Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Arrivals

I can't remember a time when flying was a special occasion warranting the wearing of a nice dress, high heels; a suit and tie for men.  Full meals on china with silverware.  Drinks in crystal.  Seat belts optional and a spiral staircase to a lounge and the first class cabin.  My parents remember.  But I do remember when we could wait at the gate for a loved one to come out of the plane.  I can even recall running down the gangway to meet my father right at the open door of the plane.


My dad did a lot of overseas travel back in the late 60s and early 70s and so his young family spent a good deal of time taking him to and picking him up from the airport.  Neither was a chore (except probably for my mother who had to do the driving and the herding of four active children).  We looked forward to the adventure of going to the airport.  It seemed exotic - modern and shiny.  Teeming with people with interesting (or so I imagined) stories about where they'd come from and where they were going.  Duty-free shops, smokey and mysterious bars, impressively-uniformed airline employees wheeling their bags along the wide corridors.

Dad's arrivals were to be anticipated days ahead of time.  We looked for the bags he would be carrying - covered in foreign words - that we knew held bars of Swiss chocolate and a stuffed animal or two. Departures were harder, of course.  Saying goodbye isn't really ever fun.  There are strained smiles and tears and last looks over shoulders.


Despite myself I still scan the crowd waiting by the gate as a I disembark from planes.  Maybe, maybe... But those days are over.  We have to settle for being greeting at the thin line between "secure" and suspicious.  I still feel a tiny twinge of excitement when going to the airport even though that small part of it - being at the gate, peering past other travelers to find your traveler - has been taken away.  It's still all about reconnecting and hugging, catching up and being happy that the one you are meeting is finally home.


9 comments:

  1. My family flew home from Germany when I was 2 years old. My mother tells me I was concerned about how we would get on and off the plane. (This was before jetways!) I finally understood that steps were brought up to the plane, but I thought my dad had to buy them. Apparently I talked a lot about how my daddy is going to buy some steps, that's what my daddy's going to do. So, there may not be china dishes (or even meals!), but at least we don't have to buy the steps to disembark.

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    1. Whew, can you imagine the price of airplane steps today?! Cute story - funny what our child-brains fixated on.

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  2. What a great post. We still anxiously await visiting family whenever they take the flight from the UK to see us. My kids must feel just like you used to do.

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    1. I'm glad those moments are still exciting to kids.

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  3. I remember trips to the airport when I was little too....my most vivid is seeing my brother disembark after coming home from Vietnam. I was at the window and watched him walk down the steps from the plane and then into the terminal...it was cold and snowing, but my big brother was home! Our kids are missing so much now adays.
    Debbi
    -ourhometoyours

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  4. Wow, Debbi, what a relief that day must have been for your family. That's an amazing "arrival."

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  5. Annie, I absolutely love your blog! I came across it on the BlogHer directory when I was searching for fellow Oklahoman bloggers. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Hi, Meg! Amazing that you found me on BlogHer and even more amazing that you clicked through! Thank you! On my way to visit your blog!

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  6. I never had this experience of a loved one travelling often. The pick ups sounds like they make for wonderful memories. I adore watching Pan Am set back in the days when flying was glamorous and unstressful!

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