I felt a vast array of emotions the first time I met Jerrie Mock. Here was this woman I had been hearing about in the news, and I was actually meeting her face-to-face. It had been less than eighteen months since she had finished her record-breaking flight, which took place March 19 through April 17, 1964.
I met Jerrie about a week after I arrived for orientation as a Freshman at Wilmington College (Wilmington, Ohio). Early that week, I had started dating her son, and had already accepted his proposal of marriage (we didn’t broadcast that for a few months). I wasn’t even sure that he’d been telling me the truth about Jerrie being his mother. A couple of hours later, I had the privilege of being a passenger in her plane. That was the beginning of learning a lot about her that never made it into her book about her flight (Three-Eight Charlie), as well as many other aspects of her life that are not well known. She still surprises me with details I haven’t heard before!
One of the things that people find curious is that she is a not-too-distant relative of the Wright Brothers. That, however, had little influence on her desire to fly.
Jerrie was a young person when Amelia Earhart made her attempt to fly around the world, inspiring Jerrie to learn to fly as part of an adventurous life. When she suggested to her husband that she fly around the world for fun, neither of them realized that no woman had yet accomplished that feat. After a little research into it, they realized that there was an opportunity to take that record, and so the planning began in earnest. The rest, they say, is history. If you want to know more, look up Jerrie Mock on the internet — there are multiple sites that are currently carrying stories about her flight, and include some of the original pictures that were taken at the time of her flight. Or, drop me a line.
Here’s Jerrie with her three children. My husband, Roger, is on the left, Gary next to Roger, and Valerie by her mother, Jerrie. Jerrie now lives in Florida, although at the time of her flight, she lived in Columbus, Ohio. Of the children, only Valerie is still living.