Flying is not even close to the top of a list of Thing I Like To Do. Flying wasn’t something I or my family did when I was growing up. We drove everywhere. We drove to western Pennsylvania to see my mother’s family. We drove to The Shore — Wildwood, New Jersey to be more precise — to visit my father’s brother’s family. We even drove to Florida a few times to see my paternal grandparents. It was the 70s, and like many American families we drove. There is only one time that I can recall my father flying, and it wasn’t commercially. An old navy buddy of his flew his Cessna from New Jersey to a small airport near our house in Maryland, and took us both on a little excursion. As I remember this story, I honestly can’t recall any other times my father flew.
On the occasions I did get to fly I recall being excited. On rare occasions my mother and I would fly from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, PA when my father couldn’t go with us; and one of her brothers would pick us up and drive us the rest of the way. There was at least one flight I took alone to visit my paternal grandparents in Florida. I recall enjoying the flights to and from Germany when I was 13 when a school friend named Dirk and I traveled alone to visit his oma in Cologne. I even flew first class one time when my cousin gave me a voucher and I was able to upgrade on a flight from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles.
It wasn’t often, but it also certainly wasn’t something to which I gave much thought. It was novel when I was a kid. Then it stopped being novel, and I can pinpoint when that changed. Not the year, just The Flight that scarred me.(more…)