BLOG & NEWS
April showers, bring May flowers. My granddaughter decided to bring them inside by using window markers. Make the image bigger to see how intricate it is.
I’m still hunkered down in response to COVID-19 but Maggie is enjoying the change in season. The ice is off the lake and Maggie is in her element.
I'm "hunkered down" in response to Covid-19. The highlight of my day is walking my grand dog, Maggie, far from human habitation. Maggie and I are practicing social distancing! (She refuses to wear a mask.)
Nimbus Publishing updated the Amelia & Me book cover and gave it a refreshing revamp! The red title really makes it pop and the title art was updated to match the new sequel, Under Amelia's Wing.
I am so excited to share my new book, Under Amelia's Wing! The photo on the cover was taken in the fall of 1936 at Purdue University and shows Amelia sitting on the nose of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra that she flew around the world. Co-eds from Purdue University are standing under the wings.
Went on a Caribbean cruise and stopped at many beautiful islands. I love swimming in the ocean!
I had a great time meeting with the young ladies and gentlemen at the Christmas market this past weekend. I met another local author and exchanged books as well! Follow me on my Facebook page to see where I'll be next.
I am proud to officially announce the new title of the sequel to Amelia and Me...
I had an amazing time visiting Nipissing University 's Faculty of Education to talk about the value of using historical fiction in the social studies and language arts classrooms!
Amelia spent the rest of the month of June 1937, flying around the world. She continued sending reports that were carried by newspapers and radio stations. Some photos were taken and circulated but at most stops, a photographer wasn't available. The rest of her route looked like this (click here)
Here is the newspaper report from Lae. It contains information to support the idea that this was the most dangerous part of the whole trip.
"They reached Lae, New Guinea, after a 1,200-mile flight in 7 and 3/4 hours. The engines were thoroughly checked, the spark plugs cleaned, and the fuel pump and the autopilot repaired. Everything not needed for the transpacific flight, including parachutes and some survival equipment, was packed to be sent home. Earhart cabled the last of her articles to the New York Herald Tribune. She then met with senior government officials and took care of details such as fumigation of the plane, a check of immunization certificates, and customs clearance.
There are reports that Noonan and Earhart were exhausted at that point, causing a delay in their takeoff for Howland, 2,227 nautical miles from Lae. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Itasca is waiting off Howland to act as a radio contact. The Navy has a weather officer and two mechanics waiting on the island with a run-in cylinder assembly, new spark plugs, oil, gas, and food.
A seaplane tender, USS Swan, is approximately 200 miles northeast of the island to monitor the Howland/ Hawaii leg. Other ships – USS Ontario and USS Myrtle Bank – are positioned along the intended flight track between the Nukumanu Islands and Howland Island."
In the next post, I'll describe the final stage of Amelia's round the world flight.
June is a busy month historically for Amelia Earhart. The following entries are about her transatlantic flights.
The bright sun today reminds me of the transatlantic flying season, especially out of Newfoundland. The North Atlantic in winter was a crossing that no aviator would ever attempt.
That meant the flights were restricted to the late spring and summer months. For example, on June 17, 1928 Amelia Earhart flew out of Trepassey to become the first woman to cross the Atlantic. She was grateful for the opportunity to make the trip but compared her passenger status to "a bag of potatoes" in the back of the plane. She vowed the next time she crossed the Atlantic she would fly the plane herself.
Amelia Earhart's second transatlantic flight from Newfoundland was on May 20, 1932. And she did fly the plane herself, just as she vowed she would do following her 1928 flight from Trepassey. She left from Harbour Grace and landed in Gallagher's field, near Londonderry Ireland, the next day. Needless to say, this was not her intended destination so there were no crowds to meet her. One of Gallagher's farm hands ran to the plane when it finally stopped and through him the news of her landing spread by word of mouth to Londonderry and then by teletype around the world. My favorite picture from this flight is one that was staged for the photographers the following day. It shows Amelia climbing out of her plane and a crowd of people greeting her. The crowd was actually made up of photographers, reporters, and local people who had been assembled for the picture.
The weather was always a factor in early aviation but, unlike the transatlantic flights from Newfoundland, warmer climates allowed flights throughout the year. That was why Amelia Earhart's round-the-world flight began in Oakland, California on March 17, 1937.
Bulletin – Oakland California, March 17 – Special. Three hours and 16 min. after she took off on the first leg of her world flight (9:13 PM CST), Amelia Earhart radioed, "All is well. Plane acting fine." Although her exact position was not given, she is reported to be 365 miles offshore en route to Honolulu.
Two reports appeared on March 19. Amelia Five Minutes Ahead of Schedule; Gives Vivid Description of 2,400 Mile Hop. This article was written by Amelia as soon as she, Fred Noonan, and Harry Manning landed in Honolulu, at 5:29 a.m. The two men were her navigators. She intended to take off on the next leg of her flight the same night. However, that wasn't possible.
The second article explained why. Amelia Earhart Awaits Favourable Weather Reports Before Making 1,800 Mile Flight to Howland Island.
On March 20, 1937, the news was not good. A radio station issued the following report. "Early this morning Amelia Earhart crashed her flying laboratory while taking off from Luke Field in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Fortunately, Miss Earhart cut the engines and avoided a fire. She, Fred Noonan, and Harry Manning walked away without a scratch. I can't say the same for the aircraft. My understanding is it will be brought by ship to the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California for repair."
By the time the plane was repaired, two months had passed since Amelia's first attempt and it was now monsoon season in Asia and the Pacific. Flying through monsoon rains is very dangerous and the muddy fields would make take-offs almost impossible.
Amelia had to change her plans. Instead of flying east to west, she planned to fly west to east. From California, her first stop would be Miami, Florida. On this new route, Harry Manning wasn't available as advisor/navigator. He had to return to work before Fred Noonan and Amelia were scheduled to leave Florida. As he did for her first attempt, Amelia's husband, George Putnam, made all the arrangements for her new route.
March 26, 1937, Purdue Exponent (Amelia was working at Purdue before her flight) reported, Amelia Back; Confidence Unshaken. "Nothing has happened to change my attitude toward the original project. Instead, I feel better about the ship itself than I ever have. And I'm more eager than ever to fly it again. If all goes well, I hope the plane may be reconditioned in from 30 to 60 days."
Here is Amelia's report for June 2, 1937. "We left the Miami International Airport at 5:56 AM (EST) today. For 13 minutes we climbed slowly, swinging southerly on our course toward Puerto Rico".
A second report, in the June 2 Exponent was by W.F. O'Reilly of the New York Herald Tribune. In it, he described Amelia's landing in San Juan, Puerto Rico at 12:30 p.m. (CST). "The 1,033 miles took 7 hours and 34 minutes to complete".
Oct 2017 Caught up with some old friends
Had a great visit with family and friends in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland.
Took my brother Jim's ashes to our family gravesite in Harbour Grace. The site hadn't been tended in a year, so we cut the grass and added flowers. Jim is now resting with his parents and grandparents.
A Reunion of old Harbour Grace friends, Kevin Gear on the left, me, Joan Parsons, and Ron Howell. We hadn't seen each other in 60 years.
Plans for our trip to Newfoundland at the end of the month are complete. I have more research to do at The Rooms in St. John's and the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander regarding the Ferry Command in WW2.
Construction of the air base at Gander.
The highlight of the summer was a cruise with our younger two grandchildren.
Seven-day return cruise from New York to Bermuda.
Took the ferry from the Naval Dockyards (where our ship was moored) to Hamilton.
Visited the crystal caves.
Back in New York, couldn't get tickets for Hamilton but saw Anastasia instead. A wonderful performance.
A quiet cocktail before meeting the kids for dinner.
Writing and presenting have slowed down for the summer which has left more time for family and friends.
Celebrated our 50th anniversary in Montreal with our children, grandchildren and friends. It's hard to believe 50 years have gone by. Until I look in the mirror, I think I still look like that!
My article appeared in the June issue of Downhome magazine. Writing it made me very homesick for Harbour Grace and my family there. It must be time to plan another trip to Newfoundland.
On a wet, cold day in North Bay, I feel warm and cozy as I look at photos of my first summer in Newfoundland. It was 1958 and I was 12 years old. These photos will accompany my next article in Downhome magazine.
Had a great time presenting Amelia and Me at the North Bay Grandmothers for Africa Event. This chapter of the Stephen Lewis Foundation supports grandmothers who are raising children whose parents have died from AIDS. The fundraiser was held at Trinity United Church, North Bay, on March 26th and featured music, readings and book signings. Those attendees and presenters who were able to get through the ice storm had lots of fun. The grandmothers raised over $2,000.
Completed the editing of the video I took of my B25 Mitchell flight at the Canadian Heritage Warplane Museum in Hamilton, ON
The article acknowledged by Flanker Press "Heather Stemp, author of Amelia and Me, has a wonderful article about Gloria Durham and the RAF base in Gander in this month's Downhome Magazine!"
Travelled to Newmarket, Ontario to interview Gloria Lindsay in preparation for the second article in Downhome magazine and spent many hours talking about Gloria's experiences as a radio operator with the Ferry Command, Gander, Newfoundland in World War II
Published an article! The article acknowledged by Flanker Press "Heather Stemp, author of Amelia and Me, has a fascinating article about Hazel (Bjornstad) Fausak and the Ferry Command in this month's Downhome Magazine!"
Spoke to the family of Hazel Fausak (Bjornstad) in preparation for her story in Downhome magazine and completed the article about Hazel's experiences in the Ferry Command where she was a radio operator
Hazel and Marcel at work
This is the H building where the female radio operators lived on the second floor at Gander Airport, Newfoundland
Reviewed my research material for Taking Flight and found information and photographs from the North Atlantic Aviation Museum, Gander Newfoundland
Pitched two articles to Janice Stuckless, Downhome Magazine, and she accepted Hazel Fausek's story for the November issue and Gloria Lindsay's story for the December issue
Finished writing Taking Flight!
Presented research and pictures for Taking Flight at Living Fit Inside Out Women's Club, North Bay, Ontario
After the meeting Claudette Daigle and I look up Amelia Earhart's round the world flight
Spent time in the National Archives, Ottawa doing research for Taking Flight
Operations Room at Newfoundland Airport (later Gander Airport)
Servicing Hudson bombers at the Newfoundland Airport in 1940
Attended the San Miguel Writers' Conference in Central Mexico
Working on my Taking Flight, at the writers' conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
October 19-23, 2015
Research for Taking Flight takes me to Gander, NF
October 16, 2015
Research continues for book Taking Flight at the Rooms Provincial Archives in St. John's, NF
View overlooking the harbour
September 9, 2015
Visited the Canadian Heritage Warplane Museum and flew in a B-25 Mitchell Bomber as research for my second book Taking Flight. Learn more here: http://www.warplane.com
May 9, 2015
Red Cedar award ceremony at the Central Library in Vancouver, BC and met a lot of new friends and followers of Amelia and Me
The library club from a local Vancouver school.
February 11-15, 2015
News Flash!Even writers go back to school! San Miguel Writer's Conference, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
January 27, 2015
Classroom Presentation of Amelia and Me at École G. Théberge, Témiscaming, Québec
May 14, 2014
Announcement! Amelia and Me named to the shortlist for the 2014/2015 Red Cedar Book Award