Saturday, July 3, 2010

Highs of July 3, 1966

Two things happened on July 3, 1966, during my childhood in New York City.

44 years ago today.  The saying "time flies when you are having fun" gives me chills when I think of things I can remember so well being from so long ago, when I can barely remember what happened last week.

I subscribe to the toilet roll theory of aging-time goes faster as you get to the end of the roll.

Anyway, back to those memories.
First, LaGuardia Airport hit a record high of 107 degrees.

Second, I took my first ever plane trip, to Tampa, Florida, to visit family.  So ironically, I was not in the City by the time the record was broken.  (the record, by the way, still stands.)

I can remember the night before so clearly.  Air conditioning was pretty nonexistent in homes and apartments in those days, and we sweltered.  Boy, did we swelter.  I can still remember that night, between the heat, the suffocating heat, and my combined excitement and apprehension.  (Ironically, 107 degrees on July 3 would not have been a personal record either-that would come in 1980, in a major heatwave in Wichita, KS.)

Air travel was not quite as common in 1966 as it is today.  This was a big deal.  My Dad had flown, back in his World War II days in the Army Air Force.  In fact, he had been an airplane mechanic.

 I seem to recall the flight was on Eastern Airlines.   It was a breakfast flight, as I recall, with a totally tasteless breakfast meal.  But otherwise, the flight stuck in my mind for a number of reasons.

-the airline was happy to have us. We were treated quite nicely.
-I lost my fear of heights that day.  On the other hand, I am more and more a very reluctant air traveler.  It's been years since I've been on a plane.
-I had never been out of the NY metropolitan area, and Tampa...well, it was so different.  It stuck with me for years and years.  I ended up living in Tampa as a young adult, for nearly two years, partially due to the impression it made on me.  I still love being around palm trees and clear blue skies.
-Finally, when we got off the plane (on an exterior staircase thing, whatever they are called) the Florida heat was such a relief - it was cooler than New York!

One other thing I remember-Tampa was on standard time (NYC was on daylight savings time) so we didn't cross a time zone but still lost an hour.

We didn't fly back, because the airlines went on strike on July 8, a day or so before we were supposed to come home.  We ended up taking the train, the Atlantic Coast Line, for my first long distance train travel experience, back to New York City.  (it would take 40 years for me to make my way back to Florida on a train-which I blogged about last year.)

Ironically, the Atlantic Coast Line railroad ceased to exist on July 1, 1967.  Eastern Airlines?  Well that doesn't exist any more either.

But the cousins I visited on that day, they both are still alive, and they both still live in Florida.

As for those impressions of Tampa, so different from New York City?  Those will have to wait for another day.

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