Recap: Ezra’s problems are multiplying. Not only is he being bullied by a new boy in town, and he has to think of a project for the writing club, and now, on top of all that, a family is moving into his house because they lost their home in a fire. Ezra sits down to read the journal and to distract himself from his troubles.
The waves swelled into mountains of tempestuous water that crashed against the shore like a hungry beast. My heart was pounding so hard that I thought I’d explode.
I davened: Please Hashem rescue me. I don’t know how to get away from this.
Sand swirled in blinding whirlpools. Sheets of rain pelted me as I tried to run back towards the cabin. I lost all sense of direction, and I was ready to just give up.
Suddenly, I felt someone tugging on my arm. Wilbur was pulling me after him. With our arms blocking our faces, and bent over to avoid the rain and sand, we somehow managed to trudge forward.
It felt like forever, until we finally reached the cabin.
I couldn’t catch my breath. Wilbur pulled me inside and we both plopped onto the nearest chairs.
Orville handed us each a mug of hot water. My hand shook so much I could barely drink.
“Whew, it’s a bad one!” Wilbur said.
“Thanks for getting me,” I said.
Orville pointed to the corner of the ceiling. “The roof is gonna collapse.” Orville put on Wilbur’s heavy overcoat. “I’m going out there. He grabbed a hammer and some nails and then he grabbed a ladder. Wilbur and I stood by the doorway watching Orville fight the wind. He climbed the ladder, but the wind blew the coat over his head. It would be funny if I didn’t feel frightened.
Would this cabin collapse on top of us? The wind whistled so loud you couldn’t hear anything else.
Orville had the hammer and nails in his pocket and couldn’t reach them. He went down the ladder, put the nails in his mouth and took the hammer in his hand and started back up the ladder. Wilbur followed behind, holding onto Orville’s coattails, and then Orville was able to hammer around the roof so it stayed in place.
We watched the sand swirling and heard the rain hammering against the walls of the cabin.
I was so thankful to be indoors.
“We’ll have to work on our glider inside the shelter,” Orville said.
The brothers began talking about the propellors.
“Look, the only way we can test the efficiency of the propellers is to try it out on the flying machine.” Wilbur had drawn a diagram of how they should look.
“It’s gonna need two propellers positioned between the wings,” Orville said.
“Yes, one will turn clockwise and the other counterclockwise. This way, the spinning action of one will balance the action of the other.”
I was amazed how they just moved on, to focus on their plane, after almost being swept away by a mighty storm.
The storm passed and the next day the sun shone, sparkling on the calm waves. Mr. Tate came over to see how we were doing.
“Heard you’re plannin’ a flight soon.”
“Mr. Tate, this is our new helper, Sender Kaplan.” Orville introduced me.
“Yeh, we’ll put up a signal when we’re ready. Should be in a few days. You’re welcome to come and bring your family to watch.”
“That we’ll do.” He turned to me. “Isn’t every day you get to see someone flying up there in a flying machine.”
After a few more long days of work on the glider, Wilbur began checking it for pre-flight safety. He showed me all the different things that needed to be checked. I photographed each part.
“Now, when it glides up, I want you to snap a shot of it going into the air. This could be a historic photo.”
I nodded. Wow, I couldn’t believe I was going to be there for this.
The day of the flight came. Orville had put a sheet up to signal the safety station. The Wrights were standing behind their glider. There were just a few spectators, Charlie Tate’s family, Charlie Taylor, and me. We were several yards away, watching expectantly. There was a strong wind, but as Orville said, it was not too strong.
We all cheered as Wilbur slid into the flying machine and Orville pushed the glider forward.
What I saw in the next few minutes took my breath away completely.
The glider began slowly ascending just like a bird, and then suddenly it leveled off with Wilbur steering it up, up in the air.
My hand shook as I shot photo after photo. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed a man I hadn’t seen before. He was a few feet away from me and he was also shooting photos.
How could he?
Wilbur would be furious.
I tried to signal Orville, but he was too busy watching his brother’s progress in the air. What if this man took the photos and used them to steal the brothers’ ideas?
I approached the man. “Excuse me, sir. What are you doing?”
He aimed the camera in the air.
I tried to reach for it.
“Beat it, kid.”
Just then, Charlie Taylor approached. He grabbed the camera out of the man’s hand and threw it onto the ground.
“Why wouldn’t you listen to the Wrights’ assistant here? There’s a patent pending for the Wrights. You can’t take any photos.”
The man scooped up his broken camera and snarled at Charlie. Then he glared at me with his dark, beady eyes.
“We’ll see who gets the patent! We’ll just see.” He stomped away.
Just then, the plane began rising higher and higher. “Turn the rudder!” Orville called to Wilbur. Wilbur turned the rudder all the way and then the glider slowly settled to the ground, glided slowly down, and landed. We all cheered and clapped.
I just prayed that that man wouldn’t do anything to hurt the Wrights in any way.
To be continued…
By Susie Garber