Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Bob Reardon Information, gleaned at his fantastic 60th Anniversary Party

Bob Reardon with his sisters and Waverly MN pastor. l-r: Bernice
Reardon, Rev. Martin Shallbetter, "the man of the hour", Mary Klingelhoets
For openers, I did not know Bob was born and bred in Waverly, MN. His sisters shared that with me. I didn't know he was from a family of nine children. I did not know that he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris his junior year in college. How did a boy from Waverly, short on funds, arrange the transportation? He worked as a waiter on the Queens; Queen Mary on the way over and Queen Elizabeth on the way home. He claims that is when he really learned first-class passenger service. Again, the sisters know.
Bob's 60th anniversary party last night was a smashing success. Masterminded by Richard Moody, Delta/NWA purser and event planner extraordinaire, it was a fitting tribute to Bob's 60 consecutive years of flying. At 87, Bob is nowhere near ready to retire. When c.j. (Minneapolis StarTribune columnist) asked me today how many people I thought were there, I answered, "Oh, about 200." She informed me in a subsequent conversation that there were actually 345. No wonder it was so crowded. And what a crowd it was. Old flight attendants, young flight attendants and middle-aged flight attendants. Some so old (moi included) they weren't allowed to retire, but forced to resign when they either (a) married or (b) reached their 32nd birthday.
Then along came Mary Pat Laffey Inman and changed the rules. Inspired by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1966, Mary Pat and other Northwest Airlines flight attendants were on the cutting edge of enforcing these Acts. Mary Pat had a front-row seat. And Mary Pat flew in from Seattle for Bob's party!
Bob Reardon and Mary Pat Laffey Inman
Another surprise visitor was a fellow named Mitch, who has worked at the Radisson Narita since 1978. This 400-plus room hotel is where NWA crews stay. Mitch, (pictured below with Bob), flew in from Japan especially for the celebration last evening at the Ft. Snelling Officer's Club. Mitch knows the crews so well he goes out of his way to be sure they have exactly the accommodations they prefer. And it goes without saying, Mitch has known Bob for a long time.
A few "old timers:" Mary Pat Laffey Inman, Carol Holmquist,
Jean Carlson Schreier, Anne Billingsley Kerr
A completely edible NWA DC-3 created by Jacklyn Dammel
Tune in tomorrow for more photos of this extraordinary event . . . .


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