Chelle Summer

New York City to Chicago Flight

pamela zombeck

I confess I’ve never been much of a New York girl, always favoring the west coast.

However, when I was in high school, my mom worked for the old Midway Airlines (based out of Chicago’s Midway Airport) and she took my younger sister and I on many day trips, particularly during the summers.

Now that I’ve been living in New Mexico for twenty years, I forget how easy it is to get to the East Coast from the Midwest which meant it was less than a two-hour flight to places like Washington, DC, Boston, and New York City.

One time we went to Macys, another to the Statue of Liberty, and yet another to see the Chicago Cubs play the New York Mets in Shea Stadium.

A few weeks ago, work took me to NYC for a training at Columbia University. And luck struck again that I had the opportunity to stay with a family friend of my husband’s­– one of those people in our lives that isn’t family but we call family– who lives on Central Park. Staying with her and also the opportunity to meet some of her friends and see a musical gave me a different perspective of NYC. And a greater appreciation.

But a memory I had long forgotten also stuck with me as I began to remember the trips with my mom and my sister.

Because we flew stand by (or space available), sometimes we were split apart. As the older one, if they could only get us two seats together, then I was the one who sat separately from my mom and my sister. I traveled with my journal and used that time to catch up on events (I wrote often in those days, right down to what mail I had received and who I talked to on the phone). The woman next to me on one flight to Chicago was an editor of a major magazine. I forget now but it was something like Ladies Home Journal. And her husband was the publisher of something like Country Living.

We spent that time on the plane discussing journalism (my planned major– of which I did receive my bachelors’ degree in) and she was very encouraging.

What I realize now is what an opportunity that was for me, to sit next to someone who was doing work I dreamed of doing. And while the world has changed and we aren’t bound to locations like we once were, still, it could only happen in a flight that involved New York City.