Charlywalker's Blog












The training process lasted a total of six weeks and most of the time was spent in a classroom of some sort, whether it contained a mock-up of the new L1011 jumbo jet or or a mirrored room full of Elizabeth Arden’s new Fall colors.  Rule #6 was designed to align our faces to model Cybill Shepherd, the pin-up girl of the 70’s.   I guess every era has it’s poster child.

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Our airline’s beloved American Idol was posted adjacent to the life size mirrors covering the walls of our classroom .  The new stews arrived in a timely manner and rushed to their assigned station where a glossy Mauve box the size of a mini cocktail tray lay before them.  We were all into our third week of instruction and everyone was well acquainted with each other and their State of being.  I was seated next to Miss Georgia who dove into her box thinking it contained a creamy nougat or two, and  after lifting the lid, immediately slumped into disappointment as she faced her assortment of Georgia Peach hues….

Each of the make-up boxes that were presented to us were pre-picked based on our skin tone, eye, and hair color,  by a company that originated in 1911.  I guess I was thankful that by  the time 1970 rolled around Elizabeth Arden was sold to a pharmaceutical company and women no  longer applied freshly picked berries onto their lips and cheeks.  I’m sure Ms. Arden was rolling over behind her Red Door when her palette’s  now featured  the added Lab-Rat Lavender and Carcinogenic Cocoa as the headliner colors.

My pretty in pink box held colors suited for the Brown-eyed Brunette, who couldn’t fall farther from the Cybill Shepard tree.  I watched as a prescribed make-up artist ran around the room blaring cosmetic counsel to make sure  we all stuck to the Airline code  and represent the Stepford “Stews ” Standard, and not think outside our laminated pink box.

The colors illuminating from my Box screamed an assortment of Moody Blues highlighting a crystal blue persuasion of eyeliners,  while undertones of deep purple gave me a whiter shade of pale.  All this Beauty in a  Box repertoire  was accompanied by Marvin Gaye crooning over the scruffy sound system:

What’s Going On…tell me what’s going onnn…

The next step was to tackle our hair.  I watched as each member of the class of  ’72 received bangs.  It was a time somewhere between late chic  Hippie shag and early Farrah Fawcett feathering. The last thing I remember is the stylist grabbing my ponytail wielding a giant pair of scissors and me sobbing into a pre -moistened towelette causing my freshly applied make-up to run. My new doo was now light and feathery carrying less weight.  I guess minimal hair presented a larger allowance for  extra carry -on luggage for the passengers.

When noontime finally rolled around I skipped lunch and ran back to my room.  I raced through the lobby looking like Baby Jane Hudson after she finished her audition to Edward Flagg.  Too late… too late……too late to call for help… I thought to myself ,as I was writing a letter to daddy to send money for a wig….

I never broke Rule 6……..unless washing  my face after class constituted a crime of fashion.

It was lucky rule number seven that nearly did us in:

  There were seven deadly weigh-ins; one per week topped off with a final one just before graduation.  The first six were random  checks in order to keep track of  who would fit through the emergency exit and who would get their fat ass stuck in the window, causing passengers to reroute……

  By the sixth week our class was as thick as thieves which began a tribe of neighborhood watch at The Villa’s. The one girl, Miss Georgia, presented a problem with weight gain and squirreled packets of Hostess Twinkies in her suitcase.  On her sixth weigh-in she was three pounds over weight and could face banishment if she did  not lose that cream filling by graduation.

There was a lot of buzz roaming around the Stew Zoo with regards to Miss Georgia’s weighty situation and none of us wanted a member of our class to fail, especially because of her love for yellow spongy cake hosting a shelf life of 25 years.  We were a band of ingenue’s sticking together like the lavender varnish on our polished hands.  There was a secret meeting to be held around the pool after dinner hour to discuss Miss Georgia’s  cuisine habits.  They thought posting a  24/7 shift of weight- watchers by her side to monitor her Twinkie intake might  secure the issue, but that could heighten the Airline Gestapo’s suspicion and a few of us still felt the sting from breaking rule number One. So……after little consideration of the outcome, and by unanimous vote, the decision to break into the  class weigh-in room and rig the scale won by a landslide.

Come morning weigh-in, the entire class registered three pounds lighter………

After completing the six week training for this eastern airline, a few of us went into Miami to celebrate and tip the scale of success for the graduating class of ’72.  As we approached the restaurant I noticed a large picture of Cybill Shepherd smiling from a drug store window  as she  touted her Cover Girl make-up.  I walked over  to study the poster and  laughed hysterically as I noticed her eyes were fixated on the props piled up next to her:

Tastefully sinful……

spread the humor….

(There will be no more “parts” to this as I have decided to continue my saga into a “diary of a mad flight attendant..featuring many not for prime time adventures”…..CW).




Rule number two was written in bold type with massive underlining and Italics. 

CURFEW. 

I thought I left this behind after graduating high school. It made me wonder if all the “New Stews” parents held a meeting with the airline presenting their list of wrongs.  I left my family back west purposely to break the confines of parental controls.

CURFEW… try telling that to my empty stomach at 10:00 p.m.  My tummy had jet lag and was still adjusting to the three hour time difference as East met West in my digestive organ.

Miss Midwest and I missed our dinner bell and the Airline Gestapo  sent us  straight to our room without dinner. Just like in Junior High ,when your mother got mad just because you were sent home from St. Luke’s Catholic school for setting the goldfish free in the holy water during set-up time for the Church Bazaar.  Anyway, as Midwest and I sat in our double occupancy suite rifling through drawers for signs of pre-packaged sustenance, I noticed a pair of eyes peeking through the gape of our drapes covering our partially opened window.

I whispered to Midwest that someone was outside our room.  She walked over and flapped the curtain open and standing like a deer in headlights was the Bell hop from the Villa’s.  We stood there glaring at him as he squeezed his face partially through the window and spoke in broken English:

“Are chjew gurlz  mucho hungree?”.

It was Jorge ( pronounced: HORE-HAY).  The Cuban bellboy that befriended a few Stews at the villa’s.  He was our only connection to the outside when forced into solitary confinement.  Jorge knew everyone and everything about the Villa’s.  Jorge was able to get you Anyone and Anything at Anytime from the Villa’s.

We pleaded our gastronomic case and asked if he could fetch us some food. He stated he could but we would have to accompany him.  Miss Midwest gave me the same look she gave as when I pulled her into the Bentley earlier that day.  We had made the time constraint of the late night bed check, but we still needed to cover ourselves should the airline gestapo happen to sleep walk.  We stuffed our beds with pillows and blankets to form an “S” shape resembling two laid out Stews. After shutting the light, we proceeded to crawl out the window with the assistance of Jorge who had a golf cart waiting behind a palm tree.

Jorge ushered us into the cart and drove us to the Villa’s Restaurant, which is excluded to New Stews and open to visiting vacationers.  The one thing about an Airline School in the 70’s,  is most of the students are pegged the moment they arrive, and are easily identified by staff and visitor’s.  I was still in my Miami white attire and Jorge was dressed in his Villa’s employee uniform.  I asked Jorge to loan me his tie and red jacket and walked through the Staff entrance to the restaurant kitchen.  It was there I picked up a serving tray and started to slam salami and crudites onto a pile, followed by a stash of French  baguette.  The kitchen staff rambled something in Cuban pointing and laughing as I paraded my silver tray through the aisles of leftovers.  I turned and popped them a smile and a Gracia’s and raced back to the golf cart where my cohorts in crime anxiously awaited.

Miss Midwest et all laughed up a storm as they saw me exit with a tray of delights wearing the Bellboy’s jacket and a black bow-tie.  Jorge let me drive back to our room  and as I parlayed the Cart in reverse  and darted with full  throttle in the dark, I neglected to look behind me and rammed another cart that approached from the rear.

Two well dressed “Suits” stepped out of their golf cart and stood hovering above us ready to land their disgust with this minor accident incident.  Both gentlemen cross examined Miss Midwest and I regarding our status at “this hour of the night”, and “are we employed by the Airline?”.  I  conceded  and offered up our feeble excuse while slowly removing my rented costume and returning it to Jorge.

The one Suit who was missing his tie stepped closer into the light and leaned into our golf cart and spat out:

“Do you know who I am?  I am the V.P. of the Airline that just hired you”.

I was hoping at that time I was not going to crap my Miami white polyester pants.

Mr. Veep scolded us and threatened to have us returned to our homes.  It was then I realized I should have listened to my dad and applied to law school. He always said I could argue my way out of  going the wrong way on a one way street.

 I pleaded with the “Pinstripes” and begged forgiveness from the courting of the idea of; maybe, just maybe, a sentencing of no breakfast in the morning?  I ended with my closing statement describing the heartbreak and disappointment our parents will endure as a result of us being thrown out of “Stew School”.  I sniffled a sentence or two referencing my “stature as a temporary college misfit and winning the Flight Attendant lottery with your Esteemed Airline, and how this is a child’s dream come true to one day turn in my Miami White polyester for the Noble Blue Uniform of the Wings of Man”.  Then I eeked out the airlines rusty slogan in the key of “E” flat with hopes of my cohort butting in as a back up singer:

“You gotta Belieeeve in Eastern……”

The V.P. nearly peed his pants to suppress his laughter. He took our names and numbers and ordered us back to our rooms. He instructed Jorge to drive us back safely.  Miss Midwest and I crawled back through our window and fell onto our beds hardly sleeping, and thinking about our demise facing us in the morning.

It was 8:00 a.m. and the morning Gestapo shift entered our room to announce that “Miss Midwest and I were Grounded for a week”,  thus being responsible for the breaking of  rule’s #3 and #4………

Never miss class and Never miss your Familiarization flight……

It was then I started to study the tactic’s of Gandhi and missing a meal once in a while to prevent any uprisings.    Plus, how was I to know that having Hotel Staff loitering outside your window after 11:00p.m. was breaking rule #5……..

(to be continued……)




Continuing on with the parody of entering the Airline world, back when the dinosaurs roamed, and First Class served meals on real china…….not made in China……..

My adventures with this airline flew me across the country miles away from my family and landed me on a small island in the Caribbean. It is pronounced Cah-RIB-Be-an…if you are to be  a local. Most folks take on the pirated Johnny Depp’s annunciation: CARE- a -BEE-an.  Well, if Johnny Depp was pilfering Puerto Rico when I was living there who in their right mind would focus on Grammar……

My first stop before heading off to the assigned base in San Juan, was a six week layover in Miami for training. I managed to meet up with another chosen trainee on my flight to Florida, as she was from Oregon, and after chatting for what seemed like eight hours, we decided to share a cab to our hotel; The Villa’s. aka….Stew Zoo.

  Ms. Oregon and I were not accustomed to cabs and neglected to add a tip to our fare as we wrestled with our chump change laughing at the bottom of our purses.  The driver stood in disbelief as he fingered the coins and darted after us yelling something in Cuban.  Ms. Oregon turned  around and flipped him an added gesture with her free hand. I stopped to dig deeper in my pockets while Ms. Oregon was long gone halfway down the walkway to The Villa’s.  I was left with Scar face wielding and empty open palm in my direction.  I felt my Airline funding from my parents was dwindling before I even started the job…..

When we entered the Hotel, the lobby contained two genre’s of patrons:  “New Stews” and ” Lot’s of off the cuff men lingering after a busy day at Hialeah Race track.   The “Stew Group” sat in a designated mosh pit and awaited their Commander and Chief to assign their rooms and deliver vagrant instructions.  I was hoping to room with Ms. Oregon, but ended up  with Miss Midwest.

While unpacking our allotted one suitcase only, my roomie and I went over the itinerary and rules for our six week stay:

1) There will be Three meal times: 8:00am Breakfast, 12:00pm Lunch, and 6:00pm dinner. Should you miss any of these time you will not be allowed in the cafeteria, and no compensation for missing meals.

2) There is a curfew: In rooms by 9:00pm and bed check at 10:00pm. Should you not be present during these times you will be sent home.

3) Never miss class, unless there is an emergency or illness.

4) Never miss your assigned Fam Flight. Familiarization flight, there is only one, and no make-ups.

5) No bringing anyone to your rooms. Cause to be sent home.

6) There is one day dedicated to make-up and hair, must be present and abide by the Airline standard.

7) There will be random “Weigh -ins” at the Airline’s discretion.

8) You must present yourself professionally at all times, remember you are representing the Airline.

9) No alcohol.

10) Welcome aboard “The Wings of MAN”. See you at 8:00am sharp!

My first week there I broke rule number one.

We had some free time and I went to the beach with my roomie.  We managed a ride out there and did not secure a return trip back to The Villa’s. We were about eight miles from our Villa and it was getting to the dinner hour.  Most of the trainees came with a minimal amount of money as the airline suggested, and thus money was to be used to secure your living quarters when you settled at your new Base. Not for shopping.   My roomie and I used some of it in a few designer stores that screamed our names out as we passed by.  We bought new outfits during our “free time” at the beach.  We also realized we were short funds for a cab and the clock was ticking for our nightly room visit by the Airline Gestapo.

As Miss Michigan and I started to walk , and she was complaining about “not getting back in time”,  and “getting thrown out in our first week”, and “these stupid shoes are killing her feet”.    I  wanted to stick my thumbs in my ears, but decided to flag my hand out and trail my thumb along the  roadside towards traffic.  My roommate was horrified and slapped my hand down and proceeded to lecture on “deaths of hitchhikers”.  I told her who in their right mind would mess with two sunburned girls wearing new designer clothing?

I stuck my thumb out again. She slapped it down..again.  I slapped her hand back and there we were having a hand slapping conversation along the roadside dressed in Miami white pants and matching peach tops scuffing our decorative jeweled sandals. As we stood there slapping Patty-cake, a vintage beige Bentley pulled up with a shaggy haired bespectacled -what looked like an aging rock star- behind the wheel and he asked us if we needed a ride.

I grabbed the door handle and  then said “yes” before Miss Michigan objected. I tugged her too tight top into the back seat and blurted a “Thank you” to the driver.  He asked our destination and I told him “The Villa’s”.  He asked if we were Flight Attendants.  I said yes we were and we needed to get back to our rooms before curfew.

Our ride was not that long, and started out in complete silence.  My roommate kept darting hate stares at me and whispering heated words about , “Duct tape and Pick axes in the trunk……”.

The shaggy driver asked us if we “liked music” and stated he had “started a new band” and would we “like to hear his tape”.  Simultaneously we said Yes. Miss Michigan leaned over to me and exclaimed in my ear: “Music soothes the savage beast”…apparently she still had shades of Ted Bundy running through her head.

The driver and I conversed about his new band and as we were getting closer to our destination I asked him about  his Old Band. His former band.  As he pulled into the back parking lot of The Villa’s and stopped to let us out, he turned around and said:  “Oh.. I was the key-board player for The Doors.“.

I popped out of the car and smiled at my roommate. Ray Manzarek was our driver.  THIS is why you buy designer clothes when attempting to hitch hike…..

As it turned out we made it in time for bed check, however, we neglected to eat anything and my stomach was aching. Mostly because I could have held intense conversations with Mr. Manzarek about Jim  Morrison, but, instead, chose to fan off  the continuum  buzzing in my ear from my mid-western roommate about Hitch hikers and  Serial killers.

It was my stomach growling that lead me to break rule number two………

( to be continued…)



{June 5, 2011}   Blog Agility (earlier post)

If you are reading this blog AND you find it clever or funny please comment. I need the feedback or otherwise I am wasting my Megabytes.  Speaking of mega-bites, my puppy is still snapping even after two weeks of guaranteed training. I don’t blame the Trainer , I blame my family who are lacking in the follow-up program arena.

My scheduled training of two weeks ended recently and I feel a bit empty inside. Charly-dog and I got use to the trainers 10 a.m. visits and it is hard to let go now. This trainer came into our lives and spent hours with each and every member of my family and worked with all of us as a whole to get Charly on track. I am  starting to have a small tinge of anxiety that once he is out of our lives for good, things will resort to the way they were.  The trainer did drop an anecdote  while sipping his bottled water, that being ;if any “uprisings” occur he will be here on the spot, and this is guaranteed forever.

Hmm.…. I could always find some fault somewhere in my puppy that might need tending to; maybe stage a scene or two…….kind of like the little boy crying wolf, only it’s a middle aged menopausal woman needing someone to talk to other than her doggie…..

I find as I am getting older and less tolerant of my estrogen levels, that letting go is becoming harder and harder. I took my son to the airport to catch a flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. He has been bugging me to let him fly out to see his best friend  ever since we moved out to the East Coast. My children have traveled extensively since they were born, but never without me in tow. I have this phobia about my children on  planes without me, what if something happens to that plane; what if there is an outbreak  on board of food poisoning from stale pretzel’s; what if there’s an emergency landing in a Delta swamp; what if  they have snakes on board……or worse yet , Samuel L Jackson  is pushing the beverage cart………”I’ve had it with these Mother F*ckin’ Pepsi’s on this Mother F*ckin’ plane…..coffee? Tea?….”

My son is 16 and does not qualify for the “unaccompanied child Airline escort” anymore. Plus, there is a $100 hidden  fee for this “Program”. It must fall in line with the “Meal Program” and the “Luggage Program”.   Personally I think they should wave this amount for first time moms letting their youngster fly solo and traipsing through Major City airports spending all their allowance on nonsense that is flagged out in the open Kiosks. ( Oh , yes son, I love the $50 neck snuggie you purchased to keep you comfortable during your flight that you left on board and is now on its way to Hong Kong where it originated from).

My sons flight was delayed over an hour from his connecting flight. I have a party retrieving him at the baggage claim terminal and they phoned to inform me that his flight was going to be late.   I got nervous.   I phoned the Major Airline that starts with a “D” and has been around since the Nixon administration, to find out more information about his flight. The “D” Agent confirmed that it was delayed twice, out of Atlanta.

I spat out; “TWICE?”.

“Yes”,( he said with an accent that was identical to the driver in the second Indiana Jones Movie).

I interrupted his silence with a very loud “WHY TWICE?”.

He enlightened me with the explanation that the first delay was a security issue.

(Oh great,  glow snakes in a Plane Pocket..)

AND THE SECOND DELAY? 

  “Was a maintenance problem”.

 I questioned him further on the maintenance problem and he laughed and told me:

Well the plane is in the air now”.

Oh thank God, that is so reassuring, I am so thrilled, oh, and I feel so relieved and unconcerned that that plane is in the air now! How about the landing??? Please tell me the maintenance problem was a toilet that wouldn’t stop flushing or the Captain’s coffee pot heater light keeps blinking, or the food cart has a rusty wheel…………

I popped open a Dos Equis and brought up my sons Itinerary and  started to track his flight on my Macbook like a Pro. I love technology, it’s almost like being in the control tower yourself, minus all the other distractions, like ten million OTHER flights trying to take off and land.   I went into the “D” Airline WEB site and typed his flight number and it showed a map of the U.S. with a little yellow airplane following a bright blue line to his destination. I felt a little more at ease and managed to breath a little easier…………..

Until this little yellow plane started a nose dive over Arizona….

The time left on his flight was an hour and a half and the meter was not moving, nor was the tiny yellow plane that I was watching for twenty minutes without blinking…

 That little mustard piper cub was not advancing on my screen and I was having the most horrible images run through my mind.  Images of a black smoke plume smoldering from seat 11B because I thought I  had confiscated all the fireworks my son wanted to share with his friend in California. Where they are illegal.….. And maybe, just maybe,  he sequestered a box of black Snake Glow worms that he stuck in his back pocket. I was a flight attendant once and have witnessed plight flights that brought me to my knees saying a few Hail Mary’s while pouring a few Bloody Mary’s……anything’s possible.

I shut the laptop off  and logged back on to the “D” website to commence with stalking my sons flight. His fake plane kept stalling in the air until I clicked the refresh button so it would advance faster to LAX airport.  In a matter of seconds that little yellow cartoon 757 was now starting it’s descent  into Los Angeles with it’s nose in the air and landing in 22 minutes……..Funny if I keep clicking the Back Button that plane just might land on time.

My son loves being independent and Hates that his mother texted him thirteen times before he even left the ground. I can’t wait to tell him about the tracking device….I wonder if they have that for everything…like when he starts driving or is out with his friends at a movie, or maybe, just maybe…on a date.

Yes I love technology it helps a mom sleep at night…….and you thought Big Brother was watching……………hellooo Big Mother……..



{February 2, 2011}   A Blog in Sheep’s Clothing

I have been in Italy for nearly nine days now and I depart tomorrow on an early morning flight back to the states.  I am having mixed feelings about returning to my home in Pennsylvania, not because of what awaits me when I land but what has been left behind. My husband.

  I just realized after 21 years of marriage I actually love my husband. Over the last nine days I witnessed a man whose heart is larger than the moon that rules him and  he carries the world’s woes atop his stooping  shoulders. Shoulders  that lean more than the Tower of Pisa. Atlas cowers in comparison to my husband and he’s not even standing upright…I can’t decide if the amore rekindled because of the visit to Italy or if this is a part of what happens when a marriage continues past 20 years and the love  drought is over.

I will say that Geography plays a large part in where intimacy raises it’s protuberant head; well with me it does.  For example, having sex while married over a long period of time has it’s ups and downs and the outside meddling affairs that intervene during  a marriage can put a damper on your sex life:  The onset of children; A troublesome mother-in-law; A job or lack there of; and even a dog can cause rippin’ the sheets up to cease and desist.

  I always found that my PGAD was on high alert at the most inopportune times: Like the airplane toilet, or a cab, or the front steps of the Brooklyn Museum in February….. A bit frosty but fun. Or if you need to come in from the cold; your car parked outside Tavern on the Green under the lighted trees.. I’m sure there is a psychological term for folks that take advantage of our countries beautiful monuments and tourist attractions for their own nookie gratification, but I don’t care. You get off wherever you get off. You indulge when the urge strikes, because sooner or later you will be met with many interruptus bouts of screaming babies, or an everlasting phone calls from the boss, or the ferocious knock on the front door from your mother-in-law who schlepped all the way from west 6th street to find out if everyone is O.K. because no one answered her phone call… for the seventh time…..

Or maybe your dog jumps in to assist with what has been desist and causes mayhem on the mattress.  I don’t know if recapturing a spark that ignited over twenty years ago happened  again because of a romantic location or if I actually found my husband appealing.  My vote is the location.. location.. location… Italy brings the best out in me, there are no distractions except the  lovely country side, fantastic food, and an abundance of not over priced Chianti, all accompanied by the rapture of the language that captures your heart.

  There were no arguments breeding in our emotions or outside stimuli of  vagrant responsibilities that caused us to go asunder. We just had each other and the waft of Italian ambiance embracing our beings. All of this stayed intact until I entered the U.S. and headed home.

I left the garden of Eden to enter the gates of Hell.  As I crossed the threshold of my front door, I was immediately trounced on by Charly-dog who saturated my new Euro coat with pee stains ;  after receiving a giant hug from my 16 year old son  he followed up with complaints of “how he did all the work around the house and his sister did nothing”, then topped  the evening off by my invisible daughter who hasn’t seen me in weeks and opted to stay at her boyfriends parents house instead of asking me “how my trip went”.

I shuffled into the house after a nine hour flight and noted the dishes piled in the sink stained from yesterdays meals, pizza boxes left open laying on the garage floor two inches away from the recycle bin, soda cans left atop my car, laundry piled higher than Mt. Everest, and my husband calling to have me check his phone messages because he doesn’t want to be charged for roaming.  Business as usual.

I grabbed my over priced American Imported Chianti Classico and my box of chocolate covered Pocket Coffees and retreated  my jet-lagged ass to my bedroom.  I plugged my used airline earphones into my IPOD and blasted Pavaroti into my deaf ears as I downloaded my Flip videos of  Italy onto my Macbook Pro and sipped a lovely Vino Rosso all the while watching a recap of virtual food being served to me on a lovely terrace in Florence.   I feel the love…..Is it love or is it the idea of love?…….

OR is it the Location of love……………….Ciao Italia until we meet again…



et cetera
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