The Inspiration

In my acknowledgments page I mention the inspiration that kickstarted the idea for the book. Many years ago, when I was just a wisp of a child my Aunt Betty (Betty Baxter Hayes) told me of an event that occurred in 1944 at Charlotte’s Douglas Airport. She and her friend Peggy Parsley, both Eastern Air Lines employees, were on duty when a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber overshot the runway and settled onto the Southern Railway tracks. Just then . . . Well, I’ll skip ahead: Peggy took matters in her own hands and saved the day. Eddie Rickenbacker, CEO of Eastern Air Lines, came out to give her an award for heroism. There was even a comic strip depicting the event. Where was this famous comic, I wondered. No one seemed to know. I figured Aunt Betty would have one, since she was there and saw it all happen. Nope. Fast forward again: After I finished the book and was writing the acknowledgments I made one more stab at tracking down news clippings and the elusive comic. I found it on eBay. Of course. The illustrated event ran in an old comic book series called Real Heroes. So here are the pages from a 1946 issue. No, the event doesn’t figure into Billie Heartwing, but this is what sparked my imagination. Enjoy!