Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #321

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #321

Chapter Nineteen

Trials and Triumph

…Does she or doesn’t she…

Does she or doesn’t she?” Bob Ford knows the answer to that question, posed by advertisers for Miss Clairol, but he best not spill the truth about the color of his wife’s hair.

“I think that the visual medium of television is a bit too nosey for my taste.” Lyn Hanes-Ford laments about the potential invasion of privacy.

“But only your hair dresser knows for sure!” The wily fly-boy is watching way too much television now that he is semi-retired. “You know, your hair was darker when I first met you.”

Carolyn’s steely blue eyes are focused on her husband’s direction, her attention drawn away from the banging of artful keystrokes, those recounting Bob’s former heroics. She muses, “Let’s see, didn’t you typewriterget your crew lost over the Arabian Sea, nearly running out of fuel?”

Ford does not remember it that way and why is she tinkering with the story of the Pacific Clipper. “Hey sweetie, you know that we were flying by the seat of our pants and I thought you finished that account last year.”

Lyn fluffs her shoulder length blond locks. “I just had a bunch of notes on paper, no structured text, when I started “The Day”. Now I have time to tell the whole story… that was an amazing experience, Bob!”

“Okay, you were a blond when I met you.”

“I thought you would see it my way…”

In the midst of this playful banter, the telephone rings. It has its origins from a Florida exchange, as suggested by the type of ring.

          “I’ll get it!” she is hoping it is the call she has been waiting for. “Hello?”

          “Miss Hanes, is that you? This is a voice from your past.”

          “It is Mrs. Ford now, Joe Slater. How are you?”


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Episode #321


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #299

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #299

…“She was quite a dish, I hear. A bronze skinned beauty with fetching brown eyes that could consume a mere mortal man,” she says with a writer’s flair…

Beautiful Caribbean by Colin Garland

Beautiful Caribbean by Colin Garland

“I know you and I never really talked about it… but we were lovers.”

There, she said it out loud.

Ford has had to deal with the notion before this moment; yet another slightly askew aspect to the last half of his life. “I figured as much, watching you two interacting on the Clipper and such.”

Lyn takes a step back. “No wonder that subject never came up. And to think I was terrified of what you would think, if you knew about us.” It wasn’t that Lyn never liked men. She and Sara just kind of happened. “Then why did you? … You asked me to the reception?! … Oh I get it divide and conquer! Get those girls apart and you would win my heart, was it?”

on-my-mind“Well, sort of. I really did need an escort you know and you do clean up real good,” even though he had his hands full at the time. “I was quite taken with you Lyn, I must say, but the heart thing was not foremost on my mind. And my 2nd officer, Rod, he wouldn’t stop talking about that Sara woman. Yes, we had been away from base for a while, but we were both unattached. No harm in trying.  It seemed like a natural fit for the evening and we didn’t have any expectations. Hell, we were staring 12,000 miles of  in the face… half the world away from New York and no charts to guide us.”

“I was just giving you a hard time Bob, you guys were perfect gentlemen.” More than that, she recalls she had a great time and liked the feeling of being on a man’s arm for a change. “You know, this is a great-great story, one that should be told. It would be a shame to let it slip into the cracks of history.” The gears in Lyn’s brain were grinding away. Constance Caraway could use some time off, The Hawaiian Spy-001surely having to do with that Ace Bannion guy, so, “Would you be open to collaborating with me…”

“Isn’t that what your book The Hawaiian Spy was about?”

“I meant collaborating on a book about you … and the flight of the Pacific Clipper. A story like that almost tells itself. And I can get it right from the horses’ mouth. I’m regret missing the last half of your odyssey.”

Ford inserts a pregnant pause in the previously running conversation. There is more to the story than she wants to know. He waits for the right time to let slip a gem, “But then you would find out about that girl in Port ‘O Spain.”

Lyn counters by subtly raising her eyebrows. She maintains a matter-of-fact facade. “She was quite a dish, I hear. A bronze skinned beauty with fetching brown eyes that could consume a mere mortal man,” she says with a writer’s flair.

Image result for writing with flair   How cool was that?

Now he is confused. He thought he coming of as ‘I was only kidding’, but there was that one night when they were refueling. It could have been that homemade rum, or consuming relief that they had made it across the Atlantic Ocean without tasting its salty water, but he didn’t remember why he awoke in this woman’s bed.

What he did not know, is that Lyn was merely guessing. He says nothing.


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Episode #299


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #288

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #288

…The changes in Sara may be more obvious, but Lyn’s metamorphism manifests itself right where she lives and cannot be avoided…

Conspiracy in the Cactus-001

“Some-one or some-thing did something to you during those six years and I intend to find out exactly what it was and how to correct it.”

“That’s swell, Lyn, but while you and Captain Ford do that, you and I are drifting apart. Sure, we’re friends, that’ll never change, but we used to be lovers, Lyn. I may not remember what I did yesterday, but I do recall sleeping in the same bed.”

Lyn knew that this subject would come up sooner or later, preferably the latter. Her feelings for Sara had changed, somewhere between 1941 and forever. What happens when you think a person is dead? There is the process of grieving, which is basically saying goodbye. Is goodbye a one-way switch?  Or was it the six-year separation that put out the fire? The changes in Sara may be more obvious, but Lyn’s metamorphism manifests itself right where she lives and cannot be avoided.

“I can’t put my finger on it, Sare, but neither of us is the same person. It’s like the Pacific Clipper changed our lives forever.”

Mercifully, the telephone rings. Ironically, the Clipper strikes again.

roswell debris “Lyn, meet me at the airport. I got a call from the owner of the ranch where the debris field is in Roswell. The government moved him to Texas, gave him ten thousand bloomin’ acres. No wonder we couldn’t find him. Can you believe it? He heard about us poking around town. I told you that leaving my business card at the barber shop would pay off.  This guy went back for a trim and bingo! He needs to talk to somebody who won’t treat him like a loony or a criminal like the military. He has his own landing strip!” Ford is so excited that Carolyn did not have the chance to say hello.  

“I’m sorry, you must have the wrong number; this is Connie’s Bakery – head crumb speaking.” She has her usual fun with him.

          “Get moving, wiseacre. We have head wind at 5,000 feet.”

          “You really know how to treat a girl, Ford, but I’ll be there in an hour anyway.”

          “Sorry, Lyn, but this is so big. I’ll have her all warmed up and ready to go.”

          “I love your enthusiasm, Bob. See you there. Bye.”

She turns to tell Sara where she is going. The back screen door is swinging closed.


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Image result for old screen door

Episode #288


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #271

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #271

… A blank stare is the mystery woman’s default answer to most questions. She simply doesn’t remember… much…

Meanwhile Caption-001

“This is 1947, Miss ______?” wonders United States Air Force Sergeant Vincent Smith of a woman who is sitting up in a hospital bed at the military facility near Alamogordo, NewHolloman AFB-001 Mexico. She was found standing on the main runway at Holloman Air Force Base, in the middle of a moonlit night two days ago. It is only the full moon that saves her from being run down by a jet airplane taxiing to a midnight takeoff. “Okay, let’s forget your name for now. What is the last thing you remember?”

          “Dancing.”

          “Dancing. That makes sense, considering the dress you were wearing when they found you. Can you tell me where you were dancing and perhaps how you managed to find your way onto the most highly guarded military base in the world?”

A blank stare is the mystery woman’s default the answer to most questions. She simply doesn’t remember… much. “Pearl Harbor – can’t go back, the Japanese…”

The man is puzzled why she always goes back to 1941. Maybe she was a prisoner of the Japanese? “That was six years ago,” he explains once again.

20140323psychiatry“No,” the woman insists, “we are leaving for Pakistan in the morning. I have to get back to the Clipper.”

The base psychiatrist, who has since come into the room, having dealt with this mysterious lady from the beginning, has been slowly putting some of the clues together. “I think she is talking about the Pacific Clipper, Vince, you know, the one Bob Ford flew for Pan American. When the bleeping Japs hit Pearl, he had to fly back to New York by the seat of his pants.”

“Yeah, I have a buddy who knows one of the mechanics from that plane, said they burned 76 octane half the time,” Smith recalls. “But that was still six years ago! This is beginning to creep me out. Keep an eye on her Ben; I’m going to give Pan American a buzz. Maybe they can help figure this out.”


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Melancholia-Dr Sarvenaz Keyhani

Melancholia by Dr Sarvenaz Keyhani

Episode #271


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #268

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #268

…After Captain Ford, his crew and remaining passengers, et al had left Karachi, their odyssey continued for another ten days…

Pacific Clipper Route      As for the Pacific Clipper, the first thing Captain Robert Ford did, once they had landed at LaGuardia Robert Ford-001harbor on January 5 1942, was to radio Colombo, Ceylon and the British Embassy there. He did call his family, knowing that Pan Am had done so in advance for him, but it is the fate of a woman he barely knew that haunts him, and as it turns out, will continue to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Pacific Clipper Take-off    After him, his crew and remaining passengers, et al had left Karachi, their odyssey Pan Am Clipper2continued for another ten days, across the Arabian Peninsula, the sands of the Sahara, the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to the tip of South America, then finally and mercifully, New York City.

Ford Map-001 The loss of one passenger will taint the joy of flying, for a flyer without parallel. Instead of retirement, he is granted two weeks leave and a reassignment to an Atlantic Clipper route. He will china_clipperdo so dutifully, if not unceremoniously.

In the two-week layover, he writes out a complete debriefing for his friend, Lyn, so she can fill in the blanks for her war mystery, The Hawaiian Spy. He promises a visit to Tallahassee on his summer vacation. Not an altogether disagreeable notion, even for her. Friendship is friendship, after all.

Pan Am ClipperPan Am Hat-001fords-flight-route1937 CC P.I.-001

As in the case of their country, they find: a lesson not learned  is the hardest lesson of all.

End of Chapter Fourteen


Author’s note:

What I enjoy most about writing Historical Fiction is being able to weave stories, like Robert Ford’s Pacific Clipper WWII ordeal, into the fabric of ***Alpha Omega M.D. Granted he never actually had a passenger go missing from his Pan Am Clipper on the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), but what fun it was to include characters Carolyn Hanes (Constance Caraway) and Sara Fenwick (Fanny Renwick) in on one of the most amazing stories that no one knows about.

One sunny Sunday, while knee deep in writing this book, I came upon a feature article in the Chicago Tribune’s Travel Section. Somewhere in my old-fashioned stack of research material is that article. At the time, I could not put it down, nor could I let it rest.

As it is with the construction of any book, one writes one-day-at-a-time and a once well planned story takes a sudden turn. And so it did; from a story about a kindly Southern doctor – to a fictional fiction writer who takes a holiday aboard one of Pan American Airways flying boats, WWII breaks out, she loses her companion and blah, blah, blah etc…

I would like to thank the faithful readers of the Writing is Fun-damental (WIF) blog, for allowing me to share my book, along with this amazing story with you. – Gwen

*** THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR – ISBN 978-1-4691-9018 Xlibris Publishing

For the real story behind the Pacific Clipper, (Daley, Robert, 1980, An American Saga, Juan Trippe and His Pan Am Empire, Random House, New York)  follow the link below:

Captain Robert Ford’s Factual Pacific Clipper Story

Pacific Clipper-001



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Episode #268


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #266

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #266

… “PAA should not stand for Postmortem American Airlines.” Words can be weapons, particularly when used by a professional like Lyn…

Words are Weapons-001

“She’s not onboard, Miss Hanes,” reports 1st Officer Brown, Sara’s escort for the evening and not feeling real good about now. “It seems she never made it back.”

Lyn is wondering if life is about to imitate art. In her book tentatively titled, Constance Caraway: The 1937 CC P.I.-001Hawaiian Spy, Fanny Renwick disappears while following the man in the blue suit. Lyn is hoping upon hope that Sara is merely lost, just as Fanny had after being spotted and subsequently ditched by the blue suited suspected spy.

Sure, that is it. She will turn up soon, all safe and sound.

“We’re not leaving until we find her, are we Captain? The mechanics haven’t completed repairs on that cylinder in number three engine.” Rod Brown is seriously concerned about Sara and not just because she was his “date”. He had had his eye on her ever since they left San Francisco. It is without reciprocation that he now acts.

  “Don’t worry, Rod. She can’t have gone far. I have already informed the British authorities about Miss Fenwick and you can head up a search team of your own. Now get cracking, we’ve only about 24 hours before we have to take off for Karachi.”

          “Pakistan?”

          “Yet another glamorous destination. Pan Am should make you guys pay for an around-the-world tour like this one.”

fords-flight-route

“It seems that your Miss Fenwick is not the only person who has been reported missing,” reports a British Army security person to 1st Officer Brown and Carolyn. “Another civilian, a Ceylonese woman and one of our Army nurses vanished about the same time.”

          “All women, what’s up with that? Is there some sicko out there?” Rod Brown fears a rapist is on the loose.

          “Normally, I would make the same assumption folks, but we have had no previous reports of assaults onwomen, especially since the disappearances were in the vicinity of Embassy Row. We are not talking back alleys or poorly lit streets.”

          “What about that blinding light we’ve heard about? Is that cause and effect or just coincidence?” Lyn is leaving no stone unturned.

          “We don’t know Miss, although our base radar did spot a strange blip on their screens at the same time as the light. When the light went out, the bogey was gone. Frankly, nothing in our skies can move that fast.”

“Three people do not just vanish into thin air, Sergeant. I suggest you redouble your search. PAA should not stand for Postmortem American Airlines.” Words can be weapons, particularly when used by a professional like Lyn.

“We need to get some answers soon. We will be leaving for Pakistan early tomorrow. I want that woman found.”


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #264

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #264

…I remember a Sara Fenwick. She said she was tired and was returning to the Clipper, ma’am. That was just before the time that bright light just about blinded me…

The Vanished Flame by lowjacker deviantart.com

The Vanished Flame by lowjacker deviantart.com

“You have been so gracious, Lady Mountbatten. This has been a wonderful evening.” Carolyn Hanes loves informed discussions.

“It looks like your date has run out of gas,” the lady observes Capt. Ford face down in front of his meal.

          “He deserves the rest. I cannot tell you what a Herculean job he has been doing. He is probably dreaming about where we are going next.”

          “Perhaps he is dreaming about you, dear.”

“That would be the true definition of a dream,” she insists, while searching the room for Sara. “Please excuse me, Lady. I seem to have misplaced someone.”

What seemed to be moments ago, Sara had been bouncing off of people, in the arms of yet another bad dancer. Now, she is nowhere to be seen. Upon interviewing some of the crew of the Pacific Clipper, as well as others in the reception, Sara had stepped out for some fresh air. A girl can only have so much fun.

A quick sweep of the British Embassy grounds, results in nothing. When approached, the guard at the gate looks down at his sign-out sheet, “I remember a Sara Fenwick. She said she was tired and was returning to the Clipper, ma’am. That was just before the time that bright light just about blinded me. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

She dismisses the light connection. “Now that is funny,” Lyn thinks aloud. It was not like Sara to take off without checking in, although there were the dagger stares when eye contact was made between them.

          What is a grand adventure for Lyn must be becoming a grand pain for Sara.  ‘Maybe we should just stay here with the British,’ considers the authoress in jest.

          The hour is late and Lyn decides that the crew is probably ready to leave, so she returns to the banquet room. In fact, there is more yawning going on: than a hundred insomniacs on sleeping pills, at a convention for certified actuaries.

          “Let’s go back to the Clipper, guys. Keep your eye out for Miss Fenwick.” Captain Ford cares about his passengers, especially under these extreme circumstances.


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Vanished into the Night

Episode #264


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