Amelia Earhart turned twenty-one on July 24, 1918, about a year after F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was living with her sister, Muriel, in Toronto, where it was around 79° and sunny on her birthday. In the year before, she attended the Ogontz School, a finishing school out of Philadelphia. She had only meant to visit her sister, but the visit was soon extended indefinitely. Earhart never graduated from Ogontz.
Earhart worked as a nurse during her time in Toronto. She prepared food and handed out medications to soldiers and victims of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Earhart was hospitalized after catching influenza herself, during November and December 1918. The side effects from this flu, including sinusitis, affected her for the rest of her life. She spent her time in the hospital reading poetry, studying mechanics, and learning to play the banjo.
While she was living in Toronto, soon after her birthday, Earhart visited a flying exposition with a friend. She had an epiphany when a World War I ace dove toward her to scare her and her friend: “I did not understand it at the time, but I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by.”