When Flying Was Fun for Thanksgiving

As millions crowd our airports for the traditional Thanksgiving trek home over the river and through the woods, the tension mounts at the thought of long lines, insufferable crowds, and the dreaded delays that inevitably await the weary and wary traveler.

Gloom is cast before the holiday even begins.

But for the Post-War population, the new air travel was a breeze.

For the modern mid-century family, the notion of flying home for the holidays was a novelty and a grand experience at that.

“Over the River and Over the woods. To grandmothers house we go,” this 1951 TWA ad announces gaily.

The gleeful modern family fairly bursting with pep and anticipation couldn’t wait to board their flight to visit Grandma. Why let old-fashioned distance keep a family apart?

“There’s a new road now to an old tradition. It’s the TWA high way home for Thanksgiving. And what a blessing it is to families separated by too many rivers and too many woods….and so many years!”“If you’ve let distance and lack of time keep you away too long, try traveling this high way. Find out how TWA can make it very near to someone dear- for even an ocean apart is only hours apart…by skyliner!”

TWA went out of their way to make flying a family affair! Flying was no longer just for Dad and his business trips. Once the airline, started their Family Budget Plan, “…parents have had cause to cheer'” boasts TWA in this 1949 ad. “for now they can take the whole family by air at down to earth prices.”

By traveling on a Monday Tuesday or Wednesday, they could save substantially. “As head of the family,” they explain “Dad pays full fare. Mother and the children under 22 go for only half fare each”…and best of all crying infants and toddlers under 2 could fly free of charge!

Tempting you further, TWA promises, “The flight is a delight, the service supreme, with delicious hot meals served free. Best of all…and oh how mother loves this!…you’re there long before the kids start to fuss or fidget!”

“Snowtime’s no time to give up flying! Vintage American Airlines Ad 1950

Compare the cheery disposition of Mr. and Mrs. Modern who have chosen the up -to-date way to travel to visit Grandmother with their neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Outdated who chose the more antiquated mode of travel- their automobile.

Hampered by a snow storm they are unable to dig out in time for the turkey. Mrs. Outdated, with visions of stuffing and cranberries dancing in her head, looks longingly at the speeding plane in the sky, carrying the wise Moderns to the destination.

Vintage ad American Airlines 1949

 

“Don’t Give Up- Go Up,” declared American Airlines in this 1949 advertisement , touting the benefits and wonders of the new air travel that most post-war families had yet to experience.

“Air Travel- and only air travel can often make the difference between the accessible and the impossible. This is especially true during the holidays when the earthbound are frequently snowbound. Hence, wise travelers plan to go by air.”

“Also, air travel is little affected by the challenge of distance and time. The miles on the map lose their menace- the hands of the clock become friend instead of foe when you use this modern means of transportation.”

“So when holiday travel plans seem likely to get ‘bogged down’ don’t give up- go up.”

JFK’s White Picket Fence

JFK's White Picket Fence

My brother has given me hundreds of slides that I find myself going through one at a time. Each one holds a memory – some of places long ago visited, some of people long gone from my life – but each slide tells a story.

I came across a few from the grave of President Kennedy taken a week after he was buried. The slides show that white picket fence which surrounded his grave, the flowers, the hats from all the armed services, the evergreen boughs that covered the grave, and the eternal flame that was burning so brightly. I closed my eyes and remembered those days that have been etched in the memory of all who lived through it.

I remember exactly where I was when the word came that President Kennedy had been shot. I was in my 6th grade English class – Mr. Faust’s English class to be exact. I remember that he cried when he heard the news, and for some reason I didn’t find that disconcerting; it sort of made him human to me.

The school sent us home early, and I remember sitting in front of a small black and white television screen for the next three days with my mother, just watching the black and white images on the screen and seeing my mother cry–one of the few times in my life I would witness this show of emotion.

We watched everything that the television stations of 1963 had to offer. We didn’t miss a moment. When they went off the air, we went to bed, when they came on in the morning, mother woke me so I could see this part of American history.

Mother got it in her head that she wanted my father to drive us to Washington DC so we could walk past the casket as it lay in the rotunda of the Capital. My father didn’t seem to share her enthusiasm for such an outing, and kept finding reasons not to go. Finally, after an entire day of mother insisting we go and my father insisting we not, he caved and we started to dress for the drive and the standing in line.

As mother was packing sandwiches, they announced on the television that they were not allowing anyone else to get in line to view the casket. As you can imagine – mother was not pleased and my father acted like he was also not pleased, but we all knew he was happy he didn’t have to make that drive in the middle of the night!

The deal he made with mother was that he would drive us down to Arlington National Cemetery the following weekend so we could walk past the grave. He kept his word, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was only 11, but some things, some places, some emotions never leave you.

If I’m still enough and quiet enough while looking at these slides, I can still hear the soft sounds of women weeping, and I can see grown men wiping their eyes, and servicemen standing at attention saluting the grave of their fallen comrade and President. I can hear the sounds of people softly walking on the wooden walkway that had been built so the public could walk by, and I can hear the snow crunch as they walk over it. More than anything, I remember how quiet it was. Hundreds of people, dressed in their Sunday best, paying their respects to their fallen President.

It was history, and I’m so thrilled to have been a part of it. As sad as it was, I’m so honored to have seen that white picket fence and flowers and evergreen boughs and armed services hats, and that ever burning flame. My mother, God love her, insisted.

 

 

Step Right Up, Amigos – Have a Coke!

Drinking Coke was synonymous with fighting the enemies of freedom and democracy. Vintage WWII Coca Cola Ad 1945

Drinking Coke was synonymous with fighting the enemies of freedom and democracy. Vintage WWII Coca Cola Ad 1945

The heartbreaking tragedy on the Leyte Island of the Philippines which bore the brunt of the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan has a special relevance today when we honor our veterans. Thoughts go back to another fall day, October 1944 when General Douglas MacArthur landed on that very same island keeping his promise “to return” and liberate the Philippines.

Wherever the American army went so did Coca cola.

Coke went to remarkable lengths to make sure their soft drink was never far from the front lines, wasting no time in running an ad celebrating our shared victory in the Philippines.

“Naturally Filipinos thrilled when their Yankee comrade-in-arms came back to the Philippines,” the copy for this 1945 Coke ad declares.

“Freedom came with them.”

“Fair play took the place of fear. But also they brought back the old sense of friendliness that America stands for.”

Now the Filipinos need us again

Let us not forget that Filipinos bravely helped our American soldiers, let us not forget them now. We shall return…with help.

 

 

 

A Day of Gratitude and Remembrance

Photo Dennis L. Page

My dad was a man who exhibited humility in all he did.He was truly a man to admire.

Many people who grew up during the Great Depression were poor and my father was no different. He resided in a mostly agricultural area. His home was basically a family compound with grandma and grandpa living in one house, my dad, his two brothers and parents in another and my aunt and uncle who owned a farm in yet another home.

Photo Dennis L.Page

I was given few details of this era and the role my father played in it. I do know his particular weapon was one of the deadliest…a .30 caliber water-cooled machine gun M1917A1. He talked about the headhunters and how he would watch their silhouettes with spears and shields as he pulled guard duty at night. The oddity in it all was that the headhunters knew who their allies were and they hated the Japanese soldiers. Dad mentioned how he would dig a foxhole and then set up for battle. During one particular fire fight, bullets flying and under a curtain of ungodly noise a little monkey climbed in the foxhole and wrapped its terrified body around my father. That little monkey….a ray of hope and sunshine during the time of tests for survival and bravery….that monkey stayed with dad until the war ended. He sneaked the monkey under his shirt as the ship sailed from Japan to Hawaii . There was a damn near mutiny on board as the naval officers wanted to throw the monkey overboard. The men in my father’s unit informed those officers, “This here monkey has seen more combat then you could ever imagine.” The monkey stayed until Hawaii and was left with a G.I. who was staying behind.

Photo Dennis L. Page

So that was it. My dad had pretty much left the rest of his past behind, until a time years later when my father picked up my friend Paul and me at the theater after we had seen a war movie. Of course, my friend and I couldn’t wait to go home and re-enact what we had seen. Paul and I were in the backseat when Paul asked, “So, Mr. Page, how many people did you kill in the war?” The eerie silence was deafening as my father, my role model and my hero, took a moment, cleared his throat and adjusted the rear view mirror in the car. I watched one lonely, sad and sorrowful tear roll down his cheek as he looked Paulie in the eye and his exact words, in a trembling voice uttered, ” I would like to think I never hurt anyone.”

I was born in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey during the time my father had reenlisted during the Korean War. Years later my mom asked my dad if he wanted to be buried in Arlington. His response came as no surprise when he said, “Rose, Arlington is a place for people much more deserving than I am.” Instead, my dad is now laid to rest in a Veterans Cemetery on the same road where he grew up.

Even though our country is divided by political bickering and a lot of hate filled nonsense, there is one cornerstone we can always rely on and that is the sacrifice and service our military gives us. Please thank a veteran and appreciate them for keeping us free.

 

Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day: Nov. 24

Camille Farrell, Hoop Artist

For many adults, the sight of a hula-hoop brings back childhood memories of carefree days of rotating a round plastic tube around their hips. Gyrating a hula-hoop can be how many have learned the physics of force, propulsion, speed, and that irreducible buzz-kill known as gravity. Since its introduction by WHAM-O as a children’s toy in the late 1950’s, the hula-hoop has been instrumental in teaching persistence, patience, and the exhilaration of accomplishing a goal.

One of the goals of Hoop Tribe of Salem is to inspire a sense of unity within the community, one hoop at a time. Like many flow artists, their aim is to bring people together, making a positive difference by promoting a healthy, fun, and positive lifestyle. Camille Farrell, founder of Hoop Tribe, has been actively involved in producing hoops and performing at local venues since 2008. With their hoops as dance partners, the hoopers perform at various music festivals, public events, art shows, and also hold workshops at BushPark, Minto Brown Island Park, and at the Waterfront in Salem. The positive feedback from the community has been encouraging and rewarding for the group, spurring their desire to pay it forward.

Hoop Yoga

Flow arts are something that Farrell has been interested in since she first saw a young woman dancing with a hula-hoop. “Shortly after my father passed away, I discovered hooping as a way to channel my negative energy into something positive and creative,” Farrell said. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw someone dancing with a hula hoop – it was in 2008 at the NW String Summit festival at Horning’s Hideout, a wild peacock farm right outside of Hillsboro. I went home and made a hoop of my own (and one for my best friend). Here I am five years later still passionate about hooping. It’s a creative outlet to raise money for charities, encourage a healthy positive lifestyle, create a sense of community among local artists, spread love, and inspire others the way I was inspired that day at NW String Summit.”

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