11 July, 2020

Sky Queen By Judy Kundert Book Tour and Guest Post!

Sky Queen

By Judy Kundert

Genre: Women’s Fiction

It's 1967, and Katherine Roebling is a Chicago-based stewardess caught between the hold of highflying travel and the call of her Native American ancestors just as the women’s movement is taking the US by storm. As she vacillates between an ever-present mystical ancestral feather and her alluring stewardess life of excitement and travel, she embarks on a journey from one adventure to the next―each episode bringing her closer to her predestined calling. A chance meeting with a college student from Athens, Greece at a Chicago Playboy Mansion Press Party and her visit to the Oracle of Delphi intertwine with Katherine's discovery of the treasure inside herself. Ultimately, she gains wings that allow her to glide over society’s barriers; she abandons the so-called glamorous life she’s been living, creates her own path, and embarks upon a new career at the Smithsonian in DC―one that will take her on a miraculous experience of personal growth and uncharted paths.

About the Author

Judy Kundert, a recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Excellence in Authorship award, loves storytelling, from folk and fairy tales to classics for elementary school children. She authors award-winning middle-grade novels designed to inspire and intrigue children. After she left her career as a United Airlines stewardess, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University, Chicago and a Master of Arts from DePaul University, Chicago. Most recently, she completed a master’s Certificate in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Denver. For fun, she likes reading (usually three or four books at a time), watching movies from the oldies to the current films, traveling, biking, and hiking in the vast Colorado outdoors with her husband. Learn more at www.judykundert.com.

Sky Queen’s Katherine Roebling’s life lessons at 30,000 feet

Welcome to the Jet Age. As defined: The Jet Age is a period of history represented by the social change brought about by the advent of large aircraft powered by turbine engines. 

 The Jet Age was the world I entered in 1967 as a stewardess for a major airline. I still carry the life lessons I learned from flying at 30,000 feet, and I'll share some of these experiences with you. 

Starting: It was the 1960s, and women were getting more opportunities. I felt the urge to hop into the world of adventure. I leaped and left Beloit College with a leave of absence from my studies to explore the world. At this time, even my college advisor later told me she was envious of me. My best friend said my becoming a stewardess was the ‘smartest thing you’ve ever done. I even thought there was a cord of luck or fate that had jerked me from my studies at Beloit College. Either way, I smile at my luck or destiny that landed me in Chicago as a stewardess.

My boarding begins and my first lesson: I interviewed with a major airline amidst stiff competition. Only 35 young women got selected from the 60,000 applications. I was one of the chosen interviewees.

The lesson: Follow your dreams.

My stewardess training and it’s required uniformity and my second lesson:

First on the list was the standard appearance for each trainee. Highest on the list was the right weight. During training, at each meal at the end of the cafeteria line, a standing scale haunted us. We'd hop on the weigh-in scale before we took a bit of food. We got prepared for future appearance checks when we became a full-fledged stewardess and get a surprise appearance and weight checks. If the scale tipped a pound over the weight requirement, this meant grounding. Uniformity went beyond the uniform to the hair length, girdle, nylons, and nail polish.   

The lesson: Don't follow the crowd, be free, and be yourself.

My emergency training and my third lesson: The most vital education for cabin crew is learning emergency procedures. Emergency procedures are still the paramount training for all flight crew. We learned how to evacuate passengers from a burning plane in 90 seconds; We trained in mock experiences with a smoke-filled cabin that included audio sounds of a plane crashing. Our trainers told us never to leave the aircraft until the last passenger was safe. This training stands with me even today, and I still remember how to evacuate a passenger from an airplane. 

The lesson: In daily life, put all personal turmoil in perspective. Calm down since most lifetime emergencies aren't life-threatening. Cherish all people in your life.

My Take-off into the blue skies and my fourth lesson: The dream came true. After seven weeks of training, and I passed my final test –the week-long emergency experiences. I donned my beautiful blue uniform, white blouse, sugar scoop hat, and my gold-plated pin. I was ready to meet, greet, and serve all the mannerly passengers that boarded my planes. During this era, after boarding duties, meal services, and other duties, we spent time with our passengers. And there were many individual encounters and enriching experiences. People from all walks of life, each with exciting stories.  One particular conversation I had with a passenger resulted in his writing a poem to me. Here's a portion of his verse. "I saw a soul today, with hair of gold, eyes of green, now and forever a living truth." That made my day and stayed with me.

The lesson: Find time to have good conversations and share with others.

Parties in the skies and my fifth lesson: And yes, there was a time when my flying partners and I prepared festive events for the passengers. One of them was decorating the cabin with festive streamers for a 4th of July celebration. And when the gate agent met the plane, he scratched his head and asked us why all the passengers were joyful. It was beautiful to make people happy. 

The lesson: Try to spread joy every day.

Take the 30,000 foot views of life and my sixth lesson: When I'd look out the airplane window at 30,000 feet, it was encouraging to see the order in the fields, nature, and the cities.

The Lesson: See the big picture and the order in the whole.

Here’s a final thought about stewardess’s life at 30,000 feet during the Jet Age from an airline ad.

“She walks over 5 miles on a typical flight. She hangs your coat, offers you a pillow, comes around with magazines, briefs you on safety procedures, brings your choice of drinks, serves your meal, pours your wine, answers your questions, helps your children, refills your coffee cup, points out landmarks, takes your tray and brings you your coat. And she takes it all in stride.”

  Enjoy the journey, by Katherine Roebling, Sky Queen.

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