|Lidle Crash an Eerie Reminder|
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Ed Patenaude So I’ve Heard
The disaster that took the lives of Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, when their small plane crashed into a high-rise building Oct. 11 in New York City, was still in the headlines last Friday.
“I don’t know what happened there,” said Gabriel P. Casavant, 84, of Oxford, still a licensed private pilot, but eyewitnesses will probably remember the disaster the rest of their lives, he suggested, speaking from experience.
Mr. Casavant was only 7 years old on Sunday, Oct. 21, 1928, when Felix “Breezy” Brisbois, Webster’s first pilot, and Joseph Bazinet, one of his field directors, were killed in the region’s first air disaster at the first Oxford airport. Mr. Casavant and his older brother, Gasper E. Casavant, rode to the airport in the rumble seat of a 1926 Buick “to wait for Breezy’s return from Grafton.”
Mr. Brisbois kept his plane at the airport in south Oxford, but he took people on short flights from an airfield in Mendon on Sundays for a fixed price. Mr. Bazinet and Joseph Kuszewski served as on-field directors, collecting fees and assigning passengers.
Aviation was in its infancy and people gathered about airports to watch planes taking flight and landing. Crowds generally greeted pilot Brisbois on his return, but there were only seven or eight cars there the day Mr. Brisbois and Mr. Bazinet were killed, said Mr. Casavant. “He got back around 5 o’clock and it was starting to get dark.” This had kept the curious away.
The Casavant brothers got out of the rumble seat and ran toward the field, sensing where the plane might land. Mr. Casavant remembers their youthful zeal to reach the site. Published accounts said a puff of smoke was observed and the plane lofted skyward, careered dizzily in the air, turned over, and plunged to the ground.
While the plunge to the ground remains in Mr. Casavant’s memory, it didn’t frustrate his love of aviation, at least not into his wage-earning years. He became a recreational pilot, keeping four planes at another Oxford airport at different times. He remembers flights in the 1940s from an airstrip off Webster’s East Main Street, at what is now a Walgreens store and private homes.
His photo collection includes a print of pilot Brisbois and Mr. Bazinet, photographed with the American Eagle Co. airplane that Mr. Brisbois flew from Kansas City, where it was built, in 1926.
“You must remember my brother, Charles,” Donald A. Wayman said a short time ago. “He lives in Ohio now and has an invention that keeps your necktie in place.”
Charles Wayman lived in Webster, worked as a setup man at Economic Machine Co. in Worcester, got promoted decades ago to a post in the Akron, Ohio, area, and, yes, I remember him. We once worked together as teens at the former Hillside Dairy. The stand was on East Main Street at what is now Brooks Pharmacy.
Brother Donald subsequently came up with Charles’ inventor portfolio. A patent has been filed describing “The Tie Down, designed to hold a necktie in place on the shirt of the wearer.”
Donald Wayman had a Tie Down in hand when we spoke. Made of a twill-like material, it is about 5 inches long with oversized button holes on the top and bottom. The Tie Down is looped between the label on the back of the tie and is fastened to the shirt buttons over and below the label.
According to Charles Wayman’s inventor profile, “The unrestrained necktie often ends up stained from accidentally falling into food, beverages or other substances. In addition, a crooked necktie diminishes the wearer’s appearance.”
Brother Donald sees value in the invention. “It would be great for (waitpersons) that have to wear ties at work,” he said.
One of Charles Wayman’s Ohio friends has an invention that attaches to shoes, apparently to enhance design. “They asked me to check it out with some of the
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