Remembering John

Dear Editor:John Adams was a man who had a special sense for capturing history and making it interesting. Downey is a better place because of John. He was a man of integrity, fairness, and inspiration. My first exposure to John was through the "Time Traveler" series of articles about Downey's fascinating history. As I got to know him, having a conversation with John was an interesting event. On one occasion, I went up to the Downey Eagle's offices to drop off an article on Helen Sachs, who had recently passed away. Timidly, I walked in and asked for John. A nice woman pointed over to a desk. I walked over to John and told him I had the article we spoke of. We had a conversation for the next few minutes of which I'm not sure I understood much of what he said, but at the conclusion it was apparent we were both on the same page. On another occasion John called me about the NASA site, asking if he could get an update on our activities at the former Boeing plant. At that time ALF (Aerospace Legacy Foundation) was going through every building at the site and finding loads of historical documents and items related to the site's history. John met me at the site for a tour and we ended up in Building 14 where everything was being stored and he asked to take some pictures. He flailed around quite a bit, trying to get his camera to work (it looked pretty beat up). I asked if I could help but he stubbornly refused. Basically, the camera flies up into the air and lands on the floor, knocking its lens attachment off. John methodically (with persistence) got the camera together finally but it was all somewhat chaotic and funny. After he got it all together we laughed a lot and I showed him my camera, which was similar, and I had a small twig in the viewfinder to keep it in place. Anyone but me using my camera might be in for a surprise, but it worked for me. And that was John; he had his own way of dealing with life. He did not let any handicap stop him from covering his beat. When John wrote articles he always tried to include all sides of the story. At John's memorial service I enjoyed listening as each speaker shared their memories of him. He lived life in his own unique way. As Henry David Thoreau said, "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." And so, John Quincy Adams lives on in our hearts and also the great body of articles, poems and "Time Traveler" stories he penned. Downey was fortunate to have John document our lives. He was an inspiration to me and I will never forget him. - Larry Latimer, Aerospace Legacy Foundation ********** Published: March 20, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 48