Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Flying High

I'm getting my clothes together for a trip to LA next week, and I got to thinking about my first airplane trip. I was seventeen. My mother and my three sisters and I boarded a plane from Atlanta to New York. Then we flew from New York to Ghana to Liberia where we joined my father who had just taken a job there. (But that's fodder for another post.)
The year was 1964. I had a brand new set of top-of-the-line Samsonite luggage. Red. I think the commercial showed a gorilla tossing the luggage around to show how much abuse it could take and still look like new. It was some mighty fine luggage and I kept it for years.
I wore a pink dress. It was made out of a new kind of fabric that was wrinkle resistant which was a really big deal then.  I also wore low-heeled pumps AND stockings (not pantyhose). We were all dressed up in our Sunday best, because that's how people traveled in 1964. Comfort be damned! My family stood out - not because of how we were dressed - but because there were few, if any, other Black people flying. Even to Africa.
When I board the plane next week, I'll wear denim capris, a t-shirt, and flip flops. (I roll with the changes of time, baby!) I won't stand out because of how I'm dressed or what color my skin is. And that's a good thing.
Some things remain constant, though. My luggage is still red, but it's soft-sided and it's definitely not Samsonite.


  1. I still have one of those red Samsonite suitcases upstairs! I can't bring myself to throw it out although I know I will never use it again.

    At least you don't wear your pajamas on the plane. At least that.

  2. Oh man! I remember that Samsonite -- I think it made it into our house at some point during my childhood.

    Look at you. All blogging.

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