For some nine months in 1968, I enjoyed an extraordinary way to avoid gridlock.
As described in Sky Below, a sequence of job changes and residential moves resulted in a 65-mile commute diagonally across all of Greater Los Angeles, with its contiguous suburbs lashed together by freeways chrome-to-chrome. I lived in Corona del Mar and worked in Santa Monica. For the next forty work-weeks, I became the rarest kind of commuter in the world. Here is a selection from dozens of pictures taken by a newspaper photographer who accompanied me one morning.
Here you see me unlocking the luggage compartment on Skylane Two Eight Two Four Foxtrot, ho-hum...
...performing a routine pre-flight inspection,...
...and taking off from Orange County Airport (long ago renamed John Wayne International) -- destination: Santa Monica, 65 miles away.
...Anaheim Stadium shows no cars in the parking lot at this hour of a weekday morning. You can see the Angel's "A" with its huge halo but otherwise, in 1968, only orange groves.
Look, there's Disneyland, with plenty of morning visitors, but where's the Matterhorn?
Arriving over downtown Los Angeles, and you see that the tallest building is -- well, it's City Hall. Can you spot the Music Center down there?One morning, after the article appeared in the Los Angeles Times, I found a note on my desk.
It was taped to a small cardboard box. Inside was the defective stapler I had discarded the previous week. The thing was a gag gift from some guys in the office months before. Fashioned to look like a telegraph key, the stapler never worked very well and finally jammed. I fiddled with it for awhile and gave up, throwing it in my wastebasket.
Now, here it was, working just fine. The note read, "Dear Mr. Niquette, I saw your picture in the paper and found your stappler [sic] in the trash and took it home to fix it. It works OK now. I hope you always fly safe. Jose (night janitor)."