For the dreamers and the helpers... This one is for you.
How do you write about Oshkosh? Oshkosh memories are filled with more friends than flights. Perhaps it’s the rebel in us to defy gravity, perhaps it’s the fact that some day the pilot or mechanic you are speaking with will be flying or inspecting the plane that your mom or children may be on, or perhaps it’s simply looking at a map that shows us: airplanes bring people together. And every July, airplanes bring airplane people to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
In Spark Your Dream, the adventurous true story of Herman and Cande Zapp, Herman becomes a sailor, navigating the Amazon - in the midst of navigating the roads across two continents - having never steered a boat. He was wisely advised, in Ecuador, that if he ever needed help, to find a sailor. The same can be said for a pilot. For she, too, is an adventurer.
It is my hope that the Zapp’s story may help me give thanks to a few very special people, especially to one who is a women after my own heart, always with a book in her bag and ready to both read and live a good story.
“Sometimes it seems that other people have more confidence in us than we do in ourselves,” wrote the Argentinian couple driving a 1928 Graham Paige from their home country to Alaska. Well, isn’t that the truth. Let’s rewind to the beginning of this year.
“I know how passionate you are about the industry and women but mostly I know that you’re capable,” wrote Angee to me. We’d only known each other about a year, at the time, but the aviation industry accelerates trust and amplifies character. It’s a place where you can lose a wallet full of cash or an international cellphone in airplane mode and have it returned, complete and unaltered (true story; both things happened to people we know, and perhaps one to the one writing this, in two consecutive years at Oshkosh).
American, and perhaps most of western, society begs the question of children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Happy,” wrote one child to his teacher in the now famous anecdote about understanding the meaning of life. But this early inundation of a career trajectory sets us up to expect a linear path, and life is anything but. Thank goodness. The better question, if one must ask, is “What do you want to be able to do?”
“When we were kids we could do anything, but we lacked the strength, now we have it we think that we can’t do it,” the Zapps noted. We must maintain, and even grow, our imaginations. That’s where our newest Daydream Believer hat hits home. That was actually one of the points that attracted me to aviation - continuous education. For once you have taken off, you gain the confidence of considering, “If I can fly a plane, surely I can....” You finish that thought.
“If only those who know how to do things can do them, no one would do anything, because everyone at some time would have to learn,” continued Herman and Cande. And we learn from both ourselves and from each other.
At Oshkosh, I learned to accept and even to ask for help. I had counted on - though will never discount the generosity of - Angel, Angee, and Kevin. We came to Oshkosh as a team, literally, following each other across several state borders, eating donuts, transporting equipment, and making a home in Hellen (because all RVs need a good name) for the week.
Let’s back up a moment to springtime. After hitting send on an email to our wonderful team of One Plane Jane Ambassadors, Beth responded, “How can I help?” She insisted that I count on her to help at the booth during our biggest event of the year.
We had met, in person, at Sun ‘N Fun, when I reached out to SNF Radio to see if they were interested in doing an interview. Dave, who I later learned to be Beth’s fiancé, responded that, yes, they were interested, because one of the volunteers (Beth) was a big fan of our brand. A fan? I thought to myself, as a business owner of less than one month, and did a little happy dance. Because behind every small business is a real human being yearning to make an impact.
“Helping is a sweet feeling, as beautiful as accomplishing a dream. No man is completely self-sufficient.” The Zapps learned this on their journey and my understanding of this was reinforced at Oshkosh. Asking for help, when you need it, is not an imposition. And there is little reason to not accept help, especially when you have already surrounded yourself with good people (thank you, Oshkosh).
If you visited us, at Oshkosh, you experienced Beth’s help. After Angee, Kevin, Angel and I put all of the nuts and bolts (literally) of the booth together, Beth spent her Sunday afternoon, helping design our community’s experience, organizing and placing accessories. But she did even more than that. She made the best peanut butter cookies! She introduced us to the infamous Camp Bacon, that, although it can be found on Google Maps, it can only be known through the hearts of its people. She and Dave showed us that love is not just how you love your partner, but how you love, together, your community. Beth showed us proof that One Plane Jane is realizing its dream. That’s it not just how the company can empower women, but how women can empower each other.
“There is nothing nor nobody against a dream. We all dream, there is no one who doesn’t. All and everyone are in favor of dreams. It is blissful happiness to achieve a dream, and also help one be accomplished is perhaps much happier.” This is the essence of Spark Your Dream. The essence of Oshkosh. The essence of aviation, as we know it, and of life, as it should be known.
“Humans must learn again how to talk to everything that surrounds us. Even silence in a desert has something to tell you,” Spark Your Dream.
Thank you, Angel, for talking to all of the airplanes, for keeping us safe, and for being a hero to your favorite pilot. 😉
Thank you, Angee, for your bravery to learn something new. It all started with a flight bag, and look how far it’s gone. Your vision and influence have ignited a community. Thank you, Kevin, for encouraging Angee. And thank you both for your friendship and for your help to continue this dream.
Thank you, Beth. You have done more than help this dream continue. You’ve helped it grow. You are a part of this dream. And we, at One Plane Jane, are Daydream Believers.
Thank you, Oshkosh, for a Christmas in July that gifts the rebirth of our inner child and brings our aviation family together. Thank you to everyone who made this year special. We cannot wait to see you next year and, hopefully, even before. Let’s adventure, together.