A Dream Fullfilled

As many of you know, Al and I are getting ready to embark on a dream, or rather another “chapter”.  As we prepare the house for sale, we’ve been cleaning and purging.  The other day I came across a box of books stored in the basement.  I love books and have a hard time parting with them, but you have to admit a box of books can get rather heavy.  I don’t intend to move and store boxes of books, thus purge I must.

Skirts AloftI came across a book titled “Skirts Aloft“.  I smile, sit down, and open the front cover.  On the inside of the book in handwriting it says, “Ingrid, may all your dreams come true. Love, Mom”.

I was seven years old the first time I traveled to Europe.  It was the mid 1960’s and my parents had not been back to Germany since they immigrated to the United States.  My mom had been experiencing twinges of home-sickness.  So after a year of hard work of scrimping and saving, our family of five was off to Germany for a three-week vacation.

It never ceases to amaze me what memories my mind chooses to recall.  My mom, an excellent seamstress, had made matching dresses and coats for my three-year old sister, myself, and our Thumbelina dolls.  These were the years everyone dressed up to travel, white gloves and all.  Our outfits were the latest, most up to date fashion in Jackie O style.

We boarded a Lufthansa plane.  My three-year old sister sat at the window. My mom sat in the center and I sat on the aisle.  My dad sat across the aisle with my eleven year old brother.  I remember being bored and having trouble sitting still.   My mom was exasperated and embarrassed as the gentleman sitting in the seat in front of me had to repeatedly turn around and ask that I stop kicking his seat.  Come on, it’s a long trip to fly from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, and this of course, was long before any kind of technology for entertainment.

My mom thought traveling with a three-year old would be a challenge…..not….sister slept most of the time when she wasn’t eating.  What a good little girl.  The seven-year old, moi …..well, the kicking of the seat, the whining, and the frequent visits to the bathroom were just a precursor to the ensuing fun for mom.

Flight AttendantWith an hour left before landing, the crew came through the cabin taking care of last-minute clean up and paperwork.  I’m mesmerized by the pretty gals in their navy colored uniform adorned with bright yellow scarves.  This is when I tell my mother, “I’m going to be a Stewardess when I grow up”.  “That’s nice honey”, she responds, clearly exhausted.

As the plane starts the initial descent, that’s when I reach for the first barf bag.  Did I mention, I had a problem with motion sickness?  Not a big surprise for dear mom as she had plenty of practice with my car sickness.  Once again the three-year old sits quietly and is duly entertained by looking out the window while poor mom deals with the puking seven-year old.  Two barf bags later and an empty one in hand, we’re in my uncle’s car heading to his house.  That’s when my mom turns to me and asks, “So, you still want to be a Stewardess when you grow up?”

The car is warm.  I’m sitting in the middle in the backseat.  I have my barf bag in hand.  Before answering mom, I dry heave into the bag then respond, “Yes mommy, I still want to be a Stewardess”.  My dad chuckles and shakes his head in total amusement, while mom clearly could use a break from this seven-year old.

Nine years later at the age of sixteen, I board a Lufthansa flight by myself bound for Frankfurt, Germany, for a summer abroad.  Hugs and kisses goodbye are plentiful.  Mom goes in for a second hug and whispers in my ear, “Don’t forget to keep one of those bags within reach just in case you need to throw up”.  “Yes mom, thanks”.  Yep, at sixteen I still needed one of those bags.  Oh, how embarrassing.

My summer in Germany was amazing and in many ways, life changing.  And although I still endured motion sickness, the dream to become a Stewardess did not falter.Midway Airlines

In my early twenties I fulfilled this dream and was hired as a Flight Attendant for a small airline based in Chicago.  My first day on the job was a six leg flight schedule.  Each flight is referred to as a “leg”.  This was my first day at work as a Flight Attendant…..

  1. Chicago to Detroit
  2. Detroit to Chicago
  3. Chicago to St. Louis
  4. St. Louis to Chicago
  5. Chicago to Detroit
  6. Detroit to Chicago

Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?  Strap on throwing up eleven times!  No problem with next months weigh-in for this vomit comet.  Yes, those were the days of regular weigh-ins.  You had to maintain a certain weight or risk being fired.

My second day on the job went a little easier…..

  1. Chicago to Kansas City
  2. Kansas City to Chicago
  3. Chicago to Washington D.C.   Arrive in D.C. at 9 p.m. and spend the night.  The next morning check-in at Regan National Airport for a 6:30 a.m. departure.
  4. Washington D.C. to Chicago
  5. Chicago to Detroit
  6. Detroit to Chicago      Off for three days…..time to rehydrate.

ChicagoThe puking stopped after six weeks, but the headaches and occasional dizziness would still rear its ugly head from time to time, especially in the spring time when the cold and warm air currents were mixing.  To me, the movement felt like the gentle rolling of a sailboat riding the waves…..NOT the kind of movement that agrees with me.

Trips to the Caribbean confirmed my lack of love for sailboating.  I love the water but prefer a speed boat, jet ski, or even a canoe.  Cars?  I’ll take a Jeep over a Cadillac any day of the week.  When the airplane would encounter severe turbulence, I was fine.  It’s that gentle rolling motion I can’t handle.  I’ll refrain from saying, “I like it rough” for fear some folks might take this statement the wrong way 😉

It was during my third month on the job when I walked into Flight Operations to check in for a flight.   There standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall was a German-Norwegian hunk of a man in a navy blue uniform.  What is it with me and those navy blue uniforms?

I introduce myself, “Hi, you must be new around here.  My name is Ingrid.  I believe we’ll be working together for the next few days.”  I never imagined I had just introduced myself to my future husband….First Officer Al.

I was a Flight Attendant for five years and feel very fortunate to have full-filled the dream of a once naïve seven-year old.  My mom always questioned my ability to be a Flight Attendant due to my motion sickness and encouraged me to go to school to be a nurse or teacher…..just in case you know, but she never discouraged or tried to squash my dream.

I have the fondest of memories of those years flying….the good as well as the bad.  Yes, there was plenty of bad like the Air Traffic Controllers strike in the 80’s.  A flight from Chicago to St. Louis usually takes about an hour.  We’d pull back from the gate and sit in line on the tarmac for one to two hours waiting for take off.  FAA regulations requires the Flight Attendants and passengers to remain seated at this stage….no drinks, no potty, no fun, and lots of complaints.  Not the fondest of memories.Washington DC

Then there’s the travel benefits.  One year for her birthday, I took my mom to Washington D.C. for lunch.  We caught the first flight out of Chicago to D.C.  Several of the pilots I worked with had spent years working at the Pentagon and obviously were very familiar with the D.C. area.  A few restaurants were recommended and I chose one that was known for southern cooking, complete with black-eyed peas, and housed in a historical building.  Mom and I had a great day.

Another time, my folks joined Al and me for a Boston layover and witnessed us at work.  Al was the Captain and I the head Flight Attendant.  I was the one in the front of the cabin doing all the talking…..I love being in charge.  “Look, mom.  No puking”.  She was proud.  Fun times……ah, the stories are plentiful.

Life changes, we grow (hopefully emotionally and not physically), and we move on.  New dreams are forged.

Time for me to get back to sorting the other boxes here in the basement……I have a new dream chapter to get started on after all.  Here’s to all your dreams coming true!


55 thoughts on “A Dream Fullfilled

  1. I’m playing catch-up in your blog. What started it was reading your post today where you mentioned cleaning out your house to put it up for sale….it was then I realized I had NO idea you were moving and started reading backwards to try to find the answer!
    This post was great….I remember the “getting dressed up to travel” years….except I thought it was just something my mother insisted upon…didn’t realize it was a trend then. LOL funny how little girl’s minds think.
    Ok i’m back on the hunt for why you’re moving and when…..

    • Oh, I haven’t said too much about our plans after the house sells. I don’t want to jinx anything. But once it all happens I’ll be letting ya’ll know.
      They sure don’t dress up anymore traveling, do they? Kind of a shame. It’s taken the “special” out of travel.

      • oh! ok so I’m not going crazy! I have a very, very, good memory and if I read something once it sticks . I didn’t think I missed (or forgot) something!

        How’s the real estate market up there? It’s rebounding a bit here in FL. My mother’s friend just sold her house at a price that would’ve been unthinkable a year or so ago! I hope that happens to you, too!

        • No you’re not going crazy….lol. The market is actually getting better here, thank goodness. Inventory is low and we’ve been having a steady stream of showings. We’ve only been on the market less than 2 weeks so I’m hopeful it’s just a matter of time before we have a buyer. Thanks!

  2. Ingrid,

    What a fabulous story with such a happy ending! I, too, wanted to travel the world and be a flight attendant. I (almost) made it. If Eastern Airlines flight attendants hadn’t gone off strike, I would have been trained in Florida and based in New York City. Most definitely would have been a whole different life, but I do enjoy being a travel agent instead.

    So glad you accomplished your dream, and now on to new ones. My friend’s house sold in 11 days. I hope yours goes as quickly. 🙂

    • Thanks Angelia, I hope I have the same luck as your friend with the selling of the house. With the airlines, it seems timing is everything. I applied and interviewed for over two years before finally getting hired. Glad you found your niche in the travel biz!

  3. Loved reading your post. So glad that you found that treasure and it brought back such good memories, and that you shared them with us. Reminds me of my daughter when she got her first job on a cruise ship, (she faints at the sight of anything medical…., blood…xray machine…tongue depressor….) and her captain assigned her to the crew medical team for emergency response. Somehow she did it but did faint a few times. Keep up the sorting, I know your pain. Our sale is this Thurs. ( By the way, I was sorting stuff in the basement this weekend and found “Thumbelina” AND “Chatty Cathy”, lol, OMG I forgot they were down there. Was funny to see you mention that in your post) Kris

    • Oh, I feel for your daughter. Somehow it does get better though. Does she still work for a Cruise Line? My niece just started with Norwegian. I think my Thumbelina is somewhere in this house. I know for sure I have a box of Barbie’s and those I can’t part with. I’ll find a place to store them. Here’s to purging and successful selling 🙂

      • She worked for Lindblad for years out of oregon, ran alaska to south america, then she went to the foreign ships, I think Cruise West. She did it for about 10 years, saw the world for free. She settled in NC in a condo on the ocean now, it’s hard after a while, there is a burnout working 6 mos shifts. You have to do that when you are young, she certainly loved it. my feet are swollen from getting ready for sale but I’m keeping up, this is so gonna be worth it.

        • The travel industry is definitely for the young due to the lifestyle. It’s a great experience though. Your feet are swollen and I’m just plain exhausted…..but there is a light at the end of the tunnel….or so I’m told 🙂

    • Thanks Cheryl, glad you enjoyed. Somehow I envisioned you laughing your a*s off reading about my first day on the job. I bet I didn’t look so good after loosing it so many times!

  4. I enjoyed reading your story. The books are hard to let go of for me too, but I did it! I come from a family of collectors, but thankfully it skipped me. I look forward to reading more. See you on the road!

    • Thanks. Our son lives in Phoenix and we just took him some more furniture and boxes of books. Yeah, some of my favorite books are on shelves in his house now and I didn’t need to give all away. It’s amazing how small this RVing world can be….and fun too.

    • Without dreams, what would be the point of getting out of bed? Not that all dreams will come through, but they help especially on the tough days. Gotta dream!

  5. Great story, purging stuff and pouring through the boxes can really bring it back eh?
    Seems like there are some common threads among us full timers, being decisive and taking action. Good luck with the rest of the packing & purging, many new adventures are ahead!!

    • Thank you. You’re right about common threads….It takes a sense of adventure and willingness to step out of ones comfort zone. It’s amazing what I’ve been finding in the basement!

    • Thanks. It was either Flight Attendant or Trust Fund Baby, but since I didn’t win the genetic lottery on the second I opted for the first!

  6. Such a sweet story to start my day. Moms sure knew how to support us and always knew what was best. You’ve lived an amazing life…I filled an application out for Eastern Airlines right out of high school but never made the cut. Now another turn in the road and another chapter of your adventure…thanks for sharing such a well written piece!

    • Oh, I can’t tell you how many airline applications AND interviews it took for me to finally get hired. I got used to a lot of rejection letters, but I wouldn’t take no for an answer. Yes, another chapter…..I have my fingers crossed for both of us 🙂

    • Some memories are better forgotten…the sick part….lol. I think what made things worse for me is both my parents smoked in the car and when I flew in the early 80’s smoking was still allowed on planes….yuk. I still get sick by the smell of tobacco. So I’m sure that took me from bad to worse. How do you do on some of those twisty, curvy, up and down back roads? Al usually has me drive so I don’t complain 🙂

      • I usually do ok if I am sitting in the front seat or if I am driving. There has been many a blanket or quilt destroyed during my childhood when I was shoved in the back seat heading for some god-awful driving vacation, turning green (enough said about that)! My father also smoked in the car and I feel exactly the same as you about tobacco. Hope all is well with you Ingrid. 🙂

  7. Ingrid! I love this post! I like it rough, too! haha! I have the exact same variety of motion sickness that you have – the gentle rolling of a boat makes me want to die. I’d rather swim with sharks than feel that kind of sickness. I need speed, too. To this day I grab for the barf bag on the plane when things get rough. I have to have the window, a glass of ice and my music playing, oh, and the cold air directed at my face. If all these components are in place I might survive! LOL!

    I totally relate to the fancy traveling outfits from our youth. It was so much nicer back then, more civilized. Now it’s like people throw on a pair of sweat pants and have the attitude that they’re on a Greyhound Bus. haha! I still dress up for flying. I can’t help it. It’s ingrained in me.

    The story about you becoming a stewardess, meeting your husband… I have to believe that was some divine intervention or some pre-destined meeting. I feel like little 7 year old Ingrid knew what course to take in life. It’s such a great story. Thanks for sharing this. Love it!!
    And I’m so impressed that you became a stewardess with the motion sickness and everything! You are my inspiration.

    By the way, traveling around in a RV is in keeping with your original love of adventure. 🙂

    • Oh Lisa, yet another common thread. I can just envision us having a bonding moment…….It’s a beautiful warm day in the Caribbean. There’s a light ocean breeze and miles of pristine sandy beach. We’re sitting aboard a stunning 40′ sail boat gently gliding up and down through the waves, off to swim with the sharks. A margarita in one hand and barf bag in the other. The buff, hard bodied crew members replenish our drinks AND barf bags regularly. We enjoy some great girl talk in between puking, while acquiring tans, and loosing some weight. And of course, while traveling we’ll be decked out in the latest Tommy Bahama outfits.

      BTW, yes the RVing thing does fit nicely for my sense of adventure 🙂

  8. How I enjoyed this walk down memory lane… I know I’ve been away a while but why are we packing up and moving on?? Have I missed something, hopefully not the travels with you and the Captain..

  9. Oh man this brought back memories of when I wanted to be a “stewardess” for TWA. What a great story and so you were one of “those” kids on that flight, huh? Sorting through ones life accumulations can be fun and bittersweet at the same time as I recall. I’m a bit of a pack rat and still have stuff I need to let go of. Good luck on your next chapter! Are you going to become a full time RV’er?

    • I actually got trained by TWA….Midway Airlines was too small for their own training dept. The sorting of stuff can get overwhelming. I can’t keep everything, but don’t want to part with everything. Such a dilemma. Yes, hoping to go full-time but have some things to figure out 😉

  10. Great story Ingrid. Funny and entertaining. You are one tough lady. I know motion sickness well, as I suffered terribly as a child in cars, and do not do well on boats either. We have a motor home and might go full time one of these days. Good luck with everything.

    • Thanks. Sometimes I wonder how I lasted. Thank goodness I don’t get motion sick like I used to, but you still won’t find me going deep sea fishing!

  11. What a great memory story! So glad you got to fill your dream.

    Moving into the MH is such a wonderful feeling. Moving where ever, whenever!! Good luck with your packing…the down side to this dream. We donated almost everything to our daughter’s church for their yard sale. So much easier than a garage sale. Of course, our daughter took all our furniture for her new house. We just had to pay the movers! Hope the house sells soon. We left and headed out even though our house hadn’t sold. Took 9 months…probably the lowest point of the down market.

    • We just returned from a long weekend in Phoenix taking a trailer load of stuff to our son. Our daughter in Denver has all she needs. So now we just need to figure out what to do with the rest. Well, the market around here has not improved and thus I’m afraid it’ll be awhile before the house sales. We’re taking it one day at a time and will probably RV long weekends (actually it’ll be during the week-to avoid those youngens-lol) around Colorado this summer and hope to sell before winter. Fingers crossed!

  12. Loved your story, Ingrid. It amazed me that you became a flight attendant with how sick you always were. Way to stick to it. Those 6 weeks had to be so LONG until you ‘climatized’ to flying.

  13. I LOVED purging our belongings…it was so liberating! I can’t imagine having a large house full of stuff again, ever.

    Here’s a funny coincidence, my Hans is Norwegian and German just like Al!

    Metamorphosis Road

    • Yes, I’ve been experiencing that liberating feeling. However the other day, I was looking at the ‘sell’ pile (which is ever growing) and thought “why did I waste so much money on all this stuff”? Just think of the gas fund I could’ve had….lol. With the name Hans, I knew he had to be German or northern European. That is a funny coincidence though. We’ll need to meet for lunch when you’re in Colorado 🙂

  14. Luckily I outgrew motion sickness rather quickly. What I don’t envy is the cleaning out of a house long lived in. Hubby was a pack-rat and it took me a solid year to clear out all the ‘treasures’. To be honest, I still encounter a bit here or there. I think they breed.

    • I still experience motion sickness, especially at sea, but no where near as bad as I once did.
      Now I get it….the treasures breed. I was wondering where all the crap came from lol. I don’t even have the excuse of “long lived in”. We’ve been in this house only two years. I can’t believe the stuff we keep hauling around. Well no more…I’m a purging queen!

  15. Great story, you write it all so well. I haven’t been catching up with some of you as much as I’d like……did I miss what this new dream…..er, chapter…….is that’s coming your way. Or, are you waiting to reveal later?? I’m excited for you, whatever it is!!!

    • Thanks and no you haven’t missed a posting. I just don’t want to jinx anything by talking about our plans too much. We hope to sell the house and live in the RV and travel. The real estate market is still struggling in our town so it could take awhile to sell. Thus, one day at a time. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s difficult to be patient and wait for the house to sell so we can move on. One day at a time 🙂

  16. Wow, Ingrid..What a great story…You are very motivated and a true challenge taker(the barf bags)…Loved the story…and thanks for sharing!!!!!

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