Winifred Tappan retired after 20 years of teaching. She taught in West Virginia and New Mexico before moving to Colorado in 1982, where she specialized in teaching learning disabled and emotionally disturbed students at a high school level. Tappan is an inspirational late bloomer and proof that it’s never to late to follow a dream and change careers! She went back to college when she was 50 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. At 55, she earned her Master of Arts Degree. At age 87, Tappan published her first book. Now 90, she is working on her fourth.
“In the process of putting together these books, I discovered that I really love to write and wish I had not waited so long to start,” she says. Tappan remembers a professor in college telling her that she ought to get a paper published that she had written for his class. At the time it never occurred to her that this might be something she would enjoy doing as a career.
A Pilot’s View of World War II came about during a project Tappan began in Montrose, Colorado where she lives. She intended to interview different seniors who ate lunch in the Senior Center Dining Room every day, and then to contribute short write-ups to the Senior Scene (a monthly newsletter published by the Senior Center.)
The first person she interviewed was Robert Boecking (pronounced ‘Becking’). “His story was so compelling,” she said, “I had to make it into a book.” Tappan then located and interviewed a woman, who as a young girl, had been on the ground in Czechoslovakia, when Boecking’s squadron flew overhead, dropping bombs on the area. Thus, Tappan also presents both sides of the story,’ how it was to be beneath the fury of a B-17 bomb attack, and how it felt to take off on a bombing mission, seeing planes lost and wondering – if you would return to base again.