Growing up as the daughter of someone in the military meant my family moved frequently. Because we lived far away from my extended family, we usually only got to visit once a year. As a result of once a year visits, sometimes we stayed with my grandparents for several months at a time.
Before we moved when I was 6, we spent the whole summer with my grandparents. It was a wonderful summer! During that summer, my mom planted a garden at my great-grandparents’ house, and we worked in her garden almost every day. My mom also took my cousins and me on long bike rides frequently. I have many memories from that summer, but one memory stands out as especially unique. The whole town was buzzing with curiosity over a rare sight that became common.
My grandparent’s hometown is a relatively small town, with a population of around 24,000. The town has one airport that is owned by the “city”. Because there is not a major airport in the town, air traffic is rare. In 1996, however, that was not the case.
That summer, black helicopters seemingly always hovered over. Rumors swirled concerning why the helicopters were there and what they were doing. One rumor I heard was that they were helicopters that were equipped with technology that made it possible for them to see inside of houses–they could even see the book you were reading inside of your house! To this day, there is a little bit of mystery about why they were in Hastings.
In what must have been an effort to quell the rumors, the airport had an open house that featured the mysterious black helicopters. Like the rest of the town, my family went to the open house. While we were there, we spoke with a couple of the pilots. They told my cousins and me if we saw a helicopter flying and we wanted it to land, all we had to do was stand and put our arms out to the side and flap them up and down.
For the rest of the summer, my cousins and I followed their instructions. I remember standing in my grandparents’ backyard, flapping my arms at a helicopter and wondering what would happen if it really did land in their back yard. I was pretty sure I would be in trouble if it actually did land!
Eventually, the helicopters left, and so did my family. That summer is still one of my favorites, and I still wonder why the helicopters were in Hastings, and what would have happened if they really had landed my grandparents’ backyard!