Air Travel

Gate A2, BWI

My earliest memory of an airport, which may actually be a composite of memories or created memory from hearing stories from other, occurred when we went to SFO to see Grandpa Oscar & Grandma Marion (unless I am making this up too) board a plane and fly away.  My next memory of an airplane is flying to Japan, via Anchorage, Alaska.  I know that I turned 8 years old while in Japan, so that this dates to the late 1960’s.    What stands out in my mind was that going to the airport and flying was a formal affair.  The family planned for this, and mother made sure that we were dressed appropriately and behaved ourselves.

My next series of memories of air travel was from the college years, when I took a few flights to and from Seattle, mid-year.  This would put the date to around 1980.  Travel was still a planned event, but the dress more casual.  Songs from the decade before gave travel a melancholy tone: “I’m leaving on a jet plan…”, “Silver wings…”, “I spend too much time in taxi-cabs, please don’t ask me why…”.  I recall this to be an moody era in my life, much better left to dusty corners of my woeful journals.

Linda and I agreed that airports became bus station by the early 1990’s, when we boarded a plane from Florida along with a woman who put her dry-good grocery shopping in the overhead compartment.  Really, you can’t buy Cheero’s in the greater Washington, D. C. area?  These days people seem to arrive at the airport as if they stepped out of their bedrooms, and are walking down the hall to the bathroom before getting dressed.  Of course, with airports becoming medium security entry points, why get all dressed before arriving.

As much as we express a value on private property, we act like a society of nomadic travelers.  Our cars and airplanes have replaced the wagons and tents the past.  Maybe related to changes in traveling and merchandizing, or maybe related to post 9/11 security issues, airport terminals have become small, transient trading posts.  In addition to the coffee shop, bar, and news stand, we now have all style of stall sized shops from national retail store: clothes, books, electronic devices, etc.  I even noticed that the waiting area had a wide screen TV monitory every 50 feet or so broadcasting CCN Airport Headline News channel.  I was amused that the photo which Linda took above captured the word “HERO” above my head.  Great coincidence, huh!

So, I sit at Gate A2 at BWI awaiting our flight to Rhode Island.  I brought a magazine to read, breakfast cereal and fruit to each, and had a cup of coffee from our friend’s home, where we stayed over night.  I’m not contributing much to this economy.


About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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5 Responses to Air Travel

  1. Mother Suzanna says:

    I’m enchanted that you figured out that air travel when you were young was a “formal affair”. I remember having a corsage to wear and someone usually brought a box of See’s candy as a gift because you were flying! I hadn’t thought of that in years! My, how things have come unraveled.

  2. walkingsmall says:

    I think some train rides may be the new ‘airplane travel’, a cause for celebration where someone really sees you off. Ohhh – train travel … suddenly I want to go somewhere

  3. The Vicar says:

    I’ve taken the bus from San Jose, CA to Salt Lake City, UT (24 hours). It was such a rotten trip I took the $45.00 I won playing nickel slots (had to pay another passenger on the bus $5.00 to pick up the jackpot because I was only 15) and purchased a airplane ticket home. It only took 1 1/2 hours to fly home. Planes are better than buses.

    I once took the train from Truckee, CA to San Jose, CA (13 hours). While waiting for the train in Sacramento, which the ticketing agent told me “might never show up”. I booked a return flight to Reno, NV on Southwest to join the family for the rest of the vacation. The flight took less than an hour and cost less than the train. No romance for me.

    The best travel for me is the 12 hour drive from Boise, ID to San Jose, CA and back. There is nothing like the wide open spaces north and east of Reno, NV for contemplation and relaxation. Bathroom stops in places that are so quite it makes your ears ring. No TSA, no lines, nobody! Just cows, pheasants, hawks and if you go in late June, the migration of the Mormon Crickets which are quite a sight.

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