“A Conversation Between A Model Boy and a Passing Old Lady”

Here’s a poem written by Arthur E. Nealy, published in Aerial Age Weekly, April 12, 1915, pg. 91 more than 100 years ago, and still relevant today.

A Conversation Between A Model Boy and a Passing Old Lady”

By Arthur Elton Nealy


twin pusher 400Lady—   Little Boy, what is that which you have in your hand?
Boy     A model flying machine.
Lady   A wee, baby aeroplane; goodness me! It’s something I never have seen.
How high
boyIn the sky
Little boy, will it fly?


Boy    O, way out of sight when the wind is just right and the rubbers are wound good and strong.
Lady—   Well, who’d have thought such a contraption could be! Now, how do you push it along?
Boy     In the air.
Lady   But where?
Boy     Those propellers right there.
Lady   What? They make it go!
Then how do you know
That you won’t fall down and be killed?

Boy    Well, Miss,
It’s like this;
As it won’t lift me up, you see, I will never be spilled.
Lady—   What!  Won’t lift you up!  You said it would fly,
O, every so high
Little boy, are you joking or telling a lie?


Boy   Well it can!
But a span
Of a foot and half is not meant for a man.
Lady Then who does the steering, and where does he sit?  My goodness! A flyer must have lots of grit.

Boy    But Miss!
Now This
Is a model.  Gee Whiz!
Lady   I see, it’s a toy
Made for some little boy.
Boy—    No, no.  Not a toy!
But a model! (Oh, Joy!)
Lady   My dear,
You appear
Rather peevish, I fear.
But nowadays the urchins are all of ‘em spoiled.
Ah, things were so different when I was a child!
Little brat!
What is that?

Boy    A winder.  (Old cat!)
Lady   Well, now, will you wind it and fly it for me?
Boy—    Yes, Yes, if you’ll hold it a minute, I’ll see.
(Hands propellers to lady and starts winding)
These bands are the motors, you see how the wrap
Around tighter and tight – and sometimes go SNAP!
Lady   Oh! Ow!
Boy—    That’s how
The motor back-fires.  Here, take it again.
Lady—   My goodness, no, sonny – t’was bad enough then.


Credit:  Nealy, Arthur E. “A Conversation Between a Model Boy and a Passing Old Lady.”  Aerial Age Weekly, April 12, 1915, pg. 91.