If Walls Could Talk

by | Nov 29, 2011 | Uncategorized


The airlines made their way into my life early on. In the 1970’s my mother worked for TWA (Trans World Airlines) in reservations.   It allowed us to do a bit of travelling. I took my first transatlantic flight, a trip to London, during those impressionable years. 

The day we boarded the plane for that long flight, we dressed in our finest. I donned the new blue and red sweater dress my mother decided I had to have while I stood on a platform in front of floor to ceiling mirrors in the oversized dressing room at Saks Fifth Avenue.  The brown suede purse with fringe and silver studs hung over my tiny shoulders.  We could hardly afford groceries, but my mother’s taste exceeded her pocketbook.

We sat in first class. I felt rich sitting there by the window seat. The way the pretty, well manicured  flight attendants  carefully placed white linen napkins in my lap before dinner, delivered hot wash clothes and wine glasses of orange juice when the sun shone through those oval windows again.

Think this memory is why I love the new show Pan Am so much.

I can still remember standing in the center of the pilot’s cabin behind that elusive door, seeing all the buttons, knobs and levers.  Realize that kind of experience lies outside the realm of possibility for my kids now.

I carried my own set of wings back to my seat. Metal wings, not plastic and a Colorforms play set that kept me busy for hours. I can still smell the pungent plastic pieces I used to create my own stories on that plastic board.

In college, I worked for Eastern Airlines as a college campus representative.  When I took a missions trip to Eastern Europe with my peers, I travelled separately as a standby passenger to save money. My second experience in London would be the first time to be stuck in a foreign country on my own. Due to a high volume of vacation travel, there were no available seats for three months.

Luckily, a nice gentleman in the same predicament taught me how to navigate the underground and found a room for me at a youth hostel.  I just remember being frightened, alone and praying hard.

Today as I make my way back to England, I realize things have changed as I board the plane surrounded by people in pajama pants, served by flight attendants that seem tired and lack patience.

I walk the streets of Brompton, sit in Harrod’s over  tea and scones, and I realize that my view of travel shifts. Because as I hear people speak a bevy of foreign dialects along busy sidewalks, interact with sales clerks, I am acutely aware that even though time creates culture shifts, our need for Christ remains unchanged.

 I look into hollow eyes, pass by those who evade eye contact altogether, and I know that if those ancient stone structures I walk by could talk, they would tell stories of humanity that would change the way we see.  How the clothes we wore, the way we did things was different, but  the longing for an intimate relationship with the one who created us, knows us best, it lies deep in the soul of all. 

We need a Saviour, more than we need anything else.  

What is your first long distance travel memory?  How have things changed since?

Linking with Emily today for Tuesdays Unwrapped and Shanda at On Your Heart Tuesdays.

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  1. Paula

    Yes, indeed. My first overseas trip in 1977 was very exciting. Our world has become so casual and most everything seems to be approached with a lack of formality and perhaps respect. It seems to me to have altered many experiences from education and the arts to dining and travel. If walls could talk it would definitely be a more “formal” tale. Glad you enjoyed Harrod’s once again.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Paula, it was actually my first time in Harrods. What an experience! Still taking it all in and looking forward to exploring with the camera today. Human dignity over thinking about our own needs before others. I think that is what we have lost.

  2. Linda Nichols

    I so enjoy reading your blog. As I stated previously, you are truly a gifted writer. Thank you for the opportunity to travel along with you. Love, Linda

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Linda, it makes my heart happy knowing you are joinging me here. Love you!

  3. Lisa (@moretobe)

    I thought those pictures look familiar. Harrods! It was nearly 20 years ago I walked those impressive aisles, on my first trans-Atlantic adventure where I ultimately met Jesus and was changed forever. My family thought it was culture that made me different. It took years for them to realize it was knowing my Savior.

    Thanks for the fresh reminder today of a gift of such magnitude. Jesus.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Lisa, so nice to meet you and what an inspiring story. We all seem to have a place that we hold especially dear because of what God did in us and through us. Thanks for sharing how God met you in England. Blessings!

  4. roseann elliott

    my first trip…was not far…but by myself…so the flight attendant met me…gave me those wings too…and I wore her hat…back in the days of hats…oh yes…how travel has changed…hospitality gone by the wayside…those more gentle ways of traveling…this seems to reflect our world as well…but your are right…ONE thing remains the same…always…
    Blessings as you travel…

  5. Sherri

    In 1970, my mom, dad and I went to Germany to visit my big brother and family, in the military. I wore my new yellow pants suit. I remember curling up in the seat to sleep. What a wonderful summer, traveling Germany, Switzerland, and France. It was the summer happy faces made their appearance, and I thought I brought the fad back to the States with me because I got a happy face watch for my 9th birthday, celebrated that summer. I will never forget the cows crossing the road…..

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, I remember those happy faces too. I had a big yellow plastic happy face bank in my bedroom!

  6. Positively Alene

    My first trip overseas was to Germany. It was 30 years ago. I remember getting off the plane in Frankfurt, by myself, and being overwhelmed. There were armed military men, AK47’s and canines everywhere. It was so foreign to the little town I came from back then. Little did I know, 30 years later we’d look that same here. Definitely an experience I”ll never forget. Thanks for bringing back the memory. Joining in at Tuesdays Unwrapped.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So glad we joined Emily so we could find each other. I also flew into Germany around the same time you did and remember that there was terrorist activity going on there that almost postponed our trip. I forgot about that until you mentioned it.

  7. Deidra

    I was born overseas. In Germany. And before I had turned two years old, I’d been to Italy and the Alps and a bunch of places in between. I don’t remember a thing about of that. So…for my 50th I plan to return to see the places I’ve been, but don’t remember.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      What a wonderful goal to look forward to. I think about the trip to Rwanda that we made with our children four years ago and wonder how much they really remember. Hopefully they will get to go back and see lots of other places too.

  8. shanda oakley

    We moved to Africa when I was five so I have been flying all my life. We never flew first class but I do remember all the niceties that no longer exist. I think back then people were just treated better.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I love Africa and what an interesting life you have lived thus far Shanda. Yes, I think people thought more about others before themselves then.

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