Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New York, New York

"We'll cut your hair and send you anywhere," seemed to be the mantra of the Flight Attendant Training Center or Charm Farm as we called it. And cut my hair they did. I cried and called home. It seemed to be a violation of my personal self and I didn't even know at that time that I'd be dropped by jet plane in New York City, like relief aid to the needy. That's me near top of the stairs.I adjusted, as did most of the newly graduated stews, while we filtered through ads for Manhattan apartments. Most ended up in high rise buildings in the upper east side with 5 other roommates. I had 2 roommates and lived in a 36th Street brownstone. There usually weren't 3 of us there at the same time, so the 1 bedroom worked...sort of. At rush hour the cars backed up along the front of our building as they inched their way toward the Midtown Tunnel leaving a plume of exhaust behind. New York, New York....so nice they named it twice. That's what my t-shirt read that I wore back home to Ohio on an occasional visit or layover. My hair grew back longer a year later along with the list of new cities and states I flew to. Las Vegas layovers were exotic and about as far away from Ohio as you could get, with its casinos and wedding chapels along The Strip. I flew on double decker 747's to LA, carrying celebrities, musicians, businessmen and women, tourists and folks who just wanted to get somewhere. That's Bryant Gumbel and his co-host with my friend Marcie and I in this photo after a NY-LA red-eye flight . I lugged back Coors beer strapped to my suitcase even though I didn't drink beer, because you couldn't get it east of the Rockies. Dining on real Mexican food in Phoenix under the desert sky made me feel multi-cultural. There were no laptops, iPods or video games onboard the aircraft then. The passengers had books, stereophonic music through airline headsets, conversation with eye contact, and us to amuse them. We were respected. That was many take off and landings ago. Over the years, I've been to the Oscars, hung out backstage with the Grateful Dead, and calmed Carly Simon's fear of flying nerves. I've transported young men and women home from war, played cards with unaccompanied children, and tended medical emergencies. I've given water to deportees who tried to flee their country and failed. I've stepped over high school ski teams as they slept exhausted on the airplane floor. I've held the trembling hands of the elderly and the sure, delicate hands of the young. Mine eyes have seen. We learned that fear is a 4-letter word and if we want it to happen we have to make it happen. Airline deregulation, economic booms and busts shaped the way people traveled with each twist and turn in altitude and attitude. Five years into flying, I transferred to Boston, married and started a family while flying in between. And so the circle turns. My family is grown, I am single and the skies have opened up again. An opportunity to transfer to New York became available and I thought, now is the time....but was it? It is comfortable staying with the familiar, but I took the plunge remembering that 4-letter word, fear. So I am coming full circle and have transferred to fly out of New York's JFK as of today. For now, I'm still living in the Boston area and commuting to New York by plane. My first month will take me to Tokyo and the months ahead will be Budapest, Rome, Milan, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Zurich, Rio, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and of course, Paris, plus many more destinations around the world. It is a long way from the beginning...many take off and landings away. New York, New York, so nice I'm going there twice.

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Kathy Walker said...

I love your post! I remember contemplating becoming a stewardess when I was graduating...I chose education; my friend chose the skies! Like you, she had many wonderful experiences.
Congratulations on traveling full circle with so many new adventures before you!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fun and interesting life you've lead. I thought about being a stewardess when I graduated from college, but I was determined to break the barrier in the business world that blocked women from the good jobs. It's exciting to see how far women have come since the sixties.

I'm proud for you that you've come full circle and are once again in the skies. There are so many exciting places to visit today.

Deana Sidney said...

Well m'dear... if you move to NYC let's celebrate.... bloggers drink. What a world and how it turns. Brave of you to make the change. That is quite a list of destinations!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow! What an exciting post. Congratulations and Good Luck!

linda said...

what a wonderful trip down memory lane
& a look ahead to a very wonderful future!
new chapters are very bold & exciting!


i HOPE that we will be able to meet when you are settled in new york new york. perhaps i can show you some new "haunts" & i know your new destinations will make for fabulous posts & finds!

diane, i truly wish you the very best as you embark upon this magnificent beginning!!

La Table De Nana said...

Wow..you are the adventurer!

I too wanted to be what you are..But I was myopic:( no glasses were allowed,,this was '72..were contacts available? I guess I could not wear them..I was 18 and really wanted to be one:)

So it's so much fun for me to see your life of adventure..and you share it so well..
It's no wonder you are so pretty now..you always were:)

So I ended up going to McGill in languages..to then go into law..
AS fate would have it..I had to leave University that yr..and never went back..
Life.. sometimes makes your career choices..and family choices..
Diane..Thank you for everything you share with us..your trips..photos..family..food..ideas..
It's a pleasure .Always.

Enjoy NYC.

Tammigirl said...

Too cool! I can't wait to see pictures and hear stories. I always thought it would be fabulous to work as a stewardess.

Maybe we'll see each without recognizing each other one time while you're in Ohio!

Unknown said...

Loved the question mark in your cafe creme! There is no QUESTION, however, you are about to embark on an exciting new chapter. "Oh the places you will go!" (as Dr Seuss would say.)

Please remember, no matter where those big jets take you..."we'll always have Paris."

Noelle said...

Thank you dear Diane ! Reading you just took me back to my Lufthansa years as a flight attendant (1978.. I was only 19) so many similarities ! Yes I also shared a flat with 2 colleagues, and the many celebrities, I remember being so impressed; the fantastic, often long layovers etc. I can't wait to see you in Paris and compare notes ;-) Happy flights !!

Carol Ludington said...

Diane,Welcome to your new world of flying. I too, was very nervous to step out of my BOSTON comfort zone, but have not regretted one moment of it in my 3 yrs at JFK. I look forward to flying with you once again. You will be a very welcome addition to New York North (as we BOS transplants are called!)

2 Stews said...

Thank you everyone for such wonderful and supportive comments! It makes the new steps even more fun. I didn't realize so many have thought about doing this job at one time or another. It does make us stop and think how much our path is affected by our choices and circumstances. Who would think that wearing glasses would alter our direction. Monique, those glasses have fared you well!!

Deana and Linda...yes, let's make a point to meet. What a joy that would be!

Noelle...I can't get to Paris soon enough. We'll have to catch up over dinner.

Nancy...Yes, we'll ALWAYS have Paris :-)

Carol...thanks for paving the way to New York North!!

Have a great week and thanks again for stopping by.


Thibeault's Table said...

Wow, big changes. I have enjoyed your trips to Paris and now I get to look forward to all your new destinations. Can't wait.


David said...

Hmm..gelato in Rome? Soba in Harujuku? Cafe cortado in Barcelona? Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you!

(And it's not just in the sky..)

Rick said...

That was a really great post! Loved the photos! Good luck and all of that!

Cate @ lifecomesround said...

What a beautiful life story! Congratulations on choosing to continue the adventure with your head held high. Can't wait for future posts.

Meredith said...

What a wonderful post! Your writing is delicious!
I loved hearing and seeing the "beginnings". Such a pretty girl and so beautiful now!
When Frank went through his Navy flight school physical you had to have perfect vision. The corpsman told he just squeaked by. Such a small thing to affect an entire Life's Story.
You are so brave and adventurous to set out for the big city and leave you cozy home by the sea. So many wonderful experiences to have in NYC. There is a library that Frank loved...The JP Morgan Library. He gushed over it.
Congratulations on the next adventure. I hope all of your commuting and moving doesn't cut into your writing time. You have devoted fans who devour it!!! <3<3<3
I do believe that Paris is your "home"!
Love, M

Karen @ Mignardise said...

What a fabulous post! I am so excited for you to have this new adventure. And I'm really looking forward to reading all about it. One question - how come you barely look any older???

2 Stews said...

Thanks again for such lovely comments...it makes transitions all the more rewarding.

David...Every one of those choices sound like the stuff of dreams. Maybe I can catch you during one of your gelato tours. Just the thought of gelato slowly melting in the warm Italian sun will get me through the rest of this chilly winter.

Meredith...I will be commuting for awhile and haven't yet determined where and if I should move. I think somewhere warm sounds good after this winter!! I will however spend time in NY, so thanks for the tips.

Karen...Oh, but I do look older. Some photos are just kinder than others...and I know which ones those are :-)

Shanae Branham said...

You have a witty way with words. Your post was fun to read!

Melanie said...

What a lovely post. I love NYC- visit 2-3 times a year. I can't get enough, I really should just move there already!

auto dealers said...

Do not know why but I like how you stand with short hair. Like you rejuvenate. Is there anyone else agree with me? Maybe I am wrong.

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

I have been reading your blog for some time now and enjoy hearing about your adventures. What an exciting life you have. I too considered being a stew but life lead me in other directions.
Congrats on the decision to step out of your comfort zone. It takes courage to push that fear back and go for it. I will be rootin' for you!
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~