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.

1 comment:

Ro Magnolia said...

Wow! I can't wait to hear the rest of this story! I love your description of the "foundations" for women in the 60's --- way too funny. I grew up in a house full of really old books and as a kid in the late 70's, I remember reading a series of books about a flight attendant called Vicki Barr. The books were set I think in the 40's or 50's and they made flying sound so incredibly adventurous. Well, it probably was pretty adventurous flying back then! :)