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Thoma, Harry C. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 38, Number V (Feb. 1937)

Kessenich, Henrietta W.
Another pair of top-notch aces,   pp. 186-187


Page 186


     Aniother Pair of Top-iaotch Aces
        O. HUM, it takes no                   Alumnae can        be proud
of this airline
        time at all for some of
 [J[     ur alumnae to become                 hostess and      an   outstanding
     geologist
        what our editor-in-
        chief calls an Ace. He
probably never dreamed that we would find a real       older passengers and
heated milk-bottles for the
Ace, but we discovered that Selma Tilker, class of     youngest ones, she
has no record.  She does know
1935, is an air stewardess, the only Wisconsin grad-   that she can depend
upon less than three per cent of
uate with a position of this kind, and one of the      the travelers to be
air-sick,-that is the least of her
few stewardesses with a university degree.             worries.
  Miss Tilker entered the University in the fall of      Her days are interesting,
for she has a real job.
1928 on a scholarship that she had won as a mem-       They run something
like this. Upon going out to
ber of that year's graduating class at the Madison     the field, she and
the pilots sign in at the dispatch
Central High School; and with an average of 2.4, she   office of the originating
station one hour before sched-
was given another scholarship before her freshman      uled departure time.
They are given a report about
year was over. Nicely launched upon her college ca-    the weather en route
and air conditions they may
reer, the crash of 1929 descended upon her and her     encounter, the altitude
at which they will fly, tem-
parents, and she was transferred to the Wisconsin      peratures at the various
places, and any other infor-
General Hospital School of Training where, until she   mation that may be
pertinent.    They then check
was given her diploma three years later, she received  the cabin of the ship
to see that all the equipment is
her board and room and was given opportunities to      there and in order.
Although others clean and stock
earn the needed money for uniforms and books.          the planes, it is
the stewardess' responsibility to see
  But she still wanted a degree from Wisconsin. So,    to it that the job
is well done.
continuing her work as a graduate nurse at the hos-
pital, she carried part time work at the University,      S HE stands by
the doorway of the ship, greets
earned pin money by giving riding lessons, took        passengers as they
enplane, and assigns them to their
courses by correspondence, attended a summer school,   seats.  Before the
take-off and the landing, she
and in June, 1935, she received her B.S. in sociol-    sees that the seat
belts are fastened, and she asks the
ogy. In her spare time, during her senior year, she    passengers to refrain
from  smoking until the illu-
took tap-dancing and exhibition ball-room dancing      minated No Smoking
sign is turned off.
as a hobby, and appeared in Kehl's dancing revue          Among her other
duties, Miss Tilker gives out
shortly before graduation.                             the latest edition
of the newspaper from the city they
                                                       are leaving. She serves
complimentary lunches which
   D NE night a friend took her for an airplane ride    are prepared and
packed by the caterer at the various
over Madison and she became intensely interested in    stops. She collects
tickets and checks baggage, passes
flying. She began to read articles about air-hostesses,  cigarettes, and
offers magazines. If a passenger wishes
and the idea of becoming one haunted her.      She     to sleep, she pulls
down the curtain, reclines his chair
learned that there were certain basic qualifications for  and gives him a
blanket and a pillow. If his stomach
such a position. One must be a graduate registered     is upset, or if he
has a headache or a bruise, she gives
nurse, under five feet-four inches                                      
him  medication.  She is used to
tall, under 120 pounds, in perfect  77-                                 
rolling up her sleeves and going in-
physical condition, under twenty-   i-                                  
to action as a temporary nurse-
five years of age, unmarried, at-                                       
maid.
tractive, and have a charming per-                                      
  Selma Tilker loves this business
sonality.                                                               
of flying because she feels that she
   Selma Tilker easily measured                                         
is part of an industry that presents
up to every requirement, except                                         
a spirit of pioneering. The in-
for one thing.   When she was                                           
dustry is young and so are those in
given her physical examination, it                                      
it.  The workers must develop
was found that she could not pass                                       
new  ideas, new   principles, new
the eye test. But, she was told, a                                      
machines,  and   new   precedents
much needed rest might remedy                                           
which will be followed in the
the condition. Luck smiled upon                                         
years to come. By the experience of
her.  She secured a job as camp                                         
these pioneers, future generations
nurse at an exclusive girls' camp                                       
are to profit.
near Rhinelander, and finally after                                     
          *     * _
many attempts, in January of last
year she passed the required test.                                      
  FLORENCE BASCOM          was a
   In a year's time she has flown                                       
youthful graduate of a few years
over 1200 hours and over 200,-                                          
back who showed promise that her
000 miles, or more than the dis-                                        
future would be a brilliant one,-
tance equal to seven times around                                       
a promise continuously fulfilled
the world. As to the number of                  Selma Tilker            
since then. Four years from now,
times she has passed gum  to the            200,000 miles of flight     
let us hope that she will return to
                                                   186


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