September 2, 1996

Three am

Dear Ms. Earhart,

I’m writing to you in the middle of the night since I’m wide awake. Tomorrow is my first official flight lesson. I really want to sleep and be at my best, but I’ve been sprawled on my Futon––by the way, Dad was right, although the couch/bed looks cool, it’s stiff as a log—wide awake staring at Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis featured on my Top Gun poster on the wall. (Big time Hollywood actors, FYI.) My mind is racing and my inners feel tied in knots. Is this normal Ms. Earhart? Even more confusing, goose bumps are forever pricked on my arms. (Am I getting the flu? Doubt it since mom made me get a shot before I left Chicago.) I’m not sure this is a good sign or bad, so I’m going with good. I went over all the assigned maneuvers around a hundred times. I don’t want to get caught with my pants down like on the first day of ground school. (Just between you and me, I even read ahead.) There is one thing I’m still not sure about; maybe you can help. What do I wear to fly? I checked all the reference materials, read the syllabus and course outline, even went to the University Center on campus for guidance. (An adventure in itself, but a story for another time.) While at the UC, I visited the orientation group and skimmed the school’s dress code. Zippo. A big fat goose egg. So, I did the only thing I could. I went to the library and found a biography of your life. I hope this doesn’t creep you out, but I’ve picked you as my mentor Ms. Earhart; right now, you’re the only logical choice. In the book I found, there was a reference to your first transatlantic flight and a newspaper clipping showing you dressed in a baggy, one-piece, jumpsuit. Luckily, I happen to have one similar that I brought from home. It’s loose fitting and cotton, perfect I think, since, as you know, the pre-flight walk around inspection requires I climb on the wing to check the fuel tanks, check the oil dipstick, and bend on the ground to visually assure the integrity of the tires. The jumper is hot pink with long sleeves and tons of pockets. Do you think it will work? Being loose and cotton, it will also be cool in the Florida heat and the fabric isn’t flammable. (Something new I need to consider in my wardrobe; nylon and rayon, I’ve learned, are fire hazards.) I’ve picked my most comfortable kitten heels; they are turquoise with tiny laser cut flowers around the toe and I plan to bring my matching messenger bag. Whenever I coordinate my bags and shoes, I always have good luck. I noticed from a picture in the book your hair is cropped short. My hair, on the other hand, is big, curly and wild. The way the styles are now. I’m guessing my doo might get in the way when I’m trying to look for other airplanes while in the air. Wait. I know! I have a fuchsia headband the will keep the curls off my face. Whew, thanks. I feel much better now knowing that I’ll be dressed appropriately. I really want to make a good impression with my instructor and my fellow aviators. Well, my eyelids are getting heavy, and I think I might just be able to sleep now. I appreciate your help Ms. Earhart. Cross fingers and wish me luck.

Sincerely,

A girl about to get up in the air.

p.s. I just had a thought––do you still wear jumpsuits up there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2, 1996

Three am

 

Dear Ms. Earhart,

 

I’m writing to you in the middle of the night since I’m wide awake. Tomorrow is my first official flight lesson. I really want to sleep and be at my best, but I’ve been sprawled on my Futon––by the way, Dad was right, although the couch/bed looks cool, it’s stiff as a log—wide awake staring at Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis featured on my Top Gun poster on the wall. (Big time Hollywood actors, FYI.) My mind is racing and my inners feel tied in knots. Is this normal Ms. Earhart? Even more confusing, goose bumps are forever pricked on my arms. (Am I getting the flu? Doubt it since mom made me get a shot before I left Chicago.) I’m not sure this is a good sign or bad, so I’m going with good. I went over all the assigned maneuvers around a hundred times. I don’t want to get caught with my pants down like on the first day of ground school. (Just between you and me, I even read ahead.) There is one thing I’m still not sure about; maybe you can help. What do I wear to fly? I checked all the reference materials, read the syllabus and course outline, even went to the University Center on campus for guidance. (An adventure in itself, but a story for another time.) While at the UC, I visited the orientation group and skimmed the school’s dress code. Zippo. A big fat goose egg. So, I did the only thing I could. I went to the library and found a biography of your life. I hope this doesn’t creep you out, but I’ve picked you as my mentor Ms. Earhart; right now, you’re the only logical choice. In the book I found, there was a reference to your first transatlantic flight and a newspaper clipping showing you dressed in a baggy, one-piece, jumpsuit. Luckily, I happen to have one similar that I brought from home. It’s loose fitting and cotton, perfect I think, since, as you know, the pre-flight walk around inspection requires I climb on the wing to check the fuel tanks, check the oil dipstick, and bend on the ground to visually assure the integrity of the tires. The jumper is hot pink with long sleeves and tons of pockets. Do you think it will work? Being loose and cotton, it will also be cool in the Florida heat and the fabric isn’t flammable. (Something new I need to consider in my wardrobe; nylon and rayon, I’ve learned, are fire hazards.) I’ve picked my most comfortable kitten heels; they are turquoise with tiny laser cut flowers around the toe and I plan to bring my matching messenger bag. Whenever I coordinate my bags and shoes, I always have good luck. I noticed from a picture in the book your hair is cropped short. My hair, on the other hand, is big, curly and wild. The way the styles are now. I’m guessing my doo might get in the way when I’m trying to look for other airplanes while in the air. Wait. I know! I have a fuchsia headband the will keep the curls off my face. Whew, thanks. I feel much better now knowing that I’ll be dressed appropriately. I really want to make a good impression with my instructor and my fellow aviators. Well, my eyelids are getting heavy, and I think I might just be able to sleep now. I appreciate your help Ms. Earhart. Cross fingers and wish me luck.

 

Sincerely,

A girl about to get up in the air.

 

p.s. I just had a thought––do you still wear jumpsuits up there?