Who We Are – Answering The Call

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he went from a shipping clerk to a bomber pilot

Senior man posing for photo in library room

Though twenty years retired, Stanley Kavan is far from done working and being creative. At 97 years old, he published his first book of poetry called The Delicious Little Book of Love, Laughter, and Tears.

What began as supplements to his annual Christmas cards evolved into a literary project channeling his military service, his career, his outlook on family, on music, on the evolution of children’s names, and more.

Each of the 35 poems and 3 short stories features a brief essay explaining the inspiration and origin, including the opening poem: “Where did all the music go?”

Answering The Call
Out of high school, Stan worked as a shipping clerk at a branch of Columbia Records in Hartford, CT—until Pearl Harbor was bombed and the U.S. joined World War II in Europe.

Heeding the advice of his older brother who was drafted and sent to fight Rommell in North Africa, Stan decided to volunteer so he could choose his own path. He signed up for the Army Air Corps hoping to become a bombardier, but his scholastics and ability were such that he was commissioned as a pilot instead.

Stationed in Italy, he flew his B-17 Flying Fortress on bombing missions over Germany and Austria—including a rare daylight, single-ship, unescorted mission—which contributed to him earning the Distinguished Service Cross. At a time when flight crews’ survival rate fell below 25%, Lieutenant Stanley Kevan managed to keep himself and his crews alive, ticking down the required 35 missions to complete his tour of duty and go home.

Deep into his 35th mission over the Po River in Italy, he and his crew made a bombing run but couldn’t drop. Took another pass and again didn’t drop. Without enough fuel for another run, they had to head back to base—feeling cheated and dejected because it only counted as a mission if you dropped your payload or took enemy fire.

The trip back, he remembers, was the “sorriest flight I ever took,” knowing he’d still have to fly one more dangerous mission over enemy territory, braving flak and Luftwaffe aces. As he showered afterward in the barracks, someone shouted the news: “We were shot at and it counted!”  His knees buckled with relief.

Cook book on deskNever A Blue Monday
After the war, he returned home to his wife and his job at the Hartford branch of Columbia Records, where he was recognized for his leadership skills.  He was also recruited to the corporate office in Manhattan, where he rose through the ranks to become VP of Merchandising and Advertisement.

Commuting by train several hours each day between his home in Connecticut and his office in Manhattan eventually earned him the distinction of being one of the few people to rack up a million miles by rail and a million miles in the air.

Though he had no musical ability and never played an instrument, he worked with illustrious artists like Mitch Miller and Tony Bennett, and tried valiantly to bring quadraphonic sound to the world, travelling to Europe, Japan, Mexico, and beyond.

Giving Back
When it came time to find an assisted living facility near his home in Milford, CT, the obvious choice was Carriage Green because of its excellent food offerings from a chef who holds weekly meetings for anyone who cares to attend.  Last year Stanley took over Carriage Green’s common-area kitchen and hosted Thanksgiving for his large, diverse family, which includes 13 great grandchildren.

When he’s not attending a current events lecture or one of the many exercise programs at Carriage Green, Stanley continues

his volunteer work for Connecticut Talking Books, a Connecticut State Library program recording books on tape for the blind. Specializing in celebrity biographies, he’s recorded nearly 40 books so far — including his own.

“If you gotta be somewhere,” he says, “Carriage Green is a nice place to be.”

Be sure to check out Stanley Kavan’s The Delicious Little Book of Love, Laughter, and Tears, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target.

Old photo of men in US armed forces

Carriage Green at Milford