Couple elopes at Summit

The bride and groom stepped onto the tarmac at Peter O. Knight Airport Nov. 6. Their seven-hour engagement, which began over breakfast at AOPA Aviation Summit, was to conclude with a ceremony in front of the Lockheed 12A Electra Junior that played the role of Earhart’s airplane in the movie Amelia—a fitting setting for the couple, who met because of a mutual interest in the legendary aviatrix.

The bride wore jeans and, appropriately, an Amelia Earhart T-shirt. A small crowd gathered around the couple as they walked, hand in hand, to a platform in front of the Electra where a white cake, flowers, and champagne awaited them.

Glenn Plymate and girlfriend Irene Bolam had been chatting at a breakfast that morning with a couple they had just met when the subject of marriage came up. Plymate, a widower, and Bolam, a widow, had met through the Amelia Earhart Society and hit it off. They dated, met each other’s children, and were ready to get married. They discussed the possibilities—maybe a trip to Las Vegas—and the woman with them, Pat Ohlsson, suggested having the wedding right away, at Summit.

Ohlsson and her husband Lenny Ohlsson, of Spruce Creek Fly-In Realty in Daytona, Fla., were displaying their 1941 Waco UPF 7 at Airportfest, and Pat told Plymate and Bolam that her husband was a notary and could perform their wedding that very day.

Summit wedding“They looked at each other very lovingly, and they said, ‘Why not?’” Pat said. She promptly called the county clerk’s office and started helping the couple make arrangements for a wedding. Told there would be a three-day waiting period to get a marriage license, they persevered. In three days, the event would be over. They obtained a waiver, and by 2 p.m. they were at Peter O. Knight Airport for the ceremony.

The two met after Bolam traveled to Hawaii and posted a picture of herself at a monument to Earhart’s flight from Hawaii to the mainland United States on an Amelia Earhart Society Web site. Plymate wrote to tell her he had seen the monument, too, and the two started communicating by e-mail. Pretty soon, e-mail wasn’t enough, and they began talking by phone. When that wasn’t enough, Bolam said, Plymate traveled from his home in Oregon to visit her in Tennessee.

"We decided we didn’t want to be lonely any longer, and so here we are," Plymate said.

The only thing the two disagree on, Bolam said, is what happened to Earhart when she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. Plymate thinks she crashed in the ocean, while Bolam thinks she survived and eventually came back to the United States. In fact, one theory of what happened to Earhart claims that the aviatrix returned to the United States and lived under the name Irene Bolam.

November 6, 2009