Modesto, California. I was born on September 26, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois. My dad was a civilian pilot and urged me to take flying lessons. Every Sunday he took me to the airport for lessons. I was hooked after my first lesson. We both joined the Civil Air Patrol. I really looked forward to our meetings, where I got my first taste of cross-country flying.
When the war broke out, I saw an ad in the paper seeking women pilots for training. I took all the tests and was accepted into the WASP program, class 43-6. Graduation day approached, and mom and dad borrowed on their insurance to make long train trip to Sweetwater, Texas for the ceremony. How proud they both were!
I was stationed in Long Beach with the 6th Ferrying Group. I delivered various training planes from factory to bases, mostly in the Southern part of the country. I got checked out as pilot in the C-47 and co-piloted in the B-17, B-25, and got my instrument rating flying a B-24 from California to Florida. My instructor told me that I flew better than 95 percent of the male pilots he checked out!
While at Long Beach, California, I met my future husband, Robert Ellison, who had just returned from a tour of combat that had him hospitalized after his plane crashed. He was sent to the ferrying division to get rechecked in all the planes. We fell in love and got married and had a lovely reception in the Officer’s Club. Adela Scharr wrote a small blurb about our wedding in her book, Sister in the Sky. My husband was being transferred to B-29 training in Colorado and since we already got notice that WASP were being deactivated, I decided to resign and go with him.
The war ended, so I traveled around the country to his various bases and had two children, Andrea and Robert III, and enjoyed being an Air Force wife. He was sent to Greenland for once tour and Tripoli for another. Housing shortages prevented me from going with him, so I stayed home and joined the Air Force Reserve. I took the first course in personnel management that the Reserves offered, and half way through the course (during a coffee break), the colonel found out that I had two children. He told me I couldn’t be in the Reserves because I had two minor children, but he would allow me to finish the course.
I was forced to take Honorable Discharge, which broke my heart. When my husband got orders to Formosa (Taiwan), we all joined him for a wonderful two year assignment. Being in a foreign country for the first time was really an exciting experience, especially for our children. Having servants was a plus. My husband was an advisor to the Chinese Air Force, and we got to meet some wonderful people. Most exciting was an invitation to President Chiang-Kai Shek’s cocktail party. Our plane was late and the president was just leaving as we arrived, so we didn’t get to meet him. Big disappointment!
Our daughter married and blessed us with two beautiful granddaughters, Alyssa and Amand Holmquist. Alyssa just graduated from college with a degree in architecture and got a job immediately. The girls are the joy of our life. Our son is still a bachelor.
In spite of some major illnesses, we keep traveling around the world and feel truly blessed with the life the good Lord gave us.