Kiwi Club a monthly forum for former flight attendants

Updated December 6, 2017 - 8:43 am

These ladies flew the skies when flying was fun. Now, members of The Kiwi Club, made up of former flight attendants, meet once a month to share memories and to support charitable causes.

Carolyn Jones was with American Airlines for 38 years. Being a flight attendant allowed her to visit major museums, see historic sites, take in plays and concerts, she said.

“One month, you’d fly to Europe, the next month, Asia, meeting people from all over the world,” she said. “It was a blast. … It broadens your horizons.”

The Kiwi Club was started in the 1930s by former American Airlines flight attendants and was chartered in 1952, according to the club’s website. During the group’s second meeting in New York, a member suggest they call themselves Kiwis, named for New Zealand’s flightless bird.

Many of the Las Vegas Valley members are Henderson residents, and they typically change meeting locations each month.

Kay Jennings began flying with American in 1956 and spent 11 years with the airline, based in Los Angeles.

“We were stewardesses, not flight attendants. We were something special. … That was the best time,” she said. “That was the time that we always wore skirts, white gloves and a hat.”

The transition from propeller planes to jets led to a major change in how they provided service, Jennings said.

“They were much bigger, a lot faster and involved a lot more service. … You had to do everything you’d done in five hours or six hours in two or three,” she said.

Donnita Gross was with American 40 years. She loved the free travel and flexibility in scheduling, she said.

“People are more demanding now. They don’t dress up. You can be casual and be in decent clothes. But these days? It’s a toss-up.”

Marietta Worrell, was with American for 40 years and was based in San Francisco. She recalled having actress Ava Gardner on a late-night flight from New York to San Francisco.

“She walked on the airplane without any makeup on, and I think she was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. We were told not to give her any alcohol. … She asked me for a beer, and I said, ‘I’m so sorry, but I’m not able to.’ She was very pleasant about it.”

Gardner slept the whole way and put on her makeup in the ladies’ room before landing, Worrell said.

Worrell said she has also been on planes with Bob Hope (“Nicest man you’d ever want to meet,” Worrell said.) and Rita Hayworth. Not all encounters happened on the planes.

Peggy Ganopole, formerly Peggy Russell, started working for Trans World Airlines in 1954 and flew for 10 years. She recalled being on reserve in Kansas City when she was called to get to the airport to work a flight.

“I could hear them calling my name over and over; ‘Peggy Russell, report to gate 34 as soon as possible,’ she said. “So I’m running down the hallway, and I see a group of men coming my way. I try to bypass them, but I bump into one man. His hat flew off; my hat flew off. He looked at me, and I looked at him and I went, ‘Oh, my goodness, President Truman.’

“He said, ‘How are you, my dear? Are you Peggy Russell?’ … He had two guys take me to the airplane, to the ramp. The captain is looking out and he asks, ‘Who were those two men escorting you?’ And I said, ‘President Truman’s security men.’ The passengers started to clap when they heard.”

Sandy Coe was 21 in 1965 and flying for American. She recalled getting to Los Angeles early for her nonstop to New York City, so she went to a coffee shop. There were no seats available, but a young boy waved her over. Coe ended up sitting with him, his sister and their nanny. Their dad, the boy explained, was checking on when mom’s flight would arrive. They chatted for about 10 minutes, then Dad walked over.

It was Paul Newman.

“I about fell out of my chair,” Coe recalled. “Those beautiful eyes and that smile. Not bad.”

Lillian Larson began her career in 1955 and flew 46 years with American. In the days of propellers, the Douglas DC-7 aircraft had slots along the sides of the plane. The flight attendants would hand out stationery so passengers would write letters during long flights, she said.

“We told them that we would mail them for them,” Larson recalled. “After every trip, we’d have to check all the air-conditioning slots. They thought that was how they mailed the cards.”

On one flight, Larson said, a woman kept ringing the call button from the bathroom. Larson asked if everything all right. The woman complained that someone might be able to see her using the lavatory.

“She said, ‘There’s no curtain on this window,’” Larson said. “I said, ‘You know where we are?’ And she said, ‘Yes, but there are other planes that go by us.’”

The Kiwi Club has 19 members in Las Vegas representing TWA and American Airlines, but flight attendats from other airlines are welcome. Visit thekiwiclub.org.

Contact Jan Hogan at jhogan@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2949.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Dan Barnson steps down
Arbor View football coach Dan Barnson stepped down Friday after 12 seasons at the helm. Under Barnson, the Aggies won 104 games and became one of the top programs in Las Vegas. The Aggies went 12-2 in 2018 and won a region championship for the first time in program history. Barnson loves Friday nights, but said the 12-month commitment was getting exhausting.
NFR 2018 Highlights
NFR 2018 highlights from every round of this years rodeo.
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Joe Frost
NFR Bull Rider Joe Frost talks about the difference in bulls and his family legacy with Cassie Soto before the last round of the National Finals Rodeo.
Herm Edwards on LV Bowl loss
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards talks about the loss in the Las Vegas Bowl. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State linebacker George Helmuth after LV Bowl
Linebacker George Helmuth talks about Fresno State's turnaround. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Youth cancer survivor receives gift bat at Winter Meetings
Cancer survivor Steven Mondragon, baseball player at Los Altos High in Hacienda Heights, California, received a complimentary bamboo bat during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Day 9 Highlights
Highlights from round 9 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR 2018- Will Lummus Leads in Steer Wrestling
As NFR 2018 enters day nine, steer wrestler Will Lummus continues to see his name at the top of the standings. Las Vegas Review Journal host Cassie Soto speaks with the Mississippi native about his excitement to be participating in his first ever NFR.
John Saccenti on the Las Vegas Bowl's future
Las Vegas Bowl executive director John Saccenti talks about the game's future. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
UNLV's Mbacke Diong on his offensive improvement
UNLV forward Mbacke Diong talks about his offensive improvement. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR dirt is the most important part of the rodeo
NFR has bull riding, saddle bronc, barrel racing, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, and bareback riding but one of the most important part of the rodeo according to construction maintenance manager Allen Rheinheimer is the dirt that they all take place in. Review-Journal sports writer Ed Graney chats with Rheinheimer and ground man John Jamison to get an inside look at the dirt in Thomas & Mack at the National Finals Rodeo.
North Las Vegas Pedestrian-cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 8 Highlights
Highlights from round 8 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR - Wyatt Denny Talks About Representing Nevada
NFR Bareback Rider Wyatt Denny talks to host Cassie Soto about being the only Nevada representative in the NFR this year and his skiing talent.
Junior NFR Offers Breakaway Roping for Girls
Unlike the NFR at the Thomas and Mack Center, the Junior NFR at the Las Vegas Convention Center offers breakaway roping for girls 19-and under. This event allows the young women of rodeo one more event to participate in, aside from barrel racing.
North Las Vegas Pedestrian-Cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 7 Highlights
Highlights from the 7th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Jessica Routier
NFR Barrel Racer Jessica Routier talks about being at her first NFR, her horses, and her family with Cassie Soto in front of Thomas & Mack before round 7 of the National Finals Rodeo.
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
NFR Day 6 Highlights
Highlights from the 6th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Las Vegas Bowl Teams Talk Shop at Maverick Helicopters
Arizona State, Fresno State talk to the media at Maverick Helicopters.
NFR- Will Lowe
NFR Bareback Rider Will Lowe talks with Aaron Drawhorn about his 15 years at the NFR, starting to ride at age 7, and renewing his wedding vowels this year in Las Vegas before night 6 of the National Finals Rodeo.
Veterans Village
Veterans Village and Veterans Village II were created to assist homeless veterans get back on their feet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday party cocktails
Veterans Village II Unveils Model Container Home
Veteran's Village II unveiled a model container home. The organization will be building 10 of these container homes to house veterans of the village. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR- Kory Koontz
NFR Team Roper Kory Koontz talks about his years at the event since 1992, his dynamic with a 23 year old partner Dustin Egusquiza, and how he contines to perform with diabetes with Aaron Drawhorn outside of Thomas & Mack before round 5 of the National Rodeo Finals.
Meet the woman behind the Las Vegas Bowl
Melissa Meacham-Grossman is the associate executive director for the Las Vegas Bowl. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Highlights Day 4
NFR highlights day 4
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like