Amelia Earhart lands in Stevensville

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — The Kent Is­land Heritage So­ci­ety hosted award-win­ning ac­tress Mary Ann Jung of Arnold in her liv­ing his­tory role as famed fe­male avi­a­tor Amelia Earhart on Wed­nes­day evening, March 16, at his­toric Christ Church in down­town Stevensville.

Jung had done pre­vi­ous liv­ing his­tory per­for­mances for the Heritage So­ci­ety, in­clud­ing Rosie the Riveter, Clara Bar­ton (for which she won an award) and Mar­garet Brent.

In her Earhart per­for­mance, she traced Amelia’s life and ac­com­plish­ments, par­tic­u­larly lit­tle known facts, in­clud­ing the time-pe­riod lingo with words such as “swell” and “peachy.” Born in 1897, in Atchi­son, Kansas, Amelia was known at early age as “Milly” in her fam­ily and with close friends. Amelia’s mother was not the typ­i­cal woman if her era ei­ther, set­ting an ex­am­ple for Amelia to be ad­ven­tur­ous.

Un­like most women of her time, Amelia at­tended col­lege, ma­jor­ing in engi­neer­ing and chem­istry. Amelia took her first air­plane ride in 1920 over the Pa­cific Coast of Cal­i­for­nia, and af­ter that ini­tial ex­pe­ri­ence, she was smit­ten — there was no turn­ing back. She wanted to learn to fly, which her par­ents were against at first. Fly­ing lessons cost $1,000 — an ex­ces­sively high in cost for the early 1920s.

Her par­ents fi­nally gave in. They even helped her buy her first air­plane, an “open cock­pit model,” in 1921 for $2,000. She even­tu­ally set one of her first fe­male pi­lot records fly­ing the plane across the en­tire U.S. and back.

In 1927, Amelia was ap­proached to be­come the first women to fly solo across the At­lantic Ocean, fol­low­ing in famed Charles Lind­bergh’s “foot­steps.” Once she did it, she was quickly nick­named “Lady Lindy.” Amelia Earhart was one of the first to prove that women were just as ca­pa­ble as men in what­ever ar­eas of life they chose.

In 1932, she be­came the first woman to be awarded the Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross. By 1935, a new goal of fly­ing over the Pa­cific Ocean was set. She wanted be­come the first per­son to ac­com­plish the feat. She was teach­ing avi­a­tion at Pur­due Univer­sity dur­ing this time. Her hus­band bought her the lat­est, most ef­fi­cient plane made, an Lock­head Electra Air­ship, for $30,000. The goal was now to fly it around the world, fol­low­ing the path of the equa­tor, 27,000 miles.

She had to plan the trip care­fully, as some coun­tries who dis­agreed with women fly­ing, like Pak­istan, threat­ened to shoot her plane down.

“We weren’t go­ing to go that way,” Jung, as Amelia, said.

She and her nav­i­ga­tor, Fred Noo­nan, took off from Cal­i­for­nia, ini­tially fly­ing west to­ward Hawaii, on March 17, 1937. The Electra crashed in Hawaii, stalling her ef­forts to fly around the world. How­ever, the plane was re­turned to the main­land U.S. and quickly re­paired. Amelia tried again, this time fly­ing east.

The trip re­ceived na­tional and in­ter­na­tional cov­er­age with school chil­dren putting pins in world maps as the flight con­tin­ued. It ap- peared she would ac­com­plish the goal as she and Noo­nan started the fi­nal leg of the jour­ney across the Pa­cific from East Asia, how­ever, it was not to be. Fly­ing lost near tiny How­land Is­land, ra­dio pleas to ships for help with bear­ings went unan­swered. The plane, Amelia and Noo­nan were never found. A true un­solved mys­tery.

It’s been nearly 80 years since Earhart dis­ap­peared. Af­ter the per­for­mance, Jung dis­cussed the most pop­u­lar the­o­ries as to what hap­pened to her. But the mys­tery con­tin­ues.

Jung re­searches and writes all of her own per­for­mances, each last­ing on av­er­age 45 min­utes. She has ap­peared on CNN, the “To­day Show,” “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.”

She en­hances her per­for­mances with au­then­tic cos­tumes, ac­cents, and at­ti­tudes for her char­ac­ters’ eras. Be­sides the fa­mous women al­ready men­tioned, Jung does Queen El­iz­a­beth I, Ros­alie Calvert (from the War of 1812), Ir­ish Grace O’Mal­ley (from the “Pee­Wee Pi­rate Show”), Ju­lia Child, El­iz­a­beth Cady Stan­ton, and her new­est char­ac­ter, as­tro­naut Sally Ride.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Jung, go on­line at www. His­tor yAliveShows. com, or call 410-647-8699.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Dur­ing the Amelia Earhart per­for­mance, from the left, Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt (Carl Gerg) made an im­promptu ap­pear­ance with Amelia Earhart (ac­tress Mary Ann Jung, cen­ter, point­ing), and friend Eleanor Roo­sevelt (Lynn Ri­ley-Cole­man). The Roo­sevelts knew Earhart well. Their brief as­so­ci­a­tion was shared in the per­for­mance about Earhart’s famed life as a fe­male avi­a­tor, Wed­nes­day evening, March 16, inside his­toric Christ Church.

Wav­ing to the au­di­ence, famed fe­male avi­a­tor Amelia Earhart (ac­tress Mary Ann Jung of Arnold) ap­peared Wed­nes­day evening, March 16, at his­toric Christ Church in down­town Stevensville.

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