A Woman’s Guide To Everything: I Want To Play Where The Dolphins Play

Dolphins create a joyful bond with humans with that big dolphin grin. Humans pay particular attention to appearances, and we make judgments based on looks. If it doesn’t look good, we may not eat it, buy it, or want it. If someone doesn’t look good, according to our perceptions, we may not make any effort to get to know them, or even greet them. We are snobs.

Whenever we see dolphins, they always appear to be playing. Even if they weren’t cuter than the dickens, we’d overlook it just for that reason. Otters have this same persona, but I have heard stories of otters attacking humans who were invading their territory in a river, or lake. I have never heard a similar story about dolphins.

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Australia and Me: The Dingo Was My Baby

At one time, in the 1960s, Australia was actively searching for people to move to their country and be productive citizens. This is rather amazing really; in the eighties we saw a flood of immigration here in the states, but rarely do countries actively invite strangers to their shores. I’ve heard rumors that Canada is welcoming and polite to foreigners, and I am thinking of moving my family there, to determine if I can leave my doors unlocked, and be free from homicide by gunfire.

My father took Australia up on its offer to become a modern pioneer, settle in the outback, and become a blooming citizen. He had retired from the Air Force, earned his helicopter pilot’s license, and flew small aircraft. He and a partner were going to start and run a crop dusting business.

It fell to my mother to hold down the fort at home with four kids, and after two years of uninterrupted single motherhood, she packed us all up, we boarded a Quantas airplane, and off we flew to New South Wales. There, after a suitable interval of getting to know Dad again, we all set out for Kununurra, a tiny outback town in Western Australia that looked just like the town where Crocodile Dundee lived when he wasn’t wrestling crocodiles.

Crocodiles were as elusive around Kununurra as the black sambas in Africa where we spent Pan Am layovers in Monrovia, or the cougars in northern California where I lived for two years, or the black bear in Colorado, where I also lived and hiked. I never saw hide nor hair of any of them. Perhaps they are all urban myths.

My father saw some  crocs though, like saltwater crocodiles that were in excess of thirty feet long. He also brought us fire opals of all sizes; they were abundant in the outback, and could be scooped up like any other stone.

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Pan Am Goes To The Headbanger’s Ball

You didn’t need a gown when you attended the Pan Am Headbanger’s Ball. All you needed was a sky blue uniform. Pan Am went to every corner of the world, and because of this, flight attendants were ambassadors, just not always Goodwill Ambassadors. We managed to hide our feelings very well, I must say, but if sincerity is always required of a goodwill ambassador, then we were ineligible much of the time.

flight attendant fifties

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Pan Am Captains and the Revenge of the Flight Attendants

ThesemenarecalledpilotsThis humble little post about our Pan Am captains and how they occasionally got out of hand and were ‘revenged upon’ by flight attendants, generated so much controversy on a social media site among former flight attendants, some of whom had the audacity, the temerity, the gall, to tell me to cease and desist from telling ‘my crazy stories’ that I decided to polish it up, and repost it. I don’t like being told what I can and can’t write about, or that I can’t talk about certain things. What is this, bloody Russia?

I understand much was said about me behind my back too, comments focusing on my character, my antecedents, my parents marital status, etc. My, but some of those ladies of PAA are such Christians, aren’t they? Continue reading

The Fighter Pilot and the Figure Skater

For some obscure reason, I am suddenly fascinated by my parent’s history. Maybe it is not so obscure; I have written about my years in Australia, and my years with Pan Am on this blog, and I guess once you open the floodgates, it’s hard to stop the flow. I’ve also been digging out photos from the boxes where I keep them, and seeing them with fresh eyes. My mom, a self-taught figure skater, is so gorgeous, holding that Braniff airplane model. Why didn’t I realize before how pretty she was? And my dad, the fighter pilot, in his classic aviator photo, with the white scarf, leather bomber jacket, headphones, and airman’s hat. He’s devastating!

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Pan Am And The Fall Girl

A Pan Am 747 was big, no doubt about it. The doors of the 747 are pretty far from the ground. They are perhaps two stories high; I can’t find the exact number of feet from the ground the door sills are. For anyone who has seen movies like the second ‘Die Hard’ can glean some idea of the height of a fall someone may endure, should they be so unfortunate as to open that door and take a step outside into the abyss.

When I was flying, I often looked down at the tarmac and felt that clutch in the gut I always get when I look down at the ground from a great height. I used to climb mountains all the time; climbing up is no problem, getting down was practically impossible for me. I’d freeze like a rabbit in headlights. Had I been Heidi, I never would have made it to the little handicapped girl. I’d still be on the mountain.

heidi

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Pan Am And The Mot Juste

There is a group of former Pan Am flight attendants, and this probably applies to other airlines’ retired personnel also, to whom the past is sacred. I don’t subscribe to the poisonous pedagogy of burying the truth. If it happened, it happened. That elephant in the room can sit down with me and have a cup of coffee, while we discuss its presence there, and why its destroying my living room. I see no profit in hypocrisy, or changing the past.

elephant

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Pan Am And The Cult Of The Former Flight Attendant

In September of 2011, a show on ABC aired titled, “Pan Am”. It centered on the flight crews of Pan Am Airlines, mainly the female flight attendant of the sixties.
There is an upsurge of interest in the 1960s, perhaps due to the popularity of the show ‘Mad Men’, a show depicting advertising men of the ’60s, their wives, and sexy secretaries. All the hoopla over the Pan Am Airlines show engendered much fantasizing by the younger male demographic about the ‘good old days’ of the gorgeous flight attendant, and the supposed opportunities businessmen and pilots had with the sexy ‘geisha’ girls of the skies, both during and after a flight, while they got away from the ‘little woman’ for a few days. Flight attendants were fondly imagined to be solely dedicated to the pleasure and comfort of their male passengers.

mad men

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Pan Am And The Love Nest

When I was very young and lived by the sea, a group of young adults once told me to go pull the blanket off two people who were lying on the sand when I was playing at the beach one day. They must have looked at me and have seen the selective gullibility that I have been cursed with my entire life. Don’t ask me what selective gullibility is; that would be giving too much away. The couple I was sent to bust was completely covered by that blanket, and my younger self was assured by these con artists that the people would like it; it was just a joke. I did it, and voila! There were two adults under that blanket, in flagrante delicto, roosting in their love nest by the shore.

From here to eternity

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Pan Am Gets Tackled

It was New Year’s Day, over twenty years ago. I was Los Angeles based, and reporting for a Pan Am Airlines flight to New York. I was actually senior on this trip, because most really senior people didn’t have to work New Year’s Day. I chose to work up front, and missed much of the action in back that would make this a memorable flight.

jets

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