Rooted in the great state of Texas, the adventures of Early Willson Junior immerse the reader in life during the depression, the beginnings of World War II and society goings on.
Perhaps many of you have not had the experience of taking a trip by air, for you who have not, I am going to tell you of a trip I took from Austin to San Antonio, Texas. I boarded the fast monoplane at the Municipal Air Port, Austin, Texas. In a moment I saw a man, dressed in a white suit, board the plane; on his cap I could see the letters “Chief Pilot”. The motors were gunned up very much, and presently the small plane was rolling across the field. Faster and faster it went, and in a second we shot into the air. The town of Austin looked like a large checker board spread out in every direction. When we started on our cross country flight, we were flying very high and going very fast, but to me it seems we were going slow. The below country reminded me of a large patchwork quilt I have seen Mother making. We flew over rivers, small towns and farms. On coming into San Antonio, we flew over. “Randolph Field”. We flew over the heart of town, and on out to Winburn Field, where we came down for a graceful landing. As long as I live I shall consider this as the most outstanding trip that I have ever had. -Robert Early Willson, Jr. 1934, age 15
And so it began. A journey that would take a simple boy from Texas to the big city of New York to rub elbows with Dorothy Lamour and Cab Calloway, on to the historic field from which Howard Hughes and Amelia Earhart soared into record books, and finally across the ocean to “give his all” in World War II with Churchill’s celebrated Royal Air Force of Britain. A journey that lay hidden in a trunk for almost fifty years and a story unspoken by a family unable to ever stem the pain of their loss. And it began in a dusty box of letters that Early Jr. himself told of his exhilarating and tragic life’s journey.