On a day in early 1975 when I and two others, who shared a Kestrel Kites standard Rogallo, were flying at a hill near my home on the south coast of England, a small crowd of local boys watched us. Some asked questions and had no problem with my two comrades’ replies, but after a while, they began parroting whatever I said, and rocking with laughter.
I am astonished to read of a similar phenomenon ten years later in southern California as related by Maralys Wills, mother of the founders of the world’s longest established hang glider manufacturer Wills Wing. The scene features her husband, the lawyer and author Robert V. Wills, driving eight 7-year-old girls, friends of their granddaughter, to their house for a party…
I gave Rob the job of driving the van with its load of chirping birds back to our house, a dubious assignment when the birds turned into mockingbirds and imitated everything he said. When he coughed, eight girls coughed, and when he said “What’s all this?” back came a chorus of “What’s all this?”…
— from It’s a Duck. And It’s Dead, by Maralys Wills, 2018
Later that year (1975) I saw Maralys and Rob when they came to England with their sons Bob and Chris, then current and former (respectively) US hang gliding champions.
Sport Kites/Wills Wing of California