Monday, February 21, 2011


(Continuation of Captain Charles Estes's War Memoirs)

"I finally, before I left San Antonio, I had signed a
contract with a company to go to South America
and fly C-47s over the Andes to mining camps back
in the sticks, so to speak; they had landing fields
there and I'm sure it would land a C-47 safely.
But I got home and my father was running
Motor Parts Company all by himself, and the
boy that had worked there with him before the
service, before the war, Otto Carter, he had been
killed over in Australia on a mission.  He was a
pilot -- not a pilot but he was a gunner on a
bomber, and this bomber was shot down and
he was killed.

Well, anyway, my father needed my help and I
realized that when I saw the situation as it was
when I got home, so I determined that I would
stay around Yazoo City, and do what I could
to help him, and so I canceled the contract that
I had with these people and let that fly over the
mountain and forgot about it forever.

But, when you stop and look back at your life
and you see how things are now, and you try
to compare it to what they might have been,
you don't know where you would be had you
taken a turn off in the road and gone a
different direction.

So I'm sitting here at home and I'm talking
to you, Elizabeth.  It's hard to argue with
that I took any wrong turns in my life. 
I seem to be ahead of the dogs, even though
the dogs were pretty close at times, but I'm
still ahead of 'em.  I'm 76 years old and my
health is not bad, and I'm very pleased to
be able to sit here and tell you about my

I hope -- this is about as far as I can go
with any war experiences that I had or 
anything that happened to me in my life.
My father, when he retired, turned Motor
Parts Company over to Ben and myself,
and we ran it until my health was such
that I was not being a value to him, so
I decided to retire and I took the money
that I got from the sale of Motor Parts,
my share of Motor Parts Company and
tried to invest it as wisely as I could so
that I wouldn't throw it away.  If I had
not used it and done something worthy
in a constructuve way at the time that 
I got out, I'm sure that it would be long
gone now and not helped anybody.   But
I managed to do some fairly wise things.
Your mother and I each have a burial
policy and we have health insurance
aside from our Medicare, and we have
extended care so that should we get to
a point where we need to go to a
convalescent home then it's taken care
of, so I feel that I've done pretty well
with the money that was given to me
for my share in Motor Parts Company.

I still go down there to get my mail because
my mail still goes to Box 169 and that's
Motor Parts Company.  It makes your
mother a little mad at times to think
about me having to go down there
to get my mail when it could be sent
out here, but I don't know what it
would take to change that,   I'd have to
write too many people.

Anyway, it's been a pleasure talking to 
you.  I hope that you can make something
from what I have said to you, and if 
there is anything in here that is not
clear, let me know and I will be in
touch with you and straighten it out
with you as closely as I can.

Right now Bob Swain and myself are
the only two officers that were on
our original crew that are still
alive.  John Congleton died.  My
flight engineer, Frank Delois, died.
My lower ball turret gunner, Harry
Henry, died.  And my top turret
and radio man, Raphael Gonyea
from New York state, he died.
I found John Norris about a year
or so back, and I'm in touch with
him.  And Don Brown was my
nose turret gunner and he lives
in Emporia, Kansas, and I'm in
touch with him; so I'm in touch
with all of the men that I flew
with including those that were
assigned to me on the flight that
we were shot down over

But if there is anything else that
you need to know, just get in touch
with me.  

Thank you, ma'am and good night...        

                         * * *

  (Papa made his last dictation and mailed the
 cassettes to me February of 1999....he died
 that October of 1999).