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Mom’s First Flight and Mickey Mouse…

Story ID:8808
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon MT USA
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Another memory from my past...probably too long, but that is the way I tell them.

Mom’s First Flight and Mickey Mouse…
By Chuck Dishno

About 1975 or so, my brother, Shad and his family lived in San Antonio, Texas. He would visit his Mom who lived in Fresno, California near Roz and I. Mom always looked forward to his visits and wished she could go spend some time with him.

Mom finally got up courage and with our help; we took her to the Greyhound Bus Depot in Fresno and put her on the bus. We knew this would be a hard trip for Mom as she was nearing 80 years old and the trip of over 1200 miles would include several bus changes. Mom was determined to go though and promised to call us when she arrived a couple of days later. Shad met her bus and said she was tired but seemed to have made the trip fairly well.

Mom stayed with Shad and his family about 3 weeks but soon got lonesome for her canary and cat and decided to take the bus trip back home. All went well and when we asked her if she would like to repeat the trip again she emphatically said.” NO”.

About a year later we told her we could put her on an airplane and she would be in Texas in about 4 hours. Mom, bowed up and said she was born before the first airplane and wasn’t about to get on one of those dang things. We tried to talk her out of her fear of flying telling her that we would go with her and make sure the airplane had three seats together. I said that I would sit on one side of her and Roz would sit on the other. Mom told me that she didn’t care if Jesus was sitting on one side and God was on the other; she still wasn’t about to fly.

Mom still wanted to visit Shad for a few weeks and Roz and I were still trying to talk her into flying. We finally came up with a solution. We told her that we would drive her to Los Angeles where she could fly non-stop to San Antonio in about 2 hours. The thing that cinched the deal was we offered to throw in a side trip to Disneyland in Anaheim.

Mom had always been prone to car sickness and dreaded the 250 mile ride to LA but the thought of seeing Disneyland and Shad convinced her to go, even if it did include boarding one of those modern flying machines.

Her flight was scheduled for a Sunday afternoon so we left early Friday and got a motel in Anaheim that afternoon. We rested up for a while then took Mom out to a nice dinner then back to the motel.

Since I had already purchased tickets o Disneyland, we got up early for a breakfast then drove the short distance to the Disneyland parking lot. Being a Saturday the place was jumping by the time we arrived and ended up taking a shuttle to the gates.

Once inside, Mom reverted to a little kid again. There was no holding her back and she wanted to see everything but not the rides. I think we did talk her into riding the mildest ride, the Tea Cup but she soon began to feel nauseated so we just stuck to the exhibits and ongoing shows. In New Orleans Square we found an artist who painted pastel portraits for a small fee. We sat Mom down and he plied his trade and came up with a beautiful portrait of Mom. Roz and I also had our portraits done.

We spent all afternoon in Disneyland and at when it came time to leave, Roz and I were pooped but Mom still had some steam left and didn’t want to leave. We reminded of her flight to see Shad the next day and she relented to going back to the motel. I asked her how she liked her first trip to Disneyland and she said, “I really had a great time but it would have been even more fun if there hadn’t been so many kids there.”

All our great planning almost went awry the next morning at breakfast when Mom spotted a newspaper with the headlines of an airplane crash the day before. Mom was visibly upset but since plans had already been made and Shad would be waiting for her arrival a few hours later in San Antonio, she reluctantly agreed to accept her fate, what ever it may be.

We drove the short distance to LAX, parked the car and went into this huge airport. Once inside, Mom seemed to calm down and we took the inside shuttle to the proper gate. I told the ticket taker at the counter that it was my Mom’s first flight and asked if I could walk her down the jet-way to the plane. He said that would be no problem but the jet-way was out of commission and we would have to walk up one of those rollaway ramps. He said he would clear it with the flight attendant for me to walk up with her but I couldn’t board the plane but he would let her board first.

When we walked outside and Mom saw that huge jet airplane sitting like her impending coffin and those long stairs up, she must have thought it was the stairway to Heaven and she was about to board. I took Mom by the arm and step by step we made our way to the door. I could see Mom looking out of the corner of her eye at this huge cylinder, stretching out before her.

At the cabin door, a stewardess greeted us and I told her that this was Mom’s first flight and asked her to take care of her. She assured me that she would and I kissed Mom goodbye and said I would call her as soon as we arrived home. I could see a tear in Mom’s eye as the stewardess walked her down the aisle to her seat. I then went back to the terminal and soon we were headed back to Fresno.

I took us about 5 hours to reach home and the first thing did when we got there was to call Shad. He said that Mom had arrived just fine and put her on the phone. Mom seemed very laid back and when I asked her how the flight was she said that it was just fine and was scared for just a short time.

When I asked her to explain she said, “Well I was sitting there with my seatbelt as tight as I could get it and gripping the armrest. I looked down and my knuckles were white from gripping so hard so I just took a deep breath and said to myself, “You foolish thing, relax, nothing is going to happen. I then let go of the armrest and was just calming down when the airplane began to move and I was scared all over again.”

I asked her if the stewardess took care of her and she said that no one said a thing to her but that the lady in row ahead of her must have been really freaking out because the stewardess was talking to her all the time.

Before I said goodbye, I asked her if she was going to fly back home in a few weeks and she replied, “Of course, it’s the only way to go.”

About a month later, Mom, the seasoned traveler, did fly home and this time she flew non-stop to Oakland, CA where she had to make a transfer to a plane to Fresno. This time she was assisted by an airport employee who took her to the proper gate and made sure she got off all right.