My mother was an elegant woman. Highly educated, quite beautiful and she had this casual, elegant way of moving that caused even total strangers to tell her how graceful she appeared. Her name was Diane Clara, and, I lost her 16 years ago. Indeed, I still miss her, especially our weekly phone calls. It never mattered what day I called, or time, she somehow knew when I would and was right there by the phone.
Her favorite place to visit was Denmark. She loved to get over there as often as she could, and it was the return flight back to New York City that is the source for this fun story. She and my dad were flying back, and, he had been able to get the two bulkhead seats. This was several years ago, and the plane had one aisle that ran down the center with two seats on either side.
The reason he would finagle for that bulkhead seating (the seats all of the way at the front of the plane facing the wall between the passengers and the pilots) was because, as much as she loved going over to Denmark, she hated to fly and sitting there helped make it a bit easier. Smoking helped her too, and she would puff away most of the trip home on these little cigars. I am not sure exactly when this event took place, however, I do believe it was in the early 1950’s, before I came along.
On this flight back, sitting right across the aisle from them was Cary Grant and his manager. She told me that she overheard Cary say how interesting it was to see a woman smoking a cigar.
The flight back was smooth and uneventful, and, they landed safely at LaGuardia Airport, New York in the afternoon. As I mentioned before, this was in the 1950’s and those large, moveable ramps that swing over to the door of the plane were not used yet. Instead, moveable stairs on wheels were rolled up to the door and locked in place, so people could walk down to the asphalt then into the terminal.
So, here is the fun part of the story.
As the people began to exit the plane, Cary was allowed to leave first, and everyone seemed happy enough to let him pass. Since my parents were right next to him and his manager, they just followed along behind them.
Exiting the plane towards the back, Cary’s manager went first, then Cary, and my mother was right behind him. My mom, she was very pretty as I had said, and, the flight attendant just assumed she was with Cary Grant, so she let her go right after him. They stopped my dad though, and, were holding all of the other passengers back until Cary was on the ground.
A bunch of photographers were waiting for him. He obliged them and stopped about halfway down the stairs so they could take their pictures. My mom was having a ball and laughing, looking back up the stairs at my dad, who just shook his head and rolled his eyes. He was enjoying the moment with her. But, of course, she did not see Cary had stopped in front of her.
She plowed right into his back, and, because they were on those stairs, and she was up behind him, my mom pitched forward and started to fall right over his shoulder. Cary reached up and thankfully caught her in time before she flew over him into what would have been a very bad fall.
He asked if she was alright. She told him she was, and, thanked him for what he had done for her. A few minutes later, a limousine pulled up and Cary and his manager were whisked away. My dad was already rushing down the stairs to get to my mom, and, together they hurried off into the terminal. I never knew if any pictures had been taken of her with Cary. What a fun memento that would have been, but, she still had her own little "Affair to Remember".
Miss you mom. You were the best, and, thank you Cary Grant for keeping her safe that day.