It’s late July again, when thousands of the uninformed flock to Atchison, Kansas for the annual Amelia Earhart Festival, where the “Great Aviation Mystery” is renewed and celebrated. The only questions the sheeple ask are whether Amelia’s Electra 10E crashed and sank off Howland Island or landed on Nikumaroro, where she starved to death, along with navigator Fred Noonan, on an atoll teeming with natural food and water sources.
I sometimes imagine that some of the benighted at these Atchison shindigs actually hope that, just maybe, she’s still flying around out there in the timeless ether, searching endlessly for a way back to 1937 America — an eternal, romantic enigma without solution. That may be an exaggeration, but it’s no stretch to say that wherever PC and groupthink predominate, as in Atchison, the hated truth is assiduously avoided, and can be found only in the darkest corners, where vile conspiracy theorists speak in hushed tones about the despised “Japanese Capture Theory” that so intimidates all but the boldest Earhart truth seekers.
Once again we’ve reached another Earhart birthday, this one Amelia’s 122nd. It’s hard to say how long America’s First Lady of Flight might have lived had her remarkable life not been so cruelly stolen from her by a wretched combination of circumstances that have yet to be fully understood, but I can’t imagine Amelia would still be with us at 122, though she would have given it her best shot, you can be sure.
Amelia came from hardy genes indeed, if her mother and sister were any indications. Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey, of West Medford, Massachusetts, two-and-a-half-years younger than Amelia, died in her sleep on March 2, 1998 at the age of 98. Amy Otis Earhart, Amelia’s mother, was born in 1869 and died in 1962 at 93.
As is usually the case when Amelia’s birthday rolls around, the only Earhart-related news in America is about plans for more TV productions, more deceitful documentaries and specials by the true conspiracy theorists, who have only one goal in mind, besides ratings and dollars, of course, and that is to keep the same kind of gullible people who yearly flock to Atchison clueless about the truth. I will spare you the boring and meaningless details, which will be known and forgotten soon enough.
Amelia Mary Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897 to Amy Otis and Edwin Stanton Earhart. Edwin, an itinerant lawyer and faithful husband, was also “a drunkard,” according to biographer Mary Lovell (The Sound of Wings, 1989), but Amelia’s childhood was nonetheless nearly idyllic.
Alfred Otis, Amy’s father, was a wealthy judge, and it was hard on the banks of the Missouri River in the home of Judge Otis and her grandmother, Amelia Josephine Harres, that Amelia came into the world.
Growing up in nearby Kansas City, Kansas, Amelia’s adventurous persona manifested early. Amelia (“Meelie”), and Muriel, or “Pidge” were close, “lived in reasonable comfort, unaware of any financial constraints” and were secure and happy despite occasional problems resulting from their father’s uneven professional life.
As we see in the early pages of another fine biography, Amelia, My Courageous Sister (1987), by Muriel Earhart Morrissey and Carol L. Osborne, Amelia was a consummate tomboy. At 7 she rode an elephant at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair and was fascinated by the small cars that sped around an aerial track, though her mother said it was too dangerous for little girls to ride them. Soon after the family returned home, Amelia enlisted her uncle Carl Otis to help her, Muriel and the boy next door build a makeshift roller coaster in their back yard, with its starting point at the top of the tool shed, eight-feet high.
When all the sawing and nailing of boards and tracks was complete, Amelia stuffed herself into a wooden crate for the first ride. “As it careened down the track,” Muriel recalled, “we heard the sound of splintering wood. The car and Amelia departed the track when the car hit the trestle. Both tumbled onto the ground. Amelia jumped up, her eyes alight, ignoring a torn dress and bruised lip. ‘Oh, Pidge’ she exclaimed, ‘it’s just like flying!’ ”
Amelia wasn’t moved when she saw her first airplane at the 1907 Iowa State Fair, in Des Moines, recalling it as “a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting.” At 9, Edwin presented her with a .22 rifle “so she could clear the barn of rats,” much to the consternation of her well-to-do grandparents. “Don’t worry, Mother Otis,” Edwin told her grandmother. “This is really a very small rifle.” Describing their beloved father many years later, Muriel called him “loving, generous, impractical.”
For more on Amelia’s happy youth and the events that to her fateful meeting with Neta Snook, her first flight instructor, please see Chapter I, “Birth of a Legend,” pages 5-19 in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
Back to the present, and a final observation. I find it greatly ironic that for the past two years the only significant news in the Earhart case has come from Saipan, where Amelia and Fred Noonan suffered and died so ignominiously. Here, as well, is our last living link to Amelia, 86-year-old Marie S. Castro, president of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Committee, who daily wages a losing battle in her campaign to erect a memorial monument to the doomed fliers. If not for this blog and the two Saipan newspapers, not a soul in the United States would know about Marie and her quest to properly honor and commemorate the hapless duo at the site of their murders. For this sorry state of affairs we can thank our corrupt media, of course, which continues to dutifully cover up the truth in the Earhart saga, like the mindless, heartless little soldiers they are.
The uninformed, incurious and ultra-propagandized Saipan populace is either strongly against the Earhart Memorial Monument (see top right of this page for the architect’s model) or hopelessly indifferent. The former faction includes most of Saipan’s politicians, who can also be relied upon to bend to the popular wind, currently blowing stiffly in the wrong direction. Marie often finds herself surrounded by smiling faces who assure her of their support, but those who sincerely care are far too few, and as things look now and for the foreseeable future, it will require divine intervention before we ever see the Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, and will gladly admit it if the sentiment on Saipan ever turns in Amelia’s favor.
I’ve written plenty about Marie Castro’s work and will continue to do so. Although the Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune have supported the AEMMI movement to varying degrees, fundraising from the United States has been very disappointing, and from Saipan it’s been far worse. Please see the Media Page of this blog for links to the newspaper stories; and for a complete list of all the posts I’ve done here since the institution of the AEMMI, please click here.
In any event, Happy Birthday, Amelia!