The story so far: Wilbur Wright has come to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to test his glider. He has spent the night on board the Curlicue, a weathered fishing schooner now anchored in Kitty Hawk Bay.
Wilbur woke at first light. His back ached from the bailing he’d done on the Curlicue, and his stomach ached, too; over the last two days he’d eaten almost nothing.
Will stood and rubbed the sore muscles that he could reach, took in deep breaths of the sea air, and looked back across the Bay. Somewhere beyond the gleaming water lay the mainland. He turned toward Kitty Hawk. The sun, barely off the horizon, was already fierce and hot. Gulls, buzzards, and chicken hawks circled over sand, low trees, and weathered shacks and docks. Dayton seemed impossibly far away.
Will said his good-byes to Perry and made his way into the little fishing village. A boy led him to a two-story frame house that lacked paint or plaster and was blasted by wind and sand. A hand-painted sign, nailed to a post on the porch, read “Kitty-Hawk NC Post Office.”
“This should be it,” Wilbur thought to himself. “Mr. William J. Tate’s.” Tate was Kitty Hawk’s postmaster, notary, and county commissioner. His house was where Wilbur had arranged to stay. Wilbur stepped onto the porch and knocked on the plank door.
After a moment a man opened the door. He was dark-haired, with a full mustache and sunburnt skin. He looked at Wilbur through tight eyes, as though some exotic creature had just appeared on his porch. Then he said, “Must be Wilbur Wright,” and smiled, and held out his hand. “I’m Bill Tate. Welcome to Kitty Hawk.”
“Thank you,” said Wilbur. He shook Tate’s hand and stepped into the house.
Wilbur settled in with Tate and his wife, daughters, and son, and began work on his glider. The Tates were warm hosts, but their house was as spare on the inside as on the outside. So when Orville arrived, two weeks after Will, it was more than brotherly affection that made Will glad to see him.
“I’m glad to see that coffee,” Will said.
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"Shortcuts" by Jeff Harris is a fact-packed page that makes learning fun. Each week, Shortcuts' multicultural cast offers facts, riddles, jokes and puzzles to help students learn about science, geography, animals, food, history and holidays. Each teaching guide provides ideas for expanding the lesson and creating discussion and learning activities for students.