It’s been over a week of social isolation. We’re doing our best to stay productive with work and to keep Riley entertained and hopefully enriched. Right now she’s on a Zoom call with her cast mates from Matilda in February, which is a really nice way for her to spend her afternoon.
We had a backyard fire pit going today. Kyle and Alex brought their dogs over, and Andy stopped by to be social (at a distance) for a bit. It was a nice afternoon outdoors feeling semi-normal.
Grocery stores are still lightly stocked, though the spaghetti aisles have a bit more product in them now. It’s still hard to find chicken, but just about everything in the beef aisle is bulk packaging.
First thing this morning we had a conference call about what our plan would be to keep up business operations. There was some waffling and some talk about barebones schedule rotations, but we got to the right place. One by one we went into the office to get anything we needed to work from home for the next couple of weeks. I forwarded everyone’s desk extension to their cell phones. I’m just realizing I forgot to edit the incoming call attendant to reflect that our office is empty… oops.
On the way home I made a quick stop by the pot shop to see if I could grab some edibles. It was wild, they weren’t letting anyone inside. Previously purchased online orders were being delivered at arm’s length, and they were enforcing a 6 foot separation between people in line.
Back in the car and driving again, We heard word the Trump was recommending not gathering more than 10 people, and that recommendation would last through June or July. San Francisco went into lockdown.
It was the first “School Day” with us all working from home. We did OK. we’ll figure out how to get into the swing of it, I think. We don’t have much choice. It’s gonna be a while.
This is our first day “home” for COVID-19 social distancing. We started the day with a visit from my brother and his wife and son – they’re selling their house and needed to be out for the inspection. Riley has a scheduled haircut at 12:30, so while they were out I found some meat at a local butcher, then took a trip to the grocery store. It was oddly quiet after the last few days of no parking, no food on the shelves, and lines filling the front of the store.
We’re trying to figure out what “social distancing” will mean to us. Will we still see a small core group? or is it just us? We’re also wondering if we should start eating from our full refrigerator, or if we should be making small trips to the supermarket for a day or two at a time. In either case, we’ve started snacking less and eating smaller portions. Not exactly rationing, but we’re paying attention to our reserves.
I took the dogs out for a walk, saw some other people out and about with their dogs. It looks like a normal day. After that, Michelle and Riley went for a rollerblade to her brother’s house two streets over.
Now we spend the night in the house playing video games and staying occupied. Michelle and Riley will not be going to school/work for at least 2 weeks. UML just cancelled on-campus classes for the rest of the semester. I still have to go into the office on Monday, but there’s rumor floating around that Charlie Baker will be enforcing a “Hold In Place” order starting Monday. Things could get very interesting if that becomes true.
Otherwise on the Town Facebook Page, everything seems normal. We’re fighting about the Orange Cheeto and asking about home repairs and trying to find who dumped a load of garbage wood in someone’s driveways. Airplanes still fly overhead on final to Hanscom. I still have plenty of bourbon. This is all very strange.
Your grandfather did in fact fly on D-Day as part of the American Airborne Invasion, though he was not on board our airplane. The invasion itself was broken up into what are called “serials” each serial contained upwards of 30 airplanes, and were arranged in sequential order, as indicated by their numbers, That’s All, Brother was to lead these serials collectively to France. Our airplane, the lead ship, flew at the head of serial 07, your grandfather flew in the airplane which led serial number 23, which means that while he was not on the lead aircraft of the invasion, he was certainly on board the airplane which led his own serial, which was flown by pilot Lt. Col. Quinn M. Corley. I know that family legends some times grow up around these things, and that there is some chance that his unit members thought it might be useful for him to be spotting fixtures on the ground, but in reality, he was on board the aircraft as a radio operator which means that over Normandy he would have been very busy, in a small area behind the pilots, and would have been relatively unable to “look out” of the airplane. Much of the equipment he was operating was designed to get the paratroopers in the right place, and it was incredibly important. During the chaos of battle, much of it was malfunctioning, so your grandfather would have been having one heck of a time with the equipment, knowing that lives were on the line if he couldnt get it to work correctly. Incase you are curious, serial 23 is made up of aircraft from the 313th Troop Carrier Group, and your grandfather’s specific squadron was the 29th Troop Carrier Squadron. You can spot aircraft from his squadron easily because they were painted with a large 5X on the side of their noses. This is the informational break down for your grandfather’s plane, note that it also indicates which “chalk” he was carrying, these men came from the 3rd Bn / 508th PIR which was part of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Chalk #37 C-47 #43-15323 17 Paratroopers P L/Col Corely, Quinn M. CP 1/Lt Gehrett, Rodney T. N 2/Lt Ehmke, Theodore A. RO Pfc Boucher, Fernand E. CC Sgt Speed, Clarence t.
Sadly, the airplane your grandfather flew in, 43-15323 did not survive the war, and it was damaged on takeoff at an advanced field in Germany, at least one crew member was killed during this accident.
In case you are interested, here is a history recalling the journey of one of the paratroopers who was dropped by your grandfather’s aircraft. I thought it was worth a read! It even shows some of his family going back and finding evidence of his personal battle. I am sorry that our airplane was not the one you were looking for, and sorry that I cant refer you to a museum where you could go and see it – but if you add us on facebook (commemorative air force) you can certainly keep up on the work being done on the airplane. We will be recreating that radio compartment and all of its complex equipment with the hope of getting it operational again, someday perhaps you could come see the airplane, and send a message in the same way your grandfather was trained to do! The project will likely take about two years, but as with anything, it will be well worth the wait! Please let me know if you have any more questions I might be able to help answer.