Dear Kid,

Imagine it is 1903. The century is barely begun, but the year is almost over. It is December 17th. On the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers from Dayton are about to make history.

What? No in-flight beverage service?? DearKidLoveMom.comYes, Orville and Wilbur make the world’s first successful flight in a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft on 12/17/03 wow–can’t really write it that way, can I? Orville was the pilot. Wilbur was the ground crew, the in-flight attendant (albeit not in the plane), and the control tower. He was all those things very, very quickly because the plan only stayed aloft 12 seconds.

In honor of this we are driving to Florida for vacation.

No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris. Orville Wright

Note to burglars: The vicious attack dog is staying home to guard the house and its contents. He will be hungry. Intruder is his favorite snack. We are also leaving venomous snakes to guard the valuables. Of which we don’t have any.

If God had really intended men to fly, he’d make it easier to get to the airport. ~George Winters

Fast forward a few years to 1911 when we get commercial passenger flights. At this point, air travel was less than comfortable. It was less than a lot of things, actually, and in some respects it’s amazing that We The People even bothered continuing to invent the industry.

An airplane? I’ll stick with my broom, thank you very much. Glinda

But Uncle Sam stepped in in 1925 and encouraged airmail delivery and passenger delivery. The first was by passing the Kelly Air Mail Act and the second was by subsidizing the price of passengers’ tickets. Neither of which seem particularly relevant in today’s day and age.

In 1930, United Airlines hired graduate nurses to tend to passengers’ comfort and needs. They were called stewardesses (after the similar position on cruise ships). Stewardesses (in those days) were responsible for all sorts of things like refueling airplanes and loading luggage. Then everyone got specialized and stewardesses were responsible for refueling passengers and watching them struggle with carry-on luggage.

These days, flight attendants are not even responsible for the safety announcements (all recorded) and if you want food on a plane you’d best bring your own (or marry a zillionaire).

Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Douglas Adams

Speaking of which, if you haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, you really should. You may borrow my copy as long as you return it at some point. Bring your own laughter, you’ll need it.

Love, Mom

Defying Gravity (which is pretty much what flying is) for your viewing enjoyment