Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Spirit of St. Louis

Buoyed by your kind comments on some of my nostalgic vacation posts, I decided to do a series of them to collect for my parents for Christmas. The following is one of them. Let me know if you'd like to see more, or if these are really the sort of thing that only a parent could love...

In preparation for a trip to the Smithsonian Institute one year my mother, like any good mother, told my sister and I about some of the things we'd see when we got there. In child development circles we call that 'scripting' but, like many of the things we feel the need to label and discuss as though they're lofty philosophical/psychological ideas, it's really just common sense.


As she mentioned some of the things we were likely to encounter, one thing stuck out boldly from the rest: The Spirit of St. Louis.

Now I wasn't sure who St. Louis was, but I wasn't all that concerned about it with the prospect of actually encountering his SPIRIT in my near future.

I asked all sorts of questions about this spirit with just enough ambiguity that my mother was able to believe we were on the same page.

"How did they get the Spirit of St. Louis in the museum in the first place?

"How in the world do they get it to stay there?"

"We'll be able to see the actual Spirit of St. Louis? Not just a picture?"

The morning we headed to the museum I was beside myself. I could hardly eat from the excitement.

My parents were, no doubt, pleased that I was so excited about visiting a museum. They were probably also a little perplexed by my sudden and passionate interest in aviation.

As we entered the Air and Space Museum I got my first twinge of nervousness. I was still excited, but suddenly my excitement was tempered with just a little bit of fear. This WAS a restless apparition we were talking about, here. What if it chose today to go rogue?

We entered a huge open room with old airplanes suspended from the high ceiling.

"There it is." my mom said, pointing to I sure as heck didn't know what.

"What? There what is?"

"The Spirit of St. Louis."

Holy buckets, had I missed it? Had it zoomed right past me without so much as sending a chill down my spine to alert me to it's presence?

"Where?" I asked rather desperately, eyes darting wildly around the room trying to pin down the poltergeist.

"There." she said, coming down to my level and helping me to focus on - an airplane?

Then I noticed the lettering on the side of the plane. 'The Spirit of St. Louis'. I realized my error immediately and three thoughts formed in quick succession:

"How could I have been so stupid?" was the first.

"I mustn't ever let them know what I was really thinking." was the second.

"Dang. I'm not gonna see a ghost." was the third, final, and most devastating of all.


Rosa said...

Awesome. Absolutely, unequivocally awesome. With my love of ghost stories and all things spooky, I'm certain I'd have been on the same wavelength and never would have old plane.

Pam said...

That is too precious. It's amazing how kids can take things so literally. I would have been disappointed, too. A ghost is way more interesting than an airplane!

Gibby said...

That is great!! Oh, I can only imagine the disappointment! Will this be the first your mom has heard of it? I can't wait to hear her reaction.

Kathy B! said...

I would have rather seen a poltergeist, too!!

I think these posts are sweet. Write on, Mommakin :)

Unknown said...

Oh Tammy, what a hoot, don't we all love a child's mind! I guess growing up in St. Louis and a passion for old movies with my dad would have given me a better heads up on this one....LOL.
I can't believe you kept it to yourself, as child I blurted out most of my feelings, and disappointments.

Mama-Face said...


That was terrific. You definitely need to keep on writing you memory posts.

What a wise child to even listen to your mother at all at the age. I would have heard a lot of white noise. And you brave enough and excited to see The Spirit.
There may have been a spirit in that plane...

I love the Smithsonian.

Housewife Savant said...

I thought trees made the wind.

And that "Back Up Funding" met Paypal would charge my AmEx instead of giving my bank another excuse to eff me with NSF charges.

Aw, dang. I'm just sour today.

Jenni said...

LOL! Kids are so literal!

Sandy said...

Very cute! I love the way kids are so literal. And I gotta get here earlier so it doesn't sound like I'm copying everyone else's Yeah, Pam would think a ghost was more interesting and if there was a detached head involved, all the better! Being the little nerd I was (and still am) I knew what The Spirit of St. Louis was....doesn't make me smarter just nerdier.

Macey said...

This sounds like something we do with the kids all.the.time.
Scripting, always telling them what to expect. And they are SO literal!
I think this is a fantastic post!
Keep doing them!

Claudya Martinez said...

I have never laughed so hard reading a post. Seriously, my tummy aches and I have tears in my eyes. OMG, I LOVE this story!!!!

Thank you for giving me such a hearty laugh. And keep the stories coming.

Alex the Girl said...

Oh My! Priceless. I mean it, too. This was great, Tammy. So yes, more of this, please. I love reading posts like this, and you tell your stories so well. But tell me, have you any ghostly experiences? Tell, tell. That would make a great post to read as well.

Carma Sez said...

yeah, no ghost. bummer.

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Shawna said...

Haha :) I always use vague questions that let the other party in a conversation think I'm on the same page if I'm lost or daydreaming! Too funny. Sorry you didn't see your ghost! I'm convinced my room is haunted most nights.

Shawna's Study Abroad

AiringMyLaundry said...

If I had seen a ghost I'd have probably screamed.

This was a cute story. My husband loves airplane museums by the way.

Claudya Martinez said...

Ok, I know I already commented, but I just had to tell you that this story has brought me so much pleasure. Every once in a while I'll be doing something else and I remember your post and start cracking up. I told my husband about it and he laughed as well, then I translated it into Spanish (sometimes humor is lost in translation, but not this time) and my mother was laughing over the phone. I will never think of the Spirit of St. Louis without thinking of you.