Thursday, March 01, 2007
Gretchen Francis Hahnen (1902-1986) letter to Bertrand Blanchard Acosta (1895-1954) from June 30, 1953
Gretchen Francis Hahnen (1902-1986) letter to Bertrand Blanchard Acosta (1895-1954) from June 30, 1953.
June 30, 1953. My dear Bert: I was so glad to see this article in the paper, though I knew you were in Denver. A man, whose name I cannot remember, came into the office last spring, he's a flyer, and told me where you were, and that you were getting along fine. I feel terrible not to have written long before this and I am afraid you will think I am not a very good friend, but I have thought of you often and said many prayers for you and now they are being answered. I thought you might like to have this clipping. Do you remember that I had the original picture of you oficially receiving the Pulitzer Speed Trophy and [you] wanted it? The reason I didn't give it to you was because I was afraid you would lose it. Several months ago, I sent that picture along with my complete aviation library of 127 books, to the National Air Museum at the Smithsonian Institution and that is where it is now. They sent me a copy of the picture and I am mailing it to you under separate cover. The books are cataloged and now known as the "Eddie Schneider Memorial Library" and I am happy about that. When I came back to Fort Worth from New York in 1948, I gave all of Eddie's scrap books, international license signed by Orville Wright and other licenses to the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in New York. I knew that if anything happened to me, there probably wouldn't be [anyone] who would care about them and that is why I sent all the stuff away. I am delighted to hear that you are going to start writing your memoirs. I have often thought of the opportunity I had when we were living with you and Gloria to have jotted down many of the things you told us to be used for just such a purpose, but now you have lots of time to look over the past and I hope you will. I seldom hear from anyone back East, let alone see them. I hear from Casey Jones once in a while, also Viola Gentry, who is working in New York. [I] saw Clarence Chamberlin on TV not long ago and he said he was completely out of aviation, though the last time I heard from him, he had been with Bellanca a couple of years ago. After my divorce from Herb Gray, I stopped over in Kansas City on my way to New York, to see Carl Schneider, remember him? His address is P.O. Box 23, Muncie, Kansas, in case you ever want to contact him. There was an article in the newspaper last week about Al Baumler, who the last time I saw him he was a Major in the Air Force and is now an Airman 1st Class and is in Yan ... though doing no flying. [Remember ...] the Americans Millie Lord and I met in France and later in Alicante, and it was through him, that she and I eventually got to Valencia where you and Dingle and Eddie were. Its funny, but I can remember every detail of that trip to Spain. I shall never forget the day you all sailed and when Eddie asked me to have a last drink with him, I started to bawl, you came over, knocked my chin up with your fist, "If your going to drink, smile when you do it." The impact knocked all my tears right and left, and it really helped me to tell him goodbye. I have loads of clippings left, and Eddie's diary on that Spanish deal, so if you need any refreshers, let me know. The enclosed picture is of my mom, who visited us in February for a month and my present husband, and I might add, my last, come what may. She is still full of life and vinegar and can drink me under the table despite the fact I am 20 years younger than she. Three years ago she ran for Republican committeewoman in her district, and won! She was 71 last January. We had a wonderful time when she was here, and she and Grant immediately became buddies. Though I have had two marriages end in tragedy, I am hoping this will last a long time. My husband is a great guy, has over 16 years in the Air Force, over nine of them as a Master Sergeant. He is a Yankee, thank God, no more Texans for me. Gray was a Texan and he told me once, that Texans considered their battle and women in the same category, and that strictly wasn't for me. However, he didn't go haywire mentally, until all of my $10,500 was gone, and now I am as poor as a churchmouse again, but at least I am very happy. ... and electronics specialist. You'd like him, Bert, and vice versa. They are shipping people out of here very fast, but we seem to stay on and watch everyone else leave, however, our turn will come along one of these days. My fervent hope is that it won't be Limestone, Maine; Rapid City, South Dakota; or Roswell, New Mexico. Of course our preference would be March Field near Los Angeles or that other one near San Francisco, but of course we will have no choice. I wouldn't mind being sent to Europe, France, Germany, Norway, England or even Casablanca. Why be in the Air Force and stay in one place? Fort Worth is a nice place, but I've got itchy feet. This is the third summer in a row now that we have suffered with intense heat, up around 104 degress every day, and I don't like it. Both of us would like Denver, it is a really swell place and who knows, you might see us there sometime. Bert, I won't keep on yaking, you must be half dead by now after reading all this stuff, but I want you to know I am pulling for you and am so happy you are on the road to recovery. If you are able, I would love to hear from you. Take care of yourself now and with lots of love, I'll close. Mrs. Grant A. Black (Gretchen Schneider) 6109 Halloway Street, Fort Worth, Texas.
Source: Gretchen Francis Hahnen (1902-1986) on June 30, 1953. The letter came from a private collection and was provided by Norberto Cisneros.