Every Veterans Day I give a shout out to my mom, Hette Amade, who is 82-years-old and a huge fan of YA Fantasy books. In fact, I JUST mailed her a printed copy of Sanctuary, Shifter Chronicles Book One, and I’m nervous as all get out about how she’s going to respond. (I told her to be kind. )
My mom served as a First Lieutenant from 1953-1962 in the Royal Netherlands Air Force. She had immigrated to the Netherlands from Indonesia, where she was born in Surakarta on the island of Java in 1934. When she joined the Royal Netherlands Air Force, she was 19-years-old – an amazing teenager! She had always known she wanted to be a pilot, so it was an obvious choice for her.
My mom, Hette Amade, was the first female officer to serve as Air Traffic Controller in the Netherlands Royal Air Force.
Mom was an avid sail plane pilot and although she wasn’t actually allowed to fly in the Air Force (she was after all, a woman) she worked as a flight instructor at the local soaring club. In 1961 she placed 2nd in the Netherlands National Soaring Championships, which lasted several days and included such challenges as flying a sail plane for 8.5 hours. Just to be clear…. that is flying a plane with NO ENGINE for longer than an average work day!
When she immigrated (again) to America in 1962, she held ALL the records for female Netherlands soaring, including altitude, endurance, and distance.
In America she moved to Potter Valley (there’s not even a town there, just a bar and a bait store), raised animals and three daughters, achieved her Bachelor of Science in Zoology, worked as a chemist/biology laboratory technician, and spent many, many hours indulging in her talent for painting and drawing.
She wasn’t always the easiest Mom to have, I’ll admit – to you and her both. I spent my youth being a farmhand under her strict and often barking supervision. But, she raised me and my siblings to be responsible, hardworking, self-supporting, creative, and most importantly… to live our dreams no matter how outlandish they my seem to other people.
Happy Veterans Day, Mom.
I love and salute you.