Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rules Don't Apply (Jim's Version)

Me and some female passengers in a L-1011 Coach Lounge-Circa 1973

My wife and I recently saw Warren Beatty's new movie about Howard Hughes "Rules Don't Apply"  We really enjoyed the movie and I loved the scenes of old Hollywood.  It brought back a lot of memories of my time at TWA especially when I was based in Los Angeles.  I never personally met Howard Hughes. I started at TWA in 1964 and he had sold his interest in the company by 1961.  Actually, very few people ever met Howard including his closest business manager Robert Maheu (played by Alec Baldwin in the movie).  I had the real Robert Maheu's wife Yvette on a flight one time from New York to Paris.  I was taking a break in the first class lounge and I overhead a top executive with U.S. Steel ask her if her husband had ever met Howard.  You could have heard a pin drop, the air up there got so dense I thought the whole damn plane was going down. (Needless to say she didn't answer, this was a sore subject).  Howard's eccentric ways and legacy lived on in TWA for years.  A good friend of mine was a gate agent at San Francisco and one day Howard comes in with a couple buddies and just takes a Convair 880 to go fishing in Alaska, leaving him to have to explain to some 75 passengers why their flight had just been canceled. That would be like Richard Branson coming into SFO today and taking an Airbus A320. (Don't think that's ever gonna happen).

But enought about Howard. Watching the movie I couldn't help but think the old glory days of aviation are long gone, and how lucky I was to have experienced them first hand. This was a time before TSA, the internet, and cell phones live recording your every move.  Back then we were hand writing boarding passes, seats had plenty of legroom with an actual lounge in coach, and passengers were given a complimentary mini pack of cigarettes on their meal trays. Above you will see me with some lady passengers in a L-1011 coach lounge.  This was a typical day at the office for me.  The things we got away with would never fly today.  Between the boozing, bribery, and boinking I guess you could have called us the "Pirates of the Prime Meridian".  Looking back the "Rules Didn't Apply" even for a regular guy like me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Storyteller in Me

So what possesses a man in his 70's to write a memoir?  Shouldn't I be enjoying my retirement fishing or relaxing out on the golf course.  Well I am enjoying my retirement by writing.  We all have a story to tell but not all of us are storytellers.  I have always enjoyed the thrill of a good story.  Making someone laugh or seeing the surprise in their face has always fascinated me.  I have even made a side business out of storytelling.  I put on travel presentations of my trips to retirement communities, not only does it put a little fun money in my pocket it helps keep my mind active and up to date on technology.  I believe retirement is about staying engaged in the things you love not sitting around waiting on the grim reaper.  So father time will have to wait a little longer, I still have a story to tell!

Me at a recent presentation on Florence, Italy
My loyal audience at the Lodge, I call them my cult following