"experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." -randy pausch

Monday, May 11, 2009

a "view from the top"

mom & me
i'm not sure what age i was when this picture was taken (maybe 2 or 3?), but it sums up my childhood.
i spent a lot of time in them.
my first flight, besides in utero (mom worked almost to delivery), was when i was 3 weeks old. didn't they know about rsv??!!??
we have an entire airport family.
that's where my parents met.
all of them;-)
it's a long story.
no, we're not flds polygamists.
no, i'm not adopted.
actually, half of my family is catholic.
that story's for another day.
so my mom flew for united airlines in all of its glory.
36 years by the time she retired.
in the third grade i wore her blue uniform, with the fancy hat.
they show the same uniform in that movie with Gweneth Paltrow about being a flight attendant.
you know the one?
view from the top, that's it!
the hat is the best part.
not b/c of it's classic, chic look.
but b/c Liberace was on mom's flight once, and he signed it on the inside.
she was working first class and he was riding.
true story.
an adventurous type she is.
you'd have to be with her job.
i grew up passing out headphones,
drinking coke, eating honey roasted peanuts & airplane lasagna,
watching movies on projectors, then personal tv's,
collecting the trash.
this doesn't sound very glamorous, but to a 9 yr old it was PURE BLISS!
really, give me a job, and i was in heaven.
that was when you could go up to the cockpit to see the pilots flying the plane.
it really put leo's "i'm the king of the world" speech to shame.
this was even cooler when i knew the pilots.
i remember drilling them about what each of the 2 thousand buttons were used for...
now i'd be gunned down.
i was at home on an airplane.
a room service/hotel connoisseur.
it came with the territory.
cheeseburgers, poolside.
and movies in the room.
i get nervous flying now.
i know, how is that possible???
i watch too much tv, that's how.
unlimited soda refills.
would you like the can?
no more.
getting to the airport 30 min. before departure and getting on.
security took 5 min. on a good day.
15 min. on a bad day.
not needing ID to fly.
wishing i could ride "jump seat."
getting mom's old travel pro roller board when she got the new one.
i used her garment bag to carry a dress with me last year.
as we came on board the steward said, "crew bag, hi! where are you based?"
i was "in" the club.
i smiled and said, "um, actually i'm not, it's my mom's, but she was based in sfo for a long time!"
don't worry, for 1/2 a second i considered answering that question with "dallas" and a smile;-)
sitting in vegas for 8 hours on standby, only to call it quits when the last flight took off without me on it.
there are and airports i've been that i don't even remember going to.
many airports i've been to i have not stepped outside of them.
heathrow, for instance.
i know, such a missed opportunity.
it was foggy.
i remember seeing the fog through the windows at security.
on our way to paris, they lost our luggage for 3 days.
no one cares about your lost bag when you're on standby.
i have flown on airplanes THOUSANDS of times.
really, i'm not exaggerating.
buddy passes.
so fun...at first.
"Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin
it's on my iTunes.
walking down the jet way with the gate agent, hoping to get the last seat out.
getting first class to hawaii.
or denver.
it didn't matter.
the rush of getting a seat.
the exhilaration of first class.
OH first class!!!
warm towels on international flights.
"unaccompanied minor."
oh i LOATHED that red and white striped button/pin.
the wings were rockin' though.
then came the first time i was old enough to FLY ALONE.
the world was at my wings.
knowing ALL of the abbreviations for each major airport in the united states.
passes and getting to sign my name on them.
it made me feel so important:-)
i never appreciated the gift my mother gave me in her profession.
i've traveled the world.
surprisingly, not very much of the USA, but asia and i are tiiiiiiiight.
specifically Thailand and Taiwan.
i have these amazing memories from my childhood.
i'm sure all of my parents could tell you all of the things they did wrong as parents, but when i focus on the amazing parts, my childhood seems pretty flawless.
hopefully brennan will give me the same courtesy;-)
i love you mom.
know someone in the airlines?
liked my post?
send 'em our link;-)
or leave a comment,


Bonni and Pete said...

my mom works for jetblue, so yes, i feel your pain with all the loooog waiting and airport hoping, missed flights and the love of the buddy pass. it hasn't even been close to as long as your mom, but hey i do appreciate the post. i will say though, at least jetblue does give you the whole can, plus as many treats as you want (like chips and cookies.. not just peanuts!) sorry for the free plug.

The Gist Family said...

Good Morning Em!

From one airline kid to another, "I know, right?" I remember the first time I needed to fly after I got married and had lost my "real" flight benefits... oh it was painful to actually have to buy a plane ticket! And then not only did I have to pay actual money, but I didn't get to ride "up front"... HORRIFIC!

Another funny thing is that I have been in something like 45 of the 50 states, but quite a few of them were in an airport so I have always wondered if that counts.

When you were young did you ever get "stuck" in an airport? I got stuck in Atlanta overnight by myself when I was 15 when there was "weather" and some flights were canceled so the rest were full. Good thing the terminals were a "secure area" to sleep in, right? Ahhh, the memories...

Hey, we were also wondering if you could maybe come to Young Women's tonight and bring "B", I will call you later to chat.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane! ~Heather

Bree said...

that's pretty great...the things you used to do! when my brother and i would fly to LAX by ourselves we would have to wear those "unaccompanied minors" stickers/buttons. we still felt cool though-i was 10, maybe. too bad the world has gone to pot and we can't send our children across the country by themselves anymore!

Natalie said...

First of all, that picture of you is precious! Too cute that the backpack is almost as big as you were.

I loved this post. It was fun reading about you as a kid. What an adventure your childhood was! So cool. :)

The Flying Pinto said...

Great post! I am a 16 year FA and I have a 2 year old. Her first flight was also at 3 weeks....I committed to a good friends wedding, before I knew better: ) It's so cool to hear your perspective and get an idea of what my Lucy is in for! Do you remember ever being upset when your mom would leave for work?

Fiauna said...

I love this post. I love to fly, but didn't step foot on a plane until I was twenty--and then it was one of those little vanity numbers that my husband's brother owned. I didn't take my first real flight until I was a mom of two and my parents moved to New York, and my in-laws went on a mission to Connecticut. But now I've flown over seas (to Japan on JAL) and I'm hooked. What a rush.

Jeff said...

Very emilisq...
It was great to read your epistle to an your mom and the experience you two had. Ahh the good ol' days. As an 'industry type' myself, I had to both laugh and cringe as I read about the boarding anxiety and eventual triumph...oh, yeah...first class, that's what I'm talking about.
Thanks for sharing, Emily. I wish you and your family the best..always. And say Hi to your Mom.

Anonymous said...

THAT was a very exceptional post! you are great em.
love, jess s.

Anonymous said...

you should publish / professionally - good stuff!
-david m.

Anonymous said...

That is so sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved every word and photo ---- esp. the one with Carol (about 18 yrs. young) and you a tiny thing. How beautiful you both look!!!! You're such a sweetheart Emily and I know your mom will treasure that lovely stroll down memory lane. Love, Cathy Hansen

Anonymous said...

I forgot how to post a comment!

I think you were about a year and a half old. (The picture was taken in the month of June). Your dad and I had won 2 free tickets to Helsinki, Finland at a company picnic party ( we had great company picnic parties in the 80's! They always gave away great free trips everywhere!) Anyway, we were on our way to Finland. We were dropping you off at your Aunt Sue's in Iowa. She took care of you while we went on our trip. So, that's the story of the picture.