|Loren forges a deal while Miriam looks on.
|UNDER THE FRUIT TREES at SCHMIDT's RANCH
by Steve Roselle
Last Sunday the northern California modeling
community lost a great friend. For as
many years as I can remember since joining the Old Timer model aircraft movement known as SAM, I remember Loren Schmidt being
The initials S A M stand for: the Society
of Antique Modelers. Now, you might interpret that name several ways. Yes, the model designs are antiques, but
also the modelers that enjoy them are also somewhat antique. Not that one has to be an antique to enjoy old time modeling;
it just seems to work out that way.
Looking back to the early 1980's Loren was always
there with a steady passion for his models and the friends that surrounded him. Not usually driven to be a winner, he
just enjoyed building and flying and smoozing. He enjoyed the comradery of modeling friends and the gentle challenges
of creating a fragile balsa and tissue model then guiding it thru the skies on any given afternoon.
Service to the modeling community was always engrained
in his actions. For many years he directed contests at both Weagell field, and his home - Schmidt Ranch. He and
his wife Miriam never ceased to open their home and yards and fields to us modelers for the gatherings we call SAM contests.
In reality they were, and still are, the roundevou for the SAM modeling world in Northern California. There, we are
among friends with like ambitions and values. The opportunity to talk and fly model airplanes is a great release from
the work-a-day stresses and pressures of the modern world.
Loren & Miriam made this happen thru their friendliness
and kindness. I several times told Loren that, with the ability to just go out his back door and fly a model airplane,
he was truly a rich man! We who make our way in the crowded confines of the suburban Bay Area will never be as rich
as he has been blessed with.
Coming from a small town originally, I appreciate the lifestyle that Loren lived. Over the years
I became aware of Loren's commitment to his family, and the friends in his communities; both rural and modeling. His
stoic steadiness calmed most all that he met.
And, Loren had an engrained sense of humor.
The SAM CHAMPS, our national SAM event, is held each year in different parts of the country. There is a CONCOURS event
for modelers to display their craftsmanship in building and finishing old timer models. The usual entries are gleaming
examples of the modelers art.
Well, Loren one year, brought in his well used working model, complete
with patches and repairs, straight from the field without cleaning it up. It sat there in the midst of the other beauties,
resplendent in its coating of dirt and grime, dripping motor oil all over the table. Loren had fashioned a sign
to announce it.
It read, "RODE HARD, AND PUT AWAY WET!"
I don't know who else voted for it, but I certainly did.
That model epitomized the spirit and fun of SAM.
There is a poem, penned by an American RCAF fighter
pilot in WW2; Pilot Officer John Gilespee Magee Jr. which epitomizes
the spirit of all who seek to venture into the air, whether in person, or remotely as with a model airplane.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
you have not dreamed of -
wheeled and soared and swung high
in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there, I've chased the
shouting winds along,
and flung my eager craft through
footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting
I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.