The A to Z Challenge continues!
To catch up, click here: F is for Frankfurt, Part 1
and here: F is for Fail
Frankfurt’s airport, now referred to as Fraport, holds some of my most special memories! This post is my walk down Memory Lane as to what this airport meant to me.
Growing up, I spent every summer from age 6 to age 20 in Germany with my Oma and Opa (my mom’s German grandparents), as well as 2 Christmases during college while my parents were stationed there with the Civil Service.
Until I was 10 years old, my family lived in the Washington DC area, and my summer trips began at Dulles International Airport – and I flew (usually alone) with Pan Am and later Lufthansa airlines. The route usually went through JFK airport in New York City or London.
The double decker Boeing 747sp (sp=special performance) pictured about was THE way to fly!! As an unaccompanied child passenger, I was always assigned to a stewardess who kept an eye on me. Sometimes this included a tour of the plane and the cockpit! In the Boeing 747SP the upstairs deck was the 1st class seating and lounge.
I never traveled 1st class ever … however, planes were wide bodies in those days – at least the international carriers were, often with no overhead storage over the middle row of seats (believe it or not, leg room is important in air travel but so is head room!). Maybe because I was a child, but air travel felt so much less cramped and sardine-like back then. The BEST thing that could happen on an international flight was that you had an empty seat – or two – beside you so you could stretch out!
After my family moved to Tennessee, we started using Delta Airlines – still my preferred airline, not that I travel much any more. Our trip to Frankfurt usually routed through Atlanta, Cincinnati, or Detroit (which seems to be the most direct route to me).
The absolute BEST feeling in the whole wide world for me as a child was hearing the captain announce that we were landing soon and then touching down on the runway and seeing the Frankfurt scenery out of my oval plane window. THEN coming out of the gate exit and being greeted by my Oma and Opa. True joy!
I love that my grandparents made my arrival so special each summer. My Opa always dressed up so nice, and often, I was given flowers.
Sometimes my mother and brother came to Germany with me; however, they usually only stayed a few weeks while I stayed until the very last day possible before I had to go back to school.
The above picture was taken in June of 1986. My Opa had come to the States in April to celebrate his 75th birthday, and he flew back to Germany with me. He died of a heart attack that summer, just a few weeks after this picture was taken.
I spent a few summers with just my Oma after she had become a widow. Those were some special times as well. She passed away in April of 1990.
Above, I arrived at the Frankfurt airport in January of 1996 with my HUSBAND! We had received orders to be stationed in Würzburg for the next 3 years. My mother’s cousin and her mother (my Opa’s youngest sister) greeted us at the airport. This cousin became a special friend to me in the next 3 years.
We gathered again at the Fraport in January of 1999 to say good-bye after living in Germany for 3 years – and our family had expanded with the birth of Drew 3 months prior. The family members who we had spent the most time with came to the airport – my uncle and aunt, 2 2nd cousins (actually my mom’s cousins who are my age), and my great-aunt (Opa’s youngest sister) and her daughter (who took this picture).
I returned to Germany for a short visit in 2005 … and then:
(Drew at the Detroit airport, waiting to board the plane to Frankfurt)
in March of 2012, I was able to take my son Drew on a trip to show him where I was born – and where he was born! We spent 10 days in Germany.
He was able to experience travel like I did as a child: the subway
and train travel (although this fancy ICE bullet train, pictured above, did NOT exist during my childhood!!).
One day I hope to take my girls to Germany and show them one of my favorite places on earth (and travel back with my husband, too!!). I love to dream about packing my suitcases, boarding a plane, and arriving at the Frankfurt airport.