Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Good-bye, Beach Baby

As I wrote earlier this trip to Florida was open ended. I knew church camp was coming up the end of July, beginning of August. I started missing my friends. So one evening I told Diane I thought it was time for me to go home. She almost seemed surprised. We really were having a great time.
Arrangements were made for me to fly home. I would leave from the local airport, change planes in Atlanta, fly to Pittsburgh for a layover to connect with a flight to Youngstown. Yes, planes actually flew into Youngstown.
All my clothes that were dirty we put in a bag with my sleeping bag. I shudder now, thinking about packing that way. I didn't have my Samsonite pink suitcase yet. I think I got that for the other Florida trip with the Girl Scouts the next year. I flew United, since Dad had that airline's credit card.
I was a minor and the airline staff kept a very close eye on me. A family of brother and two sisters also rode the cart with me in Atlanta to our connecting flights. When I landed in Pittsburgh, the plane needed refueled and we had an hour layover. I asked if I could just walk around the airport. The stewardess glanced nervously to the front, then walked up to the cock pit. The pilot approached me and asked me why I wanted to leave the plane.
"Just to look around," I gulped. I really wanted to try to call the Pittsburgh boy, but I wasn't going to tell this authority figure in the blue uniform.
He looked around, "Well, why not? I'll take you on a tour."
The pilot showed me all the airport, we even stepped into the staff room. He bought me an ice cream cone. He joked about things. He gave me statistics about Pittsburgh weather, like there are 200 cloudy days a year.
We returned to the plane for the 15 minute final leg to Youngstown, where my parents had to show their ID before I could be handed over to them. I had flown by myself before from Newark, but this is the first long flight with connections and layovers.
I wore red shorts with white polka dots, the shirt matched with gathered elastic and puffy eyelet white sleeves. On my feet were the white clogs. I had the best tan, my naturally blond hair, showed darker roots. Almost as soon as we got home, I jaunted down Haywood to Chestnut Street to see Sherry. I was excited to see my friend and tell her what is hard to write in a letter. I wrote lots of letters to all my friends.
We hung out for the week until my time to go to church camp at Westminster Highlands, outside of Elmeton, PA, the foot hills of the Allegheny mountains. The Pittsburgh boy didn't come to West Middlesex that summer. I kept my tan going at the pool. Mom did the laundry that actually made it through the flight.
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