I Remember – First Plane Ride


I have a vivid memory, but I’m still not sure how much of it isn’t fantasy. I’m holding Dad’s hand and we’re boarding an airplane. We are standing in the aisle looking for our seats and I picture myself perfectly. White patent leather shoes to match my little purse, carefully placed Jackie O style on my arm. My jacket is all white and buttoned up to my neck, the collar properly turned down. I don’t think I had a hat. Although my hair is neat, as neat as a five year old’s can be anyway, but still sticking out over my ears, a little more than it does now. I’m not wearing the gold pin of pilot’s wings, but I must be clutching it in my small hand. I kept that for a long time after, but haven’t seen it in decades. I did get a replacement provided by my friend, but now you have to ask for your wings. They don’t think they let you visit the cockpit anymore either, although I don’t recall visiting the cockpit on this flight. We were on our way to see family in Toronto, Canada, and since we always drove and my mother and siblings weren’t with us, I can only imagine that it was for some kind of big event like a funeral. We always stopped in the duty-free shop when we drove, so I can only imagine that we did on this visit as well, although Dad could have only gotten half the normal allowance of whiskey and cigarettes, a staple of ours on our return trip to the United States. My parents didn’t drink, but this was a time when you kept alcohol in your house for guests; just in case. These little snippets of memory pop out at the least provocation. Sometimes, they don’t seem so far away.

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