My first time flying was near the end of the 20th century. It was awesome. But, I wouldn’t fly again for the remainder of that century. There is a reason for that.
We should start at the beginning. I have had the opportunity to travel many times when I was young. I visited the Mouse, the Apple, the Ocean, the Mall (but, not that one). I haven’t been everywhere in the U.S., but I have traveled.
Mostly, it was by car. Which would make sense when you consider flying, even way back then was still expensive. And my parents needed a way to transport us kids in a cost-effective manner.
Now while Amtrak did exist, even this wasn’t a viable option for us (let’s assume the fact they didn’t travel to our little Hamburg not to be the factor), since many of the places I remember visiting weren’t always far, or you would need to secure transportation once there.
NOTE: I have not traveled much outside the U.S., but I’m told public transit eases this need for personal transportation to move around a particular city or metropolitan area, depending on where you are going. I even noticed the benefits of this in NYC. But, for everyone living outside the New England states, public transit can be a guessing game. I will also state that even with extensive and robust public transportation available, I still often needed personal transit where I’ve traveled, so neither solution was ever the perfect one for me.
For our family, this only left one viable option: getting other people to drive you around. I’m sorry, I meant it left ME with only one viable option. But my dad didn’t mind.
Perhaps in another installment, I’ll relate some adventures in automobiles. But today, let’s focus on my only flight in the 20th century:
It was, in fact, to New York City, one of the few places my dad didn’t drive us. While it wasn’t for distance, I’m sure (the Mouse is further than the Apple, and we did drive there).
So, I got to experience flying!
I think the hardest part of the flight for me was sitting on the ground, waiting to get into the air.
ANOTHER NOTE: You will notice there are some variations of how flying happened then versus now. Sorry, this is what I experienced. I guess I’ll try to compare it to today.
I think most would consider the wait to get on the plane a bigger deal. That little kid has no idea what you’re talking about. I’m pretty sure we got there shortly before boarding, like maybe 30 minutes at most. I actually don’t remember what the departing airport looked like (I did sleep most of the way there, and didn’t do much other than slow my parents down) because we weren’t there long. It seemed like we sat in that plane FOREVER…
The reason was that our airplane was waiting its turn to take off. I remember seeing about 4 or 5 planes lined up, seeing “707” or “727” painted on their tails (Yeah. This wasn’t O’Hare, folks) as they lined up to jump into the air.
Then I started to notice how this happened. I’m not sure how I missed this, but I realized that each of these planes was racing down a very long road, and at the very end, they were suddenly moving … up.
It was then I realized I’d never been that high. Sure, I’d climb Pikes Peak in Colorado, which isn’t a short walk up a hill, but this was above even that! And, I’m not on the ground at all!
I can laugh now, but then I was quite serious in my head about making a case for not flying. Like, Let’s jump out this window right here and just walk! It can’t be that far!
It would soon be our turn to make the big jump, and the part that seemed the scariest was the race to the end of the runway, going faster and faster.
Until we left the ground. It was a bizarre sensation for me, falling upwards, and continuing to do so for several minutes.
But once fully in the sky, I was good. And besides, we were getting to the best part of the flight.
First was a snack: a bag of peanuts. it seemed nice enough.
But since we were on such a LOOONG flight (I remember it seemed like 4-5 hours, but given where we flew from it couldn’t have been longer than 4 hours, likely less than that), we got DINNER! But, I don’t remember what it was. I was picturing a hamburger (a common choice for me then), but it was food in the sky no less.
While I had a reasonable amount of room in my seat (I was years from being able to drive, so pretty young), my Dad, who was dramatically taller, had to turn his legs into the aisle. Today that might seem typical, but be assured at 6 1/2 ft,, he was tall enough that this would be a problem under even favorable circumstances. But, it was only a little tight, and he had no complaints.
While I could regale you on my adventures in NYC, this was a bad time for that city. While we weren’t there to specifically see a lot of stuff in the city itself, The one place I did remember vividly was Times Square. Most areas had people walking around a lot, with cars driving on every inch of pavement.
Times Square was a wasteland. It was the one place I remember I could walk around in the street (any of them) and not likely ever see a car. Or people, but who’s counting at that point.
But, the flight was pretty fun. Other than the taking off and landing.
Oh yeah, landing. Nothing is quite as fun as a controlled drop through turbulence. Let’s just leave it at that.
Why no more flying? Well, did you read last month’s MOTM? I could barely afford a car! Seriously?
While I would like to continue this conversation, I’ll stop there. Next month, I have yet another project I must finish, and it will take me away from my blog. However, I’ll be reposting the most popular blogs (thus far), leading up to the most viewed blog at the end of the month. You’ll hear more from me when I’m forced to talk about me again.
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