. ..to make a solo trip to Hagerstown, MD for something the wife had no interest in attending: a display of airplanes at the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. Many of the planes on display were actually built in Hagerstown – by Fairchild, before they closed the plant there in 1984.
Some of the planes built there are ones you might recognize: the C-119 “Flying Boxcar,” the F-27 small passenger plane (under license from Fokker/Hiller), and the A-10 “Warthog” (which is still in use by the US Military today, thus they don’t have one to display.) Below is a picture of the elderly C-119, which was open for inspection.
Interestingly, even though I was wearing my black skirt, I was able to climb up the ladder into the cockpit of the C0119. (However, it seemed soldiers of that era were obviously in better shape than many of the visitors…LOL!)
I had sufficient foresight to be wearing a pair of black “short shorts” underneath my skirt (since I left from home). To anyone looking up as I climbed the ladder, it would present as the “shorts under a skort.” So I didn’t have to miss a chance to sit in the pilot’s seat! (My visit coincided with the departure of Allegiant Airline’s 737 from the airport. And I got a pic!)
Not sure who, if anybody (there was nobody in line behind me at that point) thought they’d sneak a peek! But had they tried, they would have been disappointed. I was a bit surprised at the relative simplicity of the instrumentation, compared to more modern aircraft.
Almost the whole time I was at the airport, I was either addressed as “Ma’am,” or without a gender specific greeting. Except when some 20something guy accidentally bumped me and said “excuse me, sir.” I’m not sure what brought that on, because as the day progressed, it was the only instance of hearing “Sir.” Maybe he was just trying to be mean?
The most amazing thing on the whole trip happened as I exited. I asked a question about a plane of a man in the booth at the exit gate. He answered my question, and said “you certainly look familiar. Don’t I know you?” I had checked his name badge before starting the conversation, just in case. “I don’t think so…I’m not from the area.” Discussion went on in this vein for a few more exchanges. Including his question of whether I work in the governor’s office of a nearby state. (Which I don’t – I retired almost a decade ago, and not from a job in any state’s governor’s office!)
Finally he came to the conclusion that “Your doppelganger still works there, and she is without a doubt your double!” I thought to myself – but didn’t say it – “poor girl…I hope she looks better than, not just like, me…”
Fortunately (or maybe not), this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about my doppelganger. Years ago, when I was still working, the secretary in my office commuted to work by train with her hubby. One morning, she asked me if that girl on the train, wearing a dress, heels and full makeup was me, since we looked so much alike. I couldn’t possibly have been there, based on where I lived at the time, how I got to work, and my arrival time, so my denial was truthful. But I offered to let them check out my car to put the matter to rest. Fortunately, they let it drop…though if they had checked, there was nothing in the car to give away my “secret”, and the engine would have been cold, an indication I didn’t just arrive at work at the same time they did.
Based on those past incidents, I’m quite certain that at least a couple of folks out there somewhere (not sure if they’re guys or gals) look almost exactly like the “female” me! There have now been too many sightings to dispute it. (But it also gives me substantial “deniability!”)
Once I finished up with the guy in the booth, I set my GPS for Hagerstown’s City Park, to see if I could find their steam locomotive display. I had been there years ago, and it was sitting out in the open, vandalized. (Yes, they have had vandals in Hagerstown.) In the process of looking for the park, my GPS sent me in circles. As luck would have it, there was a police officer using radar, and I pulled up behind the cruiser, getting out to ask where I can find the park. That female officer was very friendly, addressed me properly, and told me how to best get there. Nice!
And I finally found the train display – behind locked gates. From afar the locomotive appeared to be in better shape than the last time I saw it. And they added a few “cabeese” along with a playground for kids, and some artifacts. It would be nice to come by when it is open.