80-year-old takes a ride on a warbird

On Monday, when Minden resident Adele Bachman turned 80, she had already had her birthday present.

That's because on Saturday, her children paid for her to fly in a World War II single engine aircraft at the Minden- Tahoe Airport.

"I would go up in any airplane anyone asked me to go in," the former pilot and member of the women's aviator group the 99s said.

"My parachute ride may be next."

Footing the bill for the ride were Adele's children Kenneth, Mark, Todd and daughter Alain Mozley.

"They asked what I wanted to do for my birthday and I told them," she said.

The aircraft was an SNJ, the Navy version of the AT-6 Texan, which served as a primary training aircraft from 1938 and into the 1950s.

"It was a neat airplane to go on a ride," she said. "The pilot did some loops and rolls."

The plane was in Minden April 21-30 and is not on its way back east to New Jersey.

Adele learned to fly when she was 50 after her children left home. She learned to fly in a Cessna 150, then moved to a Cessna 172.

"I always wanted to fly, but then I started raising a family," she said. "At the time I wanted to be a stewardess, which meant you had to be a registered nurse. That was why I was going to U.C. Berkeley."

Adele met her husband, Julius, who was serving in the U.S. Navy. The couple lived for 50 years in Albany, Calif., before moving to Minden a dozen years ago.

Adele and her husband lived a few blocks from where she grew up in the small Bay area town near Berkeley.

"It was a good life, Albany was a small town," she said. "But it got so congested that it was time to leave."

Her husband was a reserve police officer and her two oldest sons had careers with the Oakland and Berkeley police departments. They retired here.

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I got to present our photo collage on Jon-Jon's memorial service at the Law Enforcement Open House on Tuesday.

There's a reason I didn't go on television, and that's because I'm kind of a big glumphy guy, and my performance in presenting the plaque did nothing to change that.

Sheriff Ron Pierini came to my rescue and I didn't drop the plaque or anything.

While wandering the Judicial Law Enforcement Center, reporter Sheila Gardner, ad manager Joanna Reeves and I visited the evidence room and talked to Evidence Technician John Barden.

Before his gig in Douglas County, John was a Santa Cruz sheriff's deputy. I mentioned my wife's grandmother, Lucille Aldrich and John said she was a neighbor when he was growing up.

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Another retired California law officer, Gardnerville's Frank Rocha, will be signing copies of his book "The Scope of Death" at the Shady Grove Coffee Co. starting at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Frank wrote the book in the early 1990s, but his daughter discovered the manuscript and got it published.

To check out the novel, go to novelsbyrocha.com. Copies will be available for purchase.

Frank retired as a lieutenant with the Salinas Police Department and lives with his wife in Gardnerville.

The book is for sale online at amazon.com, border.com, booksurge.com and on his Web site.

n Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at 782-5121, ext. 215 or khildebrand@recordcourier.com


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