I Remember When…

I remember my first airplane ride.  It was exciting, and mind boggling.  Here I was a mere 19 year old, living the carefree life of a single woman on her own, living with two other single women.

The year was 1959.  I was working on my first job in Hartford, Conn. as a keypunch operator for the huge hourly wage of $1.15 an hour.  Whoo Hoo!  I had no allusions that the guys across the file cabinets that separated our work place made that amount.  Remember when women made 50% of what men made, don’t believe it, it was a lot less.

My two room mates were waiting for Prince Charming to ride up on his White Charger and pick them up in his muscular arms and carry them off to a life of luxury in his castle. Right!

I had no such allusions.  Where I came from there were horses, but they pulled plows.

Room mate #1. Was going to flight school to become a flight attendant.  She was a tall willowy, well groomed; the neatest person I had ever met.  We lived in a three bedroom railroad apartment.  She always looked great and could straighten up the apartment in mo time and it looked as good as she did.   I borrowed one of her blouses once and it had a ring around the collar that made me sick.  Evidently she wore everything, including her undies until she had everything dirty enough to package it up to send to her Mother in Maine, who washed, ironed and starched everything except the undies and shipped it back to her.  The kicker was that she cold go to school (paid for by her parents) but couldn’t fly until she was 21.

I was crazy to wash everything by hand, hang it out on the clothesline and iron all day Saturday or Sunday to be ready for work Monday. My Mother would never do that for me.

Lesson learned!  Never borrow!

Room mate #2.  We married her off as soon as we could.  She actually washed her clothes, but she wore her rubber girdle for weeks before washing it.  Which I didn’t care about, but she hung in in the bathroom to dry.  You get the picture!   We made sure to leave her alone with her boyfriend, made intimate dinners for them with candles.  She got pregnant.  We were bad.

We started working at Hartford Fire Insurance Company in the Spring.  It was our first job and when it came to Christmas, we realized we weren’t going to get to go home. We hadn’t accrued any vacation time.   So we called in sick, and booked a flight from Hartford  to home, her in Vermont and me in Maine.   It was what is now called a “Red Eye”.

Had a great time!  BTW our flight cost $17.00 and it included dinner.  BTW I know what the did with the coach class seats.  They are now First Class seats.  The flight attendant could easily push her drink cart up and down  the isle.  The isles between the rows of seats were wide; we could walk by  the the cart to the bathroom.

When we got back to work, we discovered that our apartment was called and when we didn’t answer we were in deep doo doo.

Someone should have told us that we couldn’t go home for Christmas and also didn’t get the summer off.

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