Recently, I had the privilege of spending a few days with the mother of a dear friend of mine. Miss Christine is 83-years-old and has Alzheimer’s disease. On one of our outings, we went to the beach and sat on the shore watching the surfers testing their skill in the particularly rough surf. A small plane flew overhead and sparked a memory in her mind from long ago.
“I took flying lessons when I was sixteen,” she said, and proceeded to tell me a couple of stories about her days at Palm Beach High School and her brief flying career. What an awesome concept - I never really thought of Miss Christine as a TowandaGal! It turns out that it might be the quiet ones who need to tell us their stories!
Christine was born and raised in West Palm Beach, FL, in the same neighborhood as my mom. She was in the Civil Air Patrol at PBHS in the mid-1940’s. She told me about her instructor flying her down the Florida coastline and how she saw her hometown from the cockpit of a Piper Cub (or similar aircraft). Sadly, when she was almost ready to get her pilot’s license, her adventure came to an end. “I’m not letting you go up in that plane by yourself!” was her mother’s response to signing a parental consent form.
That afternoon, when we returned to her house, Miss Christine showed me a photograph of herself with her with her flight instructor and fellow Civil Air Patrol Cadets. She looked so adorable in her uniform! I thought what an amazing feat it had been for a high school girl of that era. I’ve known her for so many years and never would have dreamed that she, the reserved, stoic type, would have ventured outside “the box” I had placed her in. Shame on me! Wow! Miss Christine really does have TOWANDATUDE!
As I sit on my cutie-patootie porch writing this story, I want to encourage you to seek out the women in your life and ask them to share their stories with you. Ask your moms, grandmas, and favorite aunts. What about your mother’s best girlfriend? I think that, like me, you will find a wealth of inspiring stories to spur you on to be a TowandaGal in your own real life-adventures! I hope that you will find your own sense of TOWANDATUDE!