In the Beginning

I've been flying kites for as long as I can remember. My first actual memories of flying kites were from when I was in middle school, or junior high school as it was a called back then.  I lived in a neighborhood that backed up to a farm. I would head down into the fields to fly kites when they weren't plowed or growing.   I flew the old plastic Gayla kites and earlier, the store-bought wood and paper, diamond and box kites.  I must have been in elementary school when I was buying the paper and stick kites.  

In high school, I'd go to the recreation area at the dam and climb trees, extracting kites.  At the end of the day, I'd leave with several kites which were still flyable.  Many of these kites would end up flying high in the sky only to be lost when the string broke or when they too got caught by a kite-eating tree.

I also used to make kites out of merchandise bags and weeds that I found around vacant lots and fields.  With a crepe paper tail, I would get several kites in the air at once, tying them off to a clump of grass.  Sometime between junior high and high school, I visited the kite store in San Francisco and bought some Indian fighter kites.  They were made from tissue paper and bamboo. The frame consisted of a keel (vertical stick) and a crosspiece. The crosspiece was bent from wingtip to wingtip crossing the keel above the point directly between the wingtips, so the crosspiece was bent down (not back).  That's how I made my "merchandise" bag-kites.

It was also during this time when I became aware of the American Kitefliers Association (AKA), a club who's members consisted of grown people who flew kites!  I was overjoyed.  Not only were there other people like me who were not kids anymore who flew kites, but this meant I didn't need to feel silly when told that I was too old to be flying kites. Yes!  People actually told me that.  You know the Bible saying, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things." The AKA's existence gave me permission to fly kites and feel good about it. To feel good about oneself is so important.  They gave me confidence in myself that I didn't have before.  Now, I say, "when I was a child, I did as a child and flew kites.  Now that I am a man, I still fly kites!"