On Facebook they have these groups for folks who grew up in towns.  I belong to one for the town where I went to high school in Washington State.  One day we were talking about how we all used to go to the airport as kids and ride the tram.  I was kind of surprised because I never realized that my family wasn’t the only one that did this.  This was the best and cheapest entertainment going when we were kids, plus where else can you take a bunch of kids when it is raining and cold?  We used to ride out to the satellite terminals and then ride up and down the escalators, look out at the planes loading and, of course, watch them take off.  I also remember checking every single phone and news paper box for change. We usually picked up about a dollar.  We knew that airport like the back of our hands and yet few of us had flown out of there when we were 8 and 9 years old. I still know my way around most of that airport and as a result I usually explore every airport I land at, if I have time, so that I am familiar enough with it for future visits.  Then I thought about the last time I was in that airport which was my last trip home in 2005 and how secure the place was.  No more late night visits to play on the tram, or watch airplanes take off.  I tried to remember the last time you could actually get further than the ticket desks and it must have been in the late 80’s, now the airport is strictly business and only for those few who can travel by plane.  I think about the generations to come who wont grow up knowing the airport like the back of their hand unless they fly a lot, it is kind of sad in a way.  I wonder if parents would even consider doing something like this in today’s world anyway, I mean if the airports were opened up like they used to be.  I am sure some parent would find the activity to be unsavory and unsafe for families for some reason.  Gosh for all I know there were people who thought taking your kid to the airport was unsafe back when my mom was taking us there, but when you are poor and can’t afford to take your kids anywhere else riding the escalators up to the international gates is pretty darn exciting.

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