Monday, September 20, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Kenneth Wofford, Tuskegee Airman
Col. Kenneth Wofford, U.S. Air Force ret., died Sunday at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale MN. He was 87. I met Kenneth Wofford last April at the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame Awards Dinner in Bloomington, MN. That night I was honored to be presented with the 2009 Minnesota Aviation Writer's Award for my book, Fujiyama Trays & Oshibori Towels, about my experiences as a stewardess for Northwest Airlines in the 1950s.
But the highlight of the evening for me was having the opportunity to meet many Minnesota aviation legends.
Kenneth Wofford, a past Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame honoree, was just such a legend. He stopped by our table to greet Tom Schellinger and his wife Judy. Tom, president of the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame, introduced me and my guests to Col. Wofford.
One of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Col. Wofford spent 32 years in the U.S. Air Force, flying combat missions in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. After retiring in 1974 he became manager of the Minnesota Office of Aeronautics.
His passion for the past 25 years has been mentoring and challenging youth, especially those at risk, to overcome barriers and achieve their dreams.
I feel very fortunate to have had the honor of meeing Kenneth Wofford.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Wearing White: The Rules
I was getting ready for work one morning last week, pulling on a pair of white jeans, when my gaze fell on a calendar behind my bedroom door proclaiming August 2010. I made a mental note to flip the page to September when a little voice from the recesses of my mind said, "September. You know you can't wear white after Labor Day. Oh wait, it's okay. It isn't Labor Day, yet."
Whoa. I don't pay any attention to that anymore, do I? Why did the thought even enter my mind?
I suspect it is another of those mores which, even when challenged, stubbornly refuse to go away ... at least in one's thought.
We even observed the "rule" with our stewardess uniforms. In summer we wore a tan uniform with sporty tan and white spectator pumps. (I remember what a chore it was to keep the white parts white!) In the fall we went back to dark blue uniforms and navy blue pumps.
Today as I try to determine just when it became okay to wear white all year long, I vaguely remember shopping at Cedrics in Edina in the early 1980s. Remember Cedrics? It was early fall and I was shopping for a suit. The saleswoman said, "Try this new winter white." "White?" I asked dubiously. "Of course," she answered. "You can wear white all year."
Winter white. Snow. It sort of made sense. "What color shoes would I wear with it?" I asked, (after all, we surely can't wear white shoes after Labor Day.)
"Matching shoes," she replied authoritatively, and proceeded to tell me where I could find a pair of winter white shoes to match.
I bought the suit. And the shoes. Wouldn't you think that experience 30 years ago would mark my liberation from the "wearing or not wearing white rule"?
Today is Labor Day.
Alas, when I perused the clothing in my closet this morning, I thought about removing all the summer clothes and tucking them away for the season. I thought about it.
But I didn't.