When I was about eight my family moved out of Seattle- they took me away from Greenlake, my friends Bonnie and Laurie who belived that when we grew up we would fight monsters, become Captains of our own spaceships and if we were lucky move to Transylvania and get little castles with cypts in our basements next door to each other.
I was not happy about this great big idea that was being forced on me by my parents.
So, just before we left Seattle for the wilds of Mountlake Terrace my Grandma’s sister told me a story about the place I was moving to. I guess she told it to me because she believed it would cheer me and a give me something to look forward to.
I wasn’t like other kids, as you may have guessed, so you couldn’t cheer me up the way you would cheer well, a normal kid up.
My Grandmother’s family learned this little factoid about me started shortly after we had just moved from Hawaii. One day they took me the zoo and we would saw these wild rabbits running around and I said out the blue – ” I’ll bet they catch those and feed them to the tigers .”
” A few years ago a plane crashed in Mountlake Terrace.”
I stopped hoping that Zombies would eat the entire population of Terrace and thus save me from this awful fate long enough to say ” Really.”
” It was awful.”
I was all ears.
” There was a fire and…”
And this is where I sort of got some points wrong.
When my Granmother’s sister told me that a plane had crashed, just blocks away from my new house and that people had been ‘ lost’ I assumed it meant
” How come they never found it?”
” The burning plane, how come they never found it?”
” Are they all blind up there, couldn’t they see where it crashed?”
My Grandpa was helping to take boxes out to the moving truck and he told my Grandmother’s sister as he walked by “That girl’s brain is like a meat grinder. Anything you put into it is going to get turned into mush at the other end.”
I stopped and pictured it and found I really liked the idea of having a meat grinder in my head and when I was done enjoying that particular image I was going to ask some more questions about the plane- but my Grandmother’s sister was gone- in fact she never had much to say to me after that day.
A week or two after moving to Terrace I hadn’t made many friends, my teacher welcomed me to my second grade class by coming up behind me when I was at my desk talking to the boy next to me by grabbing me by the hair on the back of my head and shaking it from side to side before banging it down onto my desk while saying red-faced, ‘ Didn’t you hear me tell you to shut your mouth Miss Godfrey!”
So pretty much friendless and with all of that free time on my hands I decided to go and look for the crashed plane that had been ‘ lost’.
I had this bag of snacks, a little notebook and a camera and every Saturday morning I started to go through the ‘woods’ that used to be around here looking for plane wreckage.
On one of my trips some of the neighbor kids asked me where I was going and I told them. After that it became something we did in our spare time. I won’t fool you, I wasn’t fond of my new ‘friends’ who didn’t know about Space Ships or Monsters or grave robbing. But it was something fun to do in the days before Malls and Computer Games.
It was on one of our last trips mostly because I had this great idea involving a Pirate Ship / Fort and the search for the ” Burning Plane ” was drawing to a close that this guy who lived on the next block over asked what we were doing and I told him.
” Well. That’s about the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard no planes have ever crashed around here. Ever. Let alone a burning plane.”
In fact, that wasn’t the only time I had heard that.
Every time I told anyone what I was doing on Saturday Mornings a lot of older people seemed to go out of their way to tell an eight year old to grow up and quit looking for things that weren’t there.
No planes had ever, ever crashed in Terrace or anywhere near it I was told over and over again. Still, I thought that the people who kept insisting on that were full of baloney and in time I moved on to other ‘great ideas.’
But they must have worn me down because just about a month ago my husband asked me if I had seen the newspaper story about oh yes, a plane that crashed right here in Mountlake Terrace. Two people were killed ( lost ) on the ground and indeed a fire was involved.
I was stunned, ” You mean that was a true story?”
Here’s an interesting quote made 48 years later in from a story that the MLT News ran back in April
I never really heard anything about the crash anymore and so many people have moved or passed on and it was getting harder to verify the crash. Sometimes I would wonder if I really had witnessed the crash or was it a dream. I can still see it happen in my mind.
The thing of it is, less than 10 years after the crash when I turned up in Terrace- the burning plane was not only all but forgotten some people were insisting that the story was just that.
But let me tell you, if this kid who went hunting for Vampires and Zombies and burning planes was still around- she’d be all over this little story like ants crawling all over somebody buried up to their necks in sand and covered with honey.
Indeed she would be.