amelia1_1.jpgI’ve been vaguely aware of Amelia Earhart for most of my life. How can you not be? She did daring flights when airplanes were in their infancy (in fact, still often called “airships”, as in The Good Ship Lollipop); the rose to prominence in a male-dominated field (which remains so to this day); and she tragically disappeared during her famed flight around a world. Yet, I guess I never gave her much thought.

I recently came across her book Last Flight in the library. Originally titled World Flight, this was her account of her flight around the world. She sent the chapter back to her husband during the trip. On the back cover it says, “Told with engaging humor, modesty, and charm…” They’re not kidding. I was in love with her by the second chapter. I dare anyone to read this book and not fall madly in love with Ms. Earhart.

For weeks I couldn’t bring myself to read the last chapter because after that, she’d be dead. Her voice would end forever; she would have nothing else to say. How do you say goodbye to someone who has been dead for over seventy years?

Last night I finally braved the last chapter. I’m left wondering how much she would have influenced the world if she lived. She speaks frankly about the absurdity of gender determinism and says that if boys want to learn sewing or girls want to fix motors, no one should stand in their way. She had planned, upon her return, to be a teacher/mentor for girls who wanted to be up to their elbows in motor oil, and had an offer from Purdue University to do just that. She was going to call her machine shop “Tinkering: For Girls Only.” It’s amazing how simultaneously she could be so cute and forward thinking. This was 1937, after all.

Her husband published the book posthumously, including a note she wrote (printed in her handwriting) in case she didn’t make it. It read:

“Please know I am quite aware of the hazards.

I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.”

So, sadly, I say: Goodbye, Amelia.


5 Responses to “Goodbye, Amelia”

  1. leftey cuccia on November 10th, 2009 10:14 am

    I saw the movie on Amelia’s life and, I realy thought it was put together quite well!I was amazed at how the woman who plaid the part of Amelia looked so much like her! I also liked how they put in the old news reels too! It was a little bit humorous, romantic, and last but not least—- very sad to me! GEEEE, I dont think I ever cried so much in a theater befor! I felt so sorry for her, and her husband! But you know, it says a message to us all.”Dont let anything get in your way of accomplishing your goals, no matter how times are or no matter how hard the goal is”!!! YES, i’ve learned things from this movie! It DID change me! GOD bless you and your loved ones Amelia Earhart!!!

  2. the nerger on November 10th, 2009 2:39 pm

    Well, that’s very nice “leftey” — unless you’re a shill for for the movie industry! ‘Cause this post is about HER BOOK, which everyone should read.

  3. Michelle on February 8th, 2010 5:16 am

    I love how they dared to mention the support of Eleanor Roosevelt, for in some ways Theodore just used her like some men had try to do to Amelia.

  4. the nerger on February 9th, 2010 2:01 pm
  5. Book Review: Promised The MoonThe Untold Story of The First Women in the Space Race | the nerge on November 21st, 2012 3:17 pm

    […] — they had a determination to be pilots that could not be shaken. We all know a bit about Amelia Earhart, but what many of us don’t know is how many other women were like here in spirit and […]

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