We spent yesterday in a classroom (more like a refrigerator) at Texas State Technical College going through briefings. A safe air race requires a lot of prep-work, both from the race officials, and the racers, and the briefings are meant to make us all feel better prepared to handle the challenge.
The highlight of the day was getting to meet Gene Nora Jessen, the author of “The Powder Puff Derby of 1929: The First All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race” and one of the Mercury 13. Cathy happened to bring that book with her to the race so that she could learn more about the history, but we all ended up getting a signed copy of the new edition of the same book! The new edition is titled “Sky Girls: The True Story of the First Women’s Cross-Country Air Race” and we definitely recommend reading it if you want to learn more about how the race started and the first racers. We also all watched “Mercury 13” together as a group, which seemed very appropriate, before talking to Gene Nora about her experiences.
We ended the day with a banquet to celebrate the start of the race, with a WASP as a special guest. We also celebrated her birthday–cake is always good!