UXBRIDGE, MA – August 17, 2016 – IYAAP Blog – Long before sharing pictures on a wall and commenting on them became possible digitally, my pilot training roommate, Kenny, perfected this practice the old fashioned way, snapping pictures of everyone and everything and taping them to a wall in our rental house. Kenny took pictures of our visitors. He took pictures of our UPT classmates. He took pictures of our instructor pilots. He took pictures of our support personnel on the flight line. And to honor our house guests, classmates, instructors, and other friends, Kenny posted his photographs onto his Wall of Fame and invited his friends to write on them.
Among the ordinary celebrities featured on Kenny’s Wall of Fame was the Domino’s Pizza delivery guy, to whom Kenny would offer a shot of rum for pizzas delivered in 30 minutes or less. There was our pinball machine repairman, who called himself “The Spider-Man” because he only made his rounds late at night. The guy who hooked up our washer and dryer, the waterbed guys, the bug man guy, and guys who did some custom mirror work in Kenny’s bedroom all were immortalized on Kenny’s Wall of Fame. The air conditioner repair man made the Wall, too, even though his air conditioner repair skills sucked.
Kenny snapped my WoF picture holding a wooden plaque of our class patch that our big buddy Kurt cut at the Wood Hobby Shop. One night, when Doley came over after work, Kenny charged into the bathroom to catch Doley in an unscripted moment. I took Kenny’s Wall of Fame shot the night he tried to make moonshine in our kitchen by pouring a bunch of nasty liquids in a glass jar and adding some rotten fruit to his still. (Kenny had said that because we were in the Deep South, we needed to perfect our moonshine-making skills.)
From the flight line, Kenny had a picture of the T-37 crew bus driver, who cooked frozen hot dogs for breakfast by heating them on the windshield defroster of his vehicle; he didn’t want to wait in line to use the microwave oven in the snack bar. Kenny snapped a mug shot of Beez, who unsuccessfully tried to grow a mustache and thus earned the unofficial nickname, Beez with a Cheese. Our T-37 instructor pilot signed a very heroic picture of himself posed in front of a mural outside the Dagger flight room for Kenny’s Wall.
The Wall of Fame perfectly captured the mundane life of an Air Force student pilot living the dream in Columbus, Mississippi, with the help of the everyday celebrities who supported our efforts to survive an incredibly challenging year. Nearly two decades before social media made Walls of Fame commonplace, Kenny set the standard. As the curator of the Wall, I am happy to be able to share what’s left of Kenny’s Wall of Fame with you here.