I have delayed in writing about our club "The Winged
Four" because the memories are so treasured that I am afraid that I
cannot do them justice. I am sure that I will leave out many important
parts because memories are elusive at best and sometimes they are
there and many times they fade away to come back at some reminder or
some incident will bring a forgotten picture.
As long as I can remember Taylor Abegg and I have been
very good friends. As I remember we were together on many different
pet projects and fads that we went through when we were boys
The first picture: Taylor finally got permission to
spend the night up to our place. Mother gave in to our pleading and
let us put a bed out in the rose arbor near the cooler. The cooler was
simply a box covered on three sides with burlap sacking that was kept
wet so that it cooled, by evaporation, the milk and butter or whatever
mother put in it. The bed had to be placed length wise in order to fit
in the arbor. To get in bed we had to vault over the foot of the bed
to land on the bouncy springs of the bed. Of course that started
us to jumping up and down on the bed which soon started us pushing
each other just a little. I don't recall exactly how the pillow fight
started but soon it was in full swing and I do mean SWING!!!!! As we
were sweating and swatting one of the pillows exploded and that
wonderful Goose Down Pillow was a limp rag in my hand and we were
engulfed in swirling feathers. Feathers were in our eyes, up our noses
and stuck to the sweat of our bare skin. I had never seen so many
feathers I still don't know how so many feathers could get into that
small pillow bag. The rose arbor was all bloomed out with feathers.
Oh!! The big pan of milk in the cooler that had been set for the cream
to raise was filled to the top with feathers. They had even gotten
under the wax paper that covered the butter. This was less of a
problem than the cream in the pan. Two very subdued boys went in to
report to mother. I have never spent such a miserable night you just
can't get rid of that many feathers and you sure can't breathe
After the little Ground Squirrel craze had finally
subsided we decided that we wanted to raise Pigeons. We each prepared
a place to keep our Pigeons and then worked out a plan to get some
Pigeons. We watched the big flocks of pigeons that flew around the
mill and landed to pick up the spilled wheat. Uncle Moroni, as we
called Brother Abegg, showed us how to make a figure 4 trap with a
long trigger stick under a screen top box. We set the trap in a
strategic place and baited it with a little trail of wheat leading to
the trap. Many times the pigeons would eat all of the wheat without
even touching the trigger stick. Next we saw pigeons flying in and out
of Brother Cardon's big barn. The Cardon's lived across the street
from our place we decided to go hide in the barn and when and if the
pigeons came in we would quickly climb up into the big barn
window and cut off the pigeons escape route. This plan worked very
well but we were not counting on the weather. A big flock of pigeons
flew in and hurriedly found places of shelter. I quickly climbed up in
the big open barn window to cut of their escape. Suddenly the
lightning flashed and the thunder shook the whole barn and it began to
hail. Those enormous hail stones were at least an inch in diameter.
After two or three hits that really hurt I jumped to the hay beneath
to escape the beating. How that storm raged we could not hear each
others yells because of the terrible roar of the hail on the roof of
the barn. We proceeded with our plan to catch the pigeons in the barn
and soon we had them flying and fluttering around in the barn. We saw
one fly out the window but was instantly killed by the enormous hail
stones. We stopped our pursuit of the poor birds for fear that another
one might attempt to fly out into the storm and be beat to the ground
Finally the hail stopped and we went out to try to get
to our house across the street. The trees and plants were stripped of
the leaves and the green leaves were buried under about six inches of
white hail stones. All of the flowers and garden vegetables were
buried under the hail.
I remember our ford car's roof had been torn to bits in
the part that was not metal over the back seat there was a gaping hole
and the back seat was full of hail stones. Later we used that hole to
stand up in to shoot rabbits from the car. It became a very good sport
we would stand on the back seat and lean on the top of the car for
We still didn't have any pigeons so we went to ask
permission to go into the Farnsworth attic after dark to catch
pigeons. The big Ruben Farnsworth home had a peaked tower on one side
of the roof and on that tower the pigeons had a hole in the shingles
of the roof to enter that tower. That tower is still on the house.
Scott and Jewel Bluth have lived there for many years. It is one
of the few remaining original Deblan homes left.
Sister Farnsworth was glad for us to go catch the
pigeons but cautioned us to be careful and step only on the rafters
and not on the ceiling. That night well after dark we ascended into
the attic and made our way to the tower. As we entered the tower we
flashed our lights around to confuse the pigeons so they could not
find their way out that small hole. We used a long pole, that someone
had left in the tower, to dislodge the pigeons from their high
roosting places. They would flutter around in confusion and come down
to where we could catch them and put them in our sack. We made a big
haul of beautiful birds and went home to divide the spoils. We clipped
their wings and put them in the pens and we were in the pigeon raising
I remember raising a pair of squabs by hand feeding
them. I enjoyed it at first but with time it became very tedious. It
is surprising how much wheat it takes to raise a pair of squabs. We
had all colors of beautiful pigeons, big blue ones, slate colored ones
with barred wings, pinto ones and brown ones and mixed colors. They
could make that little pen shake with their cooing and fighting.
After a while Taylor's parents brought him some
beautiful, delicate, white Fan Tailed Pigeons. These were pure white
and had a big fan tail that fanned up in the back until it nearly
touched their heads as they walked delicately along. Taylor got rid of
his other pigeons and put these special ones in their old Chicken coop
with a nice run completely closed in with chicken wire. His first pair
soon began to reproduce and it was really a pleasure to watch those
delicate white creatures with red eyes and red feet.
Soon Taylor began to see a lot of cats prowling around
trying to get in to get those pigeons. Chico Jones and family lived
across the fence from Taylor's house and the big barn and the vent
holes in the foundation under the house really provided an Ideal place
for cats to live.
Taylor confided in me about the problem and I went down
to his place with my little 22 single shot rifle to get rid of the
cats. We were very successful in killing most of the cats by
seeing them sunning themselves when no one was around. I don't like to
brag but I was a good shot and could hit those cats in the head behind
the ear and they scarcely uttered a sound. They usually would thrash
around a little and then lie still.
One of the biggest tom cats had eluded us and we had
not had an opportunity to get a shot. He seemed to know we would
not shoot when there were kids playing around the yard. One day he was
sleeping in the sun and was a perfect target but there were a bunch of
little kids playing with Albert, Bu (Charles) and Melvina. Taylor told
me to hide just around the corner of the back of his house and he
would lure the kids away, around to the front of the Jones house. I
waited anxiously and when they disappeared around the house I took
careful aim and shot the cat. Just then Aunt Melvina came out the back
door to check on the kids. Seeing the big cat kicking and thrashing
around she said in her loud high toned voice, "What is the matter with
that cat". Then seeing that no one was around she went back into the
house. When Taylor came back to where I was waiting he mimicked in a
loud high toned voice, "What is the matter with that cat".
Back to the winged four. I was very pleased to receive
Taylor's reply and write up of the winged four because he did a much
more detailed and descriptive write up than I could possibly have
done. I will add some little memories of mine at the end.
ESOS del Cuatro!!!!!!
Keith, you asked for a few of my recollections of the
Winged Four as you begin your write-up. I'll look forward to
I hope the following will serve your purpose, and
possibly trigger other memories on the part of Dan and Donn.
THE WINGED FOUR
In September of 1935 our family moved to Provo,
Utah, for a year on the occasion of Dad's sabbatical leave of
absence from the JSA. Dad spent the academic year taking
college classes at BYU. Louise and I attended the ninth and
seventh grades respectively at BY Junior High. We lived in a
basement apartment on about second east and third north. A
family named Tanner occupied the house across the street from us.
They had two boys, one slightly older than I and one slightly
younger. In due course I became acquainted with them and
learned to my delight that they were both avid and advanced model
airplane builders. I spent as much time as I could with them
and that is where I learned the basics of model airplane building.
Over time I accumulated a modest inventory of construction materials
and other supplies, and began designing my own models. Every
chance I could find I would visit the local model store where I felt
like I was truly in Heaven. By the time the school year was over I
had built several models. In the process I nearly severed my
left index finger trying to make a balsam knife by pushing a razor
blade into the end of a wooden handle with a pair of pliers.
At the end of the school year we moved to Salt
Lake City where Dad was employed for the summer. We all lived
with my mother's half sister, Nora Taylor Burgener, and her husband
and children during the Summer. Her son, Clair, was just a little
older than I but we were soon good buddies, and we started building
model airplanes in the loft of their barn. Clair's cousin,
Albert Burgener, soon joined us and the three of us spent the summer
of 1936 building all sorts, sizes and styles of model airplanes.
When it came time to return to Dublan I was eagerly looking forward
to showing my friends this fascinating new hobby. I was truly
delighted when the three of you embraced it with the same enthusiasm
As we became more and more involved in this hobby
we realized we had to have a place to work that was both private and
secure. Our chicken coup seemed to offer the best
possibilities. With Dad's permission we proceeded to refurbish
it, and we converted it into a nice little workroom where each of us
had a corner with a work surface that enabled us to do our work. It
wasn't long before we decided our club should be named THE WINGED
Supplies were always a problem. If we were
building a model from a kit the supplies were included. They
consisted of plans, balsam stringers, blocks, sheets, tissue paper,
glue, rubber bands, sometimes a precarved propeller, but more often
a block of balsam wood from which we carved our own. Glue was
a problem. We never seemed to have enough. Every time anyone
of our families went to El Paso we would try to get them be bring us
some of the right kind of glue along with other supplies. Dad
saw our predicament and furnished us with a good-sized sample of
woodworking glue that was strong and easy to use.
Piano wire was also a problem in that it always
seemed to be in short supply. It was a necessary part of the
landing gears on most of our models. It enabled the model to
land on a rough surface without being destroyed. We scratched
our heads for some time on how to solve this problem. We
finally came to the realization that there was in fact a good supply
of piano wire close by. In the school assembly room there was
an old upright piano that was already pretty well shot. We
rationalized that if it were to miss a few strands of wire it
wouldn't make a significant difference at all in the sound.
So, armed with a good pair of diagonals, and with two of us
posted as guards, we partly dismantled the piano to the point where
we had full access to the wire strands. It was now just a
matter of selecting the wire gage we needed. Then with the
diagonals we would cut the wire at both ends from a group of three
wires corresponding to a single note. The wire when cut, being
under tension, would let out a loud TWANG, loud enough to be heard
throughout the entire building. Well, from that point on there
never seemed to be a lack of piano wire for our models!
The rubber motors used to power the model
consisted of a length of rubber band about an eighth of an inch
wide, the ends tied together. We would apply a rubber
lubricant to the rubber so that it would wind and unwind smoothly
without knotting. Winding up the propeller was a chore, so we
improvised by using a hand drill and locking the metal hook on one
end of the rubber into the drill chuck. We could then just turn the
crank and wind the motor in a small fraction of the time.
Applying the skin (tissue paper) to the wings,
tail and fuselage required some care. The special tissue paper
used could be glued in place, but there were always wrinkles.
By spraying the paper with water from an atomizer, the paper
would shrink as it dried and leave a perfectly smooth tight surface
with no wrinkles whatsoever.
When one of us completed the model we were
working on we would all assemble and participate in the
preparation for the test flight. There was a vacant field
adjacent and to the north of us which provided plenty of open space.
When all was ready the builder would launch the plane.
We would all stand breathless. If the plane functioned as
intended we would all rejoice. If it didn't we would retrieve
it and start over. We always designed into the plane a small
negative pitch to the propeller, so that when the propeller stopped
turning the plane would glide better. We also adjusted the rudder so
that the plane would turn in a wide circle, and we wouldn't have to
chase it so far.
Our little clubhouse also functioned as a
miniature study hall. We all did much of our schoolwork in it.
The atmosphere was just right to concentrate on our lessons.
Frequently we would leave our schoolbooks in the clubhouse
overnight and pick them up on the way to school the next day.
We also built secret compartments in the floor of
the clubhouse. We would conceal some of our treasures in these
compartments and feel that they were completely safe. This
added to the mystique of being there.
This wonderful arrangement prevailed through my
eighth grade school year and freshman year in high school. In
that period it literally became the center of most of our
extracurricular activities. In my sophomore year of high
school my family moved from Dublan to Colonia Juarez. This put
an end to our clubhouse but not to the Winged Four, which has
remained intact ever since, though not as closely knit as before.
In an effort to preserve the clubhouse we moved
it over to Dan's place where it was seldom if ever used again.
I'm not aware of its final disposition.
I hope this brings back wonderful memories of the
enjoyable times we spent together.
All the best;
Donn, Dan and I were very excited and enthused about
Taylor's new hobby and were very anxious to learn about model
airplanes. We had seen a few airplanes in our lives and we had dreams
of actually flying someday.
We all went to work on our club house. Taylor made us
feel so much a part of it that we all considered it ours as well. We
each made our desk in our corner of the Club house and took great
pride in adorning the club house with treasures such as an old antique
pendulum clock set on a special shelf with a little tanned
spotted faun Deer skin under it. We devised a lock for the door that
was impossible to unlock without knowing the combination. It was
opened by pulling in sequence three strings by reaching under the
floor and different places. This gave us a feeling of security knowing
that no one could figure out our lock. We each had a light for our own
desk making it ideal for working and study.
I remember reading the thrilling Bill Barnes air
stories and air battles in the magazines Taylor subscribed to.
Especially I remember the thrill of making model airplanes and having
them fly beautifully around until the rubber power gave out and then
glide to a landing in the vacant lot. I remember the thrill of having
the plane that I had designed fly very well.
We were constantly trying to improve our selves and our
conduct. I remember that Taylor suggested that we devise a way to stop
swearing. We made a pact that if one of us swore the other three could
hit him on the shoulder muscle as hard as each desired. It didn't take
long to break any habit we might have had of an occasional swear word.
That broke us for life from using swear words and even helped us avoid
useless slang and substitutes for the real thing like Gosh and darn. I
always remember with gratitude the self improvement program that we
adopted in the winged four. This improved our performance in school
and church and our everyday living.
This club came at a crucial time in our lives and in
our formative years to help us catch the vision of being the best we
could be. It certainly has helped me in my life and given me an
attitude of enjoying life and taking every opportunity to serve and do
the right thing. It gave me a taste of the joy and satisfaction that
comes from helping and being close to others in friendship.
We established a friendship that has endured through
the years and has been a force in my life and made me feel that I had
friends that I could always count on. We still consider ourselves "THE
S. Keith Bowman, March 18, 2002