by Anna Arnett
I'm attending a reunion in Minneapolis of the 492nd Bomb Group--the one my husband flew with in 1944. I debated about going this year, but I'm glad I went. I roomed with Shay, a daughter of my husband's co-pilot, from Georgia, yet it did not seem like the meeting of east and west--or even southeast with southwest. It was more like rooming with a daughter. We talked into the wee hours at least once. The food was good, and the entertainment excellent.
One guest speaker, Betty Wall, is five years my senior, and so vibrantly alive I decided to change my ways. A tiny women in an Air-Force-blue uniform ablaze with ribbons, she exhibited the wit and fluency of middle age, and the energy of a teen. She learned to fly fresh out of high school, and when war broke out, became a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. They ferried Army Air Force planes of all sizes and makes to wherever they were needed, even overseas. I doubt she has ever slowed down. At age 71 she flew an F-16, and a B-17 when she was 82. Naturally, I bought the book her son helped her write.
Another night, three professional story tellers presented a gripping tale quoting excerpts from the letters of Ruth Register and the diary of her mother. When Ruth was widowed at age 26, she joined the Red Cross and served in England and France. She's now 91, white-haired, short and thin, but amazingly active. Her daughter, who compiled and edited her book, "My War", came with her and watched over her like my kids watch over me, now.
These two women thrilled and inspired me into re-resolving to get my own experiences written, edited, and published. Yet with 656 email messages to sort, stash, or delete, including 139 still unread after spending an hour on them, I wonder if I'll ever have time to actually write.