Where in the world

by Sarah Welch

After reading Notes from the Fox Den in the May 16 issue of the Cherokeean, I responded to Josie that I’ve been to the UK a dozen or more times and could give her some hints of where to go and what to see. I also suggested that a column on the subject of travel would be interesting for readers. She agreed and asked if I could write a monthly column. So, here goes my first attempt!

First, a little background. My interest in travel began when I started flying as a “hostess” for Braniff Airways in 1960 (now you can figure my age). I had never travelled far from Plano, TX, my home town, but a friend and I applied and were accepted to Braniff Hostess School. It was an exciting time and a prestigious occupation in those days with strict rules on height, weight, eyesight, appearance, etiquette and marital status; you could not be married. People even dressed up to take a plane trip. I was in training when Braniff took delivery of their first jet plane, a Boing 707. What a wonderful time in the life of a small town Texas girl!

During my time with Braniff, I met girls from all over the country and traveled to major cities around the U.S. I will never forget my first glimpse of New York City, it was very early morning after a night flight from Dallas with very little traffic out. It was surreal.

I flew out of Dallas Love Field for two years before marrying Kenneth Welch and moved to Katy, TX, where he was a teacher and coach. My days of flying high were over, or so I thought. A few years later; however, I joined Clipped B’s, the club for former Braniff flight attendants. Braniff had a work program where B’s could earn hours toward free passes. My family had several nice trips using those passes until the day Braniff declared bankruptcy. That was indeed a sad day.

One of the last things I did for Braniff as a Clipped B was to fly inaugural flights from Houston to LaGuardia, New York, and give out prizes to passengers. They flew us to Dallas and dressed us in Halston uniforms for the promotion. I still have that uniform.

The bankruptcy was filed the next week and the passengers who won trips on those flights never got to take them. What a shock!
Again, I thought my days of travel were over. However, on that return flight from New York, I sat by a lady who managed a travel agency. I got in touch with her and asked how I could get into the business and she invited me to her office and agreed that I could ‘volunteer’ in her office and learn the business on my own. I was ecstatic and embarked on a career that is now into 35 years. What a fantastic experience that has given me many great opportunities to travel to places I never dreamed I would see.

In future columns, I will talk about some of my favorite trips, helpful hints about travel and destinations.

Re-quoting Josie’s quote in her column, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Truly, with each turn of the page, your eyes are opened to something new and exciting!