Childhood
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Building Model Airplanes

“We would spend the afternoon assembling these model airplanes, with glue, and then we would paint them and then hang them up on the ceiling in my room, and it was quite frequent. And so we did that a lot, and it was just a really good bonding exercise because I got to spend time with Grandpa, and I ended up with about twenty-five airplanes hung from my ceiling. And while we were working he would tell stories and talk about the airplanes, like what models they were, and it was just nice to spend time with him.”

Informant: The informant is twenty years old, and currently attends the University of Texas at Austin. He has always been interested in airplanes and military history, with a wealth of knowledge about these subjects.

Analysis:

In this instance, I asked the informant to describe how he learned to make the model airplanes that he used to keep hung from the ceiling in his room. He learned how to make them from his grandfather, and the temporal stickiness that seems to linger is connection between the airplanes and his grandfather, who passed away when he was eight years old. I believe that the significance of this practice is the time they were able to spend together. The practice of building the airplanes itself is not as significance without the context of a grandfather teaching his grandson to appreciate the airplanes and how to construct and paint certain models. Each airplane, the total of which is about twenty-five, is different and represents a different airplane model. In sharing this with his grandson, the grandfather was able to pass down his knowledge about and appreciation for airplanes and the military. The grandfather served in the Korean War, and therefore had extensive knowledge in this field from first-hand experience. The informant has since retained this interest in military history, weaponry, and aircrafts of all kinds, which I believe he received from his grandfather. This demonstrates the significance such a small teaching act can have upon a child, as he learns not only how to construct the model airplanes, but his appreciation for the airplanes as well.

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