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.