Little Women Fighter Pilots

Guest columnist L.M. Alcott

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without a midnight flight to see everyone’s lights from above,” grumbled Jo.

“I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to live where the weather isn’t foggy, and other girls are stuck on the ground,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff. “No matter. We haven’t enough money for avgas anyway.”

If those lines sound vaguely familiar, you might recognize them as a slight deviation from the opening lines in my classic novel, “Little Women.” I’ve been watching the world from “the other side,” and have been eager for my famous girls to keep up with the times. Allow me, therefore, to introduce you to “Little Women Fighter Pilots,” my updated version.

“Mother thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when so many people are losing their jobs. I’m afraid I don’t care much for sacrifices.” Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty airplanes she wanted.

“We’ve each got a dollar, and the unemployed wouldn’t be much helped by our giving that. I want to buy Meteorology for Naval Aviators for myself. I’ve wanted it so long, and I work hard for my money,” said Jo, who was a bookworm.

Meg protested. “I work hard for my money, too. I want Beryl Markham’s West with the Night. I want to be an airline pilot!”

“You should study and enlist,” said Jo. “If you go to the airlines, you’ll just be shut up for hours with nervous, fussy passengers, who are never satisfied. Fly for the military if you want a real life!”

The girls woke up Christmas morning to find aviation books, both novels and flight training manuals, under their pillows. Each girl read and studied voraciously on the required topics such as aerodynamics, regulations, and weight and balance computations. They supplemented their reading with Flying Magazine and various pilot memoirs.

As the years went by, each girl entered the military and learned to fly. Beth also became an airplane mechanic, and when she retired from the military, she opened a maintenance shop. Business was great, as pilots trusted her and knew her to have a superior work ethic. Meg married Mr. Brooke, and after leaving the Air Force, she opened a charter business, selling shares for on-demand flights on luxury aircraft. Amy flew for the Navy for eight years then used her artistic talent to run a specialized aircraft paint shop. She won prestigious contracts with companies such as Alaska Airlines and others that love wild paint schemes. And that leaves Jo. Having accumulated five kills flying her F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, she retired and inherited her aunt’s Plumfield Airport, where she set up a flight school and penned the best-selling novel, “Flight of the Marches.”

But some things never change. My novel still ends the same because truth doesn’t change. The sisters are grateful for their blessings and affirm that we shouldn’t work for materialism but as part of life’s journey and a way to express our inner goodness. Contact me to pre-order.

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