Sunday, April 01, 2007

Flights Of History

There weren't very many women that a young girl could use as a role model when growing up in the sixties and early seventies. When Billie Jean King and Chris Evert started appearing somewhat regularly, some comedian noted that if it wasn't for them or being a victim of violent crime, women would never be on the news. And like most humor, it was true.

After reading the Bible from cover to cover, my first comment was "Ruth and Esther? Two books, that's it? If Mary didn't deserve her own book, then why is she so important to the Catholics?" The 920 section of the library was slightly more helpful, depending on which base we were stationed at the time. Dolley Madison(not the pastry), Catherine the Great (no mention of dying on the toilet back then), Mary, Queen of Scots, Cleopatra (very popular because of some movie I wasn't allowed to see), Marie Curie (two Nobels, the thinnest books), Florence Nightingaleand Clara Barton(no books about Margaret Sanger or Elizabeth Blackwell, I wonder why), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (magnificent athlete), and my personal favorite, Amelia Earhart.

I was fascinated by all things Amelia. From her name, which sounded so delicate, to the fact that she flew around the world with a man that wasn't her husband, that she was her own woman long before it was fashionable, it all intrigued me. America was currently in the middle of the space race and Amelia had been a pioneer, one that wasn't followed for many years (Valentina Tereshkova, Russians on the list and during the Cold War, what was I thinking!), and finally twenty years later by Sally Ride (third woman in space). For a country that talks about equality, we sure don't practice it very much. Thank goodness for Star Trek'sNichelle Nichols (hailing frequencies open) and she wasn't the main reason I watched the show (Spock).

Amelia Earhart embodied freedom, the ability to compete in a so-called man's world, to achieve something that hadn't been done before and one of the greatest mysteries of my life. Every few years some new piece of evidence or hope that her disappearance will finally be solved, pops back into the news.

I had really hoped that she had been able to live out a natural lifespan on a remote island with plenty of food, water, and companionship and that we would discover her eventually. Now it looks like the end of her life was hard and lonely, washed away by the elements. So sad.


1 comment:

  1. Women are given little credit for the many accomplishments that have been a part of history.

    Amelia is in a string of such women who make history and a difference but are seldom thought of.