Procrastinating Can Be Put Off Until Tomorrow

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Today, I hopped on my stationary bike, and while I was pedaling away, I read some of a book I had checked out a month or so ago and kept procrastinating reading, ‘The Fall of Berlin, 1945′.

Because of my regrettable habit of procrastinating, I have forgotten the reason I checked out this book. It is buried in the mists of time, but the book remains, silently reprimanding me with the legions of the dead soldiers of the Red Army, the Third Reich, and the residents of Berlin, many of whom did not vote for Hitler, and didn’t like the Nazis being in power. See? I have learned something from the regrettably few pages I have read.

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A Woman’s Guide To Everything: Becoming A New Mom At Seventy Means Greater Convenience For Two

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I read recently about a woman, a new mom, in another country who had wanted to have a baby for all of her married life, which was a very long time considering her age as of this writing, but was unable to. Finally, she conceived at the tender age of seventy, or something close to assisted living age.

elderly mother

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Pan Am On The Dark Continent

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Pan Am may or may, not have been, the owner of the crew hotel where we stayed in Monrovia, Liberia, but Pan Am crews were the only people who ever stayed there. The hotel was managed by a wealthy African family named Caesar. As you will see, that was a very prophetic name for this family.

Monrovia and our hotel certainly couldn’t be considered a tourist haven, or even a tourist trap. The flight was a very senior trip; the crew members that typically worked the trip were dubbed the African Kings and Queens. They worked just a few trips a month; since the flight departed New York only once a week, you stayed in Monrovia for a week. The per diem was phenomenal, and all you had to do was enjoy the beach. Sometimes, in the middle of the week, we would work a trip to the Ivory Coast and points east.

African Kings and Queens

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Pan Am and the Layover

When Pan Am flight attendants were first interviewed for the job, it was a little like being interviewed on television for the Miss America pageant. ‘Why do you want to fly?’ the recruiter would ask us. The word recruiter is a bit of a misnomer for the interviewer; they should rename the applicant the recruiter, because no one had to go searching for us. The applicant was recruiting Pan Am for the job, the recruiter was simply there to ask a few standard questions, determine whether you had any personality, and whether your weight matched your height. Personally, my weight does match my height, which varies.

Ah love people, and Ah love to travel! La Dolce Vita!

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A Woman of Letters: Love, Teardrops, And Biographies; Do They Belong Only To The Past?

I am seriously worried about the possible future state of biographies and our libraries as being the storage houses of the letters and documents of great, or at least, famous, people. I have been reading biographies lately, and in each person’s case, letters serve to not only enlighten their biographer, but are carefully preserved in a library somewhere as insights into the subject’s life for scholars and the idle curious. In each case, the biographer writes in the foreword that he or she used this or that library located in a major city to help them piece together the life of their chosen great person.

One book about Julia Child is solely letters between her and Avis DeSoto, while another book about her says her husband, Paul, had written hundreds of letters over a period of many years to his brother, chock full of scrapbook items and sketches. Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables, among many other books, wrote dozens of letters to two friends over the years, one of them being 74 pages long, also full of scrapbook items, and these were preserved in boxes pending the day the biographer arrived.

Which of course begs the question: How did the recipients know that these letters would be important later on, or were they just pack rats, never letting go of the detritus that builds up? Continue reading

Pan Am Airlines and the Pan Am Building

Originally intended by the architect to resemble an airfoil, Pan Am Airlines’ iconic building in mid-town Manhattan was a staple landmark in almost every movie featuring New York. It is still among the fifty tallest buildings in the world. Sitting squarely at the end of the street, the aerial clips in movies would sweep down on the city, and capture a view of the building with the Pan Am name displayed at the top. How many buildings actually have their names displayed at the top? Does the Sears Tower say Sears Tower? Does the Empire State Building say it?

Pan_Am_top

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Pan Am and the 747 Jumbo Jet

Pan Am Airlines was the 747, as far as I was concerned. My first flight with Pan Am was on the 707 to Belgium, and that is the only time I remember flying on that plane. It was cute, and cozy, and reminded me of black and white movies about travel with glamorous movie stars wearing that great red lipstick, but it was the jumbo jet that made the job of flight attendant fun.

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East Coast Musings: Part Two

I ended Part One of travels on the east coast thinking about differences in attitudes between residents of the west, where I live, and east coast residents. Difference in general attitudes between them is noticeable. Now, some smart alecks will say, ‘duh.’ But hold your ‘duhs’ because there are other differences.

For instance, while we have two-story houses randomly scattered in the west, a set of stairs is de rigeur back east. I never thought about this when I was young and rushed up and down stairs as if rescuing kittens from a fire. This time, I found myself just going out to buy a new one if I left something I needed downstairs, or upstairs, once I’d made it to a different level. And it could be either downstairs or upstairs; the beach house where we stayed in Stone Harbor had the bedrooms down, while the living room, kitchen, and dining room were upstairs.

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Turning Sixty: Now That It Is Upon You

Now that I am turning sixty (actually I’m already sixty-one, but it’s taken me a few months to realize it) I have come to some unlooked-for conclusions. One is that turning you-know-what isn’t so bad. There are things I would change about my situation, financially and physically, but I am counting my blessings that I am still here to enjoy so many things. One friend from my flying days passed away a few months back from a seemingly reversible cause, but was remembered for saying that she wanted to die at sixty if she didn’t have the job she wanted, or wasn’t married. Sixty is the new forty, folks. It is too soon to check out.

sixty

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Personal Vendettas, Vacations, And A Hippie Van

I just came back from a personal vacation. Haven’t been on one in a long while. It was exhausting. Being taken off the sofa and out into the wide world of stairs and strange beds, and too much sodium in the food, is a shock to the system.

Personal vacations however, serve multiple purposes: They make you long for that oasis you were getting heartily sick of-namely, home. Vacations help you see it with fresh eyes and be even more dissatisfied, or satisfied, with it depending on where you stayed while you were gone. They take you out of your self and your routine long enough to shake you out of a rut, at least for awhile. This euphoric feeling about home lasted until I had to clean it again after my return home, But that’s ok. Cleaning the same stuff over and over again gives us a cozy sense of eternity.

 

Photo courtesy of gigi wolf

Photo courtesy of gigi wolf

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