Living History

by John Hawkins, President and CEO, The Club

Ethel Pattison, 64 years of City service, and Club CEO John Hawkins surrounding a mannequin displaying Ethel’s United Airlines stewardess uniform from 1952. John’s visit was socially distanced (although not with the mannequin).

After spending an afternoon with Ethel Pattison at the Flight Path Museum and Learning Center, I know what it’s like to be in the presence of history.

When we spoke in August, Ethel, 94, was still working at Airports. If it all came down according to plan, she is now retired, as that was set for late September. (Our interview with Ethel is this month’s cover story.)

A few months ago, we received an email from Club Member Tim Ihle, Airports, telling us that a living legend was about to retire after a stunning 64 years of City service. My immediate thought was: I want to ask her about working for the City for 64 years! That’s the longest term of service we’ve ever come across in nearly 20 years of this newspaper and Website.

But then I thought again. There must be more to Ethel Pattison than just working for a long time, and there is. She must remember propeller planes (turns out she was a stewardess on one); and she must remember when LAX was east of Sepulveda (she was hired to convince people to pay to move the airport to where it is now).

So enjoy this month’s cover story. It was a delight being in the presence of history.

Moving on … I read the other day that photo storage Websites like Google and Shutterfly are limiting additional uploads. Why? People are taking tons of photos during the pandemic, and those Websites can’t handle the influx. It doesn’t surprise me. My “Picture Perfect” contest has never been so robust.

Apparently you’re all taking your cameras out, too, because I’m receiving lots more entries than we can honor each month. We try to honor as many as we can. (We’ve upped the number of monthly winners to six, and we’ll stick with that for the time being.) The quality has been awesome, too. Choosing winners is not always easy! If we don’t pick yours this month, keep submitting. And a note to the wise: It’s better to take original photos, not pulling a screen grab from a video. The resolution is usually not up to par.)

Hey It’s Halloween! This pandemic has really messed with my sense of time. What day is it? What month is it? Can Halloween really be a few weeks away? Well, yes it can. We asked Librarians from our favorite library, Los Angeles Public Library, to suggest books (downloadable or curbside-lendable) to get your whole family in the spooky cool mode. Thanks Librarians for taking the time to give us some chills!

Let’s all stay safe and focus on the most important thing – family.

— John