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February 02, 2004

Way Cool Moms Vol 1.

Women, already one of the most amazing things in the universe, possess that unique ability to transform themselves into Moms. Every once in a while they upgrade themselves beyond Mom status to become Way Cool Moms. Moms who distinguish themselves from the pack. Moms who just do something so nifty and unusual it redefines who they are.

When I was going to school the local college library had a woman who worked part time helping out. She was married with two children roughly my age. She was polite and well read and always quick to smile. Of all the librarians she was easily the friendliest and most helpful in the place.

I left for University and didn't make it back to the college library until I needed to find a book for some research. It was holiday break and the library was pretty slow. The same staff was all there and I simply assumed she was either on break or off that day while I was puttering around the stacks. Then she walked into the library and all hell broke loose.

She was wearing a stewardess uniform with matching bag.

Turns out that in 1970 she had been a stewardess for Delta or United. (Can't remember which.) She had had the job for a few years but had fallen in love and had then gotten engaged. When this happened she was asked to leave her position. Annoyed but with little recourse she left.

2 years later a class action suit was filed on behalf of the women wronged by the airline(s). Receiving a letter in the mail she signed on and promptly forgot about it.

Flash forward 24 years later. An overnight envelope arrives at her house bearing news of the terms of settlement for the lawsuit. Participants could settle for, if memory serves, one of the following: a small amount of money, some tickets or a career and pension.

That's right. The airlines agreed that any of the stewardess wrongly fired could come back and take all the training classes. If they passed they could then have their old jobs back with full credit for the years worked and years missed towards their pensions. In her case a training period and two years of work would result in a pension worth the result of a full 30 year career.

None of us, library staff included, had known about her previous career. Seeing her there beaming from ear to ear in her uniform with little hat it was easy to see. (As a lark she had adopted the same hairstyle as when she was originally a stewardess, now a silver haired version of That Girl.) She had taken leave from the library to complete the training. She hadn't told anyone so that if she had not passed no one would be the wiser. (Only her husband had known.) Having passed with top grades she had earned her wings she was now home for the holidays and had only stopped by to turn in her resignation.

Can you imagine the kids coming home for Christmas only to find out that Mom was leaving to catch up with her dream of being a flight attendant?

"Hi kids. Nice to see you. I'm off for Greece!"

I always thought it was one of the finest examples of karmic balance I had ever heard of. If anything it was great evidence of nice people finishing first.

I have no idea where she is now. All I know is that in the pantheon of Way Cool Moms there should be a special statue devoted to the mom who may have had to put the dream on hold but never let it die.

Posted by Jim at February 2, 2004 11:02 PM


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