Ever since before I can remember, I was fascinated with airplanes and airports. Perhaps it’s because one of my earliest memories is going to an airport in Germany, watching the planes land and take off. My mother, brother and I were on our way to immigrate to Canada (my father was already there waiting for us). With grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends all gathered to see us off and wish us a bon voyage, it was a lovely commotion. I didn’t know that I would not be returning, nor that I would only see my grandfather once more in the future.
With my little red suitcase in hand, I remember boarding the plane. Those were the days when people walked outside to the plane and climbed up a huge, steel staircase to embark the aircraft. I had seen planes from the ground but now I was up, up and away! Looking out the little, roundish window, watching cars turn into toys before they vanished, and then I was above the clouds for the first time in my life! It was an experience that thrilled me!
I wasn’t scared, just totally trusting and unaware that planes can crash! Birds fly, everything seemed so natural, yet magical.
My dad got his pilot license when I was about eight years old and bought a four-seater plane, no bigger than a car. I enjoyed every trip up in the sky and got to see a perspective of Ontario that stays vivid in my mind; a life-sized road map, the vast land and open spaces between cities and towns, the colourful patchwork of fields, like a huge quilt covering the countryside, lakes that looked like ponds. It didn’t matter where we were going – I went for the ride!
It was a totally different feeling than flying in a big plane or jet. It felt like an automobile with wings and I actually felt safer than in a car. Sometimes, while in a traffic jam, I imagine pushing a button on the dashboard and wings will pop out so I can fly to escape … I know, I know, that’s impossible but I’ve been imagining it ever since I was a child.
It was always intriguing watching planes in the sky and wondering where their destination would be. We often went to the airport to pick up guests when they came to visit. Whether going to arrivals or departures – it was a special occasion, we dressed up like we were going to church or a Royal Gala! I remember wanting to be an airline stewardess when I grew up.
Even now, I enjoy the hustle and bustle at airports, the excitement of flying, another adventure awaits me – I’ll be flying higher than the birds soon!