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My first ever flight to anywhere, taking nine hours. It happened to be Chicago.   Being arrested in Immigration for questioning. A memory that will always turn my stomach over.   
A TERRIBLE WELCOME TO AMERICA. {PART ONE}

The first two photos were actually taken by me on the flight, coming into Chicago. Thankfully, not the third pic.

Airplane[1].view.jpg   Plane.jpg   United Airlines

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      On Sunday 18th April 2004, I came to Chicago on United Airlines, flight 949, accompanied by my very best friend and fiancee, Rocky. He lived in the South Loop, in a 'loft' in the Prairie District, two miles from Downtown, Chicago.

      This plane ride was my very first. It went well, considering the great amount of luggage I brought with me, I kid you not. Sixteen suitcases and I also brought my pet, a Pomeranian female dog, called Ching, who was thirteen years old at the time. (Sadly now passed away). Ching was happy sitting in a Sherpa bag and behaved as well as she always did. In Heathrow Airport, before boarding the plane, I felt worried when the airport personnel took Ching away, saying they would give her back to me at the gate.

      We sat in the Arrival and Departure lounge, and I waited impatiently for Ching to be returned. I was terrified they may have lost her, or someone might have walked off with my tiny two-pound pet. She could easily have been put in a large pocket. I had her since she was ten weeks old, and we had only been separated for one day in all that time.

      I walked up and down looking out for someone who might be carrying her into the room. I was terrified she might be stolen, or lost somewhere. This put the fear of my flying into second place. It seemed an age before she was delivered to me, but Ching was not in the least alarmed by all that was going on.

      On the flight, we placed Ching in her bag, at our feet. She slept most of the time, and only needed go to the washroom once to do a wee during our eight-hour flight. I had already trained her to do her 'business' in a cat's tray, with paper towels in it. I only had to put the toilet paper on the bathroom floor, and she went on it, and I obviously put the paper in the loo. (Toilet)

      On the plane I was sitting by the right wing and did more than my share of 'wing studying,' to check for any changes that might have been detrimental to our plane, and the safety of it.

      However, I did notice that certain parts, over the top nearside had started to blacken. But the wings never went up or down too much to cause any alarm in me. I was fascinated to see below the plane, various bits of land, marsh and then the lakes. Some of this was covered in varying degrees of ice.

      The different blue hues were breathtaking. It seemed that occasional areas of land were inhabited, although I could not be completely sure. I thought about the families that may have inhabited these wild lands.

      It was hard to imagine how anyone could survive without internet, musical equipment and perhaps even no radio if they had no electricity and were not able to buy batteries. In a way I envied them. With no television to distract them, they would be entertaining themselves. Of course some may have simple generators, but I suspected these people were probably quite content with candles and an uncomplicated life. I just hoped they were happy and not thinking about what they were missing out on. I started imagining many of the people with acoustic guitars, picking away and sounding awesome, sadly never to be heard by the general public.

      My British mind could only think about the 'Beverly Hillbillies,' which we loved when the series came on our UK television. My only knowledge of America was of the movies and gangster films. I thought everyone had guns concealed, no matter how innocent they might look. Although it was frightening coming to this country, I also found it tremendously exciting.

      As we crossed the huge ocean and my homeland was left way behind, I felt scared of its loss and familiarity. I knew I would be giving up (at least for a while) driving far and wide and I missed my classic sports car. That hurt a lot.

      I had also loved my house and its lovely gardens. Not to mention the tourist town I lived in which was right by the sea. My night time drives were often up and down the sea front, so I could see all the pretty lights. This had brought extra comfort since the death of my mother. I planned to find out if I liked this new exciting country enough to make it my home.  If I didn't entertain again, I was prepared to continue with my writing. I still have to finish my autobiography. I hope it has a fairy-tale ending in this country.

     During the plane trip, I watched the map in front of me, charting the progress of the plane. My emotions confused me. Excitement, fright of an accident before the plane had a chance to land, happiness, optimism and extreme sadness. All the places I knew, through my extensive UK travelling and driving around and meeting up with old friends, could soon become just a memory.

      Also, people from this huge, wonderful country might not take to me, as I had been called an eccentric although accepted nonetheless. I had professionally danced and also performed for the US bases and also played in bands for them. The amazingly warm welcomes and appreciation helped me feel that America was the place I should be. Especially as everyone kept telling me that America was definately where I should be entertaining. Audiences in the UK are mostly inhibited, until the demon drink takes them over. They are then too 'wasted' to enjoy the entertainment properly, and only danced near the end of the gig.

       I began to remember the words of a clairvoyant, called David Rose, who my then husband (the witch) had taken me to see. I was part of a large audience including some Druids and other witches and had been happy enough listening to the others being given personal messages. I was surprised  the messages were not the 'general' ones which are normally given. There were many emotions to be seen from the recipients who were animated, crying, happy and some amazed. I was to be one of the latter ones as David Rose picked me out. I was prepared to ask him all kinds of questions about the spirit world, which I did not expect him to be able to answer. But, instead, he floored me by his words.

        He told me he could see a woman in a Nun's habit standing at my shoulder. Then he said there was a nurse on the other side. One of the women's descriptions was definately of my mother as the nurse. The Nun may have been one of her tutor's, from when she was schooled in a convent. The 'nurse' wanted me to know I had to finish my book. (I was writing my novel; 'Into the Lyons Den,' which is now completed, for sale in this site, in book stores and also on the Internet for sale.)

Then David told me he knew I was a performer and that I was going to live in America where I would be as successful and famous as Elvis Presley. That's when I told him it was impossible. For one thing, I was ill and had been for a few years. My thyroid was still unstable, accompanied by bad stomach problems I had to cope with.

          Also, I never believed I would ever fly anywhere, let alone as far as America. I had been frightened by recurring dreams over the last twenty years or so, about being in a plane crash. I even heard the sound as the plane in my dream careened downwards in a spiral. In other dreams, the plane I was travelling alone on took a slow dive into the Atlantic. I even saw the water flow over the windows as it went down. It felt so real, and I believed it to be a premonition. This made me give up many chances to fly in the past. I travelled to Spain and back in a coach once; the journey took twenty-four hours, and my legs ached so badly afterward.

        As much as I have always loved the thought of coming to America, I believed it to be only a dream. I was so adamant that I would never get on a plane, but David just smiled and told me, "You'll see. I don't know when it will happen, but it will." And, here I was with my fear overcome, (almost) and with a new relationship. An American from Chicago that I would marry later. My thoughts now were that if this could be true, then was I to become as popular as David said I would be in this new country? We shall have to see. 

      On this first plane ride, I tried not to think of the 'Big Bopper,' and 'Buddy Holly' who were amongst those struck down so tragically. I even tried not to think of the movies I saw about plane crashes, which had, I thought, permanently put me off from ever travelling by plane. So, between that and my dreams, how did I manage to come over here? I think it took the love and concern I felt, which was returned to me ten-fold. 

      I fell for Rocky, and his love for me meant that he would have had to make his home in England with me, if I did not make our home in America. I could not do this to him. There are no prospects for small businesses in the UK, and they are usually taxed so much they have to close down. Apart from that, with Rocky's qualifications he would have definitely been so over-qualified it would be difficult  to land a decent job in the same financial realm of Chief Financial Officer. He had worked hard to get to this treasured position. His life would become smaller as his talents would become unusable. Besides that, England is so grey and cramped, compared to the beautiful open spaces out here. 

     Rocky's future was important to me so now I finally had an 'extra' pull, to get me out of the UK and to leave familiar ground and the security built up over the many years. If I felt I could not fit in, after trying to in America, then I could always go back to my home. I sensibly kept my UK house, for a while, which helped me not to think anything was too final, until I could accept it.

      I was surprised American flights had such horrible food and that we could not get drinks in between the duty rounds. The lack of a cup of tea and food was the only real discomfort I suffered on that plane trip. Of course, I had brought Eukanuba dry food and a bottle of water to keep Ching going.

       Mostly, on the journey I stared at the wing of the plane and whatever scenery I could glimpse on the ground. I was very proud of myself though, as I had thought I would be petrified, having seen nearly all the television shows featuring plane disasters.

      On this plane trip, we had only mild turbulence, but not even enough to make my stomach go over. It was scary when we were told to put our belts back on when the plane underwent some small shakiness, but I actually enjoyed myself!         

      When the pilot spoke to his passengers, I said, "He doesn't sound as if he's had much to drink as yet."

      People close by laughed. I was relieved each time the pilot spoke as there were no signs in his voice that he had been drinking. Perhaps the passengers thought I had been drinking due to the distressing 'heats' and water that poured from my forehead, which I was undergoing. They have tormented me for many years, and no doctor had managed to find the cause so far.

      As we lost altitude and descended into the thick, fluffy clouds, I had the most incredible feeling of awe. The clouds floated up like cotton wool, separating from each other in slow motion. I knew I would never forget these views, which are still very vivid in my mind. I even took some photographs looking down at the amazing carpet of clouds, some with little pyramid shapes.

      When the plane slowed down as we were coming in to land, I could see our speed for myself. I had the 'map' on and kept a constant eye on it. The slowest we went was approximately 200 mph. I have driven at 160 mph, (for about 10 seconds), so I was sure the plane would have to drop out of the sky. That part of the journey was frightening for me. I was amazed something this large could be in the sky, let alone stay up there whilst going this slow.

      When we approached the airport, I wondered if the landing gear would go down to its proper position. Thank goodness it did. When we coasted in, I was waiting for the 'bump,' or at least a bit of a wobble, but it was so smooth. It was a great landing, with nothing to perturb me in the slightest.

      It occurred to me how much enjoyment I had missed, not visiting new and strange places. All due to not risking a trip as I was so sure I would die on my first flight out. I was elated and had thoughts of flying again, visiting other states in America.

      We exited the plane the same way as we had embarked. Through a kind of tunnel, which gave me the impression of walking into a room. It was the same feeling I had when boarding the plane and had been  surprised to suddenly find myself in the cabin!

      As we started to line up for Immigration, I looked forward to arriving at the new apartment which I was going to share, furnish and make into my new home. (Providing I felt I could let go of my roots in England.)  I planned to make an impression as a performer in Chicago at the Blues clubs. Something all my musician friends back in the UK were so envious of. I was feeling very happy at the prospect of a new life. But, then......... I had the worst time ever, on going through immigration.

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{Click here to continue with PART TWO} 

police          Security

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Copyright © 2005 Donni-Jay De-Ville

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A TERRIBLE WELCOME TO AMERICA. {PART ONE}
A TERRIBLE WELCOME TO AMERICA. {PART TWO}