“Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Aviatrix and Author”

SEPT / OCT 2027: BY RACHEL KOVACINY

Today, if you’ve heard of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, it’s probably because of one or two things. Most people know her name because she married Charles Lindbergh, who may have been the most famous man in the world when they met. He made the first solo transatlantic flight a few months before he met her, which made him a hero to millions of people. But she didn’t just marry a famous aviator—she shared his passion for flying and became the first American woman to earn her glider pilot’s license. Together, the Lindberghs made many record-making flights.

What most people remember about Anne is the kidnapping of her first child, Charles Jr., in 1932. After a long, well-publicized search, during which the FBI was first granted the right to pursue suspects across state lines, they found the toddler’s body buried not far from the home the kidnappers had snatched him from. Called “the Crime of the Century,” the kidnapping put the Lindberghs so firmly in the spotlight they moved to England to allow their later children to grow up in peace.

While in England, Anne pursued writing. Her first book, North to the Orient, became a bestseller when it debuted in 1935. About a series of flights she and her husband made together, the book brought her much respect for her own achievements, which I think must have been a relief after being famous for so long only for who she married and what happened to her child.

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Anne wrote a dozen more books. Some, like Listen! The Wind, are also about her aviation adventures. The Steep Ascent is a novel. Others like Bring Me a Unicorn are collections of her letters and journal entries from specific periods of her life. Her most influential and lovely book is A Gift from the Sea, which muses on creativity, contentment, solitude, and how those things entwine in the female nature.

As a teen, I admired Charles Lindbergh for his aviation achievements and read his memoir The Spirit of St. Louis before I was even in high school. It wasn’t until college I learned anything about Anne Morrow Lindbergh. One of my Lit professors recommended Bring Me a Unicorn and even loaned me her personal copy. I felt drawn to the intelligent, curious, thoughtful woman I met within those pages, and imagined we would have understood each other had we met in person at that age.

anne3Being busy with school, it wasn’t until after I graduated and got married I found time to read more of her books. When I read A Gift from the Sea for the first time, Anne drew me to her once again as someone who understood me and what I was experiencing. I spent much of my twenties trying to find a balance between raising a young family and my own creative desires, which is what she addresses in that book. I’ve returned to that volume over and over for inspiration and understanding.

One thing I do not admire about the Lindberghs is they spent the early 1940s involved in the anti-war movement in America. Anne even wrote a booklet that supported making peace with Nazi Germany instead of entering the war on the side of the Allies. Once the United States declared war on Germany, Charles Lindbergh became involved in the military in a civilian capacity. I’m glad they had the courage to work toward goals they found important, but I disagree with their thinking.

I like to remind myself of their shortcomings, so I don’t descend into hero-worship of the Lindberghs. For all their great achievements, they were sinful human beings like the rest of us. They made mistakes, did not always lead exemplary lives, and made choices I disapprove of. None of that will stop me from continuing to read Anne’s books and find things about her I can relate to, admire, and draw inspiration from.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Kovaciny’s story “The Man on the Buckskin Horse” appears in the Five Magic Spindles anthology now available in paperback and Kindle editions. Learn more about her at her author website, rachelkovaciny.com

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