"Willie Faye had said, "You just kind of got to believe," and I realized that she must have meant that we had to have faith. For what is faith but believing what you can't see."
—Minnie Swift[5]

Minerva "Minnie" Swift (born c. 1921) was the daughter of Belle and Sam Swift. She had four siblings, three older sisters, Gwen, Clem, and Lady, and one younger brother, Ozzie Swift. Minnie lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. In December 1932, Minnie's distant cousin, Willie Faye Darling came to live with them.


Early life

Minerva Swift, nicknamed "Minnie", was born sometime during 1921.[2] She was the youngest daughter of Sam and Belle Swift. Minnie had three older sisters, Gwendolyn "Gwen", Clementine "Clem", and Adelaide "Lady", and a younger brother, Francis Osgood "Ozzie". She grew up on North Meridian Street in Indianapolis, Indiana.

December 1932

Three days after Thanksgiving, a distant cousin of the Swift family came to live with them, after her parents died. Her name was Willie Faye Darling, who was from the Texas Panhandle. She was the same age as Minnie and they quickly became close friends.

Minnie and Willie Faye attended Public School 70, but were put in different grades. The following weekend, they attend a classmate's birthday, only to leave as soon as they hear a "sharp crack." Later, they learned that their classmate's father had shot himself. That night, Willie Faye told Minnie about her own experiences with death. As Christmas grew closer, Minnie and Willie Faye began making special gifts for each family member.

Meanwhile, Minnie's father spent most of his time upstairs typing. One day, he revealed to his family that he had lost his job. He left home to go to Chicago and sold three scripts of a radio show, entitled Ozzie, the Boy Wonder, that he had written. Sam did not tell his family about the scripts, until he returned on Christmas Eve. The family was overjoyed to find that he had not deserted them and had a wonderful Christmas.

Later life

Minnie was able to attend college, after the success of Ozzy, the Boy Wonder. However, she put aside college, when America entered World War II in 1941. Minnie, who had learned to fly at fifteen, joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots, after a very selective application process. She married and had two children with an air force captain Ashton Brannock, who died fighting in the Korean War.

She wrote adventure survival stories for girls, and collaborated with Willie Faye on a series of children's books about "a chicken that flew an airplane." Minnie later remarried and continued to fly planes well into her seventies. She was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal by Bill Clinton in 1993.

Personality and traits

Minnie was a fun-loving young girl during her childhood, who enjoyed going to the movies and listening to radio shows, such as Charlie Chan and The Shadow. She felt pressure to be smart, because of her name, Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. Minnie also was not afraid to defend herself, when talking to adults.

She greatly admired Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart's influence most likely led Minnie to learn how to fly and later join the WASPs.

Family tree

The Swift Family Tree
Sam Swift
Belle Swift
Gwendolyn Swift
(b. 1912)
Harry Knox
Clementine Swift
(b. 1915)
Adelaide Swift
(b. 1916)
(1) Ashton Brannock
(d. 1950s)
Minerva Swift
(b. 1921)
(2) Unnamed
Francis Osgood Swift
(b. 1923)
Three children
Two children

Behind the scenes



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