My big brother, Jay Gerber, is my spokesman for his memoir. You guessed it, I’m writing his story with him.
Jay has accomplished more in his 87 years than most people could in two lifetimes. But he’s not done yet! He wants to get it all down in a book – all his adventures, and he asked me to write it.
It was the beginning of him becoming a mature teenager—oh, I know that’s an oxymoron–but the high school at Carson Long Military Institute taught Jay a thing or two. Then off to college, then into the army, then back to university and successful completion of medical school. He did a short stint as a podiatrist but was too busy making movies, flying, then sat in his own Piper Cherokee 180, and filming football for NFL Films. Not necessarily in that order. And somewhere in-between he married a gorgeous blue-eyed blond, My fabulous, amazing sister-in-law and friend, Barb.
His love for flying and football always took center stage, and his knowledge in technology and photography is embedded in his DNA.
At seven-years-old, he built his own planes from balsa wood and tissue paper. It all began after a trip with Dad to the 1939 World’s Fair Aviation Exhibit. He built the planes while I watched as he glued the pieces together and smelled up our shared bedroom. No, we don’t remember getting a hit from the glue. Back then, the glue was handy to put things together. Then he added rubber bands and threw the planes up in the air till they ran out of the twisted rubber bands and crash-landed. He didn’t care if they got damaged—he fixed them and threw them back into the air again. I asked Jay to build one for me so we could fly them together.
This model planes grew in size, then he installed engines and even created a control shift like the stick shifter in Dad’s 1938 Plymouth. He landed the plane by doing something with that stick, remote control is what it’s called. The planes kept growing until he eventually bought a ready-made plane that he sat in and flew. Jay was fortunate to own a Piper Cherokee 180 and then a Cherokee SIX 260. He certainly earned his wings including the private instrument, commercial, and twin ratings.
He sold the Cherokee SIX to a ham radio retailer. As part of the sale, he received a ham radio station. This led to his extra class license as an N3AW and a ham radio contest station where he competed in many worldwide phones and CW [Morse Code] contests.
And at the ripe young age of 72, Jay learned to play the piano. Well, it’s about time he learned. I’ve been playing since the age of 7. I asked Jay was he jealous of me playing the piano? “Nope” because he played clarinet and sax, and had a band when he was in college.
Of course, what would retirement be without adding a few rounds of golf into the mix as well? Leave it to my brother — he’s an expert on the links too.
He’s been honored by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) for his brilliance in all the above. For most of his career, he worked for the NFL in their film and technical division.
Jay is also the guy who filmed the famous Immaculate Reception play during the Steelers and Raiders divisional playoff game on December 23, 1972, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. At the airport, there’s a statue of Franco Harris, who caught the football, next to one of George Washington. You all know who that is, right
The time Jay and I spend together is the best part of writing this book. All the memories of our childhood, teenage adventures, and the joyful and poignant changes that adulthood brings. Through it all Jay has always been my big brother. My first hero. And my dear friend.
Gail (Gerber) Ingis is an artist, interior designer, and published author. Her historical romances Indigo Sky and The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin are both available on Amazon. Gail is currently writing a memoir with her brother Jay S. Gerber. He’s a man that rose from rags to riches, find out how in his memoirs, maybe by the end of this year.