M. Jean Harman, 44-9

I was born on November 4, 1924 in Sterling, Colorado. My Mother moved back to California where most of her family lived, and I was raised in San Francisco. I spent some summers in West Los Angeles, with my aunt and uncle, where he was an engineer with Douglas Aircraft, and they lived near the Douglas airfield. Even though I was only six or seven, those were gentler days, and I was allowed to hang out at the airport, which fascinated me. I went for my first plane ride when I was six. That, plus seeing Amelia Earhart and Lindbergh practically face-to-face, convinced me I wanted to be a pilot “when I grew up.”

Later in college (College of the Pacific), I was able to take Civilian Pilot Training ground courses. Because of the war the actual flying was done in Nevada, so off I went to Yerington (as did Jackie Hughes, a WASP classmate) to get my private license. It was there that we were interviewed by Maxine Howard and subsequently assigned to 44-9. After graduation, I was sent to Marana Army Air Field in Arizona. There were several other WASP stationed there, and our CO Colonel Graham was wonderful about accepting us and letting us do our job … which was testing BT-13s after they’d come out of major overhaul.

After deactivation, they gave me a civilian job and allowed me to stay on but I was lonely and soon left to move to Coronado, California where I had friends. It was easy to get a job with the Navy and I stayed there until the Japanese surrender. It was then time to try to resume a flying career.

I interviewed with the struggling Flying Tigers Airline. They needed a combination recep tionist, stewardess, and occasional copilot. It sounded fascinating and I could hardly wait to tell my best friend, John Harman. The rest is history. We got engaged that week. So much for the job. We’ve been married now for 52 years. We had four children in five years, in the midst of which he went through Navy flight training as an old man of 27. (His first solo was in an AT-6 … he never flew anything any smaller!) John was regular Navy so we lived all over the US, and in Guam and the Philippines. It was difficult moving so much with the four kids, but we enjoyed the life.

When the kids were finally all in school, I went to work as a public librarian in Hingham, Massachusetts. Later when we moved to Norfolk, later to Philadelphia, I was a school librarian.

When John retired from the Navy, we settled here in Menlo Park. I spent the first ten years taking advantage of the educational opportunities in this area. I audited several courses at Stanford, took two years of Spanish and two years of French at our local community college. Thinking we might buy a travel agency, I took a two-year travel industry course and here I am, 20 years later still a travel agent. No agency, happily.
We travel a lot … 127 countries. We see our kids and six grandkids who live near enough.
We battle and defeat health crises. Life has been very good to the old Jeep.

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