The first flight I can remember taking was when I was 81/2 years old going to see my grandparents in San Jose, CA from Huntsville, AL. I'm positive I flew on a UA flight, and I think it was a 727. I don't remember making a stop between HSV and LAX. It seems like we went all the way across and I remember we stopped at LAX and flew up to OAK. We had to have stopped somewhere. It was the same coming back. I spent the rest of my summer with my grandparents and my folks went back home. My first flight out of OAK there was actually a UA sterward and he helped me on my way until the next leg, and I can't remember where it was. I remember seeing that guy who worked for UA, I kind of wanted to be a steward, That would be a cool job. Then at my next leg the gate agents and next F/A's (females this time) all took care of me even better than that dude. Ahh, the life, women leaning over me, strange man nice man giving me gum, and keeps playing with his brriefcase. Sorry, no drama there, he worked for IBM like Grandpa did and he was on the same flight back, that's why we got to sit together. Even in 1980, everyone dressed up on flights. As a UM I was treated pretty damn well.
Flash forward 25 years later. Parents don't give 10 year old's their money. More kids are coming from broken homes, and some parents (and I can relate to this as a veteran and not a kid) are stationed overseas with the military. It sucks we don't have little souvineiers for kids like back in the day, but kids are more mature now. I've been stuck with UM's before, before my first legitimate daughter was born. Somehow I'd get stuck with the military "Brats" from somewhere and go back home to RIC. I used to pay out of my pocket for them to eat cheap ass McDonald's for in PIT before they'd go see usually Daddy or sometimes Mommy in Ft Lee, VA. Know what, it felt really good. I didn't do it to get kudos from parents and sometimes the parent's unit. I knew a lot of kids when I was a kid who only had one parent. Once I was active duty I had to watch over a lot of kids at when I was 18. What really hit home were the single parents going down range during the first Gulf War and either had to send their kids home or have someone on base (especially bad overseas) to watch the kids. As much as I may have been an ass to my parents as a teen and as much as my parents whom I perceived were not there for me, I tried to make up for it as an F/A to all these U/M's especially the ones with military parental units. The worst I've seen someone get as far as me watching thier kids, Using me as a Godfather so their kids could go to DoDDs schools at RMS. He used to put his 10 and 2 year old daughters in my dorm room while I'm drunk and can't say no and me and my watching the kids. They'd leave preatty damn quick leaving me with a 2 year old who babbles and a 10 year old who only speaks Portuguesge, or so I thought after the fouth time she was dropped off at my USAF dorm room. Come on, you are their father and you leave two little girls in a dorm, a male dominated dorm, where my girlfreind, and now wife hangs out and we do a lot of drinking? What are you stupid? Yeah,"Don't smoke in my room, I got two kids in here." What?" "Freds kids, be careflul Carla knows English and she'll tell." "No I won't, uncle Larry, What are you doing? Don't wake Isabella." "Sorry 'bout that, man ya'll need to go, let me to these kids into bed and we'll get fucked up as long as I don't leave from next door." The smartest thing I heard from a 19 year old was, "Larry, maybe you should be watching the kids, and Charlie will help you, unitl your girlfriend (future wife) comes home or Fred. How much you want to bet you'll be taking them home in the morning seeing as how you got the car seat and he don't have a car." That's about the same time he was TDY to SUU, I had to pay his rent, make sure his old lady was taken care of. I was a SRA, he was a SSGT, but my NCO/IC made me his stupervisor. Even after I got back to Weilerbach as a civilian, I helped Fred's ass out, and didn't have enough to help his family. That sumbitch wound up driving for Schneider Trucking and took his youngest kid out there. If anyone know an USAF veteran of Fred Jimenez let me know. He left a pefectly good family back home in Weilerbach, Germany, and I don't care how many kids he had, he not only did his family whong but also, his wife's family wrong!