formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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May 3, 2011 Lauren Jones, Young Aviatrix part 4

The Liberty Gazette
May 3, 2011
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

We’re on the fourth installment of our chat with eleven year old aviatrix Lauren Jones, whose cheerful nature is infectious. Could there be anything about flying that’s not just perfect for her? Well, yes. Flying over and seeing damage from Hurricane Katrina made her sad. But closer to home, she misses her sister, Amy, who will soon turn 10. Lauren and Amy are very close, but Amy prefers other activities. “I really miss her when Dad and I go out flying. We have so much fun and I wish she was with us.” But Lauren understands that people have different interests. During the Young Eagles day in Pearland, Amy opted to attend a birthday party, while Lauren declined invitations to two birthday parties with her best friends Hallie and Trina, in favor of working at the Young Eagles fly-in with her dad. She shared a story of when the whole family flew to Little Rock to see grandparents at Christmas time. “I sit in the back when Amy comes along, because she doesn’t like it that much. So I hold her hand, and help her. One time we had a little turbulence, and all the boxes of Christmas presents that were stacked behind us toppled over on us.” Bumpy air is the kind of stuff Lauren takes in stride because it’s just part of flying. “One time we had some turbulence and it was kind of like being on a roller coaster,” she says with a grin. “When we dropped down everything came flying up – even the dirt we had tracked in when we got in the airplane!”

Linda: Looking out the hangar, past the picnic tables and chairs, the grill with hotdogs and hamburgers, and parents waiting for eager kids in their first flight, Lauren gazed at her family’s Bonanza, into which Dad (Stephen) was loading another child for a Young Eagles flight. With a nod toward her plane, she said, “You know, our Bonanza hasn’t always looked like this.” Pen in hand, I knew there were more stories coming from our young friend.

“They were rebuilding the engine when I was in Kindergarten,” she says. I sensed a little melancholy but wasn’t immediately sure why. Clearly the new engine was a good thing. “I got to change the oil,” she says proudly. “When the new engine came, that was a big day for me, because you know in Kindergarten you don’t have homework,” so she could be around to watch. She was even able to engage Amy in the fun by playing in the box and the Styrofoam peanuts. And being near Dad is a significant part of what draws her. “Dad built a cubicle in the hangar for me so I could sit there and draw and be close to him while he put in the new engine.”

Next came a new interior. As she began to talk, I heard the disappointment she had experienced. “The seats were already nice, the interior was nice, but I guess it needed to be replaced. But when it went down for that, it was down for three months – and that,” Lauren says with heart, “was hard on me.”

Lauren is a precious young lady, full of adventure and spunk, kindness and compassion. Check in next week for the final part of this series on a unique girl with a passion for flying. Until then, blue skies.

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