As the reviews and advertisements all suggest, ABC’s new Pan Am television show evokes that bygone era of innocence, glamor, and excitement of the fledgling jet age. I have been an avid audience member, but not just because the show is fun. It’s a trip down memory lane.
When I was a tot, I was fascinated — no, mesmerized –by the glamorous image that airline stewardesses (as they were then called) projected. In retrospect, it seems obvious that the idea of the stewardess neatly combined several innate components of my personality: a love for aviation, travel, and ladylike fashion. I used to pore through National Geographic magazines not so much for the articles (though I learned a lot passing through), but rather for the airline advertisements that were common and ubiquitous in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There was that combination again: sleek aircraft (aviation), beautiful scenery (travel), and lovely stewardess (ladylike fashion). Not really believing that girls could be pilots back then, I set my sights on becoming an airline stewardess. And, since Pan Am was the airline, the pinnacle of my childhood ambition was to be one of those multilingual globe-trotting glamazons of the jet set.
So the choice of costume for a 2011 Halloween dress-up party was a foregone conclusion. It was great fun to assemble the pieces, and even more fun to pretend, just for a few hours, that I could’ve been a contender.