Mona Kerby & Eileen McKeating
1
    â€œIt’s Just Like Flying!”
    The two children stood on the roof of the toolshed and looked down at the slanting track. It stretched eight feet down to the ground. For days they had hammered. At last it was ready. With some help from their uncle, seven-year-old Millie (Amelia) and her five-year-old sister Pidge (Muriel) had built their very own “rolly” coaster.
    Millie climbed into the packing crate. She folded her knees into her chest. “Let me go!” she yelled.
    The box shot down the wobbly track. Within seconds, the ride was over. The girl and the crate crashed at the bottom.
    Millie jumped up. She ignored her torn dress and her hurt lip. She was too excited. “Oh, Pidge,” she said. “It’s just like flying!”
    Their parents made them tear down the roller coaster. After all, it was dangerous. But maybe Millie remembered the fun of her short “flight.” When she grew up, Amelia Earhart became one of the most famous airplane pilots in the world.
    Of course, on July 24, 1897, the night Amelia was born, her family wasn’t thinking about airplanes or pilots. In 1897, people didn’t fly. There weren’t any airplanes. And even if there were, everyone knew that a woman couldn’t fly one. That would have been a man’s job. In those days, a woman wasn’t supposed to have a career. Her place was in the home.
    Amelia Mary Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas, at the home of her grandparents, Judge Alfred Otis and his wife, Amelia. The little girl was named after both of her grandmothers. She was nicknamed Millie by her family.
    Amelia’s mother, Amy Otis Earhart, wrote later that Amelia was “a real watercolor baby with the bluest of blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and red lips.”
    Soon, Amy Earhart and baby Amelia returned to their own home in Kansas City, Kansas. Amelia’s father, Edwin Stanton Earhart, worked there as a lawyer for the railroad.
    Two years later, in 1899, Amelia’s sister, Grace Muriel Earhart, was born. Amelia loved books, animals, and the outdoors. She could read by the time she was four. She kept a book called Insect Life, to identify the insects she found. Amelia’s favorite books were Peter Rabbit, Black Beauty, and all kinds of adventure stories. Almost always, the heroes in those adventures were boys. The girl characters never did anything exciting. Amelia didn’t think this was fair.
    Back then, most parents thought girls should play, dress, and act differently from boys. But Amelia’s parents weren’t like that. Amelia loved the outdoors, so Mr. Earhart taught her to fish and play ball. And sometimes, just like a boy, Amelia jumped over fences.
    It’s not easy to jump fences in lacy petticoats and stockings. Mrs. Earhart had bloomers made for her daughters. The bloomers were made out of dark blue flannel, with long sleeves, high collars, and divided skirts that reached to the knees. The two girls still had to wear dark stockings and high-top shoes.
    Even though some people said that bloomers weren’t proper for little girls, Amelia wore them. They were perfect for walking on stilts, catching toads, and jumping fences.
    Amelia didn’t like to play with dolls too often. But it was fun to set them in the doll carriage and tie the carriage to her big black dog, James Ferocious. Muriel shook a bone, and James Ferocious took off running. Amelia hollered and chased from behind.
    Once when James Ferocious was tied to a rope in the backyard, some boys teased him. James Ferocious barked and jumped until the rope broke. The boys scrambled onto the toolshed.
    The barking awoke 6-year-old Amelia from her nap. She ran outside to her dog. “James Ferocious, you naughty dog,” she said, “you’ve tipped over your water dish again.” She patted her dog and led him inside.
    Mrs. Earhart praised Amelia for her bravery, but explained that she could have been hurt. “I wasn’t

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