Thursday, February 19, 2004

Lindbergh blog.

Today I both supported an independent bookseller near my office, and satisfied my itch for a more substantive book for my commute, when I bought Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg at the Stuart Brent Books remainder table for $5, which I consider a fair price for a paperback. Read the first couple of chapters on the way home. I chose well. The first chapter is a gripping in medias res description of the surging tide of French humanity around Le Bourget airfield near Paris, anticipating Lindbergh's arrival.

I wondered on the walk home -- walked again, and glad to -- how often you have to hear about someone you don't know before he or she is fixed in your mind. There's no answering that question, really, since fame is such a variable creature. My mother has told me that her parents told her that when she was a toddler she would say, "Lindbergh! Lindbergh!" (or more likely, something like "Lin'bug!") on those rare occasions she would see an aeroplane in the sky over small-town South Texas ca. 1928. That only goes to show how quickly and completely his name had been woven into the fabric of the world.

Of course, his fame had dimmed by the time I came along, but still it's a name that I can't remember actually learning. It was still part of the fabric of the world. (Maybe this is different now. I ought to ask my nephews.) In one episode of the TV sitcom The Odd Couple aired sometime in the early '70s, I remember Felix entering Oscar's chaotic room -- always a mine of jokes for that show, with Felix finding moldy half-sandwiches, etc., there -- and he picked up a page of yellow newspaper. "Well," he mock-read the paper, "Lucky Lindy made it!" My mother had to explain that nickname, but not who Lindbergh was.


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