Charlotte, in one of the last few precious days, had some moments for laughter. She thought it would be funny I would be writing in this space instead of having her do much of the work.
This is a column I have been avoiding. For those who do not know, we lost Charlotte Swanson, the editor of this magazine to brain cancer.
About six years ago, Charlotte filled in for a newspaper editor of mine who was giving birth. We had chatted in the past about working together, but thought this would be a good time to do it. She did a great job.
Then she asked about helping with the Flyer. With multiple businesses to focus on, I thought her offer to help was great, and she focused on ad sales. Within that month, she then offered to write. Two pages of help turned into four pages the following month and I want to say within 6 months, I had turned over the keys of the magazine to her, since she could truly do it all. I had no worries. The magazine was in great hands. Then she wanted Verlena to join our team, and again, I am blessed.
Looking through each magazine before it went to print, I always knew she did a wonderful job in covering aviation in the Upper Midwest. Until I informed others of her grave condition, I did not realize what an impact she had on them. Her condition and then her passing kicked us all in the gut. She was one of the biggest cheerleaders for aviation in the state, and also focused on kids, our future in this business.
She was the most optimistic person I have ever met, and found the good in absolutely everyone. When anyone of us would be having a bad day, she would brighten up our days, and then say she would be praying for you. Some people throw around this phrase as is common knowledge. With Charlotte, you knew you would be getting prayers from above.
I have kept every e-mail from Charlotte since she started with me, and as many of you who have had contact with her know, she ended most e-mails with certain phrases:
* May your day be joyfully blessed!
* May your weekend be delightful!
* May your day be pleasantly relaxing!
Before she died, she wanted to thank me for giving her a chance, an older woman with no aviation experience, who wanted to give back by her writings to aviation. I smiled since she really had no idea of what a blessing it was for all of us to be associated with her. She was a talented writer, a cheerleader, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and she had more dreams to share with the world.
Charlotte, you were the one who deserves the thanks for inspiring all of us to do better in this life. If we could all be more like Charlotte, we would be a much better world.
Verlena is working on putting the magazine together now, while I am getting more involved. As I write this, I feel Charlotte behind me, giving her blessings to continue on.
Tail winds and blue skies, my friend.