Revisiting Dorothy Scott at Texas Tech University Press
Two weeks ago in this blog, I talked about my biography, Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot,winner of the 2016 Sarton Women’s Book Award from Story Circle Network. Dorothy’s story would be my topic when I spoke April 11that Literary Lubbock, sponsored by Texas Tech University Press. TTUP published Dorothy’s incredible story.
Like my trip to Long Beach in mid March, my Texas flight on April 10 left just ahead of an incoming snowstorm. Whew! Then I had yet another hurdle to clear. When I landed at DFW and took my iPhone off Airplane Mode, it promptly beeped. Juggling my briefcase and backpack, I checked the new text.
LUBBOCK FLIGHT CANCELLED
High winds at the Lubbock airport, 80 mph!!! Yikes!!! American was working on rebooking me TOMORROW!
I headed for Customer Service. Fifty people beat me there! The Texas winds were playing havoc with a lot of travelers. I got in line and tried to call my friends Gordon and Shirley who live near DFW. No connection. I was hoping to bunk with them knowing the airline wouldn’t pay for lodging since this was a weather related cancellation.
I called my husband, asked him to call Gordon and Shirley, tell them the pickle I was in, and ask them to call me.
Then I called my editor at the Press. She and I were scheduled to have dinner that evening. She assured me the Press would pick up my lodging costs in Dallas. Finally, a reservationist beckoned to me. I did have a flight out the following morning. All was well! She gave me the names of some nearby, not-so-pricey hotels.
While I was enjoying my coffee and making my hotel reservation, Gordon called. Shirley was under the weather, but he would pick me up for dinner. Of necessity, we had to go early because it was Wednesday night. He had choir practice at 7. We are fellow choir members from St. James Methodist, long ago in far away Detroit. I understood.
Mexican food, a yummy Margarita and delightful conversation between old friends catching up made for a good evening. Gordon dropped me back at the hotel and headed for choir.
“Tell Shirley ‘hi’ for me!”
Exhausted, I hit the sack!
The morning shuttle to the airport and a quick flight to Lubbock! Judith — the Press editor who first accepted Dorothy’s story — met me at the airport. We hadn’t seen each other in several years and caught up over an enjoyable lunch.
The reception, dinner and our author presentations were that evening. I ordered a Shiner Bock —when in Texas! — ate my salad and about half my steak. Then it was time to speak to the gathering about Dorothy. What you read in my blog two weeks ago was the text of my five-minute talk. They liked it. The Press and I sold 25 copies of Dorothy that night!!!
SILENT WINGS MUSEUM
My flight home Friday didn’t leave until around 6 pm. I had booked the late flight as I wanted to visit the Silent Wings Museum near the airport. Kathleen, a Literary Lubbock Steering Committee member, picked me up in the morning and took me on a tour of the campus. Texas Tech is MOST impressive — a large, open campus with beautiful sandstone Spanish Mission-style buildings.
Judith joined us for lunch, then off to the museum. During WWII, young men learned to fly gliders (there was no engine up front, thus the term silent wings) at Lubbock’s South Plains Army Air Base. They flew the CG-4A, WWII’s most-user glider. Sixteen WASP spent several months there towing those gliders, mostly at night and at low altitudes, so that the male pilots could learn how to fly, maneuver and land them.
Dorothy Scott, stationed in Dallas, was a WASP ferry pilot who delivered aircraft to locations all around the country. In late October 1943, she was grounded with a sinus infection. Used to being kept busy delivering aircraft, not being allowed to fly made her restless. Command at Dallas sent her to South Plains to observe the 16 WASP’s progress and record and report her findings.
DOROTHY’S MISSION PAYS OFF
Her mission proved valuable as she concluded that the single-engine A-25, one of the tow planes the women were assigned to fly (a plane Dorothy had flown) was not safe for that mission. She took that recommendation back to Command. Museum curator, Sharon McCullar, confirmed that the A-25 was dropped as a tow plane. Command opted for the more stable, twin-engine C-60. Dorothy’s keen observations paid off.
The museum tells a fascinating, little known WWII story. Seeing a restored CG-4A, alone, is worth the visit! Each one carried 13 men — or a Jeep — into battle. When the D-Day landing was made at Normandy eight months later, WWII’s renowned workhorse aircraft, the twin-engine C-47, towed the CG-4A gliders into France.
Of course I bought balsa wood gliders to take home to the grandkids!
Flew home by way of DFW. Upon landing in Colorado Springs, I was greeted by sleet turning to snow. Home!