On April 3, 1912 , Cal Rogers was flying his aeroplane over Long Beach , CA . Crowds on the beach were watching . Cal flew right into a flock of birds and , as a result , crashed into the ocean and died . His was the first aircraft downed by a flock of birds .
Of course , CA wasn’t CA back then . 1912 was too long ago . People , at least in this country , still spoke not only in complete sentences but also in complete words . CA was California back then .
Then it became Cal . That got a little confusing since one of our great state universities was also called Cal . I have a nephew who attends Cal . They call it ” Berkeley” now , I think . I guess you could call it ” UCB ” , too . I haven’t heard that one much . Maybe never heard that one .(But , of course , I’m a southern Cal guy .) Not like “UCSB” , and ” UCLA “. Those are all over the place .I never herd [ intentional misspelling ] anyone talking about UCLA as ” The University of California at Los Angeles ” . Well , I’ve heard that once or twice in my lifetime , but I can’t remember when or where or why or who -( m ). Doesn’t matter , does it ? Anyhow , I am an alum- (nae ? na ? nus ? ) of LA , so’s I should know [ Na ! Nobody says “LA” when they mean UCLA . Leastways , not in my neck of the woods . Could be they’re saying it behind my back , I suppose .I just put that in there to see if your [ intentional misspelling ] still paying attention . (Attention spans have gone down in this country , you know , from an average 16 seconds to an average 12 seconds . )[ type of script unintentional ].
I should know grammar ’cause I took lots and lots of English classes at
LA UCLA . I imagine they must still be teaching English classes over there . I haven’t been back lately to check . Probably their [ i. m. ] all on computer now , though . Well , maybe not computers , as such . Maybe it’s all on Smart Phone , or iPhone , or clone phone , or whatever they got nowadays . I’m a little behind on the new tech stuff . I’m just now learning how to add friends’ names to the contact list on my flip phone . Keep learning ! They say it’s important !
Going back a bit :
one : Where you going to school ?
two :Berkeley .
one :Wow ! Tough to get in there these days .
two : I guess .
one : Where you going to school ?
two : LA
one : Wow ………
Well, back to Cal Rogers and Long Beach , California , and pigeons . Maybe sea gulls . After California became Cal it quickly switched over to Calif . It was kind of a perpetual question : Cal – if . If only ! No one [ that I know of ] said “Calif.” It was strictly a written thing . Businesses did business in Calif . People at the other end of cards and letters lived in Calif.
Calif. was a pretty good place to live [That’s ! a generalization . Kind of depended on who you were , when it comes right down to it , wouldn’t you think ! ] during the Calif. days . Lots of water , anyway , and green lawns for kids to play on . Little League Baseball . Pancake breakfasts . Prop planes scooting people around and letting them out on the tarmac . Disneyland . Davy Crockett hats .
Smog. Restricted neighborhoods, etc. Etc. [ see Kevin Starr volumes ]
I’ve been working with old post cards over at the Arcadia History Museum . It’s no longer the History Museum , though . It’s the Arcadia Museum of Cultural Heritage . The thoughtful people in the city bureaucracy got rid of the history moniker . Too threatening , I guess . Not inclusive enough . ” Heritage ” sounds more suave and debonair , I’m sure .
Some of the cards in the collection have Calif . , some have CA , and some have California addresses . Often that’s about the only clue I have to the date of the card .( If the ” Heritage” museum has a carbon-dating machine , I have found it yet .) And , of course , there’s the zip code /or not , or the ” L.A. 46 ” , or ” Los Angeles 6 ” , and the occasional phone numbers , eg. ” Gladstone 4117 ” . Not to mention the stamps on some of the cards , too , as clues : the one cent stamps ; 2 cents foreign .
So , you may wonder , what does all of this have to do with Cal Rogers ? (or , with anything ?) Who remembers Carl Rogers , anyway ! Brought down by a flock of birds . All I can say is : Let that be a lesson to you ! (Or , maybe you weren’t paying attention ? )
heritage history : William Randolph Hearst offered a $50,000 prize to anyone who could fly across the country in less that thirty days . Cal Rogers took the challenge . He bought a Wright Bros. plane , took 90 minutes of instruction from Orville , and took off from New York . Cal landed in Pasadena 49 days later . No prize money , too late ; but , he gave a demonstration over Long Beach for the interested crowds a few days later . His plane he called Vin Fiz , which was the name of a soft drink made by his main financial supporter of the cross-country flight.