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|I attended Don Bosco High School--the school was located on Beecher Avenue not far from Amby's Pool Hall. While a good school, there was little to recommend being a student there! Impersonal, crowded and unappealing, with the help of its' principal and my parents, it was decided that a technical or trade school would be a better choice.|
|While learning how to shoot nine ball, I heard about Igor Sikorsky from one of the Korean War veterans who had been in an aviation unit. While I had not given one thought to what I might like to do when I grew up, helicopters seemed different and were something I was interested learning more about.
Boys' Technical High School was 49 years old when I entered my sophomore year, which began in 1955, to study Aeronautics. To get there, I had to complete a summer school class at South Division High School where I learned that doing your school work well during the school year was a much better deal than playing catch up when other kids were having fun or earning money.
I was the grill boy at Frosty's, a local hangout, where I worked from 3:15 until 6 P.M. weekdays. Ralph Kale had purchased the building from an estate when the shoe repair shop owner died. They lived above the restaurant with his mother and their children.
When I began, my job was to clean the grill, hood and ventilation area which was suspectable to fire and health department inspection on a regular basis. At some point Ralph, following football season, asked if I wanted to cook and let someone else do the clean up work. I decided that it was time to get out of the morning paper route and corner sales business and step into a new opportunity. Hard to put into perspective all of the things Ralph passed along; however, I am aware of his significant planning and management skills and how they affected my activities.
Mr. Harvey Genske was responsible for the Aero Shop in Room 130. He was an excellent instructor and took a personal interest in each one of us. Nothing escaped his vigilance! Aero shop was created in 1940 just prior to the American entry into world War II in response to meeting the critical shortage of trained aviation mechanics.
The Aviation Training Course was created by Mr. Genske who, 15 years later, had organized the shop for teaching all of the skills required to pass the aircraft and power plant examination. We got instruction in a Link Trainer and learned airfield management skills in fuels, lubricants and facilities management. It was he who introduced me to the Sikorsky R4--a helicopter I would never work on but one I got to see in the bone yard at Camp Rucker, Alabama in 1957.