By Kay Whatley
While I don’t share family stories much, I decided I would pass this one along. It involves our grandfather, an essay contest, and Amelia Earhart.
On the wall hangs a copy of a newspaper article saved by our grandfather, Gordon Reublin. As a young man, he entered a high school essay contest where the topic was “The Greatest Feat in Aviation in 1931”. Amelia Earhart served as one of the contest judges, alongside air-racer L. W. Greve and others, and — according to the family story — when our grandfather was awarded his prize, Ms. Earhart herself presented him with the certificate. The prize he won was a private pilot flying course, valued at $395 — quite a bit of money back in 1932!
Now, that year 0f 1932 there were not too many pilots, nor commercial airlines. With the flying course he won, our grandfather earned his pilot’s license at the Cleveland Institute of Aviation and Aircraft service by 1933.
My grandfather not only earned his pilot’s license, and went on to be an aviation (OX5) pioneer. He also served in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II — their local C.A.P. kept watch of the skies over Lake Erie. Yes, the US worried about Axis invasion over the northern border too.
Following the war, Gordon Reublin flew for decades, participating in clubs and sharing aircraft, and his love of flying stayed with him all of his life… made possible by that single, winning essay.