Good Morning Woody,
Today is the day we were going to meet each other, at 1000 hours. That was the plan. Well, Woody, the last time we met was in Holland on April 15, 1945. You were flying over our heads at treetop level in a B17—the biggest airplane—with open doors and unloading, on the fly, tons of food only a starving boy can imagine. That was the best bombing we had ever seen.
Our part of Holland was still occupied and there was nothing to eat. (I ate my neighbors' cat, but don't tell anybody.) You saved many lives that day—that winter was known as Hunger Winter. We found out that you volunteered for that mission. THANKS, WOODY. That food drop made you my Hero forever.
Can I tell you how you changed my life, Woody? During the German occupation (my age 12 to 17), our first school was taken over by the German troops. The second school was too close to the Allied bombing raids and was shut down. All that was fine with me (I didn't like schooling anyway). Families were torn apart and each on his own. After the war, my passion was flying. (That's where you came in.)
I had no money, but I had a plan . . . Go to the USA. That was my plan. Sign up as a sailor in the Merchant Marine. And walk off the boat in America. Well, that boat went to South America instead, and I walked off in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But eleven years later, in 1958, I migrated to the USA. Woody, the story is more complex, but simply, you are my inspiration that helped make it happen.
So long, Woody. I will see you upstairs.