2017 Pan Am Reunion – Berlin & the IGS

The excitement grew as my mother Winona Moore and I boarded our Pan Am flight into Berlin back in 1963. I had heard so many stories from the Pan Am pilots who flew the IGS (Internal German Service). And now I would see Berlin and the Berlin Wall first hand.

Winona Moore boarding PAA 707

Winona Moore boarding PAA 707 in 1963

  

Check Point Charlie Mar 7 1963

Checkpoint Charlie 1963

Check point Charlie Mar 7 1963 2

Checkpoint Charlie from West to the East – Friederichstrasse ahead 1963!

It was like watching a Technicolor movie change to black and white as I entered East Berlin from West Berlin through the American border crossing “Checkpoint Charlie” on a dismal March day in 1963.

Winona later noted in her diary, “Hardly any cars in sight. People were dressed warmly but poorly. The city had a grey cast with no lights, signs or color.” Yes, it was a sad contrast to the bright lights and gaiety of West Berlin, but how it has changed – since my stewardess days in the 1960s with Pan American World Airways!

From May 23 to 25 of this year the Pan Am family, represented by employees, family and friends from all divisions of the company, gathered at the  Intercontinental Berlin for a world-wide reunion.  We were there to celebrate the company’s 90th anniversary as well as the IGS years when Pan Am connected the then isolated West Berlin people and supplies with West Germany. Within the company, the IGS was a nuclear cell all its own. It was the airline’s “cash cow” says IGS Captain Don Cooper, chair of the reunion. The stories abound of the crews who flew these exacting, harrowing flights through the tight American air corridor. Often referred to as the “Black Sheep“ of the airline, the pilots were actually envied by those who yearned to take part in this unique “fly by the seat of your pants” operation using first DC-4s and later B727/737s from 1950 to 1990.

We thrilled as our two hour Spree River boat cruise unveiled the exciting, bustling, modern Berlin of today.   

water tour Berlin

John O’Keefe and Mary Lou Bigelow

Marilyn Slattery

Marilyn Slattery

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As a tribute to the Berlin Airlift, a”Raisin Bomber” C-47 is suspended from the façade of the Berlin Museum of Technology

A revisit to Checkpoint Charlie and the Wall Museum brought back so many memories. But as I gazed up Friedrichstrasse into the former Eastern sector, what I saw was anything but the once sad, rundown street, but a gleaming boulevard with huge modern glass buildings. Gone were the horse drawn buggies – Mercedes sped by in their place.

Checkpoint Charlie croppedlooking East up Frederickstrasse

The late Pan Am Captain Jack O. Bennett flew more than any other pilot during the US-led Berlin Airlift out of Tempelhof 1948-1949. American Overseas Airlines was purchased in 1950 by Pan Am and he continued flying the American air corridor until he retired in 1974. His Pan American uniform including hat and wings (though described in the display as his air force uniform) is displayed in an enclosed glass case at the Wall Museum.

Capt Captain Jack O. Bennett close up

Our handsome pilots

Our handsome Pan Am pilots today. Don Cooper is on the far right.

The opening reunion event featured a welcome by former Mayor of West Berlin Eberhard Diepgen (1984-1989) and continuing as Mayor for the reunited Berlin (1990 to 2001). This was a fitting surprise for the Pan Am group as the Mayor was in power during the last days of the Berlin operation before Pan Am sold its IGS service to Lufthansa in 1990. The American Chargé d’Affaires Kent Logsdon also spoke to the 450 plus Pan Amers during the opening event.

(L. to r.) Ed Trippe, Pete Runnette, Former Belin Mayor Eberhard Diepgen

The highlight of the three day reunion was two-fold – the Pan Am Historical Foundation unveiled its beautiful new table-top book “Pan Am, Personal Tributes to a Global Aviation Pioneer,”compiled by Jeffrey Kriendler and James Patrick Baldwin.

Best Catherine and Jeff Kriendler and MLB

Hot off the Press (L. to r.) Catherine Kriendler with Jeff Kriendler as he hands this beautiful new book “Pan Am, Personal Tributes to a Global Aviation Pioneer” to Mary Lou Bigelow to take to Berlin for display.

And … Edward Trippe, youngest son of Pan Am’s founder Juan Terry Trippe, along with wife Bobbie,  read aloud to an enthusiastic crowd recently discovered love letters between Juan and Betty Stettinius Trippe. These enlightening letters gave us a totally fresh look into the personality of this brilliant, stubborn, but quiet aviation pioneer, who with the guidance of Charles Lindbergh, opened up Latin routes and then the Pacific and Atlantic to long range international air travel.

Best Becky Sprecher, Bobby and Ed Trippe

(L. to r.) Becky Sprecher, Bobbie and Edward Trippe

 

Wedding photo of Betty and Juan Trippe

Pan Am founder Juan Terry Trippe and Betty Trippe – wedding photo

Pan Am flight attendant and author Becky Sprecher gave a synopsis of Pan Am’s history and final days. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, as the audience reflected on that dismal day Dec 4, 1991 when Pan Am was suddenly forced to shut down its operations.

The three -day event was coordinated by Pan Am Berliners led by Margit Kretschmer and her committee: Jenny Hughes-Maier, Monika Turk, Gisela Dietz, Marina Jones. Claudia Schmidt-Grosse, Iris Schmidt and Burghard Hoerder.

Berlin Committee (L. to r.) Monika Turk, Jenny Hughes-Maier, Margit Kretschmer, Gisela Dietz,Marina Jones

(L. to r.) Monica Turk, Jenny Hughes-Maier, Margit Kreschmer, Gisela Dietz, Marina Jones.

 

Pete Runnette, Rosie Rosenstein and Dick Blair at Templehoff

(L. to r.) Pete Runnette, Rosie Rosenstein and Dick Blair at Tempelhof Field

The group visited Tempelhof Airport where Pan Am first operated the IGS linking West Berlin to West Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following day we were bussed to Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm, where the Potsdam Conference was held with the “Big Three” heads of state.  This is where American President Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (and his successor, Clement Attlee) and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin established a central Allied Control Council after World War II for the administration of Germany.

 

IMG_1987

John O’Keefe at Potsdam

 

Don Cooper at Potsdam

Don Cooper giving background information in Potsdam

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, a grand Gala at the Intercontinental Berlin completed our visit with a spectacular old-time Berlin burlesque show and a talk by Capt. John Marshall.

 

Gala Burlesque Show

From the podium, Don Cooper announced the 96th birthday of Pan Am’s ever youthful District Traffic and Sales Manager of Southern France and Monaco Max Gurney, the inspiration behind the 2012 Monaco Reunion and his special relationship with American Princess Grace and the Royal family.  Max was the hit of the night!

Tommy, unknown and Max

Max Gurney is on right

 

 

 

Max, MLBigelow, Tommy cropped

Max Gurney, Mary Lou and Capt. Tommy Carroll

Tommy, Gus and Don

Tommy Carroll, Max Gurney and Don Cooper

 

MLBigelow, Stu Archer, Tommy Carroll, Ed Trippe, Max Gurney, Rosie Rosenstein

(L. to r.) Stu Archer, Tommy Carroll, Ed Trippe, Max Gurney and Myron “Rosie” Rosenstein

angle group shot lightened

Group Best IMG_1883

We once again bid each other farewell until the next reunion. May history continue to honor Pan Am, the iconic international carrier that opened up so much of the world to so many, proudly carrying the flag for the United States of America.

####

 

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS  TAKEN THROUGHOUT THE REUNION

Christel and Ed McCarthy

Christel and Ed McCarthy

Carla and John Marshall

Carla and Capt. John Marshall

 

(L. to r.) Betty Cooper and Alice Runnette

                                              

MLB and Margaret

Mary Lou with Margaret O’Shaughnessey

 

 

Jiffy and John Massey

Florette Vassall

Florette Vassall

Sherry Zahner, Mary Lou Bigelow, Nancy Hult Ganis

Sherry Zahner, Mary Lou Bigelow, Nancy Hult Ganis

Rosemarie Lusty

Rosemarie Lusty

 

 

 

 

 

tine cropped

Tine Smit Beam

Dick Blair and family and Renate Van Kempema

Dick Blair and family and Renate Van Kempema

 

IMG_2035

Mary Lou with Pat Bojan

Don Cooper, Max Gurney, Mary Lou Bigelow, Tommy Carroll, Betty Cooper

(L. to r.) Don Cooper, Max Gurney, Mary Lou, Tommy Carroll and Betty Cooper

 

Best Mary Lou and Harry Frahm

Harry Frahm, still looking great in his uniform!

Boobie and Ed Trippe2

Bobbie and Ed Trippe

Pan Am group 2

Harry Frahm with a bevy of beauties!

Rosie Rosenstein, Melany Camp, Margaret O'Shaughnessy, Mary Lou Bigelow, Don Cooper, Lora Reed Ford

(L. to r.) Rosenstein, Melany Camp, Director of the Foynes (Ireland) Flying Boat Museum Margaret O’Shaughnessey, Mary Lou Bigelow, Don Cooper and Lora Reed Ford

Ginger and Claude Hudspeth with Mary Lou Bigelow (ctr)

Ginger and Claude Hudspeth

 

Claire Kilgore and Beth Wilkens

(L. to r.) Claire and Beth Wilcox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John O'Keefe and Mary Lou Bigelow

Mary Lou with John O’Keefe

 MLB infront of PAAbanner

 

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2016 Pan Am Irish Spring Reunion, Foynes, Ireland

Foynes Flying Boat Museum Welcomes The Pan Am Family April 12-14, 2016

Foynes Flying Boat Museum Welcomes The Pan Am Family
April 2016

name of reunion It amazes me how the Pan American World Airways family of former employees – marketing and sales, operations, maintenance, reservations and ticketing, staff and flight personnel – continue to gather together to swap stories of the good old flying days that date back to 1927 when the airline was born to the very last flight on December 4, 1991. I do not know of any other company – be it airline or other that can brag about its people being so loyal to their beloved company and fellow employees.

Captain Don Cooper tried, but with little luck, to end his involvement with reunions, but to no avail. Margaret O’Shaughnessy, founder and director of the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, is not a person who takes no for an answer. She had often thought about a reunion, but once her friend Merry Barton suggested the reunion, Margaret ran with it. She convinced Don that she would do all of the organization for the reunion, but convinced him to be the promotional communicator to the Pan Am family for the time-consuming job of tracking the attendees and hotels they would stay in. She also called upon her friend Myron Rosie Rosenstein to spread the word through his network that reaches throughout the Pan Am system. No one can say no to Margaret, and so the 2016 Irish Spring reunion came to be. Because of her many months of hard work organizing this gathering, 320 lucky people descended on Limerick, staying at the official Limerick Strand Hotel, as well as the Savoy and The George Boutique. The reunion was her baby and she can be proud of an event that can only be described as exhilarating! And the Ireland-America, Pan Am-Foynes connections are even more solidly intertwined.

On April 11, in the evening before the official events, a group of 50 attended a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle and then stopped in for some fun at Durty Nelly’s pub. Others attended a special meeting for IGS (Internal German Service) crews, families and ground personnel. Lots of wild and hairy stories were shared about the operation which is said to be a great example of flying by the seat-of-your-pants. The IGS was established to link West Berlin with West Germany by a strict flight corridor provided for the U.S. carrier – Pan Am. Britain and France had their own IGS flights in their respective corridors. With German re-unification in 1989, the role of the IGS became superfluous, and in 1990 the operation was taken over by the Lufthansa. If you have questions about flying those days before the Berlin wall was taken down, find an IGS pilot and ask him/her.

Joe Nash interviews Margaret O'Shaughnessy and me.

Joe Nash interviews Margaret O’Shaughnessy and me.

The next morning, April 12, the reunion officially opened. Over in a corner of the hotel, Live 95fm Radio set up their colorful booth. At 9am, Margaret O’Shaughnessy and Mary Lou Bigelow (Pan Am stewardess/purser 1962-1964) joined the popular Limerick Today Joe Nash talk show host for a lively interview (which is still available online). On the lower level of the hotel, Pan Amers began to crowd in to register. The hall was a buzz of activity with newspaper and TV journalists – all jostling for a better shot of the growing line up of flight attendants and pilots in their uniforms. As the crowd swelled, they moved out into an outdoor courtyard where the interviewing and photography continued.
Snapshot 1 (4-17-2016 7-32 AM)
IMG_0628Debby Martin Fuller, Mary Lou Bigelow,,Jane Bentham, Lora Reed Ford
At 4pm, the revelers entered the Shannon Suite ballroom for a welcome gathering by Mayor of Limerick City and County Councillor Liam Galvin; Chairman of the Foynes Flying Boat Museum Brian Cullen; chairman of the Pan Am Historical Foundation Edward Trippe; and Margaret O’Shaughnessy. As a surprise to all, The Pan Am Heritage Association, made up of Max Gurney, Capt. Tommy Carroll, Don Cooper, and Teresa Webber presented a donation of 10,000 euros to Margaret for the Foynes Museum. For entertainment, the Bunratty singers serenaded us all.Teresa Webber, Don Cooper, Tommy Carroll, Max Gurney, Margaret O'Shaughnessy

Limerick Mayor Liam Galvin MCC and MLB

Limerick Mayor Liam Galvin MCC and MLB


Wednesday morning, Kendall Sanford, Pan Am manager of passenger procedures, gave a talk about the history of Pan Am in Ireland. Merry Barton, daughter of Folger Athearn (Pan Am’s station manager in Noumea, New Caledonia in 1941), talked about her experiences as a young girl. Soon after Pearl Harbor was attacked, five-year-old Merry and her family evacuated by Pacific Clipper flying boat on its westbound journey to New York.

At 11 am, six busloads of Pan Amers were transported to the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. As each bus arrived, passengers were taken on a short bus tour of the town and then welcomed by a bag piper as they stepped off the bus to enter the museum. Each busload would enter the museum and see a short film, tour the museum and then exit the back door to see the famous replica of the Yankee Clipper B-314 and climb aboard for pictures. (All 12 original B-314’s were destroyed. The replica is so realistic –giving you the feeling of what it must have been like to operate as a crew member and to enjoy as a passenger.) We then filed in for a buffet lunch, tasted a real Irish Coffee made especially for each one and then continued on to view the Brendan O’Regan coffee shop, an Irish Coffee Hologram, and gift shop.
crowd at Foynes Museum listening to the Shannon Vale Ceili Band

Myron(Rosie) and Anne Rosenstein celebrating with a real Irish Coffee!

Myron(Rosie) and Anne Rosenstein celebrating with a real Irish Coffee!

the movers and groovers
table with John
Once all the six bus loads completed the tours and lunch, the tables were disassembled and chairs set up audience-style to hear the stomping music of the famous Shannon Vale Ceili Band and award-winning step dancer. The audience thrilled and clapped to the music. Some danced in the aisles. It was a very special day that we will always remember. Later we took the busses back to Limerick for music in the Limerick Strand Hotel.

Thursday morning, the Speakers Forum continued with the history of Pan Am by Rebecca Sprecher, Pan Am flight attendant in the 1970s and co-author of Flying: A Novel, a story of Pan Am crews flying the Pacific in the 1970s. Interspersed with Becky’s PowerPoint presentation, Edward Trippe, youngest son of Pan Am founder Juan Terry Trippe (1899-1981), delighted the audience with personal anecdotes of his father’s midnight meeting with Winston Churchill in the spring of 1941 during the blitz and his parents’ trip to South America with Charles and Anne Lindbergh to secure landing rights. Jamie Baldwin, author and consultant in the airline industry and Pan Am, completed the forum with fascinating facts about airline regulations then and now.

(L. to R.) Ed Trippe and Jamie Baldwin

(L. to R.) Ed Trippe and Jamie Baldwin


A Gala dinner at the Strand brought the reunion to a close with a wonderful meal, good-by speeches and entertainment by Piano Express and Limerick City Big Band for dancing.
Margaret O'Shaughnessy presents a sample of original material from the B314 to Ed Trippe.

Margaret O’Shaughnessy presents a sample of original material from the B314 to Ed Trippe.


Margaret O'Shaughnessy, Capt. Don Cooper, Mary LouBigelow and Tom O'Shaughnessy.

Margaret O’Shaughnessy, Capt. Don Cooper, Mary LouBigelow and Tom O’Shaughnessy.


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Related Links:

https://vimeo.com/165162602: A shorter version of the RTÉ Nationwide program with the Pan Am segment only edited by Matt Kelly.

Watch the 15-minute Pan Am-Foynes Reunion TV special that aired April 27, 2016 on Ireland’s popular RTÉ program “Nationwide” by journalist Marian Malone. You will see interviews with 94-young Robert Hicks, first officer on the China Clipper flying boat; Edward Trippe; Merry Barton; Margaret O’Shaughnessy and Mary Lou Bigelow. http://www.rte.ie/player/us/show/nationwide-21/10566026/

Limerick Today radio show of April 12, 2016 with Joe Nash on Live95fm program with O’Shaughnessy and Bigelow: https://twitter.com/LimLive95fm/status/719806161403449344

An RTÉ TV spot on the reunion that aired April 12th and spread throughout Europe featured interviews with Judy Macheras , Dori Holaday and Capt. Tommy Carroll: http://bit.ly/266lgpQ

Website for the Foynes Flying Boat Museum: http://www.flyingboatmuseum.com

Read the coverage and see additional photos of China Clipper pilot Robert Hicks, Teresa Webber, Max Gurney, and many others on pp. 10-11 in the May 2016 edition of Airport Press.

Airport Press May Pan Am Reunion by Mary Lou Bigelow

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The Aviation Museum of NH Presents “Jet Set Stewardess”

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Foynes Flying Boat Museum, September 28, 2014

John O’Keefe and I landed at Shannon Airport on September 27, 2014. We stayed near the airport at the delightful Oakwood Arms Hotel, built in 1991. The beautifully appointed hotel was rich with wood work similar to an earlier time. What excited me was the wonderful collection of aircraft photos – both military and commercial airliners. I was thrilled to see one wall of Pan American World Airways photos and a surprise photo of a stamp with Pan Am’s Charlie Blair, commemorating the first non-stop commercial flight from Foynes to New York in 1942.

Early the next morning, after a terrific Irish breakfast at the hotel, I donned my Pan Am uniform and we headed toward Foynes via Limerick. As we approached the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum it was exciting to see the sign with Pan American’s famous aviator and former Vice President Harold Gray’s photo prominently displayed.

Foynes Flying Boat Museum with PAA Capt. Gray

In the museum parking lot is a wonderful sculpture of the world with a small replica of the Boeing 314 on top.

The staff was more than welcoming and pleased to see that I had worn my uniform.

I was excited to see the museum’s prize – The Yankee Clipper replica: “Pan Am’s Boeing B314 NC18603 ‘Yankee Clipper’ was the first B314 allocated to the Atlantic division and was christened by Mrs. Franklin D Roosevelt on 3rd March 1939. Its first visit to Foynes was on the 11th April 1939 under the command of Captain Harold Gray.” website

Margaret O’Shaughnessy greeted us and started us on our tour. As we exited a door to the side of the museum, we were struck by the enormity of the B-314. We were transported back in time. We stopped for pictures outside the aircraft and then entered to see the layout inside.

B-314 Yankee Clipper replica

We marveled at the Honeymoon suite in the rear, the bunks, the tiny galley, the dining area, the door that leads to the interior of the wing for maintenance.
We then ascended a staircase to the cockpit and control center which was huge. Remember, there were 11 crew members to operate this beautiful aircraft. This was truly a highlight to be able to visualize what the original cockpit felt like. There were original Pan American navigation maps on the navigator’s table as well.

Mary Lou and Margaret O'Shaughnessy

Our next stop was to view an award winning 17-minute film “Atlantic Conquest”.

We marveled at some magnificent Pan Am displays high up on the wall in a large meeting/conference room.

Meeting Room with Pan Am artwork on walls


And then another enormous display of PanOp Botwood!

PANOP Botwood

Next we entered a darkened room to view a hologram of the making of Irish Coffee. Foynes is famous for that as well. Chef Joe Sheirdan at the Foynes Airport invented it in the 1940s.

From there, we entered the gift shop where I bought the 2000-2001 commemorative calendar, “The 314 of Foynes”( a 26 minute DVD produced by Jim Sherwin for the Foynes Flying Boat Museum), and a ceramic model of the flying boat Sikorsky VS 44A Excambian, owned by American Export Airlines and later purchased in 1967 by former Pan Am Captain and Antilles Air Boats owner Charlie Blair. (In October of this year I saw the actual Excambian, renovated by Sikorsky employees over a 10-year period from 1989 to 1998, at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT)

Next, we took an elevator in the original control tower to look out over Foynes and the seaport.

Our wonderful visit ended in the coffee shop with a true Irish Coffee – made the way it should be! Sláinte!

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I Was A Jet Set Stewardess – Smithsonian Channel

Mary Lou Bigelow’s Vintage 60s Pan Am Films

Intro by the Pan Am Historical Foundation:
Mary Lou Bigelow’s Pan Am career – and her priceless personal film collection – caught the attention of Smithsonian Channel producers when they started work on a brand new documentary, “I Was a Jet Set Stewardess”, premiering on July 13th, 2014…

Mary Lou Bigelow’s film and interview made for valuable contributions to the Smithsonian Channel documentary – I Was a Jet Set Stewardess – and here she provides some of the backstory…

Pan Am Graduation 1962

By Mary Lou Bigelow-

1962The moving image always intrigued me! Early interest began while using my parent’s 8mm movie camera. Later, while flying the European runs for TWA (1959-1962) and continuing on with the New York to Hong Kong routes with Pan Am (1962-1964), I filmed my layovers and vacations with an upgraded Super 8mm camera, thrilled to capture footage of London, Paris, Lisbon, Majorca, Madrid, Rome, Athens, Berlin, Liberia, Accra, Cairo, Papeete, Suva, Pago Pago, Oahu, Beirut, Istanbul, Karachi, New Delhi, Teheran, Hong Kong, and topping the list was the early morning boat rides along the klongs of Bangkok.

In October 1964, I married John Bigelow, who shortly thereafter joined Pan Am as a training captain on the B727s in Miami. I worked in Pan Am reservations and then in sales in the downtown Miami office until 1968, when we moved to Kabul, Afghanistan on a Pan Am Technical Assistance Program (TAP) with Ariana Afghan Airlines. Throughout our four year assignment, I filmed my trips around the country. We left Kabul in October 1972. After a two year stint back at the Miami base, we moved to Kinshasa, Republic of Zaire on another Pan Am TAP program with Air Zaire. There I filmed my seven-day journey down the Zaire (Congo) River. We left Zaire in 1975 and returned to the U.S. in 1976, divorcing in 1977. Meanwhile, I just kept adding to my Super 8mm film footage collection, never thinking I might have use for any of it the future.

From 1990 to 1995, I worked as the creator/editor/photographer of an economic development supplement for Banker & Tradesman, a New England banking and real estate publication. In 1995, I launched an interview show, called The Global Connection (now a series of The Mary Lou Bigelow Show), using my connections and experience gained at Banker & Tradesman. My interest in moving images continued, but with videotape instead of film.

Shortly after 911, in March 2002, I began the Afghanistan Series that has won a number of national awards. In September of 2002 and again in 2004, I returned to Kabul to attend conferences and to continue filming, but now I was using the much higher quality digital cameras. (You can see a daily log of my 2004 trip on my website)

With community studio productions changing to digital, I gradually transformed my old TV shows into workable digital files, loading them onto external hard drives and then uploading them onto my website via Vimeo.com. At the same time, I digitized my old 8mm and Super 8mm films and photos.

September 2011 brought the first of ABC’s TV series “Pan Am.” Seeing the actresses dressed in perfect replicas of my very own 1962 uniform, spurred me on to use some of my film and photos to create the 11-minute “A Pan Am Memoir 1962-1964” that can be seen on my website: www.maryloubigelow.com/tv

It was this memoir that caught the eye of the Smithsonian Channel producer when she was searching for Pan Am stewardesses and vintage film from that era for the documentary. Thrilled that I could supply her with already digitized film footage and photos from that era, way beyond what she had seen in the memoir, she sent me some hard drives upon which I loaded the material. Later, during the winter, I flew to Washington DC for my interview for the documentary.

Who knew so many years ago that my old film (now so inferior to today’s digital standard) would help document “The World’s Most Experienced Airline” in the 1960s for years to come.

Go to www.smithsonianchannel.com First showing was July 13, 2014.
Continuing to show – see description, schedule and two trailers at –
http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/web/show/3407792/i-was-a-jet-set-stewardess

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Pan Am Pilot Robert Hicks Luncheon

On May 28, some representatives of the World Wings International (WWI) Boston Chapter were fortunate to meet with former Pan Am Flying Boat First Officer and DC-3 pilot Bob Hicks for lunch at Menotomy Grill & Tavern in Arlington, Mass. Bob, now 92 and-a-half as he likes to say, proudly used his pilot license for 72 years, finally turning it in last year. Bob left Pan Am in 1946, went on to enjoy an exciting flying career flying and consulting for his friend Walt Disney for 28 years as well as performing other airplane consultancy work around the world.

Boston Chapter WWI members: (L.to r.) Treasurer Ginny Lamberton, President Carol Guerrin, Corresponding Secretary Mary Greenfield, Robert Hicks, Mary Lou Bigelow, Susan Foster, Joan Wood


(L. to r.) Boston WWI President Carol Guerrin, Robert Hicks, Mary Lou Bigelow, Secretary Mary Greenfield


His life is an active, busy one even today, but as he has so many fond memories of the glamour of Pan Am, don’t be surprised to see him at any of the many former airline gatherings worldwide. I first met him in Monaco at the Pan Am Historical Foundation’s Dixie Clipper Reunion in October 2012 and again in Hawaii for the Pan Am Aloha Reunion in April of 2014. (These two glorious events were the latest and probably the most outstanding of all the mega events organized by Captain Don Cooper.)

The Boston WWI group thanks John O’Keefe for his photos and especially Hicks for his generous donation to our World Wings International charities – so thoughtful and unexpected!

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Pan Am Aloha Reunion, Apr 2-5, 2014 by Mary Lou Bigelow

From Apr 2-5, 2014, more than 500 former Pan American World Airways employees from around the globe gathered together at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki in Oahu, HI to celebrate the airline’s importance in opening up passenger travel throughout the Pacific, beginning in 1935 with the famous Martin 130 China Clipper flying boat.

Well, he did it again! Three cheers for Captain Don Cooper! With the support of the President of the Pan American Association -Aloha Chapter Darlene Laster, Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff of the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, Terry Webber with Elane Kato and Geri Kai (who produced the memorable Pan Am cook book “A Touch of First Class”), Cinda Belozer, along with a group of dedicated Pan Am committee members, Don made this event a very special one that is now part of the Pan Am Legend.

Don Cooper and Darlene Laster


Geri Kai, Teresa (Terry) Webber, Elane Kato

Monday, March 31 – John O’Keefe and I boarded US Airways flight #582 from Boston to Phoenix at 5:45am. With a short connection time in Phoenix, we were luckily to hitch a ride with a passenger trolley cart to our flight #692 to Honolulu. The crew were terrific. Cathy Carruthers wanted us to look up former Pan Amers Bette Nash and Joan Meyer Sing who now fly with US Airways. The steward Jamey suggested Chuck’s Steak House – for great food and an airline meeting place.

Hawaii Prince Hotel


Arriving in HNL at 2:30pm, we jumped on a shuttle to the Hawaiian Prince Hotel Waikiki. The end of our journey at last! Resisting the urge to curl up on the bed, we took the hotel courtesy bus to the famous pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel and enjoyed a relaxing time down by the beach for the setting of the sun. Every Monday evening the hotel puts on a Luau feast with entertainment for $198 per person. We watched it from the bar, however, for the price of a delicious small pizza, beer and a virgin Piña Colada. Back to the hotel and sleep. We met pilot Jack Timken from North Carolina who flew out of New York when I did and wife Aurele. We saw Bill and Ginny McKillop, who were also early arrivals.

Tuesday, Apr 1 -We had a terrific breakfast at the hotel. Fortunately, we were seated at a table next to Don and Betty Cooper and Shirley Zellmer and husband Eric. I gave Don the first of my souvenir Pan Am Aloha Calendars. With his approval, I passed some on to Muff Solvinto and Alda Halldorssan-Duin, Jackie Brown and son Jason.

Aloha Souvenir


Aloha Reunion souvenir

A gorgeous day, though windy, I coaxed John into a shopping trip to Dukes Marketplace on Dukes Lane across from the Moana Surfrider Hotel. I found a wonderful red and white muu muu for me and and shirts for John. Next we headed over to the beach side of the Moana Surfrider and had lunch in the Banyan Tree Courtyard featuring a live performance – singer with guitar. We hopped the hotel shuttle back to the hotel for a nap and later that evening returned to the Beach for dinner at Chuck’s Steakhouse on the second floor accessed through the Outrigger Lobby. We arrived during happy hour (5-7) and chatted with some United Airlines flight attendants. They liked my souvenir calendars and wanted to know all about our reunion. Sure enough, behind the bar were the airplane models of United, Continental, Pan American and others etc. We had dinner at a little table next to the bar overlooking the porch and beach – a scrumptious steak and shrimp scampi, salad bar and rolls. They gave us a 10 percent airline discount. And can’t forget the mud pie to top off.

Helen Davey and Mary Lou Bigelow

Wednesday, April 2 – Today the troops would start arriving at the hotel, as registration was all day. I stopped to see Helen Davey and thank her for the wonderful article on the reunion that she wrote for her blog column in the Huffington Post in advance of the event. John and I thought it would be a good chance to take a morning Pearl Harbor tour and yet get back in time for the cocktail party in the evening. We had a quick breakfast in the hotel before being picked up for our tour at 6:30am.

JOhn O'Keefe and Mary Lou Bigelow At USS Missouri

First we visited the USS Missouri and then continued on to the USS Arizona. We saw a film on December 7, 1941 and then took a boat ride over to the Memorial – a serene experience felt by all who pass through this beautiful WW11 “Valor in the Pacific” National monument.

USS Arizona Memorial

Mary Lou Bigelow and Robert Lee


On the way back to our tour bus, I stopped at a table in front of the bookstore to chat with Robert Lee, a Pacific Historic Parks volunteer who was a Civilian Witness to the events back on December 7, 1941. He gave me a copy of an article written by Paul C. Heintz, Education Director for the Parks about Bob’s experience on that fatal day. I gave him my Pan Am Aloha Reunion souvenir calendar. He looked over at me with wide eyes and asked, “Were you with Pan Am?” I nodded affirmatively and we instinctively hugged each other. During the war Bob served in Naval Intelligence on Oahu, at Naval Air Station Punene in Maui, and was assigned to the V12 Naval Officer Training Program in Michigan. Bob joined Pan Am in 1955 where he worked in Passenger Traffic for thirty years. Bob made my day! He explained that he was just about to close up shop at that time to go over to the hotel for the Pan Am cocktail party. We saw each other often throughout the Pan Am event. KUDOS goes to this fine gentleman! Hats off!

Puamano Trio

Upon our return, we saw Pan Amers milling around the registration table which was set up in the lobby. The famous island singers the Puamana Trio, dressed in colorful muu muus, serenaded the crowd. We picked up our Pan Am carry all bag stuffed with goodies and our name tags with tickets and hung them around our necks. We stopped to talk to Terry Webber, Elane Kato and Geri Kai, who produced the nonprofit book “A Touch of Class” for the Pan Am Heritage Association. I stopped for a picture with them-they looked so pretty in their muu muus. I then stopped off at another desk where Jackie Banning (with Captain Chuck Cutting) was selling Gene Banning’s (pilot with Pan Am for 38 years – passed away about eight years ago.) book “Airlines of Pan American Since 1927.” Barnaby Conrad, author of “Pan Am: an aviation legend” also had his beautiful book for sale.

That evening was the welcome cocktail party, where 400 to 500 people crowded into the Moana Kea Ballroom. The heavy hors d’oeuvres was plentiful and delicious. John and I joined a table with World Wings International President Jane Euler and husband Phelps. To my delightful surprise, Rich Yoder and wife Mary Ann were there -hadn’t seen them since 1968, when I was married to John Bigelow and worked for Pan Am ticketing in the downtown Miami office, prior to moving to Kabul Afghanistan on the Technical Assistance Program with Ariana Afghan Airlines.

Jane & Phelps Euler and Mary Lou Bigelow (rear)


Mary Lou Bigelow, Darlene Laster and Debby Fuller


Eva Kama, Sumiko Imai Allegar, MLBigelow, Agnes Von Brimer


Linda Garver,Debby Fuller, Natlee Grimley, ML Bigelow, Carla Neeld, Linda Toscano-Fountain

It was fun to see so many familiar faces:
2012 Monaco reunion: Max Gurney, Tim McCully, Don and Mary Ann Fell, Joan LeBlanc, Ann Wilkerson and husband Keith Wodarski, Gina Siu Oerelius, Gene Vricella and Jill Ramsfield, Lora Ford, Cynthia McMillen, Muff Solvinto, Debby Fuller, twin sisters Gunn Chencinski and Anne Marie Panel, Kevin Kramer (who had the Dixie Clippers made in the Philippines for the Monaco reunion).
Facebook Pan Am Groups : Tine Beam, Nellie Aviles, Author Psychologist Helen Davey, Faye Liu Zawatski, Linda Kirkpatrick Garver, Aunty Carla, Melanie Camp, Sandy Clarke, and who could forget Linda Toscano-Fountain?

Tine Beam and Mary Lou Bigelow


Muff Solvinto


Plus: Maria Rinna, Marnie Stanfield, Leyland Maguire who ran the Tahiti Lodge, twin sisters Gunn Chencinski and Anne Marie Panel, Ruth Loewenstein, and Maria Rinna, Leilani Maguire who ran the Tahiti Lodge, Anne Marie & Stavros Olympios, Vivi-Ann Riordan, Capt Joe & Marty Roise, Edie and John Stavinoha, Marlies Suter, Agnes Von Brimer, Tori Werner, Don and Jan Wohlers, and Captain Ron and Judy Andersen, Jennifer Morgan and John Massey, and Sharon & Don Krump, Sumiko Allegar, Frank Garcia (Flight Engineer with Captain Ogg on Flight# 943, the Boeing Stratacruiser B-377, that was successfully ditched in the Pacific in October 1956), Eva Kama, Judi Machens, Donna Lindgren, Christie McElroy, Charlette Seidel, Mary Jane Ellis, Melanie Marshall, Joan Davis and so many others that are listed throughout this blog.


Ruth Loewenstein


Thursday, Apr 3 – Forum at the Mauna Kea Ballroom 9-4PM
• Don Cooper talked about Magellan’s discovery of the Pacific and its impact on the area.
• Author Jon E. Krupnik discussed Pan American’s transpacific and South Pacific route development. His book is “Pan American’s Pacific Pioneers, The Rest of the Story.”
Sold out 8 years ago, except for a few regular editions at $100 each or a limited edition for $170 are available from Jon at Jon at jonpac@aol.com.

Photo show Krupnick

• Betsy Pease Tryon presented her father’s account of the December 7th bombing of Pearl Harbor from his memoirs. A CD with her father’s narration is available from Betsy for $20.
• Merry Barton told of her evacuation from New Caledonia on the Pacific Clipper when the bombing at Pearl Harbor was announced. Her father was station manager at Noumea, New Caledonia.
• Ed Dover gave an account of the Pacific Clipper being the first commercial aircraft to circumnavigate the globe.
I bought two Mihana DVDs www.mihanahawaii.com from Terry Webber for charity.
On the hotel shuttle to Waikiki Beach, we met a Fiji Airlines crew – Captain Harnek Singh, an A330 pilot and his check officer Capt. Jone Turaganivaki who remembered John Bigelow when he trained with him in Toulouse, France. I bought a gorgeous blue & white muu muu and presents for John’s family. Before we knew it, the time had flitted by and we ducked in to a restaurant for dinner before returning to the hotel for evening.

Friday, Apr 4 – Early to rise, we had the usual wonderful breakfast spread at the hotel and enjoyed our time with Shula and Herman Jaffe, formerly Pan Am maintenance, now living in Israel

Shula and Herman Jaffe

At 9am fifty of us, who were lucky enough to sign up early for a tour organized by Clipper Skipper Darlene Carver Laster, boarded our bus for Ford Island, Pearl Harbor to see the historical site of our Pan Am China Clipper operation on the edge of the West Lock of Pearl Harbor known as “L -dock”. We saw where the Clipper flying boats landed and tied up and were serviced during their layovers in HNL. Originally there was the Atkinson house, leased by Pan Am for the operations office, passenger service area and a clinic. All that is left now is a foundation. We were very fortunate, however, to be invited inside one of the original houses, known as the Uyehara home designed by architect C.W. Dickie, still used today as military housing.

Boeing Clipper Inaugural Flight Mar 14 1939



Pan Am Clipper House


Dee Dee Orzeszczak, who lives there now with her Navy husband, has renamed it the Pan Am Clipper House. She graciously showed us the inside along with a wonderful Pan Am commemorative plaque on the wall. Captain Robert Hicks, who began his professional flying career as an officer on flying boats, including the famed Boeing B-314, had a nice chat with Dee Dee.

Then we walked over to the landing and take-off spots for the Pan Am flying boats and farther on where they were serviced.

Architect Jack Dodge

Architect Jack Dodge showed photos and talked us though the site. We saw the monument installed by Pan Am on November 22, 1985 as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Transpacific Flight – the China CLipper. We finished up and returned to the hotel about noon.

Max Gurney, Mary Lou Bigelow and Tim McCully


Back at the hotel, I ran into Tim McCully and Max Gurney. Tim wore a shirt belonging to Tommy Carroll, so Tommy would be there in spirit. Both Tommy and Jean were unable to make the reunion and they were sorely missed.
I stopped in the Clipper Lounge and met Joe Roise, who was training captain for a few years on the B707. His wife Marty started in 1955. I also met Barnaby Conrad III, author of “Pan Am: An Aviation Legend.”

Tanya and Kenneth DeHoff

I put my uniform on again for the evening event at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor on Historic Ford Island.

Pan Am Museum display

We boarded the busses at 5pm and they dropped us off at Hanger 37 where the Pan Am exhibit can be seen next to the museum store. Kenneth DeHoff, Executive Director of the museum, and Tanya introduced me to the Pan Am exhibit and took my picture with some of the Pan Am models.

John O'Keefe, Joe and Marty Roise

The museum hall was set up with tables amongst the airplanes.

Roy Stocks and Diane VanderZanden

We sat with Diane Vanderzanden (1963-1985 and then switched to United 1985 – 2005) who produces the Aloha Clipper newsletter for the Hawaii members. It costs $30 a year – in case anyone is interested .
Betsy Smith opened the festivities with a few tales from Pan Am days. Kenneth DeHoff, then addressed the audience, telling us the history of the Pan Am exhibit.

Betsy Smith, Kenneth DeHoff, Don Cooper


Smith Family


Group of Flight Attendants



Pan Am girls



Mary Lou Bigelow and John OKeefe


The end of the night was celebrated with the newest nostalgic video created by Tommy Carroll called Pan Am: The Legend Lives On. There were Cheers and Tears from the crowd of 500+ who attended.

Saturday, Apr 5 – At breakfast we bid goodbye to Don and Betty before they set off on their 50th Anniversary Island cruise with Norwegian.

Betty and Don Cooper

At 1pm, Kevin from Makani Kai Helicopters picked up Marilyn Slattery, John Whalen and me and drove us to the airport where we boarded an open door helicopter. Marilyn and John sat in front. I sat in the back seat on the right side. It was open on both sides which was great for filming. Fortunately the day was sunny and calm so the only reverberation for filming came from the wind from flying, but it was not bumpy and the pilot Eiki who is the chief pilot for the company was gentle with us. He had been flying for them for 25 years.

Selfie in the Helicopter

For the first fifteen minutes or so, I was scared —-less and lonely all by myself in the rear of the airplane. Every time we would bank, I could see straight down. I envisioned my body strap breaking and me hurtling down into the mountains or sea! Shudder. Finally I just left it up to fate and thought – “what will be will be” and fortunately kept myself busy taking videos for the rest of the flight. I even took a selfie, where I actually smiled and waved to the camera! All of sudden, we saw the airport and my excitement mounted. Land! We hovered awhile and I rather liked that as I could take better videos.

John Whalen, Eiki (pilot), Mary Lou Bigelow and Marilyn Slattery

Once on the ground, we thanked the pilot with the “hang loose” sign and Kevin brought us back to the hotel.
After a brief nap, John and I headed over to the Surfrider to listen to two singers and a very graceful Hula dancer. We had a snack of quesadillas and later returned to the hotel about 9pm.
We wandered over to the Chart House near the hotel, where we received the shock of our trip. It was late and we were hungry. When we sat down, we were handed a Card offering $8 Specials for those eating after 9:30pm of clam chowder or salad and a choice of dinners. We chose the wonderful grilled Shrimp with macaroni and rice. Topped off with a $6.75 piece of Key Lime pie. A marvelous band ( 2 Point 0 (Tito & Billy) entertained us.

Sunday, Apr 6 – After breakfast, we packed and brought our bags down to the bell hop for safe keeping and then set off to meet the bus for an Ecological North Shore and Circle Island Tour by Oahu Nature Tours that left from the Hilton at 12:30pm, returning at 6:30pm. It was definitely worth seeing the countryside. We saw the lovely Japanese Byodo Temple in the Valley of the Temples, Sunset Beach, Walmea Bay to see the Green Sea Turtles and the Dole Plantation. The day was glorious and a perfect ending to our Hawaii adventure.
Our Shuttle was late so we gladly accepted a ride on VIP with the US Airways crew for flight #693 to Phoenix that left 35 minutes earlier than our flight. They liked my Pan Am Aloha reunion calendar.
Back in Boston on Monday at 5:30pm. Felt fine on Tuesday. Full-fledged flu on Wednesday!

Articles/Links:
www.pacificaviationmuseum.org
“Pan Am Logos and Slogans” by Don Cooper
“Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor” by Jeff Kriendler, Airways Magazine, July 2013
“The Aloha Reunion: Celebrating the Underlying Spirit of Pan Am” by Helen Davey, Huffingtonpost, March 28, 2014
“Come Fly with Us” by Simplicio Paragas, InsideOutHawaii.com, March 2014.

Janet Clark


“Pearl Harbor Civilian Witness (Robert Lee) Joins Educational Program” by Paul C. Heintz, Education Director, Pacific Historic Parks.

Paste link into the Internet to see my 99 photos in Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/MaryLouBigelow/media_set?set=a.10201784311596526.1073741833.1443762234&type=3

DVD:
“Pan Am The Legend Lives on” by Tommy & Jean Carroll

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Afghanistan – Pride of its People! (Event: June 11, 2013)

When:  June 11   5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where:  Bedford Mass. Council On Aging, Town Center Building 12 Mudge Way, Bedford, MA (Entrance and parking is in rear of building.)

The Council on Aging invites you to sample some traditional Afghan food and view a special 90-minute photo-video presentation on Afghanistan and its people, as seen through the eyes of an American woman who lived in the country from 1968 to 1972. Arlington TV producer/filmmaker and Realtor Mary Lou Bigelow lived in Kabul while based there as part of the Pan American Technical Assistance Program with Ariana Afghan Airlines.

In September 2002, she returned to the country to attend a reconstruction conference where Afghan engineers, architects and planners gathered from around the world to offer their expertise. Bigelow returned once more for filming in March 2004.

 

Visit The Mary Lou Bigelow Show website at www.maryloubigelow.com/tv to view her award-winning Afghanistan Series videos.

 
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Afghanistan Then & Now (1968 to today) event May 13, 2013

Photo: Mary Lou interviews H.R.H Gen. Sardar Abdul Wali in the royal palace (Arg) in Kabul, October 2002.

Date: May 13, 2013
Time:  1:30 -3pm
Place:  Lexington Senior Center, 1475 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington MA 0242
RSVP  to Lexington Senior Center @ 781-861-0194

Come to a 60-minute photo-video presentation on Afghanistan and its  people, as seen through the eyes of an American woman who lived in the country from 1968 to 1972.  Local TV producer/filmmaker and Realtor  Mary Lou Bigelow  lived in Kabul  while based there as part of the Pan American Technical Assistance Program with Ariana Afghan Airlines.   In September  2002, she returned to the country to attend  a reconstruction conference where Afghan engineers, architects and planners gathered from around the world to offer their expertise.   Bigelow returned once more for  filming in March 2004.

Following the presentation, an  Afghan-American  will join in for a question and answer period on the country today.

You can visit The Mary Lou Bigelow Show’s website @ maryloubigelow.com/tv  to view her  award-winning  Afghanistan Series  TV  interviews.   

 
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First TWA International Flight for Bigelow May 1960

May, 1960 –

TWA International – My European adventures begin! TWA had already transitioned into the jet age with the 707, but my first few flights were on the Lockheed 1649 Jetstream.

TWA World coverage 1960

My first pattern was so much better than I could have imagined. I was lucky enough to have a three-day stay in Paris, France plus a day and a half in Bad Homburg, Germany.

After the long trip across the Atlantic on my first international flight, I finally arrived in Europe for the first time.  It was Sunday morning, and my introduction to Paris was from the crew bus that whisked us off to our hotel on Avenue George V, across and down the street from the famous George V Hotel, close to the famous  Champs-Elysées.  

This was a TWA rendition of the Champs-Elysées

I can’t remember the hotel name. It was one of a number of hotels that TWA contracted for the crews and on any specific layover, the hotels were chosen by the crew on a seniority basis. Being lowest on the seniority list, I was happy just to have a room. I was tired, but much too excited to sleep. I quickly changed out of my uniform into comfortable clothes and walking clothes and prepared to set off down the Champs-Elysées.

In the lobby, I ran into a U.S. Air  Force captain staying at the hotel, who was also heading out and he asked me to accompany him.  I was thrilled he did, as he pointed out many of the places of interest along the way. We walked down to the Place de la Concorde, through the Jardin des Tuileries to the Musée du Louvre, crossed over to the Left Bank and then turned around and returned to the hotel. By then, I was exhausted and fell fast asleep, but set the alarm for two hours only. Hard as it was to get up, I knew I must.  I ate dinner with Robbie, another hostess on my crew who stayed at the same hotel, and later we took a short walk to a café nearby to watch people parade by on one of the most famous boulevards in the world.

The next morning, on Monday, Robbie and I took a morning tour of Paris which took in the modern section,  a stop at the Eiffel Tower and a visit to the Place Vendôme with the Column that has Napolean’s statue on top. We returned to the hotel for lunch and then took an afternoon tour of Versailles Palace with its famous Hall of Mirrors.  After dinner we turned in early for a much needed sleep.

Tuesday morning I went shopping and then met Robbie and our Navigator Joe for a trip to the Eiffel Tower.

Tour Eiffel

We took the lift to the second level and sipped on coffee as we overlooked Paris.  Robbie wasn’t feeling very good so she returned to the hotel. 

On the way to Montmartre

Joe and I headed for Montmartre. What a site to look up at the beautiful white Sacré-Cœur Basilica perched high on the hill overlooking Paris!

Basilica of the Sacré Cœur

Montmartre was my favorite place in Paris. Artists busily painted in the center of the Place du Tertre and tourists relaxed in the sidewalk cafés that surrounded the square.

Our next stop was the Île de la Cité to visit Notre Dame Cathedral, but it was closed , so we didn’t  have a chance to look inside this famous gothic cathedral. Disappointed, we returned to  the hotel,  ate dinner and then set out again.

 Joe and I headed over to the Left Bank, stopping first at the cafe Les Deux Magots at 6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, known for its legendary popularity with artists and writers from 1914 onward.  We walked through the narrow streets near the coffee house and happened upon a tiny restaurant, decorated in red – a lovely warm intimate place. This as many of the  restaurants in that area do not have any advertising on the outside. We took our chances upon entering. The bartender, a second Maurice Chevalier, talked to us for quite a while and then we set off again, walking back to the Champs Elysee.  

Close to the Champs Elysee, we noticed two bars – the Blue Note and the Mars Club.  We opted for the Mars Club at 6 rue Robert Estienne.  And, we were glad we did. We listened to a wonderful three piece jazz band with an English singer.

Wednesday, Robbie felt better so we took a bus tour to Chartres. On the way we passed the Château de Rambouillet, the summer residence of the Presidents of the French Republic.

Then we continued on to Chartres. After luncheon, the guide took us though the gothic cathedral known for its famous stained windows.

Back in Paris, we took the Cabaret tour that evening.

We began at the Folies Bergère and then on the famous Lido with its waterfalls and dancing girls -a magnificent production. The waiters let us stand at the side to see better and even brought us our own table. I confiscated a menu from the waiter, as well. Robbie and I went over to the Jours et Nuit snack shop which stays open 24 hours a day and then turned in for the night.

Thursday was spent leisurely shopping and resting and later that afternoon we flew to Frankfurt, Germany.   

Ritter's Park Hotel, Bad Homburg

We stayed nearby at the Ritters Park Hotel in Bad Homburg. We ate dinner in the luxurious hotel dining room. On Friday morning, I took a bus to the Saalburg on the Taunus ridge northwest of Bad Homburg to see the old reconstructed Roman Fort – then stopped in a restaurant nearby for coffee and cake and then returned to Bad Homburg. Next, I went through the Schloss Homburg castle near the center of town and though I had a guide who spoke only German I understood little of what he was trying to tell me.  The inlaid woodwork is absolutely beautiful, and the yellow room is a site to behold. I ate dinner, slept a while and then went to the airport to face 96 mothers and 40 babies on a military flight. I’ll never forget the hundred times baby bottles passed though my hands.

What a wonderful trip this was!  I realized how lucky I was to have Navigator Joe as my guide, as it was clear how much he loved sightseeing in Europe. He was so enthusiastic, savoring every moment, even though this was probably the 100th time he had gone on this private tour. His attitude was due in part to the fact that he knew his flying days were numbered.  With the propeller aircraft, the cockpit crew complement was a captain, first officer, engineer and navigator. But with the new jet age upon us, there would come a change in cockpit needs. No longer would navigators be needed.  The cockpit would now only have three. The engineers, on the other hand, were also pilots, so they had a future to look forward to.  I appreciated Joe’s company so much!  He made this first trip of mine in one of the most beautiful cities of the world a very special one indeed. Shortly thereafter, I heard that he had been laid off  :(

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