HARBOR WOMAN, SON SKYDIVE FOR FIRST TIME

May 17, 2001 11:00 pm
Urban Moore shows Mary Edna Warren altimeter indicating it is time to release the parachute. ().
Urban Moore shows Mary Edna Warren altimeter indicating it is time to release the parachute. ().

By BILL SCHLICHTING

When Mary Edna Warren, 82, told her son that she decided to try skydiving, at first he thought she had lost her mind.

She even asked her to son to jump with her when he came up to visit her on Mother?s Day.

Then one day when she came home from church, Warren had a message on her answering machine from her son, she said.

His message: ?I?m up to this stupid thing if you?re going to do it,? Warren said.

The idea to skydive came to her after she and a friend got together for lunch to celebrate Warren?s birthday earlier this month.

?I wanted to go to Wharfside because they make the best clam strips,? Warren said.

While dining there, her friend noticed a bumper sticker on the wall talking about skydiving. She said she didn?t think anything of it. Being a regular customer of Wharfside Restaurant, she never noticed the sign.

Jody Arrington, restaurant owner and skydiver, talked to the women about his experiences on his seven jumps, he said.

?When I got home, I thought life is short and decided to do it,? Warren said. It was a spontaneous decision. She admits she has no idea why she decided to skydive.

After talking to her son, Steve Warren, 53, of Sausalito, Calif., she called Arrington at home to arrange for both to make their first jumps.

?I thought she was kidding,? Arrington said, who arranged for them to do a tandem jump and for himself to make his eighth jump.

Mother, son and Arrington went to Creswell where they met Urban Moore, an instructor for Eugene Skydivers.

Because the plane was small, Mary Edna and Steve had to jump on separate flights.

During the pre-flight instruction, Mary Edna said she was calm and was able to understand what Moore was talking about.

?I was not worried until I got on the plane,? Mary Edna said. ?Then I had clenched teeth until I got to the ground.?

When the plane reached altitude and was over the jump zone, the door was opened she wasn?t sure if she would be sucked out because of the wind.

?Sitting on the edge of the doorway at 11,000 feet with the wind rushing by is ? whew,? Mary Edna said.

With Moore and her attached, the two jumped. A photographer and videographer jumped too, to record the event.

Arrington said they freefall for about 50 to 60 seconds, which brings them to an altitude of about 5,000 feet before the parachute is deployed.

?It was fun that time,? Mary Edna said. ?I don?t need to do it again.?

She said her shoulder was sore, possibly from the landing, but ?it was a wonderful experience.?

?The crew was fantastic and kind,? Mary Edna said. ?They made every effort to make it a great jump.?

Although Mary Edna doesn?t plan to jump again, she said her son plans to jump again and his 16-year-old daughter wants to give it a try.