep and what to give away, and figure out where I am going to store it all. The good news for me is that I wear jewelry every day, so it will get used. Besides, I don’t know what outfits I’ll have in the future and what colors I’ll need. I suppose that some day, my own girls will say that I have too much jewelry, but seriously…can any girl ever have too much jewelry? I don’t think so.
Since man first learned to fly, there have been many kinds of planes. It seems like everyone is trying to improve on them. Hollywood producer, Howard Hughes was one of the people who wanted to do something new with planes, so he founded Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932. He tested cutting-edged aircraft that he had designed and in 1937 broke the transcontinental flight-time record. He then broke the world record in 1938 by flying around the world in 19 hours and 14 minutes. Those were amazing feats, but it was another of his planes that caught my dad’s interest.
After the United States entered World War II, the government asked Hughes Aircraft Company to build a large flying boat capable of transporting men and materials very long distances. The concept had originally been that of Henry Kiser, but he dropped out and Howard Hughes took over. The plane was built mostly of birch, but also of spruce, due to wartime restrictions on the use of steel. The wood was laminated with plastic and covered in fabric. The design gave the plane a gray/white color, and since spruce was used in the design, the plane was dubbed the Spruce Goose. The plan was for it to be able to transport 700 men at a time. The plane had a wingspan of 320 feet and it was powered by eight propeller engines and was designed to take off and land on the water. It’s first and last flight was on November 2, 1947. It wasn’t originally intended to be a flight, but just a taxi trip on Long Beach Harbor. Howard Hughes decided on a whim to fly it. It flew 70 feet over the water for one mile before landing successfully.
Since me dad had built planes at Douglas Aircraft Company before going into the service during World War II, the Spruce Goose really intrigued him. It was such a novelty…whether it was supposed to be or not. When Mom and Dad were in McMinnville, Oregon, they finally had the opportunity to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum and see the Spruce Goose for themselves. I can just hear the thoughts going through my dad’s head the moment he saw it. I’ll bet it was all he could do, not to jump up and down with excitement. I’m sure it was an awesome moment.
I don’t know if Dad ever saw the video of the first and only flight of the Spruce Goose or not, but I have had the chance to see it. It was amazing to see a plane with a wingspan that was longer than a football field actually be able to get in the air. To me though, it seemed like that flight took a lot of effort. I don’t think I would have wanted to trust it to fly the long distance flights to Europe and such. Still, it flew, and it is the largest plane, and no one can take those things away from the Spruce Goose.