Last week, while attending Steve Harrison’s Publicity Workshop in Philadelphia, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the spicy, inspiring and downright fabulous 87 year old, Ingeborg Johnston of Whidbey Island, WA.
I was completely drawn to the giant energy of this barely 5”0 woman as she stood before me making a power statement in a beautiful deep red suit. I listened in absolute awe as she told me about her life; escaping from post war Europe, surviving Berlin bombings, drug smuggling, scuba diving all over the world. In 1979 Inge entered the very first Mrs. Philadelphia Pageant. Her motivation – her then husband scoffed at the idea telling her she wouldn’t even be able to pass the interview. “Not only did I pass the interview, I won the damned thing!”
Winning Mrs. Philadelphia meant an automatic invitation to Atlantic City to compete in the Mrs. America Pageant. But since Inge was not a citizen at the time, she was ineligible to compete for the US title.
Nonetheless, her life has been filled with many wonderful adventures. Eight years ago, at the age of 79, Inge took Aerial Combat Training, flying a T34 Naval training Plane. She handed me her business card, the front, a photo of her sitting in the plane dressed in full flying gear. Last year, at the age of 86, Inge published her first book “Unbelievable Adventures of a WWII German War Bride” and today she is still going strong. She lives a very active and fulfilling life as a motivator, fundraiser and president of a distant learning institute for alternative health professionals. “I have places to go and people to meet!” And I am so happy to have been one of them.