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Read a firsthand account of aviation history in Dustys War


I have a new project. I’m ready to publish another book, titled “Dusty’s War.” It’s my father’s view of the "United States Army Air Service in 1917 and 1918 and my second flying career in the 1950s.”

After my mother died, Dad moved in with me in Lake Oswego. With him came scrapbooks and the diaries for each day from the early 1900s to the end of the 1980s. The preface to the book is tentatively titled “Dusty’s War,” which expresses appreciation for “assistance of my daughter, Ardis Miller Stevenson, who with me plowed through my old records and the cobwebs of my old mind to reconstruct what life was like years earlier.”

When our daily conversations about details of the diary ended after two years, what had become the book manuscript rested on a closet shelf for two decades. The manuscript included photographs of 1918 airplanes, military uniforms, aerial combat and the much prized pilot’s wings. His scrapbooks that also rested in the closet included copies of military orders and even a message from the president of the United States.

Now, awareness of computer programs that create reasonably priced “eBooks” encourages me to again turn attention to publishing that bit of history. A special impetus comes from a January 2010 "Parade" magazine clipping headlined “Exercise Your Brain Online.” The subhead is “Searching the Web may aid cognition.”

The study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience suggested that “Internet searching may be used as a brain exercise in older adults — and speculated that doing so may even delay the onset of dementia." Another bit of news from my files said, “Research has concluded that cognitive decline is not an inevitable aspect of normal aging. In fact, mature minds have the potential for continued growth, creativity and wisdom."

With that data, those of you who now are computer literate can bask in the knowledge that you are continuing to build strong and active minds.You who have jumped into the current era of scanning and researching with the tips of your fingers — at least when those fingers are on the computer — can just delight at all the information and wisdom that’s contributing to “continued growth, creativity and wisdom.”

For me, that information provides a great step toward having my father’s World War I book available at a reasonable price. I can put "Dusty’s War" on the Internet to be read on a tablet. It will be an eBook.

Maybe that’s unrealistic. I know that many senior citizens do not use computers. My brothers, both in their 80s, are not about to jump into reading books on computers and tablets. However, I’m guessing that history buffs have learned the value of finding history on their computer screen.

Now, for each of you who can benefit from brain exercise, here’s an excuse to invest in a Kindle or some other tablet: First-person accounts of aviation history and its pioneers and a whole new world of information at your finger tips.

Stories for Positive Aging is a semi-monthly column on senior issues written by Lake Oswego author of “Facing Age, Finding Answers” Ardis Stevenson. She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by regular mail at 17440 Holy Names Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.