Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 6, 2000

A friend with a special place in my heart


I am sure there were a lot of us that never planned on seeing the year 2000. Well, here we are, and it doesn't seem any different than 1999.

Looking back, in order to find a different life, you would have to go back to the 1940s, '50s, or '60s. Then, every year brought changes.

In the 1940s, World War II was going on, and what a war it was. All the young men were put into service for our country, and the women took over the men's jobs.

Women were called upon to do jobs that no man would believe they could do. They flew planes with supplies overseas, and flew the sick back home to the United States.

They learned how to handle a gun, for their own safety. I had a friend, named Cici, that won a sharpshooter pin. Once, in Germany, the gun saved her life.

This was the same person, that as a young girl, couldn't look at roadkill; but she was all over the war zone, and always flying.

Once, close to London, she had to ditch her plane loaded with supplies. The plane was on fire after being hit, and she jumped out.

She prayed all the way down. A Navy boat picked her up and then, she was safe. She was also wet from landing in the water, and there were no dry clothes on board, so she had to either wear those wet clothes all day, or wear whatever was available, be it men's or women's clothes.

After that incident, she came back to the states and stayed home for five months. But she didn't like it, so she signed up again to fly overseas. This time, she was close to the fighting. She worked in a hospital and also learned to fly helicopters.

There were only 30 women in that group, and their job was to fly out and pick up the wounded. After three months, she went down again. Of the 30 women in the group, 12 were killed.

Two weeks later, Cici was shipped back to the states. She tried married life, but three months after their marriage, her husband was killed in the war. She never married again, as she said it was too hard on your heart.

Cici spent 10 years in the Air Force in Colorado and then retired. She bought a small chicken farm in North Dakota, and after six months there, she passed away. At the age of 45, my friend Cici had seen more than most people do in 70 years.

It took me six years to write this story down. I will never forget my friend, Cici.

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