Non-Fiction, Photo, Random Thoughts
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Old Slide: just a plane at the airport

The photo is not even framed properly. I would have discarded the old slide from my father’s boxes that I tasked myself with sorting out. Many of these slides were the source of our family’s entertainment, back when the only channel on black-and-white TV had the hockey game on Saturday nights, and none of us cared for it. This photo of an Air France Boeing 707, apparently taken at Orly airport, was part of the family show after my parents came back from their trip to France in the Spring of 1964.

1964274Many of the photos show street scenes, and sometimes there’s my mother sitting on a rented chair in the Jardin des Tuileries (I’m making this up, I don’t remember what jardins they were, but I remember she mentioned having to pay to sit on the chair). It must be Sunday, and they might have attended Sunday Mass at Notre-Dame, because she’s wearing white gloves… Otherwise, my father was interested in documenting his trip with his group of professors, and we saw a hydroelectric dam in the mountains, street pictures, and the plane they caught when they departed. I saved it because airplanes were always fascinating, but also because the photo is so 1964. The pilot is walking towards the plane, carrying a big flight case (nowadays, they have all the documents on a computer tablet). There’s a period truck of the kind you only see in old French movies.

Those were the days when literally everyone went to the airport to accompany their relatives departing, and to greet them when they came back. Or perhaps only the kids who were old enough to go to sleep a little later that night.

Now thanks to the Internet and the people who contributed the images, I could find photos of the exact same plane, Air France “Château de Vincennes” a Boeing 707 Intercontinental, here ( and here ( This particular aircraft also served as a model for the new fleet, and ended up on many desks to evoke the new jet age (

I can only imagine how the Montreal-Paris flight was in 1964… The main thing would be that smoking was probably permitted everywhere on board (the armrests probably had ashtrays), but also people dressed up (did my mother wear her white gloves?). I even dressed up for my first trip overseas, also on an Air France flight, but in 1979 they already flew the 747…

1959519Thanks to my father’s slides, and the repeated family slide shows, I could remember that at age 3, I flew on board an Eastern Airlines (a Martin 404 – from the fact we are under the airplane’s tail).  Here we arrived at Tallahassee Airport, wearing sunglasses.  Because the story had been repeated to me through the slide show, I also remember that my father drove our Oldsmobile to Florida and we flew in, but we all drove back together.  He must have taken the photo.  I also remember there was a photo of me crying on a scary Santa’s lap, somewhere in New York State (and I always wondered, what was Santa doing there in the Summer?).  That photo wasn’t in the stack, but I remember it from the story that was told about it.



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