Three youngsters orphaned by the death of their parents in a plane crash seek the paths they will follow in life. Their search from knowing what their paths will be to discoveries about themselves opens the understanding to ways different from their own.
A spindly thin Benny Flack, his head leaning over the stair banister, shouted up the stairs, “If you two want to have breakfast before going to school: you had better come down in 10 minutes because the bus will be arriving. So if you want to have something before going to school, you’d better get a move-on.
Only the sounds of grumbling and the scraping of feet indicated that Benny’s voice was heard and the doors slamming were their intended answer.
Benny Flack was the oldest of three children and the head of the household. Benny was 17 ½ years old. His younger brother, Carl was 16 years old and their sister Fiona was 14 years old. The three, under the guidance of Benny were the remaining members of the Flack family. Betty and Alfred Flack, their parents died in a small aircraft accident some 8 months earlier, when they convinced the pilot of a small Piper Tomahawk PA-‐38 to take them to a very important meeting in another city. The aircraft the Flack’s had originally booked was suddenly grounded due to engine trouble and so the only available aircraft was the Piper Tomahawk. The pilot of the small craft tried to dissuade them by explaining that their combined weight plus the weight of the equipment they intended to carry exceeded the payload recommended by the airplane’s manufacturer. The Flack’s offer of extra money convinced the pilot to take a chance and he agreed to take them to their destination. To the detriment of all, the stronger than normal winds caused the plane to nosedive and crash and the three( pilot and passengers) were killed.
With the three children, orphaned by the parent’s death, and each being under age, the Court was reluctant to give Benny, the eldest, custodial rights until he reached his majority which was 6 months away. However, with the school principal’s letter stating Benny’s outstanding achievements as to maturity and dedication to work, the Court was finally swayed and Benny was permitted to head his small family.
The insurance money awarded to the three children by their parent’s death guaranteed that each of the youngsters could finish school and was sufficient to include graduate studies, if they so desired, left the family in good stead. At the reaching of majority, each could make claim to one third of the legacy and lead an independent life. In the meantime, the monthly interest was enough to take care of taxes and living expenses for the three. An escrow account was set up with a reputable local law office to distribute the monthly funds.
Even as a boy, Benny had always been obedient and serious. Sure, he played with his friends and rousted about as most boys his age, but there was always one aspect of him that kept his two feet on the ground. Ever since he could remember, he was always fascinated by airplanes and rocket ships land any proposed trip to visit the Wichita Mid-‐Continental airport was a joy, a fascination and an excitement for him. Upon being told that they were going to make a trip to pick up some client of his father’s or simply to take a Sunday trip set him gathering all his pictures of the small craft he might see in the hopes that he would see the real thing. On the way to the airport, he would hound his father to make sure that they could get information on “how old you had to be before taking flying lessons; how much they cost, what planes would one be taught flying and generally how long an average student would have to learn before he could obtain a pilot’s license. He would also ask that his father get permission to go to where the aircraft were parked so that he could touch the aircraft. He remembered with excitement, the smell of the gasoline engines or the exhaust if one of the small planes was revving up.
His dream was to attend the Wichita College of Engineering and to major in Aerospace Engineering. Living so close to the College, he saw the impressive buildings as his gateway to the future and he always felt a sense of awe when the buildings came into view.
Just prior to his parent’s demise, he had visited the college asking about the possibilities of applying for a scholarship since the tuition fees were upward of $12,766.00 per year. He realized that his brother Carl would also be ready to study and that would burden his parents with the costs of both their tuition costs. And then, just as he and his brother were finishing, his sister Fiona would be ready to start her studies. For Benny, the scholarship was indispensible. Since he knew he was deficient in some math courses, he visited the Faculty Advisor at the University to ask if it would be possible to make up the mathematic courses he needed as elective courses. He explained that since he lived at the intersection Shady Brook and Carmen Streets, he could easily take classes at any time, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.