I have a thing with the number 3. The Pythagoreans taught it was the first true number. Additionally considered the number of harmony, wisdom and understanding, 3 is also the number of time, of primary colors, of the divine and of magic (i. e. “third time’s the charm”). It is a sacred number in many religions (i.e. the Catholic’s Holy Trinity and the required times under Muslim law a man must say “I divorce thee”). Numerologists say it is the number of good fortune. (FYI, it was used 467 times in the Bible.) Certainly, I’ve always said it was my lucky number. Not that I really believe in the concept—of luck, that is. Save bad. My mother always said if it weren’t for bad luck, she’d have none. I think inherited hers. Her nose, too. (Thanks, Mom. BTW, the boobs . . . really, Mom? Really? Those you gave to my sister?)

But lucky or not . . . the number 3. . . it seems to have a thing with me as well. I have/had . . .

  • 3 sons
  • 3 grandsons
  • 3 houses
  • 3 new cars
  • 3 pure bred Labs
  • 3 mixed breeds
  • 3 published historical romance novels (FYI, The one I didn’t finish . . . it was a planned trilogy.)
  • 3 careers: teacher, author, flight attendant
  • 3 occupations: student, waitress, mother. (Some may say career and occupation are the same thing—but that’s not really the point here.)
  • 3 airlines: America West, US Airways, American
  • 3 bases: PHX, CLT, PHL

Upon contemplation further, I have actually had 3 of a whole lot of things—except husbands. I had only 1 of those. But we were married for 36 years (divisible by 3). I have fallen in love 3 times. And lust . . . yeah, you guessed it . . . 3 times for that, too.

Growing up as a military brat and moving every 3 years, I only wanted to be 3 things when I grew up—a nurse, a nun or a stewardess. In all honesty, however, it was all about the outfits. At 5 or 6 years old, I thought the nurse’s white cap and navy blue cape were the coolest! And I played dress-up and make-believe accordingly. Then we moved. My next school (3rd grade) was a Catholic school—voila! A new fashion fascination with wimples, veils, long black skirts and rosary beads. And I played dress-up and make-believe accordingly. Then we moved (again). By now I was 10 or 11 and far too old for dress-up and make-believe. Until I met the Queen of Dress-up and Make-believe . . . you might know her? Her name is Barbie.

Yes, that Barbie—the fashionista (before it was a word) doll with an anatomically incorrect, impossible to ever achieve body, who warped millions of Baby Boomer girls’ minds as to what the ideal female form should be. Of course, defenders and Mattel (the true Dream House Barbie built) clamor even today to tout her positive points (and they wouldn’t be her plastic boobs). With a thick as a phonebook resume of careers (and coordinating outfits), Barbie has purportedly (according to her propents) inspired and influenced generations of little girls the world over to strive and achieve their dreams as women. It even says so on Barbie’s website: “Leading by example for over 56 years, Barbie has inspired imaginations and encouraged girls on their journey to self-discovery.” And every Thursday they “‘throw back’ to some of the most notable days (you mean outfits, right?) in Barbie history, celebrating the limitless potential of girls everywhere” to “Be Anything With Barbie.” Even Barbie’s creator, Ruth Handler, buys in: “My whole philosophy of Barbie was that, through the doll, the girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”

Really? I’m pretty sure my only take-away was a to-this-day fetish for high heels. Be that as it may . . . The career out of Barbie’s hundreds that stuck with me through high school, to the point (no pun intended — remember, my sister got ’em) I actually did my senior career research report on it, was stewardess. Yep, you guessed it . . . the outfit. The uniform, hat and silver wings . . . throw in the glamour . . . the travel . . . What was not to love? Answer: The profession’s stringent physical requirements—of which height was a biggie. As I was not, I fell short (about 3 inches worth). And so I moved on to college and eventually to teaching.

Fast forward 40 years (merely a coincidence, I’m sure, that it’s the same amount of time the Israelites wandered the desert) . . . My teaching job had been eliminated and I had 2 sons playing out-of-state college football. I also had a neighbor who worked for Southwest on one side and one who worked for America West on the other. The fact height and weight and age were no longer requirements to fly the friendly skies (sorry, wrong airline), coupled with the lure of free flight benefits to watch my boys play, compelled me forward—right back to my past. (Remember, The Universe is a circle!) Since there was no way in Hell I was going to wear a polo shirt, khaki pants or shorts and tennis shoes, my choice was as clear as Barbie’s Lucite heels.

30 years after the want, I received my silver wings. Actually, they were some weird brushed bronze color, but that’s beside the point. (Again no pun intended. Trust me, save a brief interim in my breast-feeding days, I remain as flat as my momma didn’t give me.) On my 48th birthday, my instructor pinned those bronzeque wings on my less than ample bosom–and a genuine FAA certified flight attendant was born. Barbie would have been proud. Except . . . sometime between her inspiration and my achievement—dammit! B, you won’t believe this! They took away the freakin’ hat!

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