June 10, 1971, Montreal and New York City: All this adventure started on June 10th, 1971. I finished writing my last examination which was in science and rushed home on my bicycle. I arrived home at 11:30 and my mom and I finished our last bit of packing which at this point was looking as if our destination would be Athens. But we aren’t sure as my sister Barbara is a stewardess for Overseas National Airways and although family travels for free we are considered as “non-revenue” passengers and can only board the airplane if there are empty seats. A neighbour took us to Dorval Airport for our 1:30 flight to New York City where we would be staying with my sister Barbara. We took off some 15 minutes late and starved as an announcement on the PA system said they forgot to load the food. No lunch!
It was 70 degrees when we arrived at LaGuardia Airport. We took a cab to Barbara’s apartment and had trouble with the lock so her weird neighbour, a doctor, helped us get into her apartment. My mom always concerned that her children need more food to avoid starvation had us go out shopping where we loaded up on chicken. My Mom always said that meat prices in the United States were far cheaper than they were in Montreal.
We had a massive chicken dinner that night with my sister and her fellow stewardess friend Marx. We slept soundly that night very tired and very happy.
June 11 and 12, 1971 New York, Frankfurt and Athens: We were up bright and early but well rested. We went to a nearby store to buy the bathing suit I forgot to pack! Mom went to get her hair cut and Barb and I went to Blimpy’s to have a sandwich and root beer. Mom went to buy yet more chicken which were chicken wings. We had yet another chicken feast. Barb and I cleaned the dishes.
Our flight to Athens was scheduled to leave at midnight from Kennedy Airport on a DC-8. We went out to Kennedy with two of Barb’s friends who were “stewing” on the flight. We went to the Overseas National Airway’s office at Kennedy to wait for the other stewardesses working on our flight. They arrived and we headed to the terminal. There are 250 passengers booked so that is a full plane which means there is no room for us. However as of 10:30 three passengers from Baltimore had not shown. It was nail biting time and I hoped these three passengers would not show up. The agonizing minutes dragged on made all the worse as the airline decided to wait for the no shows. Great they never showed up so off we go to Athens at 3:30 in the morning. I have never been out of North America so this is going to be a real adventure. I feel like an ignorant 12 year old suburban kid about to discover the world!
Photo of plane is by Aldo Bidini.