Friday, July 23, 2010

Back In Time

My sister was cleaning out her office and sent me a letter I'd written back in September, 1983. In it I detail my first trip with Richie to New York to meet my new in-laws. (Ill health prevented them from coming to the wedding out here.)

The contrast between how we used to fly with a Major American Airline (MAA) was stunning. Go back in time with me for a look at What Used To Be...

"We load everything into his car, drive the guarded MAA lot (free parking!), hop on the tram and go directly to the plane area which is below the main terminal. Richie takes our luggage and personally tags it for JFK. We then take a secure elevator up to the gate area. He presented a ticket blank; we were issued first class boarding passes and we board theplane.

First class on MAA is incredible -- before you're halfway onto the plane, looking for your seat, a Pretty Lady is enquiring if you would prefer champagne or orange juice?

They do something else that I love -- you can listen (Channel 11) to the plane pilots talking to the controllers and that is very reassuring to certain persons who hate to fly. Our Flight 2 was taking place on a 747 or "heavy" aircraft,and our designator was "2 heavy." Frankly I was a bit insulted until I figured it out.

After we all got settled in and orange juiced, etc. we took off. Next came offers of more drinks, then croissants (not very good,) jam and coffee. Then more drinks, then hot, steamy face cloths before lunch. Lunch began with crab and lobster won tons, followed by salad with a choice of dressing put on it by the Pretty Lady. Richie had a chateaubriand and I had "plum" pork chops, potatoes and broccoli. Wine throughout, of course. Richie had a hot fudge sundae for dessert and I had an Amaretto de Serrano to sip.

We landed on time; got the Long Island shuttle and were off."

I forgot to mention in this letter that as I sipped my Amaretto, we were flying over Manhattan at about sunset; lights were coming on all over the city. I was listening to a Bach sonata and the entire thing -- visual and audio -- is still etched in my mind. It was wonderful.

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