Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rubberized stretch nylon fabric.

And so......
I climb aboard the bus with the others. We are the  girls who need "a little grooming help" from the beauty salon.  Fortunately, my needs are not as great as some of the girls.  My hair needs to be toned down, but the length is okay.  Too many are saddened to find out that hair can not be longer than 1 inch below the shoulder and are going for a "shearing".  An emotional day in 1969.
Besides the responsibility of serving meals and cocktails and being prepared to take necessary safety measures; proper grooming is a MUST.   Hair must be clean and styled at all times while in uniform.  Nails are polished or buffed.  Support stockings are recommended and must never have tears or runs.  A supervisor can write you up for any of these grooming errors on an actual flight.
The biggest ongoing event during training is a student's weight.  Weight charts appropriate for heights are posted in the training manual.  If  a girl is over her weight allowance at the end of training, there will be a delay in the beginning job start.  Ex-Lax is the laxative of choice.  There is one bathroom in each dorm room and students try to alternate a "skinny" with "five pounds over" per room to avoid accidents.  Fortunately I was a "skinny" who had lied about weighing more on my application and, outside of grooming, was fast in the bathroom.
I've got my wings!!!!
It is recommended that a well fitted undergarment ( that would be the rubberized stretch nylon girdle) be worn to keep the bottom from excessive jiggling while walking up the aisle of an aircraft.  Again, why I love the women of Mad Men.  Surely the most exciting day comes when I am fitted for my uniform.  My uniform is the first "mod" uniform in bright colors of green, melon and gold.  The length of the uniform is about 3 inches above the knee.  An ugly thought passes quickly of bending down to help someone and having a glimpse of the "girdle" peek out.  Long story...short; about a month after I started flying, I left that rubber nylon nightmare in a trash can in Detroit.  Nothing was jiggling and my intestines protested too much.  Since there are many Don Draper's dropping things for you to pick up in that short uniform, I bought some hot coral pantaloons with lace to wear under my uniform.  Here, you see...check this out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Up Up and Away

It's a love-hate thing.  Back in the middle of the last century; I knew that I did not want to graduate from high school, pick out a matching washer and dryer and set up housekeeping.  The thought of being taken care of and just being June Cleaver was enticing but not realistic.   The best paying job of the day was that of a flight attendant and I never dreamed that I could get the job.  Actually, there were three interviews necessary to succeed to the ramp and after not hearing anything for some time; I was resolved that this lofty job was not to be mine.  Due to a  clerical error I didn't receive my "congratulatory notice" after my third interview and had to rush off to training in the new Breech  Academy in Kansas City for TWA flight attendants.
Years later I am completely wowed by the show "Mad Men".  I love the accuracy that the show aspires to; right down to the foundations of the women for the sixties. This involves pointy bras and  pressurized tight girdles.  The show captures the awkward relations between men and women of the 60's.  You see it in the faces of the secretaries. I am smart like you Mr. Sterling, but I will serve you coffee and clean up after you and clack away on my IBM selectric.  No thank you Mr. Don Draper. The life of a secretary is not for me.
During my training in flight attendant school I learned to remove a cabin window and climb out on to the wing of a darkened mock-up.  I removed my shoes and sharp objects and went down the yellow slide of a 707 at 5:30 am in the 40 degree chill.  I survived the fright flight.  The instructors vowed to scare the sh***t  out of us and did a pretty good job of it.  I jerked the steel ring in the floor of the mock-up until the yellow slide was released.  Of course to flunk the safety training was to be forever grounded;  never to achieve your wings of pride.  I passed the safety training and with this one would think I was ready to graduate and be off to the glamorous life of a "hostess".
Not so fast miss bleached blonde.  I flunked my "grooming" class and had to take my test again; but that's another story.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

For the love of Peaches

Today was such a wonderful day!  Three and a half weeks ago my very good friends lost their one year old Cockapoo named Peaches.  I have gotten to know this sweet dog and my heart was just broken.  Her owners made posters and posted pictures and info on every pet website in the area. The worst part of that day a few weeks ago was that she broke her collar and it fell off as she was startled and ran.  Every day they worked on finding her.  They drove to all the shelters, animal hospitals and the area around where she was last seen.  I have also looked and every time I heard a dog bark; I had to stop and see the dog who was barking.  So many friends were on the look for her.  I told my friends that the feeling in my heart was that she was still alive and that they could not give up.  The day she ran she went into a shallow creek and then disappeared from site.  There is no peace of mind in not having closure about a lost creature of any species.  A lady called yesterday and said that she had seen a dog looking like Peaches still around the creek area.  Armed with familiar toys and fresh cooked chicken (her favorite), my friends pulled on boots and headed into the slippery creek area.  They began calling out to her and out she came running to them.  We have had many severe storms and extreme heat in the last few weeks that she was homeless, but she had been hiding in the storm drain tunnel waiting for them to come for her.  She is their miracle dog and our prayers are answered tonight and we are all going to sleep well....especially Peaches.