The first step required an interview with Mrs. Hayward, one of Jackie’s Hollywood friends. I walked up to the front door of a home that could only be described as an elegant California mansion.
“Oh my!” I thought as I rang the doorbell and listened to chimes reverberate through the spacious interior.
Mrs. Hayward asked me a lot of questions about my upbringing and experience as a pilot. She sized me up, seemingly satisfied with my answers so far, then looked me directly in the eye and asked, “What would you do to get into this program?”
I looked around her enormous living room with its beautiful furniture and soaring windows.
“If you asked me to scrub your house with a toothbrush,” I said, re-establishing eye contact, “I would do it.”
I reported to Long Beach for my physical.
“You’re in excellent health. Twenty-twenty vision with perfect depth perception,” the doctor reported. “But I can’t pass you.”
“Why not?” I asked, my heart pounding against my ribs in an attempt to escape.
“The minimum weight for a WASP is 100 pounds.” He consulted his notes. “You weigh 92.”
“Give me a week!” I pleaded. With my German-Russian heritage, I was certain I could put on eight extra pounds in a week’s time. My sister, an excellent cook, joined my crusade with shared determination. I ate everything in sight, but on the morning of my weigh-in I came up just a tad short.