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WYSO, the Dayton Metro Library and local social service agency, Rebuilding Together Dayton, have come together for a very special project. We’ve gathered the memories and wise words of Dayton’s elders for Senior Voices, a new series that is airing throughout 2018.Along with Dayton Metro Library staff, we trained nearly three dozen area residents to use digital recording equipment to interview local elders. Interviews took place at branch libraries, at selected Lobby Stop locations (Lobby Stop is a sort of book mobile for seniors), community centers, and in the homes of seniors who participated in the Rebuilding Together Dayton Fixit Kit program.We held three trainings at the DML Northwest branch this summer, and shortly after the new main branch opened in August, the volunteers began gathering stories. The full interviews will be accessible for generations to come at the Dayton Metro Library. At WYSO, Community Voices producers have been editing the interviews for broadcast. We present them to you in honor of the life experiences and wisdom of Dayton elders.This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.Jocelyn Robinson coordinated this series for WYSO. Janine Kinnison is the Project Liaison for Dayton Metro Library.Editors include: Dave Barber, William Brown, Tess Cortes, Patti Gehred, Javis Heberling, Kateri Kosta, Zebedee Reichert, Jason Reynolds, David Seitz, Alan Staiger, Chris Welter. Interviewers include: Dana Kragick, Tess Cortes, Anna Omulo, Doug Bowers, Hadley Drodge, M. Alice Callier, Barbra Gerla, Jason Coatney Schuler, Linda Pitzer, Carol Jackson, Audrey Ingram, Susan Brenner, Nancy Messer, Christian Davell, Ken Standifer, Liz Anderson, Cynthia Wallace-King, Karen Maner, David Murphy Sr., Cynthia Rush, Alan Stagier, Debra Root, Pamela Waltrip, Jennifer Hicks, Brandon Ulman, Karah Power    

Senior Voices: Andy Heins (Part 2)

Andy Heins
Senior Voices

In a previous Senior Voices segment, Andy Heins described his experience being among the first students involved in the desegregation of Dayton City Schools. His interview with Dayton Metro Library volunteer Nancy Messer also captured his memories of the famous small airplanes that were built in Troy, Ohio.


Andy Heins: I grew up in a family that was heavily involved in aviation. My father was a pilot from before World War II, all the way through World War II, and right up actually to the time that he passed away. Both my brothers are pilots, and I’m a pilot. And we restore antique airplanes.

And so it was an interesting life and I can remember my mom’s mother, she was a seamstress. I can remember her coming to the house and all these aircraft that we rebuilt are fabric covered. I can remember her on her back, sewing the fabric envelopes onto the airplanes, you know, out in the garage, ‘cause once you cover the aircraft with fabric and you put what’s called butyrate dope on it, well if you have extended periods of time exposed to that, you become high, and so they would be out in the garage you know and then they would be like they were drunk coming in the house and laughing and giggling and my father as well, and of course my grandmother on her back out in the garage.

The type of airplanes that we rebuilt were called Waco aircraft, and they were built in Troy, Ohio. They were the largest producer of airplanes in the United States from the late Twenties all the way through the Thirties. Waco quit building airplanes in about 1947, but they remained in business and did subcontracting work and that type of thing.

Well the company actually went out of business then about 1965. The company and al the building and everything which are all still in Troy, Ohio, that’s where the B.F. Goodrich plant is, it held an auction. Well of course my family went up there and came back with lots of things, including three airplanes that had never been sold by Waco, and so we had three of these airplanes in our yard.

Well, I became the most popular kid because I had the coolest toys for everybody to come play in, you know, and so that’s something, you know, that I’ll never forget.

This interview was edited by Community Voices producer Dave Barber. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.