In a compelling memoir as timely and important today as it was when it was first published 70 years ago, a spirited young girl takes to the skies with the love of her life and returns to earth a worldly, wise and self-determined woman. Margo Rogers is a poetically inclined college student from a salt-of-the-earth Midwestern family. Frankie Kurtz is a wiry Olympic high-diver who left home at ten and raised himself on the streets. From its beginning, their love story is a soaring adventure. He teaches her to fly; she teaches him to trust. She becomes a wife; he becomes a soldier.
As Japanese bombs rain down on Frank’s position at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines in the terrifying days that follow the attack on Pearl Harbor, from her base in the American prairie, Margo gathers enough strength of will to see them both through these dark days. Blackout curtains fall and wartime censors stand between her and any peace she might find in hearing Frankie’s voice. But Margo sets a course for her own fight, armed with imagination, courage, understanding, and a quiet insistence that waiting must be turned into living, lest separation become an abyss too deep to cross.
By turns hopeful and heart-warming, poignant and funny, My Rival, the Sky is a riveting personal history of Colonel Frank Kurtz, the most decorated Army Air Corps pilot of World War II. It is also a chronicle of The Swoose—an unstoppable Flying Fortress said to be “part swan, part goose.”* It is the story of Margo Kurtz, the force of nature who kept them both from falling. It is a story about the life we create when the world takes away the life we hope for: a powerful message for every military family, every spouse and parent held hostage by their love for brave men and women gone to war. It speaks for all who, from the home front, wage those inner battles through which a peacetime home is once again made whole.
*In the late 1940’s the Smithsonian Institution accepted possession of The Swoose, where it remained in storage until the National Museum of the United States Air Force acquired it in 2008. After a complete restoration, The Swoose will be placed on display at the museum