Monday, March 15, 2010

When Air Travel was FUN – Memories of Me Monday

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{approx. 1966; me, Mike, Denise, Steve and Lisa at LAX}

TODAY’S MEMORY JOGGER: “What is your favorite form of travel (plane, car, etc.)?  Describe one vivid memory of a car trip you’ve had, and one vivid memory of a plane trip.”

Airplane travel was a Big Deal when I was a child.  It was expensive, a luxury that most families couldn’t afford, and people dressed up to fly.  In the photo above I am about 9 years old.  I have always thought that we 5 kids (in our Sunday best, notice) were at the airport waiting for my dad to return from a trip, but my mom recently told me that, no, we were waiting to board the plane ourselves; we were returning to Minnesota after a trip to California to visit my grandmother.

I don’t remember any of that which is amazing; you’d think I’d remember my first airplane trip!

I do, however, remember my second.  I had gone to Washington state to visit my best friend from 5th grade, Teri Fiscus.  Teri’s family moved there the summer between 5th and 6th grades.  I think I was about 12 when my own family, on our way back from a trip (to Canada?), dropped me off there to spend a month with Teri’s family.  At the end of the visit Teri and her parents took me to Seattle where I saw the Space Needle and boarded an airplane for home – ALONE.

All by myself at 12 years of age!

That’s what makes the trip so memorable.  I felt very grown-up, yet at the same time a bit terrified.  I wasn’t afraid of flying – I’m not sure I had enough smarts to even realize that airplanes sometimes crash.  I was only nervous because it was all so new, and strange, and exciting.

After I first boarded I sunk down into my seat, put on my seatbelt and gripped the armrests tightly.  Then I realized that other people would notice and know that I was scared, and new at this flying stuff.  So I relaxed, sat up straight, crossed my feet neatly at the ankles and took out a book.  I think I may have even put my nose up in the air, just slightly, as I impersonated a worldly young girl who, oh, goodness, travels all the time by air!

I loved every minute of that flight, from the stewardesses in their matching outfits (dresses and heels and hair swept up), to the compartmentalized (metal!) lunch tray that held a breaded chicken breast, a ball of mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables and a square of yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  The grandmotherly type lady in the seat next to me gave me her cake and I ate it, too!

I’m pretty sure I only flew on an airplane four times while I was growing up.  The third and fourth times were the summer between my junior and senior years of high school.  I flew to Utah and back. 

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{I’m at the top of the stairs, just behind the guy in the grey suit; Salt Lake City airport – amazing – we boarded from the tarmac!}

While there I spent about two weeks attending a medical laboratory class at BYU.  It was a blast.  I stayed in the dorms, learned about how to type blood, run tests on urine (we used our own), and made a lot of new friends.  At the end of the course we travelled by bus to Sundance Canyon where we had a picnic and listened to the bus radio as Richard Nixon resigned the presidency.  It was 1974.

FOR NEXT WEEK: “What do you think of television?  Describe a few of the shows you have liked or disliked, and why.”


Teri said...

I remember so vividly your trip to visit us in Ferndale, Washington! I also remember being a bit shocked that your parents let you travel alone at that age, and was SOOO thrilled you got to come and stay with us! I have to find those photos and get them to you, but my photos are a mess. I remember we wanted to go to the NWWF (NorthWest Washington Fair) and ride the rides, but it rained almost the entire time. I think we eventually did go the last day of the fair, and everything was soaked. That was still a fun time! Do you remember that I didn't have my own room? Scott and I shared bunk beds in a bedroom, that you have to go through to get to the bathroom, and the upstairs. My Mom eventually finished two rooms in that old attic, and still lives in that same house.

My most memorable air trip was when I was 16. We had come to Redondo Beach for a visit, and I had to fly home early because I had a job to get back to. I flew into Canada, because it was cheaper than flying into Seattle at that time, and the Canadian authorities thought I was a runaway. They detained me for two hours, and my ride thought I missed my plane! I thought I was going to be stranded in Canada, but my ride figured it all out. I was so scared, since my parents were still in LA!

Thanks for posting your story about traveling, I enjoyed it Debbie!

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie, I enjoyed your memory of the plane trip very much, but I must correct one error. That picture of you kids all dressed up and watching the plane refuel was taken in Minneapolis Airport. We were flying to L.A. to visit Gram and then dad drove out and picked us all up. But that detail really doesn't matter. I think the picture is very cute, and it also reminds us of a time where our country was much safer to live in. Too bad we have lost that innocence! Thanks for the memories. Love you, Mom

Teri said...

I must say, since I saw Jeri's post, that you have some beautiful children, AND grandchildren Jeri! This photos shows how well you took care of your kids~ I remember being amazed at all you accomplished in a day, with all those kids running around! Hope you and Mike are well, I think of you often!
Love, Teri