Saturday, November 28, 2015


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.




"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


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

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


 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 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


                  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.


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

Page 207
MaryLou Parkes Whipple

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. 

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. 

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! 

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! 

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. 

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. 

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!