Meeting Wilbur and Orville
To understand the brothers, one historian found that what you know is less important than who you know.
- By Tom D. Crouch
- Air & Space magazine, March 2003
(Page 4 of 4)
I would not choose to visit on the day he flew the kite, because Orville was away on a camping trip, and I would want to meet them both. I would like to shake hands with the brothers, long before they tasted fame, at a time when the possibility of actually succeeding where so many others had failed was the most distant dream.
I would like to hear their voices. No recording of either of them has survived. I know what others have said about their personalities. Members of their family have described them to me at length. I have read what they wrote, and drawn my own conclusions. I would simply like a reality check on my assumptions about these two men, to whom I have given so much thought.
I would like to walk home with them, to the house at No. 7 Hawthorne Street. What would I not give for the opportunity to chat for a few minutes with their father, Bishop Milton Wright, the man who was so important in shaping the lives of his children and through them the history of the 20th century? I would certainly not pass up the chance to spend at least a few minutes with their sister, Katharine. And I would want to walk the neighborhood, getting a feel for the few blocks along West Third Street that the Wrights knew so well.
Of one thing you can be certain. My visit to the West Dayton of 1899 would not be complete without a walk around the block to Horace Street and a visit with a three-year-old charmer named Ivonette. For my money, that would be an afternoon in the past well spent.