Judy Hamen was born in a hospital in South Dakota just before the start of World War II, when gas was eleven cents a gallon and the average life expectancy for a woman was sixty-five. As she grew into an energetic five-year-old, Judy had no idea that just days before her sixth birthday, she would become motherless—an event that would change the course of her life forever.
In her poignant memoir, Hamen details what it was like to grow up without a mother during a chaotic time in American history. Originally told her mother died from typhoid fever, Hamen discloses how it would not be until some twenty-five years later that she would learn the truth about her mother’s death. As she shares her journey into womanhood, Hamen provides a glimpse into her unique life story—migrating to Minnesota in the 1950s, marrying at eighteen, and embarking on a diverse career that takes her from a secretarial job at a Ford dealership to Northwest Airlines, for which she trained airline mechanics in foreign countries. Included are illustrations and letters that bring her story to life and document important events.
Flying Free shares one woman’s unique path through life as she overcomes adversity, breaks through barriers, seeks adventure, and finds spiritual inspiration.