Life happens…

High School…Senior Year.

So many dreams for the future mixed with an incredible amount of uncertainty with what might lie ahead.

For those with both feet firmly planted on the pathway to college or some career, there was little doubt in place.  For others, like me, there was one choice, a dream even, with what was on my horizon.  That was a constant topic in 12th grade.  What college did you pick?  Where will you be working?  And of course, for those who had been high school “couples” of record, the inevitable… Will you get married after school?


Just one thing was on my agenda.  Stewardess College.  That’s what it was called, back in the day. 

I had the application filled-out, ready to attend the American Airlines facility in Dallas, Texas.  As I recall, being 18 at the time, both parental signatures were required on the form and I had just one, my fathers.  My mother, another story.  Mind you, I had that paperwork tucked away once I started my senior year but my mother always refused to discuss it when I broached the subject with her.  Airplanes crash! was always her basic response but that was her way, much like being at the beach and hearing her say You’ll drown! each time I went into the water.  Ahhh, the downside of my being an only child.

Graduation slowly moved closer and so did my application.  One more attempt to get my mother to sign failed miserably the week before commencement.  And, she managed to convince my father to set me up with an office position with Bell Telephone.  To both of them, my future looked bright, at least through their glasses, but not mine.  That one dream I held so close ended up being torn into pieces and thrown in the wastebasket.

Was it the right thing?  I’ll never know but I sure as hell will always wonder.  A missed opportunity to spread my wings disappeared with an argument and a parental mandate.  Every young person should have that chance to grow and experience life’s unknown territories.  But, that was more than fifty years ago, when kids mostly listened, and obeyed, their parents.  We trusted their judgement and relied on whatever wisdom we thought they had even if that was based on their desire to retain some element of control.

Life will happen, in spite of it all and although we take those roads less traveled or make a few detours along the way, we all end up just where we’re supposed to be. 

I’ve learned that, if nothing more. 


workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop…Share a 12th grade memory.  Trust me, I gave a lot of thought back then to simply forging my mothers name on that application.  I mean, what could have happened once I had my suitcase packed and got out the door to the airport?  The hardest part would have been finding someone to drive me to JFK.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda!



  1. John Holton says:

    Could you have waited until you were 21, when ostensibly you would have been old enough to go to Stewardess College without both your parents’ permission? Or did working at the phone company break your spirit sufficiently that by that time you abandoned the idea altogether? I know what that’s like, though I learned it much later…

    • Patty says:

      I could have waited, John, but I was caught in the middle of parental divorce-warfare at that time. My father was on his way out the door and I was left with a mother who couldn’t handle being alone. My spirit was finished from day one of working for Ma Bell and I just went with the flow of whatever came along after that. It took many years to realize that I could have done so much better. The important thing is that I’ve never played any “needy” type games with my children and have encouraged them to dig in and follow their dreams.

  2. madamdreamweaver says:

    I remember those days when the idea of being a Stewardess was cooler then the other female career options (secretary, nurse, teacher). It was more elite and harder to get into. No guys in the job then. And Airlines were very particular about weight & height and required strict weight rules. (I think around 125 lbs was an average requirement.) I think the Airlines were more image conscious about their stewardess 50 years ago and more chauvinistic. Nowadays, being a “Flight Attendents is easier to get into and weight restrictions are definitely more flexible.

    • Patty says:

      Times in the flight industry have definitely changed, and not just where personnel are concerned. Today, it’s often like a herd of cattle on some flights and attitudes to go along with that. The “golden age” of in-flight service with all the amenities has paled considerably. It’s become more of a flying “bus service” with the snowbirds making the yearly East Coast run from North to South and back again.

  3. Astrid says:

    I’m so sorry your mother was so unsupportive. I understand all about missed opportunities and so do my parents. I think it shows how we’re all so of ten shaped by our life expereinces and that goes on fo r generations.

    • Patty says:

      My mother didn\’t want to be alone which I find ironic since she made sure that I would be an only child. And, as I often say, I can be alone, better than most people so, in many ways, I moved far beyond her issues.

      But, yes, missed opportunities tend to haunt you. Wondering what might have been…if.

      Thanks, Astrid! Stay safe!

  4. Abby says:

    Aw, I became sad reading this, Patty. Overprotective parents mean well, but put unreasonable limits on their kids. I’m glad you didn’t continue the trend with your own!

    • Patty says:

      Thanks, Abby. Hopefully we all learn from our parents mistakes, I certainly hope my kids have done so, from the ones I\’ve made.

      Just shows how much of a learning process life really is. And, just when you think you have it all figured out…sometimes, it\’s too late.

      Stay safe!

  5. Kim says:

    You and I have a few things in common! During my Senior year, I was also considering going to “Stewardess College”. Only this particular school trained you for several positions within the hospitality/travel industry, such as Airline Stewardess, Cruise Director, and Hotel Concierge. They gave me a pamphlet with height/weight/measurement requirements, and I strove to maintain them all year long. I ended up not doing that, but really regretted it. So after my first divorce (when I was still young enough to likely land a job in the field), I thought about it again. But with two young kids in tow, a troublesome ex, and not much support for it that time around, I just couldn’t. Now that I’m nearing fifty, I’m tempted to see if I can ACTUALLY make it happen.

    I’m also an only child whose mother was always way more worried and overprotective. I love her, but that was hard. My Dad at least tried to let me stretch my wings a little bit!

    • Patty says:

      As parents, we all want to protect our kids but, when it turns into smothering them, that impacts their growth as productive human beings.

      We trip, we fall, and get up again. Sometimes, that\’s the only way to cope with the hard lessons life can bring to us.

      • Kim says:

        Indeed! And my Mom – well, I wouldn’t say she smothered me, but came close at times! But you are correct. If we don’t let the kids experience life a little, they don’t learn life lessons.

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