My first plane ride came in the Summer of 1987. My family and I had planned to fly to Houston on American Airlines to visit my aunt and uncle, and my recently born cousin. It was an exciting Summer, I remember my sister and I talking at one point how it was "only 90 days" until we got to make the trip. The tickets were quite expensive, I believe they cost over $400 each. To (somehow) receive a significant discount on these tickets, my family saved labels from a total of 17 jars of Skippy peanut butter.
On the morning of the flight, I was flooded with excitement. We were told that it's a good idea to chew gum while on a plane so our ears wouldn't pop. My mom told a female flight attendant of our gum plan, to which they replied "That's a good idea." The moment the plane began to move on the runway, I started frantically chewing my gum. We set off to our connecting stop, O'Hare International.
Following our short Cleveland-Chicago jaunt, we boarded the flight headed to Houston. I sat in the window seat in a row of three, next to my dad who was in the middle spot, while a stranger sat near the aisle. I was given peanuts and a Coke to drink shortly after takeoff, and the man sitting next to my dad gave me the peanuts he was given. I thought that was really cool of him. It was a clear day, superb for window viewing. My dad leaned over and helped me spot a racetrack on the ground below. I later lied and claimed I saw a football field, with a little tiny dot above it, implying that it was a football being thrown. My family told me this mysterious dot was likely a low flying plane. (My family had a history ruining my creative fabrications)
I'm not entirely certain what I got to have for lunch, but I remember it being quite enjoyable. It was something along the lines of a turkey club and potato chips. Upon being served, a male flight attendant asked me what I wanted to drink. I hesitated, looking at him wide-eyed. He smiled at me, clasped his hands together, and said "How about a nice Coca-Cola Classic?" I nodded in agreement.
Once our flight was finished and we had arrived in Houston, I felt as if I had a kinship with the everyone involved in the flight. The pilot greeted all who passed, and thanked them earnestly. The flight attendants smiled and bid us farewell, and I felt like we had just shared something special. I knew they would always remember me.