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Teresa James on: The Various Women Who Joined the Program
Teresa James Q: What kind of women came? Can you characterize them?

Well, most of the women really didn't look like pilots as you expected. I don't know what we expect a pilot to look like. But they were all so glamorous looking when they came in. Especially Nancy, she was so gorgeous. And Betty Gilleys was this tiny little gal. I remembered Mary's blue eyes and her dancing when she would talk about flying. She was an excellent pilot. She owned her own Grommen Amphibian Airplane. But she was so short I was thinking, "How does she reach the rudder pedals." But her husband had made rudder extensions to put on. It was like you driving a car, you know, it had an extension on a brake, that much extension. You know, you push on it. And I thought that was really ingenious when I heard about the rudder pedals. And, Cornelia Fort, she had been in the air in Hawaii when Japan bombed them. She was up in the air with a student. I think that she applied right after she got out of Hawaii and came straight to Wilmington. And she was a very charming person.

We had Catherine Slocum, who was Catherine Luden from the Luden Cough Drop firm. We didn't know about this until later. And she was another excellent pilot. But, she was the mothering type. We didn't know she had four children. But it was just such a mixed match of all those that came in. And we had the glamour queens. Nancy Bassen, a blonde from Alabama. She was flying in California when she heard about the WASP so she took a train back to Wilmington. Evelyn Sharpe came from Oren, Nebraska. She was a flight instructor and an orphan. And they're always so interesting. But the first two or three months we all became acquainted and swapped stories of how we got in, and how we got there and how much time we had in.

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