Remind me to tell you my Betty Jo
story sometime. I've dropped enough names for one post.
Wyandot Jim PMed me and asked me politely to tell the story, so here it is:
Don't remember exactly what year this happened. NASM opened in 1976 and I moved out of the area in 1980, so sometime in there. Call it '77 or '78, probably.
My girlfriend of the time and I were standing in line to buy tickets to see To Fly
in the Imax theater. Right ahead of us in line were two well-dressed middle age ladies. I couldn't help overhearing one of the women say to the other, "Of course, my
airplane isn't here. My
airplane is at Wright-Pat."
Well, you know
that gets my attention. So I say to her, "I'm sorry, maam, but I couldn't help overhearing you say that 'your' airplane is at Wright-Pat?"
"That's right," she says. When I raise an eyebrow, she goes on:
"Have you ever heard of the F-82 Betty Jo
?" she says, in a slightly condescending tone. She doesn't yet realize that she's dealing with a genuine Airplane Nerd, Black Belt, 3rd Degree.
"Well of course," I say, quickly wracking my brain for any connection between that airplane and any famous aviatrix of the day, such as Jackie Cochran or Betty Skelton or Pancho Barnes. I got nothing. "But how is that 'your'
airplane?" I ask.
"I'm Betty Jo
," she says, with a huge, gracious smile. It was Betty Jo Thacker, wife of Bob Thacker, pilot of that F-82 on its record-setting flight!
Of course I am immediately semi-starstruck. I shake her hand and tell her what an honor and a pleasure it is to meet her and so forth. Don't recall any of the details of the brief ensuing conversation, but I'm sure she was pleased that some random stranger treated her like a celebrity in front of her friend.
And of course, I have a great "Brush with Greatness" story that I tell to this day to those who would appreciate it. (David Letterman played "Brush with Greatness" with audience members for years, and they always made me laugh.)
So that's the Betty Jo
story, Jim. Was it worth the wait?