Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 PFF #44

Lt. William "Muf" Mufich
Lt. Mufich was stationed with VF-18 (the Fighting 18th) F6F-3 Hellcat Squadron aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in 1944. Lt. Mufich often flew as wingman for the third highest Ace in terms of confirmed shootdowns, Lt. Cecil E. Harris. Lt. Harris scored a total of 23 Japanese planes destroyed in air-to-air combat during the war in the Pacific.

I examined the charred and water-damaged flight log of Lt. Mufich in early May of 2005, and I noted four ‘Rising Sun’ stamps in his log, and a ‘possible’. Hellcat pilots were scrupulous about claiming shootdowns – unless the plane was observed as destroyed in the air or splashing into the sea, the plane was not claimed.

I was able to find a photograph of one of the Hellcats from VF-18, and I’ve placed the Squadron emblem (a + symbol) in its proper place on the tail of the plane in my artwork.

Number 14 was a Squadron plane that Lt. Mufich often flew, though it must be noted that Hellcat pilots were not assigned individual aircraft because of the way that the planes were maintained and readied for missions on the hangar deck.

Lt. Mufich autographed the covers in May 2005 during my visit to his home. He died peacefully in Kalispell, Montana, at the age of ninety years of age in 2010. I don't read the newspapers very often, so I missed his obituary last year.  I'm trying to make up for that fact.  I found it to be an honor to meet and talk with an American war hero intimate with this particular aircraft whose valiant service to our country proves him to be an Ace extraordinaire.

The U.S.S. Intrepid was struck by two Kamikaze planes on November 28th, 1944, the second of which penetrated the flight deck and went into the hangar deck below. The bomb the second Kamikaze was carrying did not go off until after it entered the Intrepid. When it did detonate, it set off a chain reaction of devastating explosions involving countless torpedo and bomb laden American aircraft waiting for launch within the hanger deck. These explosions disabled the fighting effectiveness of the ship until repairs could be made. Sixty-nine sailors and pilots lost their lives in the attack. Lt. Mufich was on the flight deck when the Kamikaze hit occurred, and escaped injury.

He not only made a trip to visit the U.S.S. Intrepid (it's now a floating museum) in New York Harbor in 2006, but he also had his photograph taken in the Ready Room aboard his ship, holding my cover and standing next to a photograph of himself and his squadron taken in 1944. He was wearing a smile.

This may be long winded, but I wanted to take the opportunity to urge everyone who has a father, mother, uncle, aunt or even a neighbor who's a WWII vet to take a few minutes to watch THIS VIDEO if you haven't already.  I've also included a link to a  group called the Honor Flight Network. If you've never heard of it and YOUR WWII veteran has not visited his or her memorial in DC, you should take five minutes to watch the video. We are losing OUR WWII veterans at the rate of a thousand a day. Remember them and remember the reason they gave of themselves.

Be sure you stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy where the hostess Beth Niquette presents another session of Postcard Friendly Friday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Indian Motocycle Logo #2

As depicted on the billhead, the logo is taken from the 1912 Indian Motocycle Catalog. I found this via my brother-in-law Tom-Tom Benson. He pointed me to a site called the Vintage Motorcyle Library, and the catalog is listed as one of the Indian related items that can be purchased on the site.

From the Indian Chief Motorcycle site: The original Indian motorcycle company was founded in 1901 in Springfield Massachusetts USA, by bicycle racer George Hendee and Swedish immigrant Oscar Hedstrom. Some people wonder why it was called the Indian Motocycle Company instead of Indian Motorcycle Company. In Italy, all motorcycles have names beginning with "moto" e.g. Moto-Guzzi, Moto-Ducati, Moto-Laverda, so perhaps Hedstrom was familiar with that. The earliest models looked like mopeds (bicycles with small single cylinder engines) and only 3 were made in 1901. Interestingly, Triumph began production the next year (1902) and Harley-Davidson the year after (1903). So the order was Indian, Triumph, Harley. Indian made 143 motorcycles in 1902.

The "Big Three" are no longer still around. The Indian was produced in the United States through 1953, but is no more.

Although it says on the logo that they have been built since 1901, what it fails to mention is that the Indian Motocycle was THE FIRST motorcycle produced in America.

I purchased two more pieces of this same paper in March and I still intend to put an Indian 4 on a piece of this paper, even if it really isn't historically accurate. The Indian 4 was first available in 1928 to Indian riders.

Michael Curnow opened a bicycle shop in Butte, Montana, at 205 South Montana Street in late 1908. I know that because the 1908 Polk's City Directory for Butte has no listing for him, whereas the 1909 directory does have a single line listing for him. In 1911 he became the Indian Motocycle dealer, and by 1913 he must have had a fairly decent business because he purchased a quarter page advertisement in the directory. I would dearly love to find a photograph of him, but so far I've come up empty.

This piece will soon be on its way out the door, as someone who saw the first piece that I did (which was pictured in the 2011 Western Heritage Artists Show program) asked me to do another.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More FREE Mail PFF #43

Free Frog!

This is old paper as well. Since I've been posting images of my envelopes sent to my wife (then my fiancée) while I was in South Vietnam over forty years ago, I think it's old enough.

This is another envelope that does not really meet the criteria for being sent free through the mail system, but I broke the rules back then instead of just gently bending them like I do today. I was asked by the military liaison at the Holter Museum here in Helena, Liann Meyer, to participate in an exhibition for current military and veterans during Military Appreciation Month. It officially ends on the 30th of May, but there is going to be a reception for all the artists (seventeen of us) and our families this Saturday afternoon, which is Armed Forces Day here in the United States. After getting a sneak peek earlier this week so that I could take photographs, I can't wait until tomorrow to meet the other artists.

This is one that I didn't include in the exhibit. I have put fifteen of them in a single frame, and included the First Day Cover that I did for Lee Nordahl in another smaller frame. I haven't counted the ones that are still in the album, but I've more than a few left to share.

Make certain that you stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for more eye candy on Postcard Friendly Friday, hosted by Beth Niquette.

Friday, May 6, 2011

More FREE Mail PFF #42

A ZIPPY Butterfly

We're doing an Antique show this weekend, so I thought it would be okay to post another of the envelopes I did for my wife over forty years ago. For more on the whys and wherefores of these love letter covers, visit my First post about them HERE. Also, if you follow the label links for Vietnam, there about another 10 of them that I've posted over the last couple of years. This one got a little wet around the edges somewhere along the mail stream, but not enough to make it unreadable. Make sure that you visit Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for more Postcard Friendly Friday cards that are always worth looking at!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Flash Gordon and Atlas Rocket Chalk

I've been working on this one since the beginning of February. After seeing a painting by Teresa N. Fischer in late February I altered the layout a bit and included the box of Rocket Chalk. Matter of fact, you might want to look at some of the rest of her work because I'm thoroughly hooked on her approach to vintage toys in a big way.

I learned a lot about including something other that a fruit jar, although I'm still stuck on glass. I'm going to tackle some old paper in the coming months as I prepare for a one-man show in Eastern Montana because the focus of that show is OLD PAPER, and specifically it will include some pieces from the area. For now, I'm satisfied with the way this one turned out, and I'm back to working on First Day Covers for a while.