Tuesday, January 12, 2016

AMERICAN AIRLINES BOEING 707 INAUGURAL FLIGHT 1959

CELEBRATE!
January 25, 1959

Norman Rice, Marilyn Rutkowski, Edna Garrett, Captain Charles Macatee, Argie Hoskins,Captain Lou Szabo, Claire Bullock, Bill Duncan


Captain Macatee, Stewardess Argie Hoskins, Captain Szabo

Design by Phillip Nicholson

Design by Phillip Nicholson
 
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 1959:

I have been very busy doing public relations for American.
I went with one of the American Airlines sales representatives
to meet and deliver models of the 707 to
VIPs in the LA area: President of a Stock Exchange,
President and Vice President of California Bank,
President of Citizen’s Bank, leading advertising businesses,
and President of Pacific Mutual.
This day was very exhilarating as we made our way down Spring Street,
the “Wall Street of the West.” I was awestruck by the historical buildings and
the beauty, strength, unity, and dignity of their architecture.

MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 1959:

Mr. Scroggins, an American Airlines representative,
and I met with Mayor Paulson, the publisher
of the L. A. Times, and many individuals, such
as the President of Southern California Edison
Co., and others who would be on the Inaugural
Flight. I am lucky to be on the Inaugural flight!

TUESDAY, JANUARY 20, 1959:

Today, I drove to Huntington Park to meet Mr.
Hall, a sales manager for American Airlines. From
there we drove to Fullerton to meet Dr. Arnold
of Beckman Scientific Instruments, who was a
pioneer in his field.

To this day, I remember the generosity and kindness of Dr. Beckman. He
and I connected in a very special way. Me, a girl from Animas Valley! He and
his wife, Mabel, were the “real” thing. The California Institute of Technology
(Cal Tech) alumni association has this short bio about Dr. Beckman:

Arnold O. Beckman, chairman emeritus of the Cal Tech Board of Trustees,
and founder of Beckman Instruments, Inc., achieved international
recognition for his accomplishments in industry, science, education, and
civic affairs, founding his company in 1935 with the development of a
pH meter that has become an indispensable tool for analytical chemists.
Beckman saw his firm become a major international manufacturer
of instruments and related products for medicine, science, industry,
environmental technology, and many other fields.

Back to Huntington Park to dinner with Jay
Dickie and then to Pasadena to meet Sidney
Small. We went to Jet Propulsion Laboratory and
met with the Nuclear Physics core staff of our
country, including Dr. William Pickering.

In 1958, as Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Dr. Pickering
led the successful effort to place the first U. S. satellite, Explorer 1, into Earth’s
orbit. The Cal Tech Speech Reference Collection has this to say about the JPL
and Dr. Pickering:

In January 1959, JPL was assigned the responsibility for the robotic
exploration of the moon and planets. Under Pickering’s direction,
JPL supervised the Ranger missions returning the first close-up, high-
resolution pictures of the lunar surface; he also supervised the Surveyor
soft-landers on the Moon; the Mariner missions to Mars and Venus; and
the first gravity assist mission to Mercury, via Venus.

The JPL also designed the Viking Orbiters to Mars and designed and built
the Voyager spacecraft for their mission to the outer planets.

Along with Dr. Pickering was Dr. Al Hibbs, a
physicist, Dr. Val Larsen, Dr. Frank Goddard
who was the California Scientist of the Year,
and a number others of the team. I presented
Dr. Pickering and Dr. Larsen with a miniature
Boeing 707 model.

The Cal Tech Reference Collection says this about Dr. Goddard:

Alumnus Frank E. Goddard Jr. (PhD ‘57), assistant director for research and
development at Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory received the NASA
Exceptional Service Medal for outstanding performance in advancing the
technology of automated spacecraft design.

After pictures, we journeyed on to see a Dr. Fay
who is a teacher at Cal Tech.

It is amazing that I brushed shoulders with these busy and very involved
individuals.



FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 1959:

For our jet flight, we stayed in class all day long.
We had our food service procedures today, which
meant checking the buffet area for all needed
items, what to turn on, what to turn off, all the
food and beverage items for the flight including
table clothes, wine and food menus, cocktail napkins,
stirrers in preparation for a several course
dining experience with special appetizers, salad,
entree, dessert, and fruit candy.

If something was missing, we needed to know who to contact. Prior to that
Friday we had been briefed on the emergency procedures.


SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 1959:

I went to the airport; we finally got on the
jet after much delay. What an exciting day! I
remember the feelings which flowed over me as I
walked onto the aircraft. Thinking, “This is the
real thing.” Had my hair cut and fixed by Mr.
Reid, very pleased. Came home after appointment
and got ready for the flight.

This was the first time I had been on a real 707. We had practiced and been
trained in a 707 mock-up. I was overwhelmed with its size. It was almost half
the length of a football field. Knowing the next day would be the big one, I
felt adrenaline rush through my being bringing an electrifying thrill.

On January 25, 1959, American Airlines became the first airline to offer
coast-to-coast jet service with the Boeing 707. On this historic flight, I was
treated like a celebrity, being one of four stewardesses picked out of more than
2,000. It seemed as if the whole population was thrilled to be riding on the jet.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 25, 1959:

Claire and I got up at 5:30, dressed, had a bite
to eat, and went out to the airport an hour and
a half before the flight departure. While we were
being debriefed, a newspaper man took our pictures.

We boarded our aircraft and while having our pre-
flight check, we had Governor Brown and Mrs.
Pat Brown, Red Moiser (an American Airlines
Executive), President C. R. Smith, Miss Jane
Wyman, and Mr. and Mrs. Hill plus others stroll
through the plane. Mrs. Brown christened the
plane, “Flagship California,” with speeches by
Governor Brown and C. R. Smith.

Not only was the event impressive, but Flagship California was graceful,
sleek, and absolutely gorgeous with open hospitality for all who entered her
doors. In her resplendent beauty she was far more than a ticket.

At this point Claire Bullock, who was my roommate
and one of the jet stewardesses, was
standing in the front of the craft. She was from
the South and a totally dedicated fan of Elvis
Presley. As she was standing in front of the
plane, Elvis’s agent handed her a photo of Elvis
to accompany us on the first jet flight. Claire
was thrilled. In different locations on the plane,
bouquets of yellow and lavender flowers welcomed
our guests. Oh yes, the stewardesses received
orchids to wear. The entire flight was made up of
very influential and successful people; newspaper
people and cameramen, plus other
wonderful passengers. Passengers
were milling from one cabin
to the other, Mercury to Coach.
It was like a press conference
and confusing for me. The task
at hand was to serve our passengers
beverage and food with first
class service in a very informal
atmosphere as one big happy family. I gave Miss
Wyman my flight topper to wear, that being the
dress we wore during the food service. Everyone
was having a grand time up in the “dream of
sunshine and clouds.” It was a magnificent experience
and lots of hard work.

A memorable highlight of the day was when I met President C. R. Smith as
he walked the aisle during the flight. One could feel the strength of his character.
He had the skill of looking you in the eye and connecting with you on
a level which left you feeling like you were important to American Airlines. I
knew that he appreciated me as a stewardess.

I remember giving Jane Wyman my flight topper to wear, and she was
filmed while she had it on. Flight toppers were worn while serving a meal. We
had our choice as a crew to either wear or not wear the topper. It made a more
appropriate dress for the food service if we did, though. One of the important
reasons for the cover-up was that it kept the uniform clean. It was flattering
to me that Miss Wyman wore the same size as I wore. She was very pleasant
to be around. In the movie Three Guys Named Mike, she played the part of an
American Airline stewardess.
On the passenger list, Mr. G. Wright was listed as 89 years old; I think that
made him the oldest person on the inaugural flight. Mr. and Mrs. L. Barnett
brought their little son who was two and a half years old, making him the
youngest passenger.

Also on the flight was Dr. Arthur L. Klein, an aeronautical engineer and
legend designer. Dr. Clark Millikan was also on board. He was one of the
nation’s foremost pioneers in aerospace research and development. He was
also a pioneer in the development of multi-engine, high-altitude airplanes, jet
propulsion, and guided missiles. I had this gentleman on an earlier flight, and
I had enjoyed his friendliness and his usual enthusiasm for his projects. In the
1950s a new facet of aeronautics came into view with the ideas of satellites and
spacecraft, and he worked right at the forefront of these ideas. I had met him
a second time on a PR assignment, and now this flight was my third meeting
with him. It was always exciting to meet people over and over.

We arrived in New York 4 hours and 3 minutes
later. A band was playing when we opened the
door and bright lights were shining with people
taking pictures. Our debriefing after the flight
was interesting. We are helping work out all the
things which need to be changed with the Boeing
707 stewardess procedural operations. We were so
tired, Claire and I said, “Never again.”

The flight was overwhelming; however, our training kept us calm and
poised. We had the knowledge to be self-sufficient and to make decisions that
affected our passengers. In a crisis we could rise above the everyday requirements
of passenger service. We were tired yes, but we were prepared. After a
good night’s sleep, we put in our bids to work the 707 flights again and again.

The Astrojet News published an interview with Captain Macatee 10 years
after the inaugural flight. In it, he says that piloting this flight “was and had
to be his biggest thrill in 30 years of flying.”

The preparations had begun years before. “Paper jets” had begun “flying”
daily New York–Los Angeles and Chicago–Dallas trips in July 1958.

But the big moment was 8:45 a.m. Pacific Coast Time Sunday, Jan. 25, 1959.

With Capt. Macatee at the controls, First Officer (now captain) Lou Szabo
beside him, and 112 passengers aboard, American’s first Jet Flagship lifted off
Runway 25L, at Los Angeles International Airport and headed for New York.

FIRST TRANSCON FLIGHT

It was commercial aviation’s first transcontinental jet flight, a flight that
brought east and west coasts three hours closer together and revolutionized
an airline, an industry and the nation’s transportation system.

“We got off 20 minutes late because of the ceremonies at Los Angeles.
But we were fortunate enough to catch tailwinds that at times were in excess
of 150 knots. We arrived at New York on schedule, exactly four hours
and 3 minutes after takeoff.” . . .

Hundreds of people, including a 25-piece brass band, turned out at
Idlewild to welcome the first transcon jet. Newsmen, government officials and movie stars were aboard,
including actress Jane Wyman (“who for some reason I kept calling Mrs.
Lyman,” Captain Macatee recalled).

C. R. Smith, also aboard, told AAers in a special issue of Flagship News to
“take a bow to history, for you are a part of it today. The piston-engined
airplane will retain our affection, for it has done so much for us and for air
transportation. Today, we have a new area of expectation, for the bright
promise of what the turbine-powered airport will bring lies ahead of us.”

In the article Captain Macatee also reflected upon the historical significance of
this first transcontinental jet flight. He and Captain H. C. Smith, who flew the
return trip, had flown the 707 without passengers for about 200 hours before this
historical flight with passengers. The article states that for Captain Macatee, this
flight was “biggest thrill in 30 years of flying,” and Captain Macatee concluded
his comments by saying that while he had many special memories of flying
“those four hours three minutes were the big ones for me. They always will be.”



Flagship California, my love!    
Flagship California, my love!


707–123B N7503A, Flagship California, on her way to be scrapped. When I first saw this photo, it pulled at my heart strings. I cried tears of joy having known it
and tears of sadness that it’s gone. © Brian Lockett, Air-and-Space.com.



Passenger List for the First Jet Flight across the USA

These people were more than passengers. They quickly became friends as we shared this
historical moment in time. President C. R. Smith set the example as he strolled the aisle
connecting with the passengers with cheer and good wishes. I, also, felt the association as we
smoothly flew through the clouds of time. Time and space seemed to be flying through another
dimension. Through the years it has been my pleasure to continue or renew some of these
honored relationships.
My roommates and I all jumped at a chance to fly together. So we put in
our bids for the same jet trip to New York as often as possible. Our togetherness
created an atmosphere of fun, warmth, and love. Lucky passengers!
When the jet age in United States transcontinental air travel dawned on
January 25 with the flight of an American Airlines Boeing 707 from Los
Angeles to New York, the household probably most directly affected was
that of a “family” of four stewardesses who live in a bungalow in West Los
Angeles.
Since that flight, the four stewardesses have been averaging some 40,000
miles of jet travel a week from Los Angeles to New York and back. Their
experience in these early days of jet travel is helping to establish the pattern
of service aboard the jets.

THEY PRACTICED IN A MOCKUP

Although the four girls each had two years of flying experience, they
virtually had to re-learn their jobs when they were assigned to jets. During
their qualification schooling, they acted out in a 707 mockup the parts
they were to play in jet flight. They learned where supplies were and how
doors opened, lights operated and seats reclined. They learned that new
equipment, such as pop-out oxygen masks, is carried on the high-flying
707. They replaced the phrase “miles per hour” with the word “Mach” in
their vocabulary; “thrust” took the place of “horsepower” as they learned
the rudiments of the operation of the airplane’s four Pratt & Whitney
Aicraft commercial J–57 engines. They became familiar with the names and
functions of the parts of the airplane visible from cabin windows—such as
the vortex generator—which might arouse a passenger’s curiosity.

They had to know their jobs well. They would be performing more services
for more people in fewer hours. There would be no time for faltering,
fumbling, or finding out.

For their part in the inaugural flight, Claire and Argie even memorized the
names of the 106 passengers who would be aboard, in the hope that they
could make this the signal day it should be for each of the first-flighters.

. . . There was little time for the leisurely conversations they had enjoyed
with passengers on previous trips. What snatches of chatting they managed,
however, were unusually pleasant in the quiet, vibrationless cabin. . . .

A lot of changes have taken place in the stewardesses’ job since that first
flight. With an increased number of passengers requesting first-class accommodations,
the bulkhead on the 707 was moved back so that three of
the airplane’s four stewardesses work in the front section with 68 passengers,
and one in the aft with the remainder. The serving of the meal and
beverages and the other routines in the jet cabin have undergone changes
as Claire, Barbara, Gerry and Argie,  along with other jet stewardesses,
have studied their own capabilities on the flights, the passengers’ requirements,
and the most efficient way to use the 707’s cabin equipment.

All that being said, it is now history and a wonderful flight! 

I am excited to be at the Salt Lake International airport on the 25th of January 2016 to sign my book: More Than a Ticket Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jets. As you come through Terminal 1, the Weller Book Works will greet you. I will be there from 8:00 am til 12:00 noon. I will welcome you with a smile and share my book

Here are some photos from my last signing. 








 Have a peaceful landing as you fly through the clouds of time.

 




Saturday, November 28, 2015

MORE THAN A TICKET WISHES HER MOTHER EDNA LAWSON HOSKINS HAPPY BIRTHDAY AT WELLER BOOK WORKS AT THE SALT LAKE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT




Mother was born 11th of December 1908 in Deming, Luna, New Mexico

It is an honor for me to share a glimpse of my mother's life with this post. This is in my book: More Than a Ticket  Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jets.





My precious friend Carol wrote a comment:

To my very best friend Argie,

On my first glance at More Than A Ticket I was thrilled to see Chapter 1, a young girl from Animas Valley. I love coming home remembering riding the old school bus an extra hour to spend the night or weekend with you. Sometimes your mother was helping us sew matching garments. It was a time when education, honesty and integrity was uppermost. Our mothers worked untiringly to provide nutritious meals and a clean inviting home, requiring of us the preparation of table, set carefully with a clean ironed white cloth. We had the privilege of contributing to family life - - the industry of the home. I love to remember sitting around the table enjoying the wonderful homemade bread, meat and vegetables, even apple pie!! Don't forget the conversation and laughter, and the fun we had!

Our hardworking fathers, whose word was as binding of a contract, exemplified honesty and integrity; and expected the same in us, requiring respect and courtesy. I love to remember our brothers coming in with the white foamy fresh milk and working alongside our fathers.

On Saturday when we sewed or you did the mountain of ironing, we could always take a little time to play the piano and sing.

My hope as I have read your book more than once is that today’s generation could see the worth of a work ethic. It was your background that made it possible. “Get up sister and make something of yourself!” and you did.

Love,

Carol

 

"Mama was a professional seamstress. She taught herself to sew and earned a degree via mail from The Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences, a division of the International Correspondence Schools, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. My memories of our kitchen table are of it covered with her coursework for dress making and designing. Mama taught me to sew as well. I remember the hours I spent on the sewing machine—and the hours more ripping out the wrong stitches. But my Mother’s tutelage paid off. After we got electricity, I made the most lovely of lovely prom dresses in my room. I still have two of Mama’s textbooks which I display on my dresser, Sewing for Profit and Decorative Stitches and Trimmings.

While Daddy worked and welded, Mama sewed gowns for the wives of the Big Bosses."

So, I well understood what it was like to have Mr. Colangelo "cut and paste" to design my uniform to have me look like a stewardess for American Airlines.


Yes, I was prepared to be hired by American Airlines for which I will always be honored and grateful. American Airlines you honored me by accepting me in 1957 to be trained by you and for you.

Yesterday, I was again on my way to another book signing for More Than a Ticket Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jet.  Every month I am excited to sign my book at the Salt Lake International airport.  I am sharing a few photos.  This time my granddaughter Emily accomplished me. Fun for me to share this experience with my family.









So I wrote a book with some very special contributors who added a touch of class. And another month has passed.  The Weller Book Works at the Salt Lake International Airport wants me back.  It is so hard to believe that they support my book by having it stocked and displayed in the store. They like me and I am honored. 

In Terminal 1 the store has rather nice chairs where you can sit and read before or after your flight. Passengers are so nice as they hurry to their gates.  You will find me at a table in front of the store on December 11, 2015 from 8:00 til 12:30. I welcome passengers as they hurry through security on their way up the escalator  and searching for their gate. I ask them to take a look at More Than a Ticket  Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jets.  

Mother's birthday as I sign my books and remember the wonderful influence you have been in my life. I miss you. Happy Day Mother.








 

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ARGIE ELLA HOSKINS IS SIGNING AT THE SALT LAKE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

My face book friend did this presentation for me. Thanks Chad Smith!

This was the day called historical for the airline world of travel. It was January 25, 1959 from Los Angeles to New York. The picture was taken in New York at the New York International Airport which is now called the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

This is the interior of the Boeing 707. I remember that day as if it were yesterday.

Photo by Jon Proctor

Photo by Jon Proctor

Photo by Jon Proctor

Check out the ashtrays in the seat rests. Remembering how my hair was a smoke filter as I ran up and down the aisle serving our guests and feeling like I was smoking. Dear, oh dear!  I didn't smoke! I really like the headrest covers, no fear of crawling critters from these seats. All nice, clean and starched slightly for the crisp feel and look. Yes, to be changed between flights. Can you see the pillows and blankets in the overhead racks? The flights were comfortable and even with hot meals. Coat closets for the coated traveler and magazines racks with the current copy of the most popular readings which were handed out before anything. Everything for the experience to be a special memory. And for me, the stewardess who really loved to be a hospitable hostess with a touch of caring for the welcomed friends of American Airlines.

And for old times sake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cA7_JBkV2s

So I wrote a book with some very special contributors who added a touch of class. And another month has passed.  The Weller Book Works at the Salt Lake International Airport wants me back.  It is so hard to believe that they support my book by having it stocked and displayed in the store. They like me and I am honored. 

In Terminal 1 the store has rather nice chairs where you can sit and read before or after your flight. Passengers are so nice as they hurry to their gates.  You will find me at a table in front of the store on November 27th from 8:00 til 12:30. I welcome passengers as they hurry through security on their way up the escalator  and searching for their gate. I ask them to take a look at More Than a Ticket  Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jets.  

Here are a few pictures from last signing on Oct. 6th. Click on picture to find a more large presentation. I was delighted to have granddaughters with me again. This time Brianna and Noel.  It is my privilege to invite guests to join me.  We are escorted through security and to the bookstore. Fun for all of us. And that reminds me that you need to be flying somewhere to get to where I am signing the books.  See you soon!









Monday, October 5, 2015

MORE THAN A TICKET MEMORIES FLYING WITH AMERICAN AIRLINES FROM PROPS TO JETS by Argie Hoskins


                                            
 
 Friend and sister(in-law) Ruth sent me a doll.
 Update: It is happening!

Yeah! That means undoubtedly, I am excited for another opportunity to sign my book More Than a Ticket  Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jets at the Salt Lake International airport.
WHERE:  Terminal 1 After you go through Security and are walking to the escalator with all your luggage, I will try to stop you. Well, you do have a couple of hours, so before you board the escalator, I will be seated at a table in front of Weller Book Works.
WHEN:  October 9th
TIME:  8:00 til 12:30 noon
An important thing to know is that you need a ticket to get through Security. Yes, you will be going somewhere to enjoy time to sit and read a book.
Another treasure from Ruth:


Serving for eight! Come on over for home-made ice cream.

 Now it is time for another chapter from the book: More Than a Ticket    




JOAN (SCOFIELD) SHELDON Class 59-1
Joan and I were based in Los Angeles at the same time. I saw her name on the bid sheet. Did we fly together? Memory is a fleeting puzzle. Time has brought the crossing of our paths, if not in the air, certainly by mail. My new friend Joan is terrific. Time and space are intriguing and both have the power to change the wind, rain and friendships. 



Now for Joan's story to toll, yes, toll
“Firsts . . . are always fun stories to tell and to
remember for a long time. The day American
Airlines inaugurated its first flight of a 707 jet
aircraft from Los Angeles to Philadelphia in the fall of 1959, I was one of the stewardesses on board. It was an exciting event for the public as well as for the passengers and flight crew. I felt honored to be one of only eight stewardesses who were awarded the schedule that included that flight. 


Having flown for only a few months, I did not have enough seniority to serve up front, so I wouldn't see any of the first class passengers during the flight. My only chance to see if any celebrities might be on board was to enter the plane through the passenger gate. The rest of the crew, as usual, avoided the passenger entrance or 'holding tank', as we called it, and went to the ramp directly from the crew lounge. This day, however, I headed for the passenger gate to see what kind of people would be flying on this big jet. I also liked the idea of being the first person they would let on board. 

The crowded gate area was tingling with excitement. Two or three reporters were interviewing passengers. Important faces stood out in the crowd. One could sense the over- abundance of standbys. One particularly dark, handsome teenage boy, about 16, pressed
the ticket taker for any news of no-shows. His foreign-accented grandmother hung onto him, looked out at the plane, and worriedly said "but dare are no propellers". He glanced at me (enviously, I thought) and seeing me in uniform, knew I would be getting on board, while he and his grandmother might not. I sadly looked back at those who would perhaps not make it. 


Soon we were on our way to the East Coast in less than four hours. We were met at our destination by yet another crowd which included the mayor of Philadelphia who gave each person, as they deplaned, a souvenir to remember their first jet flight . . . a small copper replica of the Liberty Bell. 

Twenty years later, that bell "tolled" a remarkable story. I met my dark, handsome husband on a skiing trip in Switzerland. He lived in San Francisco and I in Southern California. In 1979, after a year of 400 mile courting, I moved to the Bay area. As he helped me unpack, in my new house, he noticed the bell and asked me where it came from. When I told him, his eyes lit up in amazement as he replied "You were on that flight, twenty years ago? Unbelievable! I tried to get on that same plane for two weeks." 

Then he told me that his Russian-born grandmother and he were at the airport, in Los Angeles, that day, trying to fly standby to their home in Philadelphia. . . they made it on the next day's flight.Is there yet another story here, one I don't know how to tell? Is there a strange link, perhaps, between the envious glance of a sixteen year old boy at a twenty-two year old stewardess who is headed for a jet-ride he wants to be on, and an unconscious remembrance that attracts him to her twenty years later? Now, when anyone asks us how we know we were meant for each other, we answer: "Oh, it was jet fate." 



(More pictures in the book)

The book is filled with story after story!  Enjoy!
               

Friday, September 4, 2015

WELLER BOOK WORKS AT SALT LAKE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FOR SIGNING


                  And when we get together, it is so much fun! Never too old to remember and tell stories

Looking at a bid sheet and there we are!

Really cute, but the supervisor's office would have something to say.





Yeah! That means undoubtedly I am excited for another opportunity to sign my book More Than a Ticket  Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jets at the Salt Lake International airport.
WHERE:  Terminal 1 After you go through Security and are heading to the escalator with all your luggage, I will try to stop you. Well, you have a couple of hours. Before you board the escalator, I will be seated at a table in front of Weller Book Works.
WHEN:  October 9th
TIME:  8:00 til 12:30 noon




If you are taking a flight, drop by and say "hi." Wouldn't it be fun to meet or greet! 

Now comes the treat of the day!  MaryLou said I could do this, so it is my "best of the day" to share. This is one of the chapters in the book. The photos are not included in the text of this blog. I don't know how to do that. Have to buy the book to see the photos with the text. At the end of this you wilI see them--they are great. This has been edited for spacing and for the many photos.



Photos:

Stewardess MaryLou Parkes
Below: The Electra Team admiring a model; Bill Hall, MaryLou, and Jim Shires 


Page 207
MaryLou Parkes Whipple
AMERICAN AIRLINES STEWARDESS, 1955–1959

MaryLou and I happened to get the same flight. Seniority
and knowledge of the equipment is everything with airlines.
I happened to like to fly to Texas and could hold that bid
line. More often than not, I would fly with different stewardesses. Some months the pairing would be more compatible
than others, and MaryLou and I were very compatible.
We had a lot in common and became friends. 


And now from the words of MaryLou:

"Approximately fifty-five years after the events of my years with American Airlines my memory is extremely weak. Only some awkward thoughts come to mind because I have no journals or records, and the years are a blur to me. In 1955, I believe we had to be 21 to fly. I was first accepted by Western Airlines to join their Stewardess program, but then they went out of business. A secretarial job opened a few miles from home with American Airlines’ engineering office which I took and loved. I never wanted to leave. 

Photos: 
Right: An American Airlines Electra in flight. Photo © Bob Garrard
Left: MaryLou modeled for a promotional about the new, beautiful Lockheed
Electra. Before MaryLou was a stewardess


she had a secretarial job with AA’s engineering office that interfaced with the Lockheed engineers.

More pictures of the Electra team looking at the latest model.
American Airlines bag tags and Electra matches that we would give passengers.

Left: Newspaper clipping advertising for stewardesses. Below: MaryLou’s acceptance letter into stewardess school.



At that time Lockheed was building an Electra (a turbo prop) for American Airlines, and I helped with some promotional work for that. 

I had such a glorious time at the newly built stewardess college in Fort
Worth, Texas. I remember strutting around in bathing suits with so many beautiful girls around the pool with instructors’ eyes upon our every move,
the entire time there. The instructors knew everyone’s name the moment we entered. They were fantastic women. Their eyes followed us along the cafeteria line and every other move we made. They had to make sure we did things

just right. Emergency training was the most critical. What was it, six weeks? Whew!
The moments in those weeks when a student disappeared from our view were especially sad. Their bags had already been packed for them, and they were led to the awaiting taxi. We had a wonderful dormitory, big classrooms, gorgeous grounds, and a beautiful huge main hall with a wide curving staircase where we would meet our guests. Elvis Presley was dating one of the
girls. We all hung over the balcony to see him and his friend come to pick up their dates! Silly us.
There were so many procedures to ready the flight for passengers. We’d been well trained, so by the time we flew even the little details such as counting the bottles of liquor was no biggee. Today, I can’t imagine serving so much coffee and tea and carrying it up and down the aisle. All the training we went through led up to our being able to “work” a flight along with a regular crew. Oh the thrill and anticipation of our first experience in flight, of where
we would be assigned, and of learning to use different types of equipment in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, I am a very independent person, and I tried so hard to fit in with a group, or with my roommates, or whatever. I determined to wait with my roommate to go down to the field with her. She was a gracious Southern girl, but slow. I managed to go with her, only to learn that I missed my flight! Surely, I would be sent home, I thought! Luckily, they gave me another assignment. From that moment, I became myself again: independent, on-time,
and successful, but often a loner.
Graduation time was beautiful. We had received our uniforms: dark blue for winter, tan for summer, all measured to fit to our body shape perfectly. There were military pressed creases, even in the blouse underneath our suits. 

Photos:
Local newspaper clipping announcing MaryLou’s graduation.
MaryLou’s graduating class. She is on the back row on the stairs, the fourth from the bottom. 


We also had a flight topper to put on when we served food and a heavy, heavy beautiful dark blue wool coat for winter locations. Our shoes were spectators, tan and white, as I recall. I remember getting my shoes. I flew from Fort Worth to Los Angeles for a day’s shopping. My dear sister Kay met me at the airport, and we found the perfect shoes in an expensive Beverly Hills store, as I recall, then back I flew. Of course the Army-style caps over very short hair topped off our uniform. Our hair had to be above the collar—a must!
Our class made up a fun song to the tune of the music from The Bridge over the River Kwai, a 1957 British World War II film. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the lyrics we used for the last line.
Today we’re going to march with you, Today we make our grand debut, Soaring, forever soaring,
Ta da-da-da-da; da, da-da, de-do! 


Photos:
MaryLou’s graduation certificate; MaryLou and stewardess friends on graduation day. 


We sang as we marched through circling pathways to the graduation grounds! I can almost hear it ringing in my ears right now.
The other big hubbub was about where we would be located. I was thrilled to receive Los Angeles as my base. It is my birthplace. As it turned out, if I had a few days off, I could be at home with Mom and Dad in North Hollywood. That was the best! If I had a quick turn-around, I had a nearby apartment with other American Airline Stewardesses. It was a little tricky when I served on standby and had to be at the Los Angeles Airport (a small little airfield) in an hour. My uniform stayed ready to jump into when I drove from North Hollywood. Once I forgot my jacket, and Daddy drove it down to me when I was almost already in the plane. There were no freeways then, it was city streets all the way! There were also no jetways in those days. We had to cover our heads with the American Airlines scarf and walk out across the windy tarmac to our flight.
I served as Stewardess in mostly DC–6s and DC–7s (Douglas Aircraft Company planes). They allowed about 100 passengers tops, and it was an eight-hour flight from coast to coast. I remember spending all-night flights hoping to visit with a passenger and not sit and just look at the Exit sign and take coffee to crew.
On those LAX-NYC flights we usually always had movie stars on board. The one I remember best was Dick Powell as he sat back in the lounge with me on an all-night flight. He was wonderful to visit with! 

Photo:
MaryLou on a plane. 


On one NYC-LAX flight, the usual fog rolled in over Los Angeles, and we had to actually land in Burbank. As I lived close, I had some great young movie stars drop me off at home from their rental car as they drove on to Los Angeles. If I remember correctly, Tab Hunter was among them. Hollywood tours were always offered to us. We met Pat Boone and other show people. It was a great life.
In the East, when it was cold, the passengers entered and gave us their coats as we welcomed them on board. We had to tag their coats with seat numbers and hang them up for them, returning each one to the correct person just before deplaning. Whew!
Here are some highlights that come to mind about flights and layovers: bidding vacation replacement, which meant I had four flights to New York a month! I loved seeing the sights, five star hotels, walks all over Broadway, and seeing the high rises! The Empire State Building was the tallest! I also loved my three-day layovers in Chicago where the Museum of Science and Industry became my weekly stop over. On June 19, 1933, the Museum of Science and Industry opened its great doors for the first time. It was the first museum in North America to feature interactive exhibits. 

Photos:
MaryLou (far right) with stewardess friends and Pat Boone (center). 


Anytime we wanted a short leave it was available to us; I was off to Mexico every other month. I had a special blood doctor in Mexico City of whom I was fond. His name was Enrique (my father’s name) Hurtado. I shared a flat there with a girlfriend and her brother, the Brianos from San Luis Potosi. It was past the bull ring, and we could walk there on dirt paths from downtown Acapulco (on the beach). She worked at Las Brisas. We knew all the hotels, the morning and afternoon beaches, and every other place in town. I remember water skiing every day and jumping the ramp occasionally. I would ski until the very last second I needed to catch a taxi to the Acapulco Airport, practically flying in my bathing suit.
The run from LAX to Fort Worth was delightful as there were some fine young men who took us water skiing on Lake Arlington! The rental car companies treated stewardesses very well and gave us cars. In fact, everyone treated us like royalty. In Dallas, a pink Cadillac limousine would take us shopping.
It was the crews in the LAX to Dallas runs that were the best: We went bowling! What a lot of fun with the whole crew and then huge steak dinners for just $1 or $2. The prices were out of this world, and shopping was great at Neiman Marcus. I did all my Christmas shopping there; no sales tax. Sorry, California, but I don’t like tax.
The best part of those LAX to Texas flights was flying over the Grand Canyon—what a sight that was from the air! It was exciting for the passengers to hear the Captain’s voice point out places of interest.
In the summer in St. Louis the big outdoor park had Broadway productions, great musicals, and the powers that be put in extra chairs up front just for us stewardesses. No charge, of course.

In the propeller planes we didn’t reach the heights they do now, and it was not unthinkable to occasionally get tossed about and have sudden drops because of the updrafts and downdrafts due to weather with exciting cloud activity. In coach class one time, I had 19 babies and rough weather. After the meal service, all the babies got sick, then their mothers, and then me, running into the bathroom to throw up in an air sickness bag. Those were a must on our flights. What an awful feeling and smell with no escape.
The short hops were not quite so exciting—San Diego, Douglas/Bisbee— but sitting in the cockpit in an early morning into Phoenix was the biggest thrill to watch the sunrise. One flight out of New York into Tucson with a plane load of snow birds, was horrible. It was snowing in Tucson, probably for the first time ever. What a lot of grumbling passengers.
I enjoyed going to Detroit and attending church there. We usually always included a ferry trip over to a city in Canada, I believe. It was quite an experience. One of the best parts of my benefits was having mother and dad travel
a bit. Other than Mexico, American only flew in the United States, so Mom and Dad did have great travels in Mexico City, attending the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico with dazzling costumes that kept them in another world of music and dance. We also visited the pyramids, Xochimilco, Taxco, Guadalajara, and Acapulco, where we stayed at the beautiful Majestic Hotel overlooking the bay and had huge fruit plates for breakfast. Daddy had fun swimming in
the pool and shopping for his grandchildren. I got terrible sunburns. We hit all the sights, and then Mom and Dad took a grand train trip to the other coast and enjoyed many other cities, including Vera Cruz. They even met some Mormon missionaries there.

Another really memorable trip on American Airlines was to Boston. I walked the historical city and saw the opening release of Around the World in 80 Days. It seemed like we were doing just that. Then on down the coast to New York, Washington D. C., the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, then crossing the Potomac to Washington and Jefferson’s plantations. Arlington Cemetery with its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was one of the most outstanding memorials at the time. I think we all had one of the best experiences of our lives.


Then the jets came. I met Argie Hoskins who flew as stewardess on the Boeing 707 Inaugural Flight. She is a delightful girl and the only Mormon I met in the business. We were doing what we do best! Does that sound familiar? We were the best! I’m so happy to have happy, exciting memories with the carrier of our choice, American Airlines.
Following my career with American Airlines, I continued to live with a spirit of adventure. I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Humanities and a master’s degree in Communications from
Brigham Young University. After that I
worked as an office manager for the prolific
Hollywood producer Albert Zugsmith in
addition to teaching in the Los Angeles
Unified School District. I eventually
retired as manager with the Walt Disney
Company and decided to serve a mission
for my church, The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. My call was
to Melbourne, Australia, and I loved
it. One will find me now “living on the
edge of the sea” in La’ie, Hawaii. 


Photos:
MaryLou in front of a Lockheed Electra.
A newspaper clipping about American Airlines. MaryLou is the fourth from the bottom. 


Passenger letter from flight number 2 from Los Angeles to New York on August 25, 1958. It reads:
The flight has been enjoyable in every way, particularly because of the efforts of the hostess, Miss
Parkes. She has been very helpful and friendly. Her service has been unobtrusive, as the best always

is. Yet her manner conveyed a warmth that immediately put us at our ease. She did everything possible
for us to ensure a comfortable, pleasant trip.

Signed, Miss Joann M. Baumert 

Passenger letter from flight number 3 from New York City to Los Angeles on August 26, 1958. It reads:
My wife and four children
flew from LA to NYC on flight 2 July 31. When putting my family on the plane, I recognized the 2 hostesses as ones
with whom we had flown previously. My wife reports
that, as always, the hostesses were most courteous
and helpful with the young children.

I should like to express

our gratitude to them, and our appreciation to the company
for the selection of such excellent personnel.

Signed, Mr. M. S. Marvin 


Passenger letter from flight number 731 from Chicago to Tucson on November 20, 1958. It reads:
On this flight there were two blond young ladies, both very efficient. But may I say the Miss Parkes was most gracious and kind.
Signed, Mr. and Mrs. Julius M. and Gertrude L. Schoen 

Passenger letter from flight number 76 from Los Angeles to Cincinnati on August 15, 1958. It reads:
Air travel is a new experience to me and a delightful one. This is an enjoyable flight with American.
Your stewardesses are most concerned for passenger comfort and happiness. I find them superior to
stewardesses on other air lines. They are charmful and helpful young women. I shall look forward to
other trips, flying with American.

Signed, Mrs. Dean Brill
P. S. I liked having a choice of drinks. Some other airlines do not. 



Passenger letter from flight number 3 from New York to Los Angeles on August 29, 1958. It reads:
I would like to thank you and your fine organization for the wonderful flights I have experienced in
the last few years.

Right now we are cruising at 20,000 feet, and I am enjoying every minute. The two fine stewardesses
we have are just wonderful, polite, efficient, and extremely helpful. I have just returned from Europe and have been on a plane for the last 21 hours, but right now I feel as if it has been one hour.
Thank you and your fine company again.

Signed, Mr. Chancford Morence Jr. 


Passenger letter from flight number 76 from Los Angeles to Cincinnati on October 24, 1958. It reads:
Dear Sir: I would assume most of these memos are complaints, however, I wish to express
my opinion relative to the services rendered on this flight. Personnel very courteous and accommodating, food excellent, public consideration very good. It is appropriate to commend Miss Jerry Coher and Mary

Lou Parkes for their passenger consideration and courtesy extended on this flight. They make a fine team worthy of their assigned responsibilities.
Signed, Mr. Forest F. Duwe 

Passenger letter from flight number 2 from Los Angeles to New York on August 25, 1958. It reads:
I wish to call to your attention the excellent manner and efficiency displayed by one of your hostesses on this flight, Miss Parkes. I do a great deal of flying, and she stands out in my mind as being the best hostess I have seen.
Signed, Mr. Martin Tahse

Note from supervisor in red reads, “MaryLou, our sincere thanks to you for being such an asset to the
Stwd. Corps! Jan E.” 


The book is full of stories!  Enjoy!  Enjoy! 
Here are some of the photos from the book. MaryLou continues to be a wonderful friend. She is kind, caring, brilliant, funny, determined and a true friend. Mahalo for writing a story for the book.  Come puddle with me.




























Grateful for friends. Come fly with American Airlines!