Throwback Thursday – A Trip of Firsts

marty first plane
Me on my first airplane trip – September 1972

This week for Throwback Thursday, we are going back to 1972. I was inspired by my last blog post, where I found photos of my mom in remembrance of her being gone 10 years. Amongst these found photos were several of me when we took what would be my first time on an airplane, as well as other firsts.

The above photo shows me seated aboard an Eastern Airlines flight heading from LAX to a layover in Atlanta to our final destination in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in mid-September 1972. I was nine years old. And this would be the first time I flew on an airplane. I spent the night before pretty sick and traveling to the airport sick. And once we arrived at the airport, I laid on the cold tile floor as I was still sick. But not from a illness or flu, but from anxiety. Severe anxiety. I was trip anxious and had been for most of the driving trips I took as a kid, but given this was my first time on a commercial aircraft, the anxiety was in full effect. Needless to say, I got lots of attention from the stewardesses and pilot. I look a lot better in the above photo, mostly because I had calmed down a lot once I got seated on the airplane.

I also give credit to my stuffed blue snake and a stuffed dog, who were obviously favorite toys of mine. And obvious credit to my patient mom, who put up with my anxiety and saved for years to take this major trip. It was my first time on the east coast (my mom’s, too) and back then, air travel wasn’t cheap. And to think how much we bitch about plane fares today. Going from the west coast to the east coast was pricey, as I remember my mom telling the story to everyone and as often as possible before and after the trip.


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My Grandma Mankins in September 1972 outside her home in Germanton, NC

After spending a night with my Uncle Carl and Aunt Ruth (Biggers) in Winston-Salem, we were driven the next day to Germanton, NC where my grandma on my dad’s side lived. This small town just north of Winston-Salem is where a lot of my dad’s family lived. I had never met my grandma [whose full name is Elizabeth Collins Mankins] before so it was exciting to meet her for the first time. She would pass away 3 years later in 1975, so the timing of meeting her at the age of 76 was fortunate. I ended up meeting my Aunt Hilda and Uncle Bunny [an obvious nickname, his real name was William] who lived next door to my grandma.

I remember many photos taken, but could only find this one of just her and I. I always wrote her letters and we responded back and forth, the best that an child could, with obvious help from my mom.


marty us captial
Myself in front of the US Capital building – September 1972

During this trip [I don’t recall how long it was, but I want to say it was at least 7 days], we took a Greyhound bus up to Washington, DC. This was my first time visiting our Nation’s capital and I got to visit lots of places, with the exception of the Washington Monument, which was closed for repairs that week. I’ve not been back since, with the exception of an airport layover in November 2006. To experience all of this as a nine-year old was kind of cool.

I can promise you that this photo will serve as a then and now moment the next time I make a proper visit to Washington DC.


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