About Me

My photo
Hi, I'm Darryll and I live in Pullman, Washington with my wife and two kids. I'm a licensed Architect and am employed as a Project Manager at Washington State University. In addition, I have my own business doing residential designs in the greater Palouse area. I am a self-taught pianist, song-writer and singer and am involved in the music department at my local church.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The "Friendly" Skies

OK – so you’ve all read about the guy at the airport in San Diego who just refused the body scan and the invasive pat down by the TSA. I won’t go into whether or not that is that wrong or right – or just plain scary – but having just read about this in the news, and having just endured this myself just two weeks ago, I was sent back in my mind to the simpler days of visiting the airport when I grew up.

We – like most every family – had dreams of going to Hawaii. Growing up in Seattle, we kind of felt we were close enough that it was more of a reality, so we had a change jar that we all had to contribute to when a variety of family rules weren’t followed or chores not done. While this was exciting and fairly inspiring, it was never going to get us plane fare to the Hawaiian Islands.

In ’75, my folks bought a timeshare on Kauai (back when they were a good deal) and we began many years of happy Hawaiian travels, and this brings me to the subject of this blog post – visiting airports when I was a kid.

There was no such thing as airport security back then. I mean – I’m sure there was – they probably scanned the checked baggage but there was nothing that stopped us from going right out to the gate. We had a tradition that every time before a flight the whole family would go out to breakfast at a Sambo’s or a Denny’s. The whole family – Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, etc. – would all go out to celebrate the fact that someone was getting to go to Hawaii. From there we would all go to the airport and see the lucky ones off. This means that we all went to the gate and sat with them until they boarded the plane and then we watched the plane take off. What a great exciting time that was – even if you weren’t the ones going. And conversely, a bunch of the family members would be there at the gate in Seattle to meet them when they came back. It was awesome to be the ones coming up the ramp from the plane and be greeted by family and friends.

It’s all so different today – the limited access for anyone not flying; the incredible level of security that we’re all subjected to; the limited service on the flights; the limited amount of luggage we can take… I could go on, but I won’t. I’m not complaining, just saying that it was a LOT funner back then!


LaraAnn said...

My grandma went to California 2 times in the late 70s and I loved going to Newark airport with my family and being at the gate to both send her off and greet her. I remember going to the Betty Lind Diner when she got back the one time. It's a shame that the world is such an unsafe and scary place now that going to an airport isn't fun like it used to be. I haven't been on a plane since 1991 when I went to Spain. I don't think that my mom was allowed at the gate at JFK then.
Hawaii is definitely on my top 10 list of U.S. travel destinations.

joe said...

I haven't been on a plane since '88. I don't really miss flying, I'd rather drive.

Blast from the Past said...

LaraAnn - If you ever get to go to Hawaii, let me know - as someone who's been there over a dozen times, I can give you some good free tourist do's and don't's advice.

Joe - When someone doesn't fly a lot, I think that there's generally a certain level of anticpation that it would be cool/fun to fly. I only have to fly a couple of times a year to know that it's not cool/fun. I would certainly rather drive, too. Haven't been able to figure out how to drive to Hawaii, though! :)

Darrin.. said...

Amen. back in the day, flying was simpler.. funner.. and less worrisome!