Friday, November 4, 2011

Marcy's Travel Blog-My VERY FIRST! A Story From The Past!

   I've been asked often as of late if the t.v. program "Pan Am" is anything like the way it "use" to be. I fondly remember the days of a more gracious service, of many differences from the industry of today. Since I didn't start out flying on a 747 or other BIG airplane, my journey was just a bit different.
   I began my flying career with a regional carrier called North Central Airlines. (Anyone remember the airplanes with the blue goose on the tail?!) Back then, the airline had aircraft that would be considered pretty antique now. One was a DC3. I was trained on that aircraft, but it was taken out of commission before I had a chance to actually work on it. Then there was the Convair 580 turbo prop. Walking on this airplane was like walking back into the 1940's! You had to walk onto the tarmac and up the aircraft stairs. In the cabin there were two large seats on each side of the aisle- with a total of 48 seats. My very first flight as a Stewardess was on this aircraft. Yes, when I joined the ranks I was not a flight attendant, I was a stewardess! That job title changed a few years later.
   So, who forgets their first anything?! First love, first kiss, and first flight of a career! Do I remember where my flight went? NO! Ha! I do remember that the pilots were very kind, seeing that I was shaking so badly, I could hardly close the door! Then I turned from the cockpit to the passenger entrance, and there sat 48 passengers looking at me. The strangest thing happened! I calmed down! I have no idea why, but I suddenly felt at home, like I had done this all my life. I strolled to the back of the airplane with confidence, where the galley and P.A. system was. I smiled at people as I went, silently rehearsing my announcement. I actually made my announcement without error! Wow! This was easy! Damn! I was good! All my pre-flight check of passengers, luggage and seat belts were done! I sat down in my jump seat, and privately congratulated myself on my expertise!
   Shortly after take-off I got up to begin my service, which consisted of beverages, peanuts, and a candy basket to pass around. With a flight time of 30 minutes or less, one hardly had time for anything else! This is when the humbling hand of reality slapped me, or should I say "punched me"- right in the stomach! The airplane started to sway. Then it started to bump around. I handled this in stride- sort of. My stomach was beginning to churn with every bump. But then the worst happened. It started to bump and sway at the same time. I started to feel VERY warm. Then I started to feel very queasy! When I became warm AND queasy, I knew I was in trouble! Trying to keep my composure and with a rather sick smile on my face, I tripped/bumped/stumbled back to the bathroom- and lost my cookies. Then I lost the breakfast I had eaten the day before. Then I lost whatever could possibly be considered the inner lining of my intestines. When we landed, I was still in the bathroom! Oh, my!! How do I gracefully handle this one!
   I gulped- made the"Welcome to.." whatever city we landed at announcement, gulped again- (How could there possibly be ANYTHING left to come up??!!)- popped a hard candy in my mouth, straightened my hair, hat, and walked forward. The rest of the trip is a blur of forgetfulness. It's obvious I survived. At some point I must have served enough and done enough to not get fired on my first trip.
   Even today- years later, I have to smile at my "Damn I'm good" attitude that was so short lived. (Note to self: Watch out for a cocky attitude! Life has a way of knocking one down a peg or two!) I am, however, SO grateful that I stuck it out, motion sickness and all!
   Life is one wonderful adventure! Even when it's a bumpy ride!

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