Friday, July 2, 2010

My Trip Over

and the year was 1980...

This photo was taken to send their daddy, right before we went over...
 My Dorthy Hamil do, remember the wedge?

Jeremy and Joshua in Okinawa, Japan, sporting their Cowboy shirts!

I'm a retired Air Force wife, and with all the things going on in the world, I got to thinking about my first airplane ride which happened to be an overseas trip!

My Trip Over...

The attendant taking our boarding passes actually allowed Beverly to ENTER the plane with me and my two babies, to help get us settled. It was 1980, and things were different. I'd never flown before and was heading to Okinawa, Japan with a 10 month old son and another son that recently celebrated his 2nd birthday. I had just stopped being a teenager the week before the flight. We had a slight lay over in CA where we changed planes, a lay over in Hawaii, and then Tokyo where I would have to change planes, again. Most things went well. I was very tired. I had a huge carry on with me. It wasn't convenient to travel with babies. Jeremy had all these 8 oz. glass baby bottles with screw off lids, filled with formula, like the hospital supplies, plus glass baby food jars. He liked to eat. To give you a hint, the Japanese people on the plane nick-named him "Chubby-san", plus Joshua was pretty new to potty training, therefore, we had BAGGAGE. Anyway, the stewardess on the way out, really just the whole trip intimidated me... but on to Hawaii with no sleep, two babies, and mostly everything foreign to me. "Chubby-San" was riding free on my lap, except for the insurance charge, for going over the ocean, so when the stewardess offered a bassinet for him I’ve was overjoyed with the prospect of some sort of bed for my baby. What she brought was a shallow cardboard box; similar to what a flat of can goods comes in. Josh had his own seat with  foot room underneath, so I lodged the “bassinet” there, with some blankets, and it did at least give him a solid place to stretch out, that wasn’t my lap. Finally, they both are sleeping at the same time, for the first time, when the stewardess comes along and says we will be re-stocking/ re-fueling while in Hawaii and everyone must get off the plane for about an hour. That’s when some of my Texas girl spunk must have kicked in, because I stared up at her and said, “Mam, if you make me wake up these two sleeping babies and get off this plane for an hour you’re gonna’ have to get off this plane and come help me.” She looked down at my sweet, over-sized, sleeping boys and into my worn out, barely 20-year-old eyes and replied, “Stay right here.” In a moment I hear her voice over the intercom announcing that anyone with sleeping children may stay on the plane! At last, dozing off I am soon awakened by a person holding "Chubby-San" and inquiring  if this is my baby. He had crawled out of his “bassinet” and was heading to the cockpit. The horrifying part of this story is that he’d had to squeeze along the narrow aisle, just inches from the open plane door that dropped straight to the tarmac, many feet below! Needless to say, I barely shut my eyes the rest of the trip. Tokyo was so crowded and it is overpowering to hear so much language and not understand. This was where I went through customs. Well, after waiting for every last surfboard and any other cargo to be unloaded from the plane, it was decided my trunks were still in CA. Japanese paper work describing my trunks were then filled out, all the while I was terrified of missing my connecting flight in a whole ‘nother terminal. Since there wasn’t much time a lady working for the airlines helped me load my carry on and babies onto a pushcart and go outside to walk a ways to the next terminal where she gives me a little Japanese map showing where my gate would be. I don’t READ Japanese. Running into a candy store, I grab a young man working there and frantically ask him if he speaks English. “Sqoushee” (a little) And I say to him show me where this is. He tries to tell me. I don’t know anything he’s saying and I’m just about to panic. I don’t have much American money on me, and no yen. I was picturing being stranded in the Tokyo airport with no way to call William and tell him where I was. Even if I could have figured out how to use those little, neon green pay phones, resembling  slot machines, I had no yen and William had no phone. Taking that young boy by the arm, I demanded, “You take me here!” He indicated someway he couldn’t, he had to work, but I firmly reiterated, “NO, YOU TAKE ME HERE!” and he did. It was a long ways and Joshua let me know he needed to tee tee and I told him go ahead in your pants. I wasn’t about to let that young man out of my sight. Even after boarding for the last leg of our journey, I was still ill at ease, because the gate next to ours was going to a place that sounded just about like Okinawa, to my Texas ears, so I prayed I was on the right plane. I wanted to look so nice when I met William. We had been apart 8 months, but I didn’t even want to look in the mirror and the kids barely had dry clothes on. It was a few days of going back and forth to Naha, before our trunks arrived. All together I made that trip 8 times, each with its on adventures, but William was with me for all of those and I wasn’t scared.

Looking back, it seems like a prior life.

Happy 4th of July!


tickled pink party 
504 Main


C.J. said...

Thank you so much for seeing my blog,and I am so happy that you like it. Sheesh! Feel a little bit like Sally Fields with that last comment. :) I like your blog too, When I flew to Hong kong to go shopping I had five of my best friends with me so my adventure was a bit different than yours. You were a very brave little girl for going through that. I have decided to follow your blog and would love it if you would do the same. Take care, Carol aka CJ

S. L. said...

hey it's steph over at AlchemyJunk (with the candlesticks. Just thought I'd pop in and say thanks for the comment! And no, I didn't finish them. They come looking like that! isn't that wonderful?! Over time they've rusted a bit which I think is lovely.

Desiree said...

Thanks for stopping by at
Your story made me giggle...I have so been there...My husband just went to the RCMP academy last year, our 2 kids were 2 1/2 and 6 months when he left for 6 months of training. I flew the kids across the country from BC to NS TWICE and drove with the two of them in a tiny car 1100 miles across 3 provinces to go to his graduation...At least we took him with us on the way back...And he has been on diaper duty ever since...It was a LONG 6 months and I never want to hear "my, she has her hands full" ever again...LOL! "Yes I do, lend me one of yours" is what I wanted to scream each time I heard that...Thanks for the visit, and the chuckle...At least now I can chuckle over it now! :-)

Amy Kinser said...

Glad you stopped by All Things Home and looked around.

I love your name, Prior. How simple but cool. One word can tell a lot, can't it?

nannykim said...

Wow! What a story! I can't believe you did that all alone with 2 small kiddies!! The part about the baby crawling on the plane was so scary.

I made the trip from CT to Japan in the 70's. I think it was in 73. I spent the summer there. It was my first Airplane ride and it was so exhausting and that was with NO KIDS!! I can't imagine doing what you did here!!!

nannykim from Spindlecottage

Jill said...

Oh my goodness, what a story!! I can imagine because I have six kids but I can't because I've never flown over seas. I love that you were "firm" with the stewardess and the young man. A tired Mom...don't mess with them!!

Debra@CommonGround said...

Oh Lezlee, I was feelin' your stress with you there! Two little guys and flying all that distance. Thank the good Lord, you made it! It's amazing the brave things we do when we're young. I had the same hairdo as yours, and a baby about the same age! Seems like an eternity ago!

Holly Lefevre said...

I am in awe! At that age I could barely take care of myself. You are a brave and strong woman. I would probably have been very determined to get to my destination if I had not seen my husband in 8 months.

I truly am in awe of all the men and women in the military who are apart form their families, and how strong they are.

Kathy said...

WOW! What a story. Looking back now, isn't it amazing what you accomplished on your own? At the time you think, "I'll never get through this." But you do! Happy 4th of July! - Kathy

alice said...


Vicki@MorePowerfulBeyondMeasure said...

Oh Lezlee! What a strong youngun' you were!!!
The part about Jeremy crawling away made me laugh out load, God had His hand on him! On you too. I enjoyed your sweet story. Vicki

Michelle@ A Full Cottage said...

Oh my what a stressful experience!! I bet your glad it seams like a prior life!!!

:) Michelle