It’s the Fourth of July, which means Americans celebrate all things American. My family is flying our flag from the front porch, we’re grilling hamburgers later, and we’ll be picking up some sparklers for when it gets dark. Maybe we’ll even go to the fireworks show if we’re especially motivated. Maybe. Daddy’s got to work in the morning.
Last night when I was looking in a neglected closet for something else, I happened upon this.
This is a 1977 Revell model Goodyear Blimp, unopened and unassembled.
Back in 1980, my greatest wish was to own one of these blimps. My dad managed a Radio Shack, and these were for sale in his store. Picture, if you will, little 6-year-old Lynn sitting in the kitchen of one of her best friends and eyeing this model blimp.
My friend Spring had an older sister who was the impossibly ancient age of 11, and she had just received a blimp for her birthday.
I know you’re thinking — what is so cool about this blimp model? I’ll tell you what’s so freaking cool. You color the sign inside it — you can make it whatever you want — and the thing lights up and spins just like the sign in the real Goodyear blimp.
Does the real thing even do that anymore?
Anyway, I have wanted this model since I was six years old and my dad said I was too little to have it.
So when this website eBay was invented, I got right on it and looked up this model blimp — and sure enough, there it was. For $25 I had myself a pristine, shrink-wrapped model.
Which then sat in a closet for 12 years.
Now I have my own little girl who is the perfect age for coloring the signs, so when I saw the blimp again last night I got excited about it, and she got excited about it with me.
I pulled it out and opened the box.
My girl got right on it. The 30-something-year-old markers still worked.
Meanwhile I started putting together the surprisingly complex guts of the thing.
Aside from one wire that needed to be re-soldered to the motor, everything was in perfect condition. (Many thanks to my husband for his help in soldering and in fixing snapped plastic pieces. I snapped them. Accidentally.)
Once I had everything working it was time to decorate the thing. The decals were still mint.
Time to pick the call sign for the blimp. Hmmm … Columbia, Mayflower … Europa?! Aw, heck no. Which will I pick?
And then the beautiful thing was done. You may view it in all its glory. It works! It works!!!
Doesn’t Stars and Stripes Forever just give it that extra oomph? Makes those fireworks seem real.