A Wing and a Prayer

A few years ago, I routinely found myself in one of those odd little time windows peculiar to mothers of young children.  I don’t remember all the details, only that on Friday mornings I had a little over an hour to spend before I had to pick up Little from nursery school.  There wasn’t enough time to run back home and get anything accomplished, and I couldn’t do the grocery shopping because I wasn’t going directly home afterward.  I  think.  As I said, the details escape me now. 

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One morning I decided to cross the parking lot from the nursery school and pop in the parish office of the small Episcopal church where we were members.  I was probably looking for coffee or hoping to buy a stamp.  Instead I encountered two women, in their early 80s I’d guess, companionably folding the weekly bulletins.  Vivian and Anna.   Vivian, who was dressed in a track suit, instructed me to pull up a chair and make myself useful.  I did.  The time passed quickly.  They asked me questions about our young family, one of only a handful in the small parish, and Vivian filled me in on her grown children, who were scattered but making plans to come home for Thanksgiving.  Anna, a tiny lady who wore a caramel-colored cardigan and brown tweed skirt told me she was spending the rest of her afternoon looking for lampshades for her apartment.  Her sister was coming to visit.good morning, st edward Each morning, we would say, “Good morning, Saint Edward!”

I fell into the easy habit of joining Vivian and Anna in the paneled conference room each Friday.  As we grew more familiar with one another, we began to share tidbits of parish news and opinions about changes in our small town of Mount Dora.  Spry Vivian was the outspoken one, but she was goodhearted and funny.  Anna was content to fold and smile and occasionally ask a question.  One Friday, when I arrived Anna was alone; Vivian had gone to visit one of her children.  At last, I would get to hear some of Anna’s story!  I began asking the questions I’d unknowingly saved for Anna—how long have you lived in Mount Dora? Where did you live before?  Details began to surface .  Interesting details.  I pressed on, gently,  How did you meet your husband? Anna’s black eyes sparkled beneath her snow white cropped cut, “ Well, I was a Pan Am stewardess, and we met on a flight to Cairo.”  Bingo! pan am 1It all fit—Anna’s classic and stylish good looks at 80; her demure yet confident manner.  pan am 3 Where did she fly? “All over the world, of course!”  Although, she didn’t get to South America as often as she would’ve liked.

pan am 4Was it as glamorous as I imagined? “We were treated very, very well and met lots of interesting people.”   Dignitaries? Movie stars?  “Oh, yes, even royalty flew Pan Am.”pan am 7Anna and her husband, who had passed away some years earlier, didn’t have any children, and so the Mister and I adopted Anna.  She began to join us for Christmas Day and for our annual Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt. She had such great stories and always kept our guests mesmerized.  We moved away a little more than five years ago, and sadly, we have not kept in touch, but when ABC’s new series Pan Am debuted a few Sundays ago, you can bet that I was watching and thinking of Anna.  And I am determined to check in on her next time we’re in the Sunshine State.pan-am-tv-show-promo-image-abc-01-600x337  As for the show, I am completely hooked.

How ‘bout you?  Have you watched Pan Am?  Are you a fan?

8 comments:

  1. I haven't seen it but your story of Anna makes me want to watch it! Interesting lady.

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  2. What a really wonderful "story"! Yes, bingo, indeed. You just never know about people...
    Well, I watched the first show, and part of last Sunday's (was away for the 2nd one). Hmmm. No, I'm not hooked. I absolutely love and adore the theme, of course (my father was a pilot, my husband and daughter have both flown a bit and are completely hooked on all kinds of planes...) but, what? it just doesn't hold my interest. I think I get the characters confused. But I will give it another try now!
    You know, I applied to be a Pan Am stewardess many years ago! Well, in those days there was a minimum weight. I think it might have been 110 lbs. And I didn't qualify! (cannot believe that now!)
    When you do get back in touch with Anna, you must tell us all about it!

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  3. I have been watching it too! I need to catch up on this week's ep tho.

    Such a great story and lead up!

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  4. Yes, I'm watching. However, I missed this week's episode because I was on a trip myself
    visiting our son in California. On the Delta plane flight I found myself thinking about the glamorous days of airline travel.

    Sandy

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  5. What a great story - Yes, I'm Watching it and LOVING it. Is it too late for a 61 year old to become a stewardess?? ;-). hehe XOXO

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  6. Oh goodness, I love it when you get sideswept by an older person's recounting of a juicy history. It always reminds me of the adage "don't judge a book by its cover," and makes me hope that I will one day have such delicious stories to tell. Sweet Anna sounds like a lady I would like to meet!

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  7. Great story! ....and yes, totally ADDICTED to PanAm! I watch via ABC.com with limited commercials and I could start and stop when I need to...you see my TV is usually confiscated by the rest of the family and usually has sports playing!

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  8. PS - I do have a bit of a hard time looking at Christina Ricci and how TOOOOO skinny she is....just saying!

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