The Hippo


Jun 4, 2020








Christina Tawadros and her piece, “Free to Fly.” Cour

Local Pan Am women

This February, museum visitors got a taste of what it was like to be a Pan Am stewardess when Mary Lou Bigelow and a handful of other New Hampshire Pan Am alum paid a visit. She was such a hit that Pappathan asked her to come back. She and “the girls” (as she still calls the stewardess alum) return Monday, April 13, at 10 a.m., to talk about the “jet set age” (admission $3 per person for this event).
Bigelow was with Trans World Airlines before flying with Pan Am from 1962 to 1964 out of New York. She reflected back during a phone interview last week.
“I’d just graduated from college at that point. That was in 1959. I knew I wanted to go in the airlines. … And in those days, what else was I going to do? You could be a teacher. Social worker maybe. But I just had these dreams of traveling all over the world. I figured, what better way than have an airline pay my way?”
Pan Am was the premiere airline in the minds and hearts of Americans, Bigelow said, but she was also extremely attracted to that “beautiful blue uniform.”
“With most women graduated college in the 1950s, they were expected … to get married and raise children and be a housewife afterward. That did not interest me,” Bigelow said.
Flying was different in the 1960s. First, cities weren’t industrialized; the Bangkok hotel she stayed at had very high ceilings and lizards that ran about. The hotel kitchens had big bowls filled with exotic fruit, and the roads were made of dirt. When she went shopping abroad, the American dollar was incredibly valuable.
“The shopping was fantastic,” she said. “In those days, everything was a bargain. I bought perfumes in Paris and fancy leather gloves from Rome.”
In fact, she might still be flying had she not married a pilot. (You couldn’t be a stewardess and be married. You also needed to be a certain height and weight and younger than 32.)
Bigelow was featured in the recent film I Was a Jet Set Stewardess through the Smithsonian, and she’s a current member of the World Wings International Boston chapter. 
“I was born to be a stewardess,” she said. “Period. I still look back and think, how lucky was I!”

High-flying art
“Celebrating Flight” at the Aviation Museum

By Kelly Sennott

Since Jessica Pappathan left McGowan Fine Art in Concord for a director position at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire last year, aviation visitors may have noticed a bit more art in the Londonderry space.

The museum’s first exhibition was this winter — Manchester art students photographed airports big and small for the show, “A Focus on New Hampshire Aviation,” a collaboration with the New Hampshire Institute of Art and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.
Today, when you walk through the building’s doors, straight past the bright mural of New Hampshire’s famous aviators painted by Rick Freed, you’ll see the newest show, “Celebrating Flight.” It comprises 18 pieces of artwork by New Hampshire high school students and will be on view through April.
“We got a great response. Each piece was relevant to the theme ‘Celebrating Flight,’ and we were really delighted to see the diversity in the way it was interpreted,” Pappathan said, shortly after the art went up at the museum. “We wanted to do this because we wanted to excite people about aviation through artistic expression. … Our mission here is to preserve aviation history, to educate and to inspire, and I think this show really hits on all three of those major goals. The students delivered.”
The pieces are a blend of styles and media, from acrylic paintings and digital prints to pen and ink and pencil sketches. They all tackle the topic differently; Christina Tawadros’ “Free to Fly” (which won first place) is a colored pencil drawing of a blond girl freeing a bird into the air. Sydney Saldana’s “Dream of Flight” (second place) is more of an abstract piece; alongside two flying planes, Saldana sketched a young child being lifted in in the air by an adult, arms spread out, legs straight back like an airplane. Zach Stith’s “The Intrepid Balloon” (third place) is an acrylic painting of a hot air balloon on a partly cloudy day, and Hope Morrison’s is a portrait of Amelia Earhart (honorable mention).
A crowd of 45 attended the opening reception Saturday, April 4, on which day Reed, the show’s juror, announced the winners. They received gift certificates to the Currier Museum of Art and Framer’s Market in Manchester.
The museum is tucked away on a road that hardly sees traffic besides the air kind (it’s located right beside a runway), so there’s been a big effort to get people in through programming. Next, the museum is hosting an exhibition open to all New Hampshire artists of all media — paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, mixed media, photography, etc. The theme remains “Celebrating Flight,” but it can be loosely interpreted. Currier Art Center Director Bruce McColl will jury, and submissions should be dropped off at the museum between Aug. 3 and Aug. 8.  
As seen in the April 9, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu