I was born in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania during a time when coal mining was the major industry and the mines were slowly playing out. Or so we were told. By the time I was old enough to start looking for a job, the want-ads in the local newspaper was about six inches long, and under Women Wanted, only babysitting and house cleaning jobs were listed. I told my parents that was the reason I wanted to leave, but there were other things, not the least of which was I’m just not a small town person.
It was a time when daughters just didn't up and go, so I asked my aunt in New Jersey to take me in, and I started looking for a job in New York City. I knew a school chum who had gotten a job with the airlines in their reservations department and it sure sounded good to me. So I applied with Eastern Airlines and away I went. Airline reservations departments, at the time, were huge open bay things with shifts coming and going every hour on the hour from 7AM until midnight. The midnight-to-seven shift was a specially trained group of agents and it was considered a promotion to get on.
I spent a year in res, transferred to speed-mail-ticketing (for people who wanted their tickets mailed to them, with every ticket hand written) and then moved over to domestic rate desk. That consisted of creating fares for people who booked more that a round trip in the USA or Canada. There was an international rate desk, but I didn't go there. Instead I quit Eastern and moved over to BOAC. That was before BOAC and BEA merged and became British Airways. I worked refunds department and then moved to rate desk. BOAC was an international airline, no rights to fly within the US or Canada, and since I'd come from a domestic airline and had domestic rate desk experience, I got to keep the Squires domestic tariff. It was a monster of a book the likes of which I’d only ever seen in an auto parts store. It revised by page with advanced dates of usage on them, which means you can look up a fare and find three pages for it, each with a different effective date. The international airlines revised by book parts, much easier. On the other hand several airlines published their own tariffs and it was necessary to use them all. Pan Am, BOAC, Swissair and SAS were mandatory. Pricing international fares was complicated things done by adding up the miles between cities. Every two pairs of international cities had a mileage allotment to determine how many stopovers in between the passenger could make without having to pay more. If the routing exceeded that amount then there were overage tables to determine how much more had to be paid. 5 to 25 percent increments were allowed. If it exceeded 25 percent, then the fare structure became more complicated. No wonder the airlines lost money and most international airlines had to be subsidized by their governments.
At that time there was lots of free travel. At Eastern I used to carry around a bunch of pass allowance tickets in my purse. Three days off—Lets Go! And, oh yes, I managed to get married somewhere in there. When I got pregnant, we moved to Oregon.
In Oregon I worked at a travel agent, moving with the never-ending-changes in the industry, and ended up being forced into retirement when my large worldwide agency closed ninety percent of its branch offices. That was December 2001.
I've been writing since the early eighties, trying my hand at a romance novel and then moved on to SF short stories, and now mystery novels. I'm sticking with novels. I try a short story every so once-in-a-while, actually got an SF/mystery crossover published as the ezine’s first SF/mystery. And my first floating home mystery was published in the anthology Murder Across The Map, which is still available on Amazon. The Critique Group also takes place on a floating home, in Fish Tales, A Guppy Anthology, also available on Amazon.
My protagonist in my finished novel, Downsized To Death, is a travel agent who lives on a floating home. Brownstone Burial takes place in New York City in 1963 and my protagonist is an airline res agent. Write about what you know, right?
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