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A Walk Down Terminal Lane

February 16, 2011

Before I was allowed to ride my bike around the block by myself, I was flying to Cleveland, Ohio for my viola lessons.  Alone.  Once a month I woke up well before the crack of dawn to drive to the airport, viola and bright pink purse in tow, to board the 8:05 flight.  It was always a scary experience flying by myself.  First, the security people did a double take when I told them I didn’t have a drivers license, and no my parents weren’t with me.  Second, when other travelers see a 12 year old walking down the concourse with a huge black case they tend to stare.  Third, a tween going to lunch by herself in the middle of Oberlin, Ohio isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence.

I learned a lot from my solo travels.  Things like managing my time with boarding airplanes, printing tickets and attending lessons.  Becoming responsible for my things-packing everything I need and making sure it all got through security.  I learned how to take initiative to find what I was looking for-stoping to ask questions.  I learned how to do hard things.

One trip to Cleveland was marked by particularly curious TSA members.  I sent my viola case through the scanning machine, and it received some very quizzical stares.  Thinking this was due to my age and an instrument, I brushed off the rude stares as nothing out of the ordinary.  I went to my lesson, unzipped my case and there was no viola.  I had left it in my room at home.  I had to confess to my teacher, who chuckled and graciously lent me one of his very large instruments for the lesson.

One of my trips as a 13 year old led to a disaster of a different sort.  I left my cell phone charging at home, as did my mother.  Unbeknownst to mom, we were experiencing weather delays.  Not having any change on me, I went to the Hudson News shop to buy a pack of gum-purely for the change.  Being a tiny tween I was much too nervous to just ask for some change for the pay phone.  So I called my dad and asked him to pass on the news of delay to my teacher in Ohio.  Between the time I had made the phone call and the time I got back to the gate the plane had boarded and left.  So I went and bought another pack of gum, took the change and called my dad to inform him of my misfortune.  Unfortunately, since my mom forgot her cell, she had to drive an hour and a half home before she got the message to turn right back around and pick me up at the airport again.  Needless to say, I have never forgotten my cell phone for a flight since!

This week my dad and I flew to Houston, TX for a college audition.  Walking into Midway Airport brought on a whole slew of memories.  My stomach was all butterflies as I waited in line for security, eyeing those terrifying new full-body scanners.  I had the whole system down for those wonderful five years of commuting–the lane all the way to the right, shoes off, electronics out of the bag, viola on the conveyer belt–the whole nine yards.  This time I had no idea where to go, what to do, what they would ask for.  It was like being twelve all over again.

I proudly handed over my drivers license with my ticket to the TSA agent, my heart swelling at the joy of being able to have a normal source of identification.  No longer do I carry the obnoxious pink bag, but the instrument still goes everywhere.  I proceeded on to the moving walk way, noting the stores along the way where I used to stop for breakfast before catching my flight.  These hallways mark my childhood and my passage into maturity.  They welcomed a little girl marveling at Bach Cello Suite no. 1 and now bear witness to a conservatory applicant playing Bach no. 6.  They’ve seen the unruly waves turn into straightened tresses of long brown hair.  TSA has scanned three violas, all of which were held in affection.

One sight I will always love is that of the Chicago city lights as I descend back into my home city.  As the plane’s altitude drops by the second my heart swells with pride at returning to the place of my birth.  As much as I love new places and new people, there is no place like home.


From → Music

One Comment
  1. Kendra Kosirog permalink

    This was beautiful Kathryn! I loved reading every moment of it. I felt more connected to you as I laughed and sympathized with you on your many adventures. I am so glad that God has given you the gift of music and teaching. You are a beautiful girl my dear sweet Kathryn!

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