Flying Paper Boy of the Guadalupes
Queen, New Mexico
Almost everyone we know is known somewhere else, if only as a link in a family tree, a groomsmen in someone else's wedding, or on a deadbeat Dad list. Especially someone with a big monument built to honor their memory, like Frank Kindel.
But Frank came before the cyber-age, when the people who lived and worked in remote parts of the rural southwest had no wireless, no mobile service, and were 100 miles of bad road from anywhere. To stay connected, they relied on gutsy fliers like Kindel to swoop in, dropping newspapers from the sky.
When Kindel crashed his plane in 1964, he was 71 years old, pushing the envelope of "boy." We found out about his monument years ago, but only because a crude map painted on the wall of a now-defunct attraction called Llama Land had a spot marked "Flying Paper Boy Of The Guadalupes," with no other explanation. The map placed the monument somewhere in the Lincoln National Forest, but, as we learned in our first futile attempt to find it, it really should have been more specific.
Our second attempt was made with the help of a vague recollection, which put the monument along Hwy. 137, "three or four miles off of 285. It's right by the road." Ten miles down the lonely road, we came across a natural gas drilling rig. The supervisor had no idea what we were talking about. Twenty miles further along, the road started wending up steep high-desert hills. At the top, another twenty miles or so, we hit the Lincoln National Forest from the backside, and not much farther after that, finally found Frank's monument.
It stands alone, a stone and smooth concrete obelisk, ten feet high, with a small airplane propeller affixed to the front. A dirt turnout lies between it and the road. Some crushed beer bottles in the scrub behind it remind us of the tributes left at another lonely memorial to a forgotten sky king, Carranza, The Lindbergh of Mexico.
On the monument's base, a weathered brass plate tells all we know about Kindel:
In Memoriam Frank A. Kindel
The Flying Paper Boy Of The Guadalupes
October 30, 1892 - May 31, 1964
Whatever propelled Frank A Kindel through life left an undiminishing wake.
Whether riding his unicycle in a parade, greeting and entertaining visitors to his community or dropping newspapers from his Piper Cruiser to ranchers and hunters in these Guadalupe Mountains he lived a life of service dedicated to his family, his community and his fellow man.
On his last day in life, he flew the Rev. Willis E. Plapp to this site to conduct sunrise services for members of the Pecos Valley Trail Ride.
The services were the last for Frank. He flew across the great divide into eternity when his plane crashed near this spot in the Lincoln National Forest.