Blog Posts by Sandy Sims

  • A Former Flight Attendant Remembers 9/11

    It has been difficult for me to write about that day, but I felt it was time. I was so close to it because I was a flight attendant for 30 years and had retired in 1997. I took off my wings for the last time, moved my suitcase to the back of the closet and began a life of living and working on the ground. When 9/11 happened, I was still coping with being grounded. Flying is like living on a different planet. You have your own jargon, your own time clock, your own lifestyle, and you live your life in a silver tube. No one outside of the job ever really understands. How can you understand what it means when you are told your landing gear may not be locked, but don't tell the passengers and keep smiling. Or the No. 3 engine has a slight fire in it, and we can't smother it out so we may have to ditch in the Caribbean, but don't tell the passengers and keep smiling. When your job is flying, you face your own mortality many times in your career, but you never truly feel it will happen.

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  • Teach Yourself to Sleep

    I am always amazed when people tell me that they have trouble sleeping. For me, at least for the last twenty years, I have found it to be the easiest thing to lie down at night and go right to sleep. Many people who know this fact about me have become jealous over the years because of my ease of sleeping. I wasn't always so lucky. If I had not learned the secret of sleeping, I, too, would be tossing and turning and looking for the cool side of the pillow. Now, whatever time I decide to go to sleep, I turn off my bedside lamp, turn off the TV or put down my book, lie my head down on my pillow and go to sleep.

    When I was about 10 years old, I began walking in my sleep. I would awaken many times and find myself in different parts of my house in the dark. Since I was terribly afraid of the dark, this nighttime journey was very traumatic for me. Many times, I would awaken to find myself lying on the floor next to my bed. I would become so upset and frightened, it would take me quite

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  • Remembering Maggie

    The main thing I remember about meeting Maggie in 1990 was her beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. She had a laughing spirit that was contagious. Most of the times when I would run into her on the airplane or in the airport, she was always laughing. She found joy in everything and never felt sorry for herself even when she knew she was dying.

    She was a wonderful friend and always found time to listen to me when I would call with my problems. I think because her illness lasted so long before it took her that I was in denial. I didn't see her at all after her cancer came back because she mainly stayed inside. She was having weekly chemo but also taking care of her ill mother. She had a brother and sister but they did not want to help her or their Mother. But she never complained. Maggie did not complain.

    Maggie and I were both flight attendants for United Airlines. We both lived in Louisville, Kentucky but commuted to Chicago. We met one day on a flight to Chicago and bonded

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  • Saying Goodbye to My Father

    I have a favorite picture of my Dad in my memory. It was about six years ago when my daughter had moved to Dallas and I went to visit her. While I was there, I borrowed her car and drove out to see my Dad, whom I had not seen for many years. He lived about 75 miles outside Dallas in a small, rural town called Weatherford. After many wrong turns and much studying of the map, I finally pulled into his driveway and there was my Dad, standing on the front porch of his house staring out at the beautiful view of rolling Texas grasslands. One hand was in his jacket pocket and the other hand was holding a mug of coffee. When he turned and saw me, he smiled.

    He always smiled when he saw me and he was always happy when I visited. He and I would laugh about the silliest things and I would notice many little things that he and I would do exactly alike. He would stack up two or three newspapers before he read them and then go through them all at one sitting. When I use to get the paper, I

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  • Where is My Cell Phone?

    If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would have been carrying a phone around with me everywhere I would have laughed and asked why. That prophecy has come true but I still do not know why. There are only a few people that call me and only half of them I want to answer. So why do I carry my cell phone? I imagine it is because everyone else does, and being attached to the rest of the world in an instant becomes a habit.

    I lived over half of my life without a phone in my purse or pocket and never felt anything was missing. I can remember waiting in line at different places to use a pay phone or even running next door to borrow a neighbor's phone when mine was not working. Most of us never felt the need to have our hands around a phone whenever we left the house. I remember as a young girl coming in from school and asking my Mother if a certain boy had called me. Today, young girls get those calls before they even leave school, but not in verbal communication, more likely in

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  • User Post: Moving: Do I Really Have to Take All This Stuff?

    I was speaking with my Aunt the other day and complaining about all the packing that I had to do. She said that she had moved so much that the next time she was just going to walk out with the clothes on her back and leave everything. I almost wish that I could do that myself. I counted and realized that I had moved five times in the last 10 years. I had left some things along the way so with each move, my stuff became smaller but then I ended up adding more stuff back in as I lived each day. My moving box count goes up and down as often as the stock market.
    I think the stuff in my closet keeps multiplying. I could swear that every time I remove and pack hangers that the next day there are 10 more hanging on the bar. My books are growing, too. And my shoes are not only increasing in number but in style and color. My room is beginning to look like The Home Shopping Network and I don't even shop. Where did I get all this stuff?
    Another problem with moving is the boxes. I can never find

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  • Summer Day

    Morning, sitting on sun scorched seats in your car.

    Sand sifting slyly into your swimsuit.

    Sweaty droplets mix with the sunscreen in your jar.

    Lazy, laugh filled lunch at the beach.

    Watching the tide, knowing exactly where you are.

    Showering outside at noon, removing salt and sand.

    Slipping sandy sandals on your feet.

    Squeezing salt water from your hair with your hand.

    Throwing things back into your bag.

    With one last, longing look at the shore, how grand.

    Evening, sweet, scented honeysuckle fills the night.

    Lying loosely on soft and cool grass.

    Moths dance around the flickering back porch light.

    Watching silver stars subtly appear.

    Then seeing one fall as if the Heavens lost the fight.

  • Taking Grandmother Home

    When Marcie, the flight attendant, was helping people board the flight in New York on a bright, summer day, a very young pretty girl walked on with a huge, bulky, green garment bag. Marcie offered to help her but the girl refused and struggled and pulled, bumping the garment bag all the way down the aisle to the back. She hung the garment bag in the aft closet. Marcie had wanted to refuse the large bag but the flight was only half full, so there was a lot of room in the closets.

    The flight to Miami took off into a gorgeous blue sky and headed south as the plane leveled out. Marcie unhooked her jump seat harness and began to serve breakfast with the other five flight attendants. Halfway through the service, Janice, one of the flight attendants from coach hurried up to Marcie and dragged her into the galley.

    "Marcie, you won't believe what I just saw in the closet!" Janice was excited and out of breath. "I think we have a stowaway!"

    Marcie just stood there for a minute

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  • Night Words

    Sitting here alone in front of my maroon curtains, the night sings to me.

    I ache to sing back, but I don't know the words.

    What's worse, I'm not sure I ever did.

    Time comes and goes, and briefly comes again and leaves me nothing to cling to.

    I ponder my youth and what I didn't do.

    And what I did has left me empty.

    If I were to know what to do to bring yesterday back, would I do it?

    Or would I leave the things that never mattered,

    Embedded in a stone in my heart?

    Snowflakes and roses, sunlight and grey shadows pass me by like soft whispers.

    I follow to catch them as they wonder by me.

    But snow is too cold and thorns too sharp.

    Will I ever feel the flowers again and hold forever in my hand?

    Or will the night words never return to me?

    And the night song words and I will part.

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  • Layover

    The Statler Hotel and Seventh Ave,

    The smell of fresh bagels and smooth cream cheese,

    The cries of the pretzel and hotdog vendors on the corner,

    The sounds of the horns from the traffic in the street,

    I should be consoled by now,

    A weekend in New York without you.

    But the smell of muslin sheets keeps me awake,

    And keys in doors down the hall by strangers,

    And the thump of the soft drink machine from other people, who cannot sleep,

    I need you,

    To sleep,

    Between New York and me.


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