Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Feminism on Trial

Taking Flight

Soon after graduating high school, Ginny began to get jittery about her impending marriage and the prospects of a staid, uneventful life ahead. She "picked silly fights and trivialities to argue over" with Fred, and refused to set a wedding date. Finally she gave him back his ring and, even though she continued to see him, the relationship had definitely cooled. Finally it ended altogether.

Ginny watched apprehensively as her high school friends went away to college or settled down with spouses of their own to have families. The fun life she enjoyed during her high school years was over and she felt like she was "being left behind."

The prospect of getting out of her small town and finally out on her own appealed to Ginny's adventurous spirit. She enrolled in Grace Downs Academy, a school in New York City for flight attendants, then called stewardesses or, more condescendingly, "stews." This, too, was one of the few careers open to women at the time, but they had to be young (under 35), single, attractive, cheerful, and poised. The minute they got married their wings would be clipped. This was standard policy for all the airlines at that time. Company officials rationalized that the demands of the job, constantly being on the go, would cause strains on their female employees' marital relationships. However, there was a deeper, more underlying and publicly unspoken motivation on their part. They wanted pretty faces to attract the well-to-do business travelers.

At the time of her enrollment at Grace Downs, Ginny Galluzzo perfectly fit the mold. Pretty, voluptuous, cheerful, she was easily accepted for admission. She lived in a dorm and attended classes that taught about airplanes and airports "but most of the program had a finishing-school flavor" about it, she later recalled. The trainees were taught to walk like fashion models, with books balanced on their heads. They took classes in how to apply makeup and groom their hair, and to properly greet passengers, serve their trays, and be attentive to their other reasonable needs. At the time this was standard procedure.

Living in the big city as a young, attractive single woman, Ginny had an active social life. No longer involved with Fred, she dated other men and, for a time, she was free for the first time since junior high. But one of those she dated was Danny Angelillo who, for some unexplained reason, she called "Tony" in her book. Danny had been a star football player at a rival high school and was attending college on a football scholarship until an injury put an end to that. They continued to date while Ginny finished up at Grace Downs. She finally graduated and got her "wings" pinned on in the summer of 1960.

Alleghany Airlines advertisement
Alleghany Airlines advertisement

Her first assignment was hardly what one would call glamorous. She worked the Cleveland to Newark commuter run for Allegheny Airlines. But, to Ginny who had never traveled farther than to Rhode Island to visit cousins, it was an opportunity to get away from the boredom of her previous existence. She liked the feeling of independence it gave her. She hoped to eventually go on to bigger and better things, traveling to more exotic places, but marriage a year later put an end to her flights of fancy.

 

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