The Dream of Flight

Erin van Zyl, guest writer


It was the year 1937. On a brisk, cloudy Tuesday in San Francisco, day-to-day life seemed to be the same with cars and people coming to and fro with the exception of an occasional shout of a taxi driver or a person selling fresh flowers. It was not a typical weekday for Julia Faye Wesley. Today was the day the Gold Gate Bridge had its grand opening.

Standing at the beginning of the bridge, she saw this new shining masterpiece drenched with amazed people and slow moving cars. Pushing her way through the swarm of people, she found the perfect place to see the jets that were past due for arrival. Her heart raced as three massive jets in a triangular formation bolted over her head. Jules was smiling from ear-to-ear.

Jules, the nickname her dad gave her, had watched this bridge being built every day after school for as long as she could remember. Sitting under a tree, she would occasionally see an airplane fly by. These were very special moments for Jules, for she had an unfathomable fascinating with flying.

In third grade, Jules went on a field trip to an army base where she and her class were given the opportunity to ride in a plane for the first time. That day triggered her interest in flying and from that moment on, she would seize any opportunity she would get to learn more about the interesting contraptions. However, her parents had other plans for her life. They had watched their green-eyed daughter grow up into a beautiful 5’8 specimen of a human being. Blonde curls draped the outline of her slender face and hourglass figure. With one glimpse, anyone could realize she was flawless. To everyone’s dismay, when Jules was around sixteen, she started to rebel against the traditional “lady’s wear“. Jules wore sleek pants with a silk blouse and refused to wear dresses on a day-to-day basis because she felt they were restrictive. Julia’s mother wanted her to become a model in Paris when she turned eighteen due to her exquisite beauty and highly disapproved of her dream to become a pilot. Her father, also against her flying, believed it was strictly a man’s job and involved too many risks. Jules was the kind of girl that had everything going for her in life, but due to her home atmosphere, she felt as if the real Julia Faye Wesley was trapped inside and couldn’t come out of hiding.

* * *

Amelia Earhart missing in flight.

            The news headlines of my father’s morning newspaper.

In “attempting to fly around the world” (History), she lost her bearings and was stuck somewhere in the middle of the Pacific.

“Jules come and see for yourself. Your mother and I have told you several times, flying is very dangerous and we do not like it.” Mr. Wesley said in a know-it-all voice.

Her heart sank. Amelia was her idol.

Trying to hide my disappointment, I replied, “Dad, flying is my dream. Please don’t take that away from me.”

“We just care about you a lot honey. You remember that Hindenburg Disaster that just happen two months ago right?”

“Dad, I realize that. But there is risk in everything.” The ringing of the phone ended the discussion.

At the dinner table, Mrs. Wesley announced that Susan, Julia’s aunt, had called and invited Jules to come to Paris for the rest of the summer to shadow her at her modeling studio. Julia wasn’t thrilled with the situation but knew that if she denied the offer, her mother would confirm the invitation. Flustered, she excused herself from the table and walked outside to her mailbox and opened it. There was a letter inside with her name printed in black ink. Two months earlier, Jules had secretly applied to Brondon Lang University of Aeronautics. She had been anticipating their reply for what seemed like forever, and the letter in response had finally arrived. She anxiously ripped open the envelope. Her eyes quickly scanned the paper for the magic words. She finally found them. She had been accepted! But there was one slight problem: she had already agreed to shadow her aunt in Paris and would miss the deadline of the beginning of school. With a heavy heart, Jules decided to grant her parents’ wishes and join Aunt Susan in France.

* * *

Several days later, Jules arrived in Paris. As she stepped off the boat, she took everything in. The sights, smells, and noises. . . . all of it. She looked around for Aunt Susan’s bright red head full of hair that she knew so well. That’s when she saw it: a carriage with a man holding up a sign for Brondon Lang University. Several young adults were piling into the carriage to make the two-hour trip to the school. Regret filled her body. She yearned to hop into the carriage along with the rest of them and go to the school of her dreams, but she couldn’t disappoint her parents in such a way. She turned away from the sight and walked in the opposite direction.

But what would actually happen if I just went? Jules thought to herself. . . what if?

As if her body had a mind of its own, she found herself sprinting towards the carriage just as it started pulling away.

“Wait! Stop! I am coming!” she frantically called after it. The carriage came to an abrupt halt. A sense of fulfillment that she had never felt before surged through her. Jules was on her way to experiencing something that she, prior to that moment, had never thought possible.

* * *

The trip to Brondon Lang seemed to last forever. Jules tried to calm her nerves by reading a newly-released book, The Hobbit, that she had picked up before leaving America. Upon arrival, the students got out of the carriage and quickly put their belongings in their rooms in order to make it in time for supper. That night as she laid in bed, she started to worry. Had she made the right decision? How mad were her parents going to be? What had her Aunt done when she didn’t show up? She took a piece of paper out of her truck, stepped outside on her balcony, and wrote to Aunt Susan expressing her deepest apologies and explaining her reasoning for her sudden decision. There were too many unanswered questions as her troubled mind walked back inside and drifted off into deep sleep.

* * *

The first few weeks of flying school were going well and Jules was having a blast. On one particular day, her flying lesson in the morning was postponed due a solar eclipse which is when “the Moon covers the entire disk of the Sun”(Total) creating total darkness for about seven to ten minutes. The lesson consisted of her instructor demonstrating how to get out of a tailspin. For a few moments, Jules took her attention off of her teacher to gaze upon the breathtaking city of Paris. That was when disaster struck. The instructor had passed out in flight and the plane started to plummet toward the ground. Jules was terrified. It was her first time ever having to fly a plane without assistance. She took a deep breath and hopped into the pilot’s seat to try to save not only her life, but the instructor’s too. Jules took control of the plane just in time to land it safely with no further complications. Her instructor was rushed to the hospital. Jules was a hero.

Exiting the airplane, she spotted three very familiar people: her Mother, Father, and Aunt.

Julia’s anxiety kicked in. She felt as if she was about to be called by her full name.

“Jules! Sweetie, we were worried sick about you” Mr. Wesley exclaimed.

“Julia Faye Wesley.” Elizabeth Wesley said in a stern motherly tone.

While Jules gave her father a hug she answered, “Yes Mother?”

“Never try anything like this again”

“Yes ma’am,” replied respectfully.

“What exactly is going on here?” Aunt Susan piped up. The adviser of the school came running up before she could even answer her aunt.

“Julia, I am utterly impressed. That was amazing. I’m sure that your instructor and his family are very grateful for you saving his life.”

Her family’s jaws dropped to the floor. They were stocked to hear the news and that she had flown a plane by herself. Her parents were so impressed that they agreed to let her stay and graduate as a pilot. Due to never giving up on her dream and following in Amelia Earhart’s footsteps, the aviation legend of all time, Julia Faye Wesley went on to become one of the most decorated and successful pilots of her day (Donald).


Works Cited

Donald M. Goldstein, and Katherine V. Dillion. Amelia a life of the aviation legend. Washington

D.C: Brassey’s, 1997. Print. Staff “Amelia Earhart disappears.” A&E Networks. 2010. Web. March

27, 2016.

“Total Solar Eclipse.” n.p. 2016. Web. April 1, 2016.


“The Hindenburg Disaster.” n.p. n.d. Web. March 27, 2016.

“The Hobbit.” Gateway. 2016. Web. April 1, 2016.