Friday, July 6, 2012

the world awaits

It was 1972 when I had my first transatlantic airplane trip. I don't remember what type of plane it was. I don't even remember which airline it was. It is pathetic what I don't remember. It was to Glasgow, I know, because that was where my mother was from and the extended family were still there. Cousins I had only ever heard stories about. An aunt and uncle who wrote letters and from whom we received Christmas presents every February (one sister was a bad as the other, as I later learned my cousins also eagerly anticipated their Christmas presents sometime in February!)

My mother had not been back to Scotland since 1952 and then it was by ship. I cannot imagine that journey with a 2 year old baby.

I am glad I had the chance to get a taste of the excitement of air travel before things went all pear shaped. It was an event. One that you dressed up for. You looked forward to the surprise meal and the little bottles of alcohol - some of them I still have. Years later, I would help myself to the cutlery as a souvenir. I also remember how certain rows would be designated 'non-smoking'. Right. As if the smoke did not waft across the aisle or over to your seat anyway. It was always so very quiet with anticipation as the plane descended and once on the ground, there would be a collective outtake of breath and we all clapped. If we weren't buckled into our seats, I am sure there would have been a standing ovation for the captain's safe landing.
I am sure this is a sumptuous meal

I also remember the stops in Gander for refueling. I was fascinated at the isolation of the place but as my ears usually hurt, I was also glad when the aircrafts were able to make extended journeys without the need to stop before going over the ocean.

The other day, I was reading an old Reader's Digest magazine I had found. Remember when they used to put the index on the back cover?

As it was too hot outside to leave the nicely air conditioned cafe, I read the whole thing front to back and back to front.

The adverts were as, or more, interesting as the stories and the lame humour.











travel was becoming more accessible to more people and the world was waiting for us to visit. Or at least Europe was.

















 and airplanes were were all over the advertising



yup, the advertising was as misleading then as it is now -
that is a downpayment of 10%
but really, a flight from Montreal-London was $453.60 economy class.
If $1 in 1960 is worth $7.75 in 2012 (according to one website) then this trip to a "whole new world of experience, new pleasures and perspectives" would today cost $3,515.40. Probably with taxes and tariffs added. No wonder my family had to wait another decade to even consider the possibillty.

14 comments:

  1. Very interesting post... I like reading old magazines and discovering that the good old days were less than "good" in many cases... Still, they do conjure up nostalgic feelings.

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    1. nostalgia needs a good slap sometimes. that is where Mad Men comes in to remind us it was not all Father Knows Best.

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  2. Wonderful post. So true, as if cigarette smoke doesn't waft over to the 'no smoking' area :-) Must have been a thrilling time anticipating one's first trans Atlantic trip.

    There's such charm in advertisements from those days. The artwork is so appealing.

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    1. I do wonder how we will look upon our current 21st century advertising in 40 years time?!

      and yes, 6 1/2 hours in a big smoke machine was not always pleasant.

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  3. My first flight out of the country as well as my first flight ever was in 1973. I do remember the heady excitement, the cute little forks, knives and spoons and the great service. It all seemed so magical then. I had seen 2001:A Space Odyssey and felt like I was on a futuristic space ship.
    Where in the world did you get the old RD? That makes me want to dig through the old National Geographic set we got from our in-laws just to look at the ads.

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    1. I found a stack of them in an antique store - all looked in perfect condition as if they had not been read. I picked out the two with the cutest covers but I want to go back and buy more now that I have read these ones!

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  4. I used to LOVE Readers Digest. I have never flown from one continent to another, and at this stage, don't expect to. Or want to. I do recall the days that being a stewardess was very glamorous. Remember how they all looked like models? (Before Womens Lib made the airlines accept fat and dowdy people as well as gorgeous ones, that would be.)

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    1. oh June, how very un-politically correct of you ;)
      sexy stewardesses sells.

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  5. It's good to see life in perspective and see that the good-ol'-days were not as perfect as we remember them.

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  6. those heady times have blurred our memories.

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  7. A fascinating glimpse into earlier times - yungsters today have no idea but then we didn't then either

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  8. I have often wondered if there is some research out there that would tell me what percent of the population has never traveled farther then their city, county, state or country. While I have not traveled much I have been more places then most of my siblings and all of my friends and neighbors. I would like to know just how below average my travel time has been.

    Can I get on the waiting list to borrow your copy of this magazine. Perhaps, we can start a mail chain and send it around the country. It sounds like an interesting read. I would have just started high school when it was published.

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    1. Interestingly, I have just been travelling with someone who would be happy to not travel (overseas) again. Whereas my love of travelling was reawakened by the experience and I have been dreaming of where to go next. I am the only one in my immediate family who has done much travelling.

      ...and I would have just turned 2 when that RD came out! :)

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