Lounging in the morning, we headed to see the Atlantic midday. Poor wifi made work frustrating.
After much research and not wanting to drive back towards NYC, we decided on Smith Point Beach County Park (SPCB) for the day. A half-hour drive away, we wanted to see the campground. When booking this trip, we tried to stay at SPCB, but the minimum stay is four nights; we only wanted two.
Parking was $18. We debated staying or not, but I wanted to see the TWA Flight 800 Memorial Garden, so we stayed.
TWA Flight 800 is the third deadliest crash in aviation history. The twenty-fifth anniversary is July 17, 1996. Bound for Rome, leaving JFK with a stop in Paris, the Boeing 747 jetliner was only in the air 13 minutes before it exploded.
Flags fly for every country that lost citizens at the entrance to the gardens. The crash occurred just before I retired from flying. I can still remember watching the news coverage—small boats, locals, with tiny lights desperately searching for survivors.
In hindsight, this crash was part of the reason I left flying. My anxiety won the battle. To this day, I hate to fly. Two and a half years in the business was enough for me.
One trip I would have to report at 4:00 p.m., the next one 4:00 a.m. Our trips were either out-n-backs, 2,3, or 4 days. I was paid per diem from the time I checked in for a trip until I returned home, at the time I flew it was $1 something per hour. Tax-free, per-diem bought groceries for me. Legal limits wouldn’t allow the airline to schedule flight attendants (FA) more than a certain amount of hours per day and so many days in a row. Trust me when I say the schedulers knew those limits well and got everything they could from you.
Each month we “bid” for our lines, our travel schedule for the month. Because I was a junior FA, I landed a reserve line, meaning I was on call all month long with no definite trips. Being on call meant living with a suitcase packed and the ability to arrive at the airport within an hour of receiving the call. Yes, it happened to me on more than one occasion. Physically and mentally, the job is exhausting.
Losing an engine in severe turbulence with a flight full of passengers is far from glamorous. Strapped in your seat, passing barf bags up the aisle, while trying desperately to remember the 23rd Psalm is something you only want to live through once. I can still see in my mind my navy patent leather pump stepping onto black asphalt when we landed, something I was sure I would never do again.
Treat your flight attendants well; they work hard. Nothing about their job is easy. Traveling to different places all the time is glamorous, but the lifestyle is rigorous.
In the case of flight TWA, 18 Flight Attendants lost their lives serving their passengers. All were American but one, who was from Italy. Here is a list of all 230 passengers and crew.
(Written while sitting at Smith Point Beach, site of the rescue operation.)
After touring the garden and paying our respects, we headed to the beach. Overcast skies and a light breeze made for an enjoyable time. The wifi didn’t work, which meant I couldn’t work, so I took a nap. Ron finished his latest book; pups had the trailer to themselves. Everyone was happy.
Feeling like teenagers, we found a path to sneak into the Smith Point campground and take a peek. Shock is the emotion I would use to describe this slice of heaven. With the sound on one side and the ocean on the other, you’re surrounded by water.
Deer roam freely among the campers, not disturbed by human presence.
A unique aspect of this campground is the ability to take your car on the beach. Fees apply, but the convenience is worth it.
Leaving the park, we stopped for diesel. Backing in to get fuel, Ron says in his attempt at a NY accent, “Don’t know why we have to back in. I guess this is New York, and we’ll do it the New York way.”
Afterward, we decide on Mexican for lunch. Senor Taco‘s chips were stale and queso generic. However, the avocado salad was delicious. Ron raged about his chicken fajitas. Leftovers fed us for dinner.
Since we needed wifi to work, we spent the afternoon at Starbucks.
Driving to the campground after spending the day touring Long Island (LI), I came to this conclusion. LI doesn’t feel like an island. In fact, the place reminds me of Pennsylvania in a lot of ways.
Ron summed up our journey this far well, “Two days are just enough time to start feeling comfortable, then, “Poof,” you’re gone.”
We stopped by King Kullen (KK), the local grocery store, for supplies on the way home. I bought a bag as a souvenir. Apparently, KK is America’s first supermarket. Another lesson learned.
We came home to another weather alert, this time much more imminent.
The sound of rain beginning its march through the campground sent Ron inside to extend the awning. I was sweeping the mat, trying to get it put up before the skies opened. As the awning extended its protection over me, the water droplets began to fall, not one landing on me. Putting the dogs inside, we sat in our collapsible blue rockers and enjoyed the summer shower.
Why did we decide to explore northeastern beaches in July? Cooler evenings perfect for campfires.
Today’s adventure ended our favorite way:)-
2 thoughts on “Memorial, Beach, and Rain”
Totally enjoying your journal, had no idea you were an airline gal, would love to hear the story some day why you now hate flying?
I suffer PTSD from events like the one I mentioned in the blog. That particular time was the worst, but I experienced others as well. Typically I don’t talk about them because I don’t want to discourage other people from flying. I’m aware flying is one of the safest ways to travel.
But I flew up to 8 flights a day, a typical day was 4-6 flights. I flew mainly Dash-8’s (37 seaters) and Dash-7’s (50 seaters); both required only one flight attendant. Flying in storms was normal and always terrifying for me.
I also developed a fear of heights during this time. My imaginative mind working overtime I guess. I’m not really sure why the fear developed, I still battle it today.
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