Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rose Harrison Earns Her Wings

In the 1950s there was not a more stylish profession for women. My mother earned her wings after completing some college and professional airline hostess training. I believe she worked for Continental Airlines. Women had to be at least 5'6" tall and were subject to weight restrictions. She lived quite the glamorous life flying between New York and Chicago.

My father became a police officer in New York City. Walt was interested in Rose for several years. I was told that mother and one of her girlfriends "stowed away" my father and a friend in the luggage area. Mother finally agreed to settle down and marry Walter in 1958. Rose had to turn in her wings, Walter made a career change after being stabbed below the chest on Canal Street.


Meri said...

Did your Mom ever regret not being able to fly? And how serious were your father's injuries? What did he do instead?

Katie said...

Besides this being an awesome photo, you have the outline for an amazing movie in just one paragraph! As Meri says, this sure begs a lot more questions. But I don't want to be nosy. (Ok I do want to be nosy, but I'll understand if you don't want to reveal more.)

dive said...

Wow, Neetzy! What an exotic life your parents led.
Katie's right: you've got an awesome movie pitch right there.
Who would you like to see play them?

Tom said...

Great photos. Thanks for digging into the vault. It's like setting foot on undiscovered land. I believe the airline was the now-defunct Capitol but I'm not certain. Do you have the picture of the cop?

neetzy said...

She flew as a stewardess. She didn't fly as a pilot. Dad still shows off his scar. I do not think the stab wound was deep enough to cause any major problems. Dad moved to Atlantic City and became an insurance adjuster for Continental Insurance. After that he got into Radio. More stories for another post!


A movie? Wow. While I was growing up I thought they were so boring! I'll have to play around with this thought! Now that I look back they were so amazingly glamorous!

I have no idea who should play them. Do you have any suggestions?


I think you are absolutely right. Mom worked for the now-defunct Capital Airlines. Dad worked for Continental Insurance. Unfortunately I don't have any copper photos. I am on a mission to search for those! I would also like to find some of the old radio days!

Maria said...

When I was a kid, I always thought it would be so exciting to be a stewardess. (And that is exactly what they were called.) But that was back when travel was exotic and unusual. daughter has traveled more in her ten years than I did in my first 30!)

Janelle Goodwin said...

Your Mom is so gorgeous and sophisticated looking in this photo. At first I thought I was looking at a movie clip. I agree that their lives were totally interesting!

Alan Burnett said...

Being an air hostesses was the job every girl wanted to do back in the fifties and sixties. Not quite sure if there was an equivalent for boys - my generation were a little too late for the train driver craze of previous generations. For some bizarre reason I wanted to be a TV weather man. That is a stunning picture of your mother.

Nana Jo said...

Your mother was beautiful!

When I was a little girl I thought being an air hostess was the most glamourous job in the world. My sisters and I used to take turns being the air hostess in a game we all loved. Somewhere there exists a picture of me tottering down an 'aisle' of lined-up dining chairs serving a tray of crackers to my sisters and various dolls.

neetzy said...

Hey Maria,

I don't think "airline hostessing" is nearly as glam as it was in the fifties. The outfits aren't as cute either!

Janelle, She was one gorgeous woman. She was also a ballet dancer. When she was on her deathbed the hospice nurse commented on her still shapely legs.

Alan, I can now appreciate what it must have been like for her to pursue that dream! And all that before raising a family! I am not quite sure what the equivalent would have been for young men.

Nana Jo,

I can just picture you and your sister setting up the chairs! You would have had to have just the right hairstyle and makeup. I also believe they wore white gloves!

John Hayes said...

The stowaway story is priceless! Great photo, too.

neetzy said...

Thanks John!

I think I'll pick my dad's brain a bit more on this one. Great creative writing assignment!

Nancy said...

With your mother's beautiful smile, she could have been the poster lady for her airline. She must have loved her work if it took her a while to decide to get married.

neetzy said...


Thank you. Mom was a gorgeous woman and everyone I know loved her. Times were different back then. You had to choose between career and marriage. She eventually chose marriage.

Shazza said...

Mom was a gorgeous gal that is for sure.
Thanks for posting this Anita - it's nice to take a trip down memory lane!

neetzy said...


We have to keep the memories alive! I've heard a person is not really "dead" until there is no one left to remember them.