The Homeless 747 Pilot


By Julia Clark

He said, “I don’t want you to think I do not believe in your cause” as he pressed two five dollar bills into my hand with both his hands holding mine intently. He went on, “It is not much, but it is all the cash I have on me. Please get my story out. I did all the right things…”

I think of this pilot often. And how do I tell his story. I have shared it with lots of writers orally and have seen some stories that reflect the growing numbers of migrant US citizens. Such as the one from Harper’s p>

The End of Retirement

When you can’t afford to stop working

By Jessica Bruder

By the way, the irony is not lost on me that the article cannot be read unless you are a $40 a year subscriber.

But, it was that article about about workcampers, which I also recently experienced and fell hoax to that prompted me to sit down to share The Pilot’s story. I will readily admit sometimes I miss the bigger story when a compelling individual story reverberates in my soul.

He was a youthful handsome elderly man. We met at one of Mississippi’s most beautiful historical spots, Rocky Springs on the Natchez Trail. I do not recall the details of our first encounter, but I do recall his warm smile across from me at the picnic table, his gentle way of talking, our long talks, our long walks, and our delightful dinner together.

Before I left I asked him to follow me out to Sacramento for the National Gathering 2014. He wistfully declined when noting the amount of time I had to make it cross country.

We spent hours together, but our paths were quickly to part. During our conversations he told me and I observed much about his life.

He said he ad joined the military and then the reserves to secure good benefits for his family unit. He loved the military and he was quite the military man. But it seemed that his military benefits had terminated, to borrow a term I learned while researching his loss of Airline benefits. This seemed to sadden him and whereby saddened me.

He spoke of his divorce and the divorce seemed to effect his pension adversely even more. But I do not think it was so much a divorce, but that he needed and had planned for separate housing or quarters from the wife, which he spoke of and to so dearly.

I briefed myself some about the termination of pensions within the airline industry, but I was quickly side tracked to by the many termination of pensions. I found it shocking.

I am at the Yurok Nation, but I have not forgotten. God spede, my 747 friend.I’ll write more.