Bill's Vignettes

This is my story. It will consist of little pictures, snippets, or vignettes, from my past. It is a legacy to my children and grandchildren and those that may come after and hopefully will also be of some interest to the casual reader who doesn't know me from Adam.

Archive for the ‘O”Hare International Airport’ Category

From Rochester to San Diego

Posted by sundoulos2005 on October 10, 2007

My leave following boot camp was over. Attired in dress blues — tunic with neckerchief and bell bottom trousers with the thirteen-button flap — I bade my family farewell and headed to the Greater Rochester International Airport. That’s a mighty big name for a mighty small airport. I flew from there to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport which, at that time, was the busiest passenger airport in the country.

I had a layover there. I do not remember how long it was, but there was sufficient time for me to find a restaurant and have a leisurely meal. As I was waiting for my meal I looked around to observe the others in the establishment. My eyes fell upon a small group: two men and a blonde-haired woman, as I recollect. One of the men I recognized as Dr. Sam Shepherd, just released from prison after serving approximately ten years for bludgeoning his wife to death. Dr. Shepherd is attributed as being the inspiration for the TV series The Fugitive. The woman was his girlfriend or his second wife (I don’t remember the details). The second man was probably his lawyer. I knew my folks would not believe my story of having seen them so I took a picture as proof. Alas, my mother appropriated it and it disappeared.

From Chicago I flew to Los Angeles where I landed at the airport with the spaceship-looking building. I had previously seen pictures of it, but I was awed at seeing it in person. Aside from the Theme Building, as that structure is officially called, the most striking thing I remember was not being able to see any skyscrapers. That, to me, was truly remarkable.

Two other things also caught my attention. Inside the terminal area there was a display of very sensual lingerie. I had never seen anything like that on display even in the lingerie departments of stores back East. It was somewhat of an eye-opener and shocking. Nowadays, no one would think anything of it, but this was 1964. The other thing was that there were penny jars placed about the airport. Copper and pennies were in short supply that year because so many people were hoarding their pennies. The jars were there to collect from passersby. I don’t know how successful they were. I know I did not contribute.

I had the good fortune while there to run into a gentleman whose son was in the service. He took it upon himself to buy me lunch and to entertain me with stories of the area. He, like I, was going to San Diego.

The flight from LA to San Diego was uneventful — until final approach. I was a bit nervous. The ride down to the grown was turbulent and a bit steep. We came in over downtown San Diego and seemed like we barely cleared the buildings. We landed without incident and taxied to the terminal where I collected my belongings and went outside into the warm southern California air. The palms, the surrounding mountains, the desert-like atmosphere all thrilled me. I fell in love with San Diego and knew I would enjoy my stay there.

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