A Lifetime Packed into a Single Month
CHARLES SMITH LINE
On the morning of September 7th, at Los Angeles International Airport, my son Francis put me aboard an American Airlines Cruiser bound for Detroit. Seven days later, at the same airport, he met me upon my return. In those seven days, with my other son Winfield, I had renewed the acquaintances of a lifetime in Linesville, Pa., New London Ohio, and Howell, Michigan. Few weeks in my life have been richer in experiences than that one.
Then, just after returning home, came another experience, another climax, of far different kind.
Some 200 of you shared with me in these unusual events of September 1956. This message is addressed to you personally, and I hope you will so consider it in lieu of an individually addressed letter, which for me would be a physical impossibility. Also, to those of you who may be on our annual Christmas list, take this as an advance message ahead of the season, from myself and wife, replacing the formal card in December.
To all of you co my heart-felt thanks for helping to make September, 1956 one of the outstanding months of my life, wherein- notwithstanding the somber note at the last- “All’s well that ends well”.
My story with its full-packed series of incidents, all within one month, starts below following. a brief biography of the Line family.
AN INTRODUCTORY “LINE” ON THE CLAN OF LINE
Amos Line, my great-grandfather, founded the borough of Linesville, Pa. in 1800, and in this town were born my grandfather Smith Line; my father Henry Line; myself; and my oldest son Winfield Henry Line- the last two in the ancestral home, built in 1852.
My father married Helen Smith, daughter of Charles F. Smith. Thus my name, Charles Smith Line, combines the full names of both of my grandparents. On January 15th, 1957 I will be 85 years old, thus making the exploits noted hereafter rather unusual for a youngster of that age, still coming up smiling.
My wife is Daisy Henry Line, who also lived at one time in Linesville. On last August 22nd we celebrated our 58th anniversary of marriage.
For 50 years, after having worked in the same business for others, I was “on my own” in the 5 and 10 cent merchandising trade- 7 years in Linesville, 7 years in New London, Ohio, and 35 years in Howell, Michigan; in all these activities working as an integrated team with my wife, later supplemented by help from the boys when old enough to be behind the minter out of school hours. Wife and I have been retired now for some 15 years or more here in “Sunny California”, residing in our own modest home at 2327 Santa Anita Ave., Altadena.
Our elder son, Winfield, successor to my business, expanded the single store to a chain of seven large stores. During World War II, since for many years he had been an accredited flight instructor, he sold his merchandise stocks to the D and C Stores, another small Michigan chain, now with 35 stores, that he might fill the government’s desperate need for pilot instructors at State College in Lansing, to teach the air-minded draftees how to fly. He and Francis both graduated from U of M.
Winfield still owns the buildings occupied by the D and C, and has a man-sized job thereby in property management, added to his self-imposed duties- carried on by himself and his wife- in a continuing program of Korean relief, supplemented by frequent benefit lectures by both whenever called upon, to swell the much-needed Korean fund. They operate from their homes in Northport, Michigan, and Palm Springs California, “commuting” between those places semi-annually.
Francis Raymond Line, our younger son, who was born in New London Ohio, lives with his wife in Eagle Rock in Los Angeles, 6 miles from our home. As a professional motion picture photographer and nationally known lecturer, ably assisted by his wife, he has all of the United States and to a lesser degree the whole world as his field of operations. Their film production for the past season was “Monument Valley Adventure”, filmed in the wilds of the Navajo Indian country, while their newest film, just ready for release, bears the title “Best of the West”. Their daughter Adrienne Line, 20 years old next month, is a junior at Occidental College.
THE STORY BEGINS
We left Los Angeles airport with a full complement of 80 passengers and five crew members, under sunny skies and perfect visibility, cruising at 300 M.P.H., at between 8000 and 18,000 feet high, according to the terrain and winds, and landed at
Run Airport (Detroit) at 8:10 P.M., on time. Winfield met me and forthwith we took off in his big Buick for Linesville, our native town in the old Keystone State, as our ultimate objective.