Wednesday, May 17, 2006

First Class

About five years ago, my sister, mom and I went on a "girl trip" to Manhattan. On our way home, sitting in the airport, dog tired, they called our names to come up to the ticket counter. Oy... what now, PLEASE don't tell me they've overbooked and we're being bumped.

Well, they were overbooked, and we were bumped - to First Class. Now, I had never been in First Class before (and haven't since) - but I can tell you it was sweet. Very sweet.

As we were settling into our big, comfy, reclining chairs with lots of leg room, sipping our complimentary mimosas, I started looking around, wondering what kind of people flew First Class and could actually afford to pay for it. Were there any celebrities on board? Most of them looked like business people. Most of them were flying alone. I wondered, do people assume I belong in First Class, too? - or do I stick out like a sore thumb? Probably the latter, but, whatever. I did look pretty travel weary by then - but, you know, casual people fly First Class, too.

There was an interesting group up front. Now, I do NOT want to offend anyone, but I must describe this group - so I apologize up front. But, have you ever seen "The Nanny" with Fran Drescher - it was popular a while back. Remember her mother? Big blue hair, flamboyant clothes, Bronx accent? This was a whole group like that. - you couldn't get more sitcom stereotypical... big hair, bad toupees, LOUD clothing, LOTS of gold jewelry and chains, on the men... and they were having the best time! The whole group was flying to Las Vegas (the stopover). I remember one woman had on a matching shiny polyester jog suit with playing cards all over it, and shiny gold tennis shoes. It was too much. I tell ya - they were the most fun to watch. You could tell they were all long time friends, or probably all belonged to the same "group" of some sort. They were drinking up a storm and having a ball. Those folks knew knew to enjoy life.

Another woman boarded and sat across the aisle from me. She was very elegant, not at all ostentatious or flamboyant, but VERY classy. She didn't scream designer labels, but you knew everything she had on was expensive, and the "good stuff." I'm sure her handbag and shoes alone cost more than a couple of my house payments - and I have a big ol' California mortgage. She was very polite, very quiet and unassuming, but you couldn't miss her. She was very "Grace Kelly elegant"...

She was First Class.

She was an older woman - well older than me, and I found myself kind of fascinated with her. I wondered who she was, what she did- maybe she didn't "do" anything. She was obviously very well off. You just knew she always flew first class. Maybe she came from "old money." Maybe she was a hugely successful business woman? Maybe she was famous and I just didn't recognize her.

At one point she reached into her bag and pulled out the most gorgeous pashmina - very light pink... HUGE. Now I have a pashmina, and I love it, but it's not huge, and I generally save it for special occasions. By the way she just casually draped hers over her shoulders, you knew she wore hers all the time, or another just like it. It was everyday elegant - well, everyday for her - not me.

When we got off the plane my Mom and my sister both asked "did you see the woman across the aisle from you?" (we had been split up and weren't sitting together) - and we all remarked on how elegant she was, and how rare it is anymore to see a truly polished, elegant woman.

Maybe it made an impression on me because it was so different from where we live, in California, where it's more the norm for people to want to flaunt their wealth - think Beverly Hills and the like... designer labels and expensive cars.... flaunting - making sure everyone "notices." That's what I'm used to seeing. And that is not elegant.

She didn't flaunt anything.

When I saw the pattern for this shawl in my new Inspired Cables book, I immediately thought of her. I would love to wear this all the time - knowing it was expensive, alpaca, something gorgeous and unique, but wear it with an elegant air, like I hardly gave it a thought.

Ok... I'll wear mine with jeans, or nice slacks, but not $800 slacks with $800 shoes.... I'll make it "my own." I'll make my own First Class statement.

I'll never be that mysterious elegant woman on the plane, but I did see her one day, and she was beautiful.

29 Comments:

At 2:10 PM, Blogger amylovie said...

Go Lynda! You could totally pull it off.

Amy

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger jillian said...

One of the best things my mom ever taught me is that class has nothing to do with money. :) Class comes from the inside. And it has been my observation that sometimes the richest people have the least class. However, this elegant lady on the people sounds like a wonderful exception to the rule.

That shawl will be wonderful on you!

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger Lynda said...

VERY true Jillian! Class really has nothing to do with money.

This woman, she just had it all, though - a rare thing indeed.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger keohinani said...

that's such a nice story. i've always had admiration for people like that too.
i have a guy friend whose appearance screams "metro" because his eyebrows are nicer than mine and he shaves his legs way more than i do. he's totally straight, though. he asked me one day if i liked anything about myself (mostly because i remarked that it must take so much effort for him to be pretty all the time and that i couldn't do that), and i said "no, nothing at all. i'm so plain and average." he said i'm so stupid; he said i'm gorgeous! he said when it comes to girls, i'm not like any other he's met before and that i'm in a league of my own. i'm a class act. starfish says the very same thing.
i guess when i read about the first class lady in your post, it made me feel pretty happy. i thought about what my friend and starfish said about me, and it's nice to know that at least to some people (and most importantly, the ones who matter), i've got class...or at least, deserve to be considered first class like that lady.

 
At 2:53 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I know what you mean about California nouveau riche showing off the money. I've noticed it more in So Cal, then No Cal, but I agree. It's not a classy look.

I've met people that don't have a lot of money with a lot of class too. It's a point of view and attitude.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger uhoava gnu said...

Nice story! I enjoyed reading it, and I think we all agree about it, you don't need money to be classy. And this wonderful Alpaca Shawl will your dear classy thing! :)

 
At 3:03 PM, Blogger Sonya said...

Good story, Lynda. Elegant women like that are rather few and far between in the rural midwest. It's the thing I'm most fascinated by when we go to cities. Well, that and those big ol' tall buildings.

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Noeysmommy said...

Just from reading your blog, Lynda, I can tell you're a very classy lady!

 
At 5:25 PM, Anonymous heather said...

Heh, I put myself in the class that with the bright, loud group.
I see women that are so classy all the time, because I'm a total people-watcher, and I'm so envious of them. They can dress nice, smell nice, and no matter how hard it's rainy or the wind is blowing, they just got it.
You seem pretty classy to me Lynda, very down to earth, very special and unique in a good way. That fabulous wrap is going to be perfect for you. :)

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger Karen said...

You are such a wonderful writer - your post made me feel like I was right there in first class with you, the NY Italians (they must have been Italian) and the elegant woman. Your shawl will be wonderful, and some younger woman will look at you wear it and long to be like you.

 
At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Beth said...

I really enjoyed your post! Unfortunately, I usually feel like the antithesis of the elegant First Class lady - never pulled together, hair usually needing a trim, etc. In fact, right now I'm wearing nacho cheese on my shirt. We all know how elegant that looks!

 
At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Jeanie said...

Great story Lynda! I can totally envision the lady you described! Your shawl will be lovely on you -- and you are definitely first class my friend!

 
At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Dipsy D. said...

Oh, I absolutely loved reading through your impressions of the First Class flight - and you gave me such a good laugh with those Nanny's-Mom-lookalikes, what a scream they must have been!
I also absolutely agree with Jillian, class certainly has nothing to do with money, in the contrary, the wealthiest people so often seem to be the ones with neither class nor taste - nor anything, but money :( So good to see there's exceptions!
And yes, the shawl will be so great on you!

 
At 5:18 AM, Blogger Mom (a.k.a. Mary Ann) said...

The only time we were bumped up to first class was on our honeymoon. What a treat! That was in 1969, so I don't know if they still do this, but we got free drinks and linen tableclothes!

The alpaca shawl will be beautiful and just perfect for a classy lady like you.

 
At 6:00 AM, Anonymous lynne said...

There is something about the "casual drape" that just says class. I don't know if I'll ever get it right! But then, I have never sit in first class. I just got Inspired Cable KNits!

 
At 6:02 AM, Blogger KnitPastis said...

Such a great post Lynda!! Everytime we would drive by these houses that look like Estates, we always wonder what that do for a living. A few times I did found out. One got their money from just sitting on their hiney collecting a huge check every month from an oil rig. I believe in being a humble person with a good heart no matter the amount of goodies we might have. Your shawl is going to be so Grace Kelly on you!! You will wear it well for sure.

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger Chris said...

What a great story, Lynda! Thanks for sharing!

 
At 10:56 AM, Anonymous mom said...

Hey, I was there. I guess we're more watchers than watchees. I personally always hope no one is looking, but you sisters could pull it off. I've seen you in action!

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger Katie said...

What a great post, Lynda. I can see the Bronx people--they sound like the ladies that play Mah-Jongg every Tuesday at my mom's country club.

 
At 3:11 PM, Blogger duchessofgravity said...

you'll look so elegant! first class be damned its how you carry yourself and how you feel. :) go girl!

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger Bethel said...

My mother always put it another way..."Don't be common." she would say and I think that sums it up well.

I really enjoy your posts and pictures too.

I was wondering how you set up your weight loss tracker. I would love to add one to my blog. Thanks in advance.

Bethel
www.bethelscrafttalk.blogspot.com

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger Sheryl said...

You are first class - in all the ways that count! Don't ya just love that book?

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger Talitha said...

I like that story, Lynda, and you told it gently and elegantly. And that shawl will look beautiful!

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger miss88keys said...

I loved your post about first class...it brought back some old memories for me. I used to have the privilege of flying first class due to free upgrades from frequent business travel miles. My favorite part of first class was people watching. Isn't it interesting that you presume everyone there would be like that older woman & then come to find out, there's just some regular & not so regular joe's there too.

Even without money, you can exude class & confidence as long as you believe it for yourself.

Enjoy making your shawl. Half the fun is the process of making such a beautiful item for yourself.

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger ~kirsten~ said...

I've never ridden First Class...but I have stubby little legs and am not terribly uncomfortable in the regular people place! :O)

We all know that you ARE First Class, Lynda...!! You make that shawl and wear it with grace, you gorgeous, graceful, blessed woman!!

 
At 8:01 PM, Blogger jennifer said...

GREAT POST, Lynda! how fabulous are you!!!

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger HibiscuitsGirl said...

Lynda, what a beautiful post! I wonder who that woman was? But I also don't want to know. What a delicious mystery!

That sort of elegance comes from inside. You could definitely do it! (But I gotta admit I enjoy your humor a great deal).

 
At 5:02 AM, Blogger patti said...

I recently got the Rowan Vintage Knits book. I showed it to my parents and said that women in the 40's (and around then) just dressed so classy. So NOT like things are today. So much really is about the labels and showing off, isn't it? I think the graceful classy and understated look is so much nicer!

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger Lorette said...

Your story is a good reminder that being "first class" is not about where you sit in the airplane. Somehow I have the feeling that you'll look "first class" in that shawl, even with jeans and a tshirt!

 

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