I don’t recall the exact year I began communicating with local historian and Wright Brothers, Betty Darst, but I do vividly remember meeting her for the first time at the foot of the Wright brothers graves where we gathered to celebrate the conclusion of Dayton’s celebration for the centennial a flight.
It was Sunday afternoon, July 20, 2003 and Sen. John Glenn introduced the guest speaker, Neil Armstrong. I felt honored to be surrounded by greatness that day. The Wright Brothers. John Glenn. Neil Armstrong. Wright family members. And, Betty Darst.
I was only a few years in to my research of The Wright Brothers for my musical and Betty was the expert to whom everyone directed me. “She’s the expert on Katharine Wright and does presentations on Katharine,” was the general comment I received when discussing or interviewing area historians.
A connection was made via email and several phone calls but it was several years before we were to finally meet. Nineteen years after our first meeting, I am still entirely smitten with Betty Darst.
A week ago, Betty came to Carillon Historical Park with some friends and yesterday, I looked up to see Betty strolling into The Atrium. She’d made a special trip to bring me a “care package.” And what a care package it was! Two books on First Ladies, a Wilbur & Orville Wright mug, and a note card with a gorgeous painting of Katharine Wright’s first visit to her brothers at Huffman Prairie where the brothers conducted their flying experiments after their 1903 success at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
The gifts are wonderful and I love them all the more because Betty shared them with me.
Thank you, Betty Darst! Know you are loved…