AUTHOR BOOK REVIEW: DEBRA L. WINEGARTEN
Email/Contact Info: Sociosight@aol.com
Current Publisher: Eakin Press, Austin, Texas
“Strong Family Ties: The Tiny Hawkins Story” 1998, Sociosights Press. Hardcover, Memoirs.
“Katherine Stinson: The Flying Schoolgirl” 2001, Eakin Press, Hardcover, Biography.
“Mum’s the Word: A Tribute to Ruthe Winegarten” 2001, Sunbelt Media, Hardcover, Memoirs/Biography.
Katherine Stinson earned her pilot’s wings in 1912, nine years after the Wright Brothers first flight. Katherine didn’t start out to be a pilot; she was a piano player. Her music teacher told her she needed to go to Europe to continue her musical studies. The oldest of four children, with her parents separated, Katherine didn’t have the money. She saw a newspaper headline that screamed, “Barnstormers Earn $1000 a Day,” and her flying career was launched.
Flying planes that were little more than modified box kites with bicycle tires, Katherine thrilled audiences across the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Far East, performing stunts, night skywriting, and death-defying dives. Winning many endurance and duration records, she desperately wanted to fly for the U.S. in World War I. The Army refused, so in one day, Katherine raised over two million dollars for the Red Cross flying from Buffalo, New York to Washington, D.C. Katherine joined Mrs. Harriman’s Ambulance Corps in France and transported injured troops from the front lines to the hospital. She developed tuberculosis and returned to Santa Fe to recover. While there, she met John Gaw Meems, a renowned architect, who agreed to teach her. Katherine opened an office in downtown Santa Fe, became an award-winning architect, and is credited with helping preserve the southwest style of architecture we still see in Santa Fe today. She was a true Ambassador of Aviation.
I’ve been writing forever, it seems. My “break” came when I told my mother people would pay us to write their family histories. “No they won’t,” she said, and we laid down that sultry August afternoon in Austin to take a nap. The phone rang. It was Tiny Hawkins’ daughter, telling Mom that she needed to write a story about Tiny. And the rest is, as they say, “herstory.”
The past year, I’ve been traveling almost non-stop, promoting my book on Katherine Stinson. You can see my travel schedule on my website, www.sociosights.com under the “Events in 2002” link.
I love to swim, play the flute, take walks, be owned by cats, and my heart partner.