“It’s never too late to follow your dream.” May 17, 2016
By Kathryn R. Burke
November’s guest speaker is Winifred ‘Wini’ Tappan. Wini is the new model for ‘You’re only as old as you feel.” Now 90 she is proof that “It’s never to late to follow a dream and change careers! At her recent birthday celebration, Wini realized one dream, when she arrived (and departed) on a motorcycle. And danced to ‘Pretty Woman’ with a handsome escort.
A late bloomer, Wini 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. “In the process of putting together these three books,” she said, “I discovered that I really love to write and wish I had not waited so long to start.”
Wini 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. And, now at age 89, she has recently authored book number three, A Pilot’s View of WWII, and is working on her fourth, Silent Voices, with letters written home by service men and women during WWII.
Her first book, Grappling with Government Abuse was written after she retired from teaching and explains her battle with Social Security (she won). It was written when she was 87. Her second book The Lactose Free Cookbook – Living Deliciously!, is the result of several years of dealing personally with a fairly severe lactose intolerance. But it is the third book, A Pilot’s View of WWII, where Wini’s ability as a writer, historian, and researcher really shines. The book has already gained national prominence!
A Pilot’s View of World War II came about during a project Wini 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.”
Boecking had kept a hand-written journal of the 36 missions he flew over Germany in 1944. Using that journal, and researching the now-vague memories of the pilot, she crafted a story of courage and camaraderie and the harrowing experiences faced by the crews of the 379th Bomb Squad, 8th Airforce, stationed in Kimbolton AFB, England during the war. The book is indexed and reinforced with cited references, a Mission Map, pages from the Mission Journal.
Wini will share photographs and stories from this book and her others. She is also asking that anyone having saved letters written home by WWII service men and women, share them with her for her next book, Silent Voices.
Related articles and links
Winifred Tappan. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,
Website for the book. A Pilot’s View of WWII.
Website for book Grappling With Government Abuse, by Winifred Tappan: One Teacher’s Nightmare
‘Winifred Tappan helps AARP members stay active, informed’
By Caitlin Switzer. Montrose Press. Jun 20, 2005
‘Retired Teacher Takes on WEP/GPO’ National Education Association, Issues and Action.