Wish Stories

Anne Flies Again at 101, Just Like She Did with Amelia Earhart

At 101 years old, Anne has lived what she believes to be a simple life—one filled with bright and beautiful memories.

Growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, she had a modest childhood. Her family did not have a refrigerator, washer, or dryer. Without a radio or TV, the kids had to find other ways to have fun—jumping rope, playing hide and seek, and skating around the neighborhood.

Even though it happened over 85 years ago, there’s one memory that burns so brightly in Anne’s memory that it feels like it happened yesterday.

When she was a sophomore in high school, Anne attended an assembly at the Girls Student League. She stood among a crowd of 1,200 excited schoolgirls gathered to hear a very special guest speaker: Amelia Earhart, the renowned aviator!

In 1932, Earhart was the first woman to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

To the girls, she was a living legend; they often saw her name in newspaper headlines and on newsreels. They eagerly listened to the famous aviator speak about her adventures. Earheart also shared her thoughts on the importance of being a role model to other women, encouraging them to do the same.

Anne recalls the exact words Earhart shared next, what was perhaps a radical idea for the time: “It’s not only a man’s world— it’s a woman’s world as well.”

Wish recipient Anne stands happily at the New England Air Museum
Wish recipient Anne sits smiling inside a historic Lockheed Electra airplane
Anne wears big headphones while on her airplane ride

At the end of the assembly, the crowd became hushed as the names of three honors students were announced. Anne could not believe it when she heard her name!

She had been chosen to go on a flight with Amelia Earhart in her famous Lockheed Electra aircraft. Anne had never flown on a plane, but in 1936, that was an experience most people could not afford. She could not believe how loud it was inside!

“It was so noisy that you couldn’t talk in the airplane,” she recalled. “I’ll never forget taxiing in the airplane, and then the wheels left the earth.”

That momentous flight and Earhart’s inspiring words have guided Anne through the rest of her life. Alongside her vibrant personality and zest for life, Anne shares this story with others of all ages, hoping it will bring joy and inspire others to give back to their communities and be role models.

When we heard Anne’s story, we were thrilled to fulfill her wish and celebrate this pivotal experience in her life. With the help of the Hartford EAA chapter, Wish of a Lifetime arranged for a guided tour of the New England Air Museum, led by the Executive Director and Vice President of Marketing, accompanied by Anne’s son Arthur and dear friend Dennis.

The museum is home to a Lockheed Electra aircraft—just like Amelia Earhart’s! Anne had the opportunity to sit inside the plane, reliving the incredible experience from her past. It was the highlight of Anne’s “red-letter day.”

“I’m so grateful for all the kindness that they showed me,” Anne said about her hosts. “I hope that all that kindness comes back to them a hundred-fold.”

Anne points out the window of her airplane at beautiful landscape below
Anne stands with her pilot and aviation instructor in front of turboprop plane

But, Anne’s wish was not complete: On June 24th, Anne took flight once again.

This time, Anne crossed the skies in a turboprop plane, accompanied by her close friend Holly. Soaring above her hometown at 3,000 feet, Anne loved seeing familiar landmarks from a whole new perspective. It reminded her of that day when she had felt her perspective shift—on the inside—when she heard Amelia Earhart’s daring words: it’s a woman’s world, too.

Anne recounted the warm welcome she received from Three Wings Aviation at the Sikorsky Memorial Airport, including the aviation instructor Nicole and general manager Ken who accompanied them on the flight.

She said that she felt like a movie star the whole day, with everyone wanting to hear her story and learn more about her life. Anne felt her spirits rise up as high as the clouds around her.

“I am deeply indebted to you…I want to thank you with all my heart,” Anne said.

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Colleen and her daughter laugh as they walk together along the ocean

One incredible story at a time, Wish of a Lifetime is changing the perception of aging—not just how we view our oldest citizens but also how we see and value ourselves as we age.

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