Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lost Luggage

Julie, at Traveling Through, had a blog tonight that got me reminiscing. Just a short reminiscence. I don't want to stay up too late.

Choosing a college was rough. Do I stick around in California to go to the university where the guy I pined after was going, or do I travel two-thirds of the way across the country to a college in Ohio whose curriculum rocked my socks? I was inclining toward staying in California when one morning I sat straight up in bed with the sudden conviction that I wanted to head for Ohio. I think it was early June. The application was a 10-page essay. I never wrote so fast in my life. I got my acceptance within 10 days. For many reasons, it's a good thing I didn't follow the guy.

Off to college

My family primarily vacationed by tent camping as I grew up. We traveled over much California and might have traveled as far east as New Mexico. Ohio was "back east," so getting there involved my first airplane trip. (Many of my east coast classmates had traveled "out west" for college.) Recollection has faded, but I think it was at this point in life that I acquired a blue travel trunk, in which sheets and blankets and towels and all earthly belongings for college were shipped.

When I took typing in junior high, my parents got me a typewriter to use at home, similar to this beauty:

Just like at school, only newer,
and the letters on the keyboard weren't concealed.

But for college, I received the pride and joy of my life, the Smith-Corona Skyriter, touted as the first typewriter for air travelers (fits under the seat), as a gift from my parents or grandparents. However, I think we packed it in a box and checked it with my suitcase.

The most compact little typewriter I'd ever seen.
 My parents and Sister and Grandma all took me to the Burbank airport to see me off. I was terribly blasé about my first plane trip -- no big deal -- but holding back tears because Grandma's health was fragile and there was the possibility I'd never see her again. She was the only baby sitter I'd had my entire life and took me to the Saturday morning Westerns every week and generally did all the grandma-spoil things with me.

I think it was a DC-6 that we flew off in to Chicago. I don't recall anything about it being cramped or crowded -- no sardine class then.

Something like this.

We switched at Midway in Chicago to a smaller plane to get into the smaller airport in Ohio.

I think it was a DC-3.
It seemed an awfully long trip and the three hour time shift jet-lagged me terribly. It wasn't until I began these frequent overseas flights to France (nine hours difference) that I began to think "pffft" about a three-hour shift. I was met by a college greeter and driver. Surprise! It was the guy I'd first learned about the college from, and from whom I developed my enthusiasm. He'd offered to pick me up at the airport, but my parents insisted I follow regular protocol and procedures. Turns out he was the regular procedure.

It was nice to see a familiar face. What was not nice was that the box with my typewriter was lost. I was such a neophyte traveler that I don't know whether I even reported the loss to the airline, and I tried to maintain a stony-face to conceal my complete devastation and keep from crying. I'm sure I reported it to my greeter friend; to someone at the college; to the clerk at the bookstore that sold me some snacks to tide me over until a regular mealtime; I told anyone I met in my new dormitory. College was ruined. I did not call my parents, because long distance just wasn't done. I doubt I knew how to place a call. It wasn't something you could dial. Telegrams were sent to convey bad news, but even in my distraught state, I knew this didn't rank up there with death, the only truly bad news.

I don't know whether it was my arrival day, or the next day when I walked into my room and sitting on my desk area was this:

Not even in the packing box.
Did you ever want to kiss your typewriter hello?

First flight, first lost luggage. So this must have been the genesis of my motto that a journey that goes exactly according to plan makes for a dull story.

I had my Grandma for another four years, just long enough to let her know I was newly pregnant with my first child. My Grandpa lived another 2½ years after that, long enough to know his new grandson shared his middle name.

The Skyriter lasted many more years, and I wouldn't be shocked to discover it in one of those big travel trunks stashed in my basement.

See you soon.

(All photos from Googled Images)



  1. Well, my first flight nearly crashed. All was well til the pilot misjudged the runway, landing in severe drops and hitting hard before we skidded across grass at the end of it. Everyone was trying to be strong for me, acting like that was the way it was done. I didn't know any better, so I was less scared than they were. Ignorance, bliss and all that goes with it I suppose.

  2. Wooo! Guess it didn't scare you forever, since you're still flying.

    I was once on a flight into ... I was going to say Burbank, site of my first flight, but now I think it might have been Ontario (California), a notably windy airport. We bucked through a strong wind, with the plane rocking side to side as the pilot tried to set us down. We landed with a strong left tilt, the wing tip barely clearing the runway.

    I was sitting in the front of the plane, and the first crew member that came aboard commented to the stewardesses, "Boy, that was close!"

    (Be afraid. Be very afraid!)

  3. Never heard these stories before. When I flew back (with mom and dad) to see you it was a DC-8 and my first flight. Maybe the seats were bigger because we were "narrower"- a lot narrower. I don't think we were shorter however.
    And am I glad your typewriter showed up. The Parents would have been very upset (as were you).

  4. @92 MOG, when did you first come back there? Did you ever come before the wedding, or was that the first time? Then you were there for at least one baby.