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Copyright 2009-2010 by
Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Friday, October 21, 2005

There are some things that only happen once in our lifetimes....every first will never be repeated, and today, I was privileged to have a special FIRST in my life!

As you know, I write for Senior Life Newspaper, here in Florida, and from time to time, I am asked to "cover" special stories, or am invited to attend events to get a "feel" for the people involved. I have been able to attend museum openings, barbershop quartets, musical reviews, and have talked to some fascinating people in the past three years since I have been affiliated with the newspaper. Each time I attend an event, it is free of charge to me, and sometimes my husband joins me, making it even nicer.

Earlier this week, my editor asked if I would cover an event at Titusville SkyDive and I agreed. Dressed to impress, I was prepared to interview Seniors who would be skydiving. I arrived early enough that I was able to talk to two people who were waiting and they truly had some interesting things to tell me.

Once my editor arrived, we moved to another room and people started filling out forms, disclaimers, and signing away the right to sue for potential damages or deaths. Suddenly, Jill thrust a clipboard at me and asked, "Mary, do you want to go up?" without hesitation or consideration of cost, I said, "Yes! I sure do!" I can't remember how many times I initialed a space promising that I would not hold the facility or anyone involved responsible in case of injury or death...and I did not even consider the cost. I can't say why, but it never really crossed my mind to ask how much it might cost to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!

It didn't matter. The newspaper paid for me to do this. The newspaper even paid for a videographer to record the few minutes of excitement for me on DVD. Dean was my Jumpmaster, and has been doing this for more than 10 years. He has at least 13,000 jumps to his credit, many tandem, and many for publicity or for fun. He is the Uncle Sam on a snowboard on the website linked above. He also takes photos for the website and the facility.

There were two Seniors jumping with me, and my editor jumped after us. The plane was not large enough for all of us and the necessary videographers...we each had one assigned to us. Mine was Kristen, and she was very good, I thought. She also took stills of which a few are attached. If you want to see more, just ask, and I can send you any of the photos that were taken.

Kristen basically flew among the clouds to get all the shots, darting up and down to be where she needed to be. Then she landed before we did, so that she could photograph my landing, which was on my design. I was told to sit in the harness with my legs out straight before me, and I slid in my new pants on the grass. I struggled to keep my sandals on my feet, but they never slipped off, thank goodness!

Dean and I did a Freefall from 15,000 feet (the highest in the state of Florida) and were just falling for a few before the initial chute deployed. We did a 70 second freefall! The air was cold, but the day was gorgeous, as you can see. We fell through the clouds as time stood still and flew at the same moment. I don't know how long it took me to open my eyes and ENJoy what I was experiencing, but I was glad I did! My stomach flipped over a few times, but mostly, I felt total and utter AMAZEMENT at the fact that I was the one experiencing this magnificent wonder!

There was a slight jolt when the main parachute opened, but then, Dean and I just talked on our way down. I was interviewing him, without even thinking about it. The photography went on during the free fall, and when the chutes deployed, each person or tandem was in his or her own space. Kristen rushed to watch me land and unharness, then she went to create my DVD with music. I am anxious to go watch it again!

I watched videos done by three different videographers today, and each one was different from the others...naturally, I think mine is the best!

I want to do this again, and I hope my husband can join me for the next fall. We had hoped to make our first jump together, but I sure was not going to turn down a FREE Freefall!