Sirine and Amelia's legacy
On June 1937, Amelia Earhart went to Miami to begin a flight around the world, with Fred Noonan as her navigator. The pair departed Miami on June 1 covering some 22,000 miles (35,400 km) while making stops in South America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia before arriving at Lae, New Guinea, on 29 June 29 1937. The remaining 7,000 miles (11,300 km) of the flight would cross the Pacific with refueling stops on tiny Howland Island and Oahu before returning to Oakland.
The pair made it to Lae, New Guinea in 21 days and stayed at the Hotel Cecil, located along the shoreline a few hundred feet north of the airport. The owner at that time was Ms Flora Stewart.
postal card of Hotel Cecil in Lae, New Guinea
Meli kept the news about her heroin from all and every news papers she can find
then the big news in "The Paragraph" of June 29, 1937
Meli was helping Amelia as much as she could during her stay. She was always happy to be close to her heroine, and those few days before Amelia Earhart took off, were plenty enough for the young girl to decide to change her life, and to learn how to pilot a plane when she would be of age. She was determined to obtain her flight license after Amelia showed her her own license.
Amelia Earhart pilot licence
Old Lae residents used to recall entertaining the couple in the Hotel Cecil the night before their departure, and then seeing them off the next morning, and Meli stayed up all night with all of them.
The scarf given to Meli by Amelia Earhart
During the next leg of the trip, they departed New Guinea for Howland Island, a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. July 2, 1937 was the last time Earhart and Noonan communicated with a nearby Coast Guard ship. They were never heard from again.
Meli was devastated by the news, she tried hard to keep hope but after a while it had to come to light, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were declared missing and dead at sea.
Slowly life returned to normal, then the war broke out in Europe. Meli, kept the promise she made to herself, she got her pilot's license.
For many years she revered the scarf that Amelia had given her, probably the last gift she had made. She promised that she would pass this precious treasure on to her children and/or grandchildren by telling them about her unexpected encounter with this great aviator.
Later she joined a group of loyal admirers who erected a monument at the memory of Amelia Earhart in Lae, near the track that saw her last flight.
Amelia Earhart memorial in Lae
Meli was Sirine Helene Peeters great-grand mother. Today, Sirine holds the precious treasure in her hands. She often caresses Amelia’s scarf with tender love. Today wearing a vintage flying suits out of respect, she wrapped the scarf around her neck , and let her mind wander, thinking of her Great grand-ma and her timely encounter with her heroine.
Fly , Amelia, fly until the end of time.