Do you remember your first flight?


A tweet from Airplane Pictures started from this question. A simple question that triggered so many emotions. Indeed, we only tend to remember for the long time something, that was coloured by emotions, either positive or negative. Events that have no emotional charge, we forget, and forget fast.

So when we ask if we remember our first flights, the answer will be: if it was THIS kind of emotional charge, you will never forget it. As for any Soviet child the 1st of September, the first day of school, was the most important day of their lives…


Looking at that post on Twitter, I fall into a day dream, closing my eyes…

The time machine clears its rusty old mechanisms and starts working again…It brings me to North Caucasus, the region in Russia, where my grandmother was born…

I am 7 again, so my father, back then only a lad of 29, and my other grandmother — we are going to the beautiful town Stavropol  to see my great-aunt Nina and great-uncle Pyotr.

Amazing was the time…their house, woven into the dreamlike picture by the vine…{this very picture was taken much, much later in Croatia, but it sooo reminded me of Stavropol, so happy feelings I had then…}


…The long-distance trip to the sea on this small Ukrainian car that my uncle had…along the Russian towns…Novorossiysk, Gelendzhik…It looked very much like this..though it was of on orange fruit colour, a little bit lighter {and this one has Leningrad plates, by the way}.


I still don’t know how we all managed to fit into that car…there were other cars and other friends with us, too. My uncle taught me to overcome the fear of water and now the grandmother was to watch me with double eagerness as her shark-of-a-granddaughter expressed a wish to swim very far.

Tents, cars, guitars and sleeping bags…the group of hippie travellers was lectured by police sometimes, but still the holiday was amazing…I see that I managed to step on a thorn or something like this, and my right foot developed a huge abscess that was slowly but surely started turning blue and then black…

Neither grandmother, no father, no any man or woman from our group could help with anything…the foot would not become better and the hospital was looming on the horizon.

We are back to Stavropol and it is 30 August, so tomorrow we are to fly back home.

All is good except that we don’t have plane tickets. For the Soviet Union not bying tickets in advance was normal back then, especially if you work for the government. The tickets would normally be there. But not this time…somehow before 1 September all planes went overbooked and there were no tickets!!

And since somebody forgot to give us a cell phone or internet, my father had to rush with burning socks for two days, looking for available seats on a plane. So with a lot of prayers and best of luck he found three tickets for a 5 pm flight on 31 August.

Happy and rested we arrived to the airport to know that the plane was delayed due to weather conditions…ok, no problem. So we wait at the airport in Stavropol, wait and wait, until the day turns into night and 1 September comes, greening with its evil smile.

What is that to a child to miss the opening ceremony to a school life? Pretty much a tradegy of that life.

8 hours remained till the start of a ceremony…

…and finally at around 1 am we are boarding the plane. Me and grandmother in one cabin, the father in another. Because those were the only tickets available. The TU-154 aircraft, that many years later I would really hate for its clumsy take-off in a heavy rain, back then was a beautiful cradle from the dream of a child.

At about 4 am we arrive Domodedovo.

Grandfather waits for us with a car. At 5 am we are finally home! I open the room and see my mother, worried and pale, a brown polished wardrobe and my Soviet school uniform with white apron hanging on the wardrobe door.

So…tired, sleepy, black-footed but I…I came on time! And in two hours my parents and I, with a big white bouquet of gladiolus in my hands, a brown school bag behind my back and a happy smile on my face, came into the school yard for the first time in my life…my breath taken away in anticipation.

And it all became possible only due to my dearest father…

Who was running with burning socks around Stavropol airport, looking for tickets. And my best childhood friend got some food poisoning on that day and she missed the ceremony…that was bad…

Good was that my mother managed to cure my foot for just two days with a special ointment. So, perhaps, nobody will ever forget their first flight with so many emotions like this.

And you? Do YOU remember your first flight?

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