New year, new hobby






Ah yes. Airline stickers. I was an airplane nut. I had been building model planes since second grade. No, not the plastic ones you just glue together. Strombecker pine wood kits, where there was a lot of shaping, sanding, painting, and decals. Balsa wood strut and tissue paper models. Even one or two scratchbuilt from pictures, made out of block and sheet balsa. The ceiling of my bedroom back home looked like an air show.

South Beach is a tourist mecca. So just about every airline had a storefront office there. (It was an artifact of the times; don't feel bad if you can't relate.) Collins Ave real estate was more expensive than was called for, but the next street or two over had plenty of them. This was before the big airline consolidations. So, in addition to the lines we know and love [to hate] today, there was Eastern, Braniff, Pan American, TWA, Frontier, some regional airlines like Piedmont, and of course all those national lines that still exist: BOAC (now British Airways), KLM, Lufthansa, Air France, Air Canada, Scandinavian, Qantas, JAL, and the rest. And every one had an office in South Beach.

Today, the airlines mark your check-through luggage with a twist tag through the handle. Back then, it was really decorative stickers -- bright colors and silver foil, 3"-6" in size. (All travel baggage was hard-sided then, so it made more sense than it would today.) And all those storefront offices had them, and would gladly give them away for the free publicity.

So it was no wonder that I got the idea to spend my time and effort walking around South Beach looking for airline offices and getting stickers with their logos. I needed a second notebook (scrapbook? photo album? don't remember) to keep my collection. It didn't last long once I got home, nor did my interest. But it was fun to do at the time.