What Happened at the Air Show

Dear Mrs. Castillo,

My family and I went to the air show 3 days ago. Today, for my journal entry I will not be writing about this air show, but an air show that I went to when I was a boy. We go to the air show almost every year — except for the one after the one I will be writing about momenterily(?).

The air show I am writing about happened about 3 years ago when I was 9. I am 12 now (12-9=3). I went with my grandpa and grandma and my little brother Bobby, who was 3.5 at the time. My grandpa used to be in the Air Force during WWII, so he knows a lot about flying, and plus he wears a hat that says “WW2 Veteran” to most places he goes, but especially out in public. He fought against the Japanees(?) after they bombed Pearl Harber(?).

When we got to the show, Grandpa dropped my grandma and I off and we went up to the ticket gait(?). My grandpa and brother went to park the car.

“That’ll be 40 dollars,” the lady told us. My grandma paid and we waited for my grandpa and Bobby. I could smell the hot dogs and asked my grandma if she might buy me one.

“I sure can,” she told me.

Then Grandpa and Bobby came over to us. And we all went inside.

Grandpa bought us all hot dogs and two beers for him and Grandma. Grandma put her plastic cup to her lips and when she removd(?) it, she had some foam above her lip. That made us all laugh, even Grandpa, who almost never smiles, let alone laughs.

One time I asked Grandma why Grandpa never smiles, and she said it was because “your grandpa is embarassed(?) of his dentures.” She’s probably right, but I can’t help but think that it’s because he’s too sad about my mom.

I should probably tell you about my mom at this point. She died giving birth to me. I guess that’s supposed to bother me. Or at least that’s what Tim, my friend, says. “She died cause of you,” he says. I get it, but I still have trouble believing that it’s my fault when it’s not like I did anything on porpoise(?) to make her die. If it were up to me, she would have lived, duh.


So back to the air show. We walked up the steps and into the bleachers. We always sit on the left side in the third row. My grandma says that my grandpa is a creeture(?) of habit, an expression I looked up on Google. It means, “to do the same thing the same way.” It’s kind of like the way I am sitting in the same seat as I sat in last year in your class, Mrs. Castillo. I guess it just felt wrong to sit somewhere else. Like I knew what to expect from my own seat.

Anyway we were sitting in the seats, and Grandpa finished his beer.

“I’ll be back before they start,” he said.

But he wasn’t.

“Welcome to the Oshkosh Air Show — The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration! Today we have a very special treat for you! Our pilots are ready to put on a show you won’t soon forget! So lock down your seatbelts, folks.”

The announcer always says stuff like this.

So the first plane went up and it was climbing really high really fast. Then it did 2 quick rollovers, like it was a dog performing for a treat. And then it began to fly up side down for a bit.

Eventually the pilot flipped right side up, and the plane started flying lower somewhat now. Suddenly this guy got up on one of the plane wings. And he stood up, and waved at us. He even did a handstand.

The plane kept going lower. And the wing walker continued to surf the sky. I was so focused on him that I didn’t pay attention to the plane, which was dropping lower and lower. At about 30 feet from the ground and about a football field away from the bleachers, the show plane twitched and flew wing-first into the ground.

One second people were oohing and ahing. And the next, they were screaming.

It was hard to tell at what point the pilot had stopped performing and started losing control. It’s weird to think that while everyone was smiling and rooting them on from the ground, the pilot knew he had done something wrong and was about to die.

My grandma hugged my brother and I after it happened, repeating, “It’s okay” over and over. She had one hand over Bobby and the other over me and I let my body relax against her as she did so. I guess it’s a good thing that adults can’t read minds because at that moment, my grandma probably would have been shocked at how not-sad I actually was. The whole time I kept thinking that I should have been sadder, and how maybe there was something wrong with me ’cause my brother and my grandmother were crying nonstop.

Suddenly, my grandpa came running up to where we were in the bleachers. He didn’t have his WWII hat on anymore and he wasn’t carrying his beer. As he did so, I realized that I’d never actually seen him run. It was a weird time to have that thought, I guess, right?

When she saw him, my grandma let me go, and Grandpa took his hands and gripped my shoulders with them so tightly, I thought I was going to need to ice them later.

Then he looked at me with his mouth glued shut for a long time. I looked back at him, too afraid to look anywhere else. “I love you,” he said, finally. And then the muscles in his cheeks began to twitch, his mouth parted, and he was smiling.

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