On July 2nd of 1937, 39-year-old Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean whilst attempting to circumnavigate the globe in a Lockheed Model 10 Electra, just five years after famously becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Despite multiple search efforts, neither Earhart or her navigator Fred Noonan were ever found. Weeks after the pair’s disappearance, Earhart’s husband received the following letter of support from a distraught fifteen-year-old schoolgirl named Alicia Curnutt, in which she affectionately recounted a meeting with Earhart prior to the flight.
Transcript follows. Many thanks to Timothy Grove.
July 23, 1937
Dear Mr. Putman,
A tall slender girl stepped out of her airplane and smiled to the waiting reporters then turned and walked toward the hangar with her navigator and friend. I had seen Amelia Earhart! The thought sent blood rushing through my body. Shortly afterwards when she was alone; I ran joyishly up to her and asked for her autograph. Yes! It was her smiling at me. I trembled and sighed: “I sure wish I was going with you, Miss Earhart on your trip around the world.” Her smile dimmed and seriously she said: “It is not going to be so eazy.” I wanted to talk to her more t than anything else in the world, so I decided to wait and see if I could get her alone again. I watched and finally she walked out of the gate and I ran up to her. I told her of my desire to be like her and asked about the plans for of her globe trot. Her voice so low and pleasant was music to my ears. The words she said to me will always be treasured as long as I live. I knew that if I could be just like Amelia Earhart I would be the happiest person alive. I dreamed about her but she was greater and better than my simple dreams could ever make her.
Then that tragic day of July 2, 1937! When my sister told me Amelia was missing, I stared at her and a lump came to my throat. It seemed impossible for Amelia to be gone. Each radio broadcast I expected them to have found her. Four days later I went to the hospital to have my Appendix operated on. The only thing I wanted to hear was that Amelia had been found and what casual remark she would have to say. And yet the days dragged by without news of anykind. I wanted to choke the Navy for not finding her. I wanted to know her with all my heart yet I felt as if I knew her like a sister. I know that if I had a seaplane I would have gone out July 2, and I know I would have found her somewhere. If only they had found some evidence that she was alive or dead I could rest in peace. I feel she is alive and I know she needs us. I am only fifteen and a Junior in High School in Glendale.
On the walls above my desk are pictures of Amelia. Every time I look at them I wonder if she is alive what she is doing. The highest compliment my friends can give me is that they think I look like her. There are the same number of letters in my name and Amelias. My fondest hope is being like Amelia in every way possible. She will always be in my thoughts as the greatest American. I think you can understand why I will always regard Amelia too good to live on this earth. I wrote this letter to tell you how much your wife means to me. I wanted you to know that there are so many other people all over the world who love and miss her like you do.
I hope always to remain Amelias fondest fan,
P.S. As soon as I finish school I intend to take up flying as a carreer and within a few years intend to duplicate Amelias flight with fewer stops.