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AW IN THE CLASSROOM
The March 1 issue of American Way provided an unexpected treat for an English teacher with feature stories on Dylan Thomas and Toni Morrison. In my 38-year career in the classroom, I have taught both writers many times and thought I knew everything about them. However, I found the details of Thomas’ barhopping intriguing and the personal insights into Morrison’s themes enlightening. I wasn’t on the ground more than two hours when I found myself researching online — an inquiry ignited by the two articles. And yes, I used both articles in my classroom. My students thank you.
Associate Editor Jan Hubbard responds: We can’t think of anything more flattering than a teacher taking our magazine into a classroom to share with students, Jerry. Thanks very much for letting us know about that.
By the end of my recent flight to San Francisco, I wanted nothing more than to somehow become friends with Kimberley Lovato. I identified with her March 1 essay, “Pretty Red on the Emerald Isle,” more than any magazine piece I’ve ever read. She captured perfectly the silent bond that develops the instant two redheaded strangers meet. She artfully conveyed the transformation from bashful rust-headed child to proud flame-haired adult. As a little girl, I once asked my mother — the strawberry-blonde source of my own hair — if I would ever appreciate being a redhead. She assured me that I would. She was right. To counter the blind date who vocalized his hope that Ms. Lovato would not be “some red-haired, freckle-faced girl,” I offer the following: I met my husband on a blind date. He’s a redhead.
Associate Editor Christiana Nielson responds: While I’m not a redhead, I agree that Kimberley Lovato very skillfully conveyed her transformation to readers. I’m glad it could be relatable to you, Allison — and I guess blind dates can work out well after all!
My business, personal and humanitarian travels have (so far) taken me to 56 countries. I have always considered myself a Road Warrior and thoroughly enjoyed reading both the cover story “Island Time” and the “Editor’s Note” “Win-Win” in the March 15 issue of American Way. You defined the mark of a Road Warrior as “the friends they keep.” When I read that line, my heart and mind filled with the smiling faces of friends from such places as South Korea, Japan, England, Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Ethiopia, Israel and Iraq. I miss them all and treasure the travel that brought them into my life. My “bucket list” is to visit 100 countries during my lifetime. American Airlines Cruises is handling the details that will knock five more countries off that bucket list and hopefully burnish my Road Warrior credentials with the new “Friends We Keep.”
Editor Adam Pitluk responds: And the mark of a good in-flight-magazine editor is recognizing and applauding when a reader truly “gets” what he’s trying to do. And you do. So I applaud you. Much respect, Ross.
CRAZY WAS FUN
It was with great pleasure and a sense of renewed wonder that we read your article “In Search of Crazy King Ludwig” in the March 15 issue of 9. Like author Joey Green, our family also toured the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. Your article helped us to relive our first and only (so far) European vacation. As our two sons and daughter read the article, Green’s eloquent descriptions of the tapestries, chandeliers and the dramatic view from Marienbrüke bridge caused our 7-year-old to exclaim: “I’ve been there! I remember that castle! I was on that bridge!” The article helped our family to travel back to Bavaria in our imaginations and relive one of the best experiences we have had. Danke!
Writer Joey Green responds: Bavaria really is a magical place, Dr. Rottman. We also took our kids on the Sound of Music tour of Salzburg, Austria, which was incredible as well. Happy trails!
DREAMS COME TRUE
Something that stays in my memory is the day I flew to Providence for my FAA interview. I opened American Way and saw an ad for the AAdvantage frequent-flyer program that said, “Where can today’s flight take you?” That ad activated my imagination. I thought of flying the world and seeing things and places that most people only dream of. The road since has had ups and downs, but that one ad makes me always think of the possibilities in the future based on my actions today. I am now an air traffic controller and am also AAdvantage Gold with American. I have been to Ireland; London; Kona and Honolulu, Hawaii; New York; Nassau in the Bahamas; Los Angeles; San Diego; Norfolk; and Boston since reading that ad. I am booked for a multicountry trip to Europe in the fall with American and a oneworld partner. I always look forward to the new arrivals and maybe the next ad that will open a new door that I haven’t found. For that I thank you.
Senior Art Director Brian Smith responds: The imagination is definitely a wonderful thing, Justin, and you’ve turned it into your reality. We’re pleased we could play a small role in furthering your dreams. Congratulations.
TOUCHED BY DYLAN
I have read a great many issues of your fine magazine over the 11 years I have flown between my home in London and the USA, always on American Airlines flights. But I was touched recently by Crai S. Bower’s excellent March 1 essay, “On the Trail of Dylan Thomas’ Wales,” with the delightful references to my birthplace and childhood hometown of Swansea in South Wales. As a past pupil of the Swansea Grammar School, where Thomas himself had been educated (with friends of my father no less), I was reminded of the trip I shall be making back to the school in September to a celebratory centenary dinner in Thomas’ name. The mention of his works reminded me of my college days in London in the 1970s when the head of English Studies employed me for the princely sum of $7.50 a lecture to read these works to his students, as he felt they sounded better when read in a Welsh accent — or, more specifically, a Swansea one. The money was, justifiably I felt, immediately spent on Best Bitter Ale. I shall be taking this copy of American Way to the dinner in Wales, just to show how far and wide Dylan Thomas is appreciated, 100 years after his birth and 61 after his death.
Writer Crai S. Bower responds: I am especially pleased, Don, because this type of assignment — a literary tour of a destination — has become quite rare in the world of modern travel writing. I am honored to see that you will convey my small tribute to one of our language’s finest writers, as well as your wonderful country, to your reunion. I look forward to hearing all about it.
A RESOUNDING EXIT
I am active-duty military, geographically separated from my family. I fly American as often as I can to see them. Recently, I ended my predeployment leave and was getting ready to depart for the airport to return to base, where I would deploy for six months. A day that started more stressful than most got out of hand quickly. With more on my mind than usual, I was in the garage doing some last-minute chores, and I closed the trunk of my wife’s car. That is when the chaos began. My wife’s Mustang began to roll out of the driveway and down the hill. It smashed into my neighbor’s two Mustangs in their driveway. I could barely get the words out when I was trying to tell my wife what happened. Fast forward to right now: I’m on the plane and can only think about the mess I have left behind for her. I open American Way and I’m reading the Editor’s Note titled “Fresh Fish” (Feb. 15). I definitely feel like a fish out of water right now. Although I do not believe any of us can see the hilarity just yet, reading your article helped me realize that once I return home, we will. (But the neighbor may not.)
J.H. responds: As you understated, it wasn’t the ideal way to leave, but we’re glad American Way could provide a little diversion on your flight. Good luck on your assignment, Tim, and thanks very much for your service.
I settled back in my seat while flying out of Dayton, Ohio, and as we reached 30,000 feet, as is my custom, I opened the Feb. 1 issue of American Way. Imagine my surprise to find Michael Milne’s article “A Weekend In: Dayton, Ohio.” As Daytonians, we have flown out of Dayton on American Airlines hundreds of times, often to what are considered “exotic destinations” by others, so I was very pleased to see the “Birthplace of Flight” featured in your magazine. For those of us who call Dayton home, we know it is a best-kept secret, and while we don’t want to see it expand too much more and lose our wonderful small-city feel, we certainly invite others to visit the wonderful “Gem City.”
C.N. responds: Thank you for your kind letter, John. I’m glad we could shed some light on your city and give it the recognition it deserves. Dayton certainly has much to offer.
ALI AND THE PHILIPPINES
I am from the Philippines, and I enjoyed reading your Feb. 15 issue on the fight featuring Muhammad Ali (“The Legend Begins”). Two things popped up in my mind: boxing heroes Muhammad Ali of the USA and Manny Pacquiáo of the Philippines, and my memory of seeing the oldest mall of the Philippines, and it was named “Ali Mall.” It was built after Ali’s first fight in Manila. It was so nice flying with you and reading your magazine. It made me reminisce about my country.
Carangian, Tarlac City, Philippines
J.H. responds: Ali obviously had amazing impact in so many places all over the world, including yours, Adonis. When you visit a country and they name a mall after you, it’s pretty special. Thanks for sharing that with us.
Written Word: A Lingering Art Form
Editor Adam Pitluk’s March 1 “Editor’s Note” struck quite a chord with those of you who value the written word. Here are just a few of the responses we received.
A DIVINE CALLING
In the March 1 issue, Adam Pitluk’s “Editor’s Note” got my attention. I too am considering cutting bait before the clouds roll in, as he wrote, so his article provided serendipity for me, which, I believe, is part of what makes the written word so divine. The true divine nature of what you do is that you never know when you have touched someone who has read what you have written.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
I feel that over the years of reading American Way, Adam, I have gotten to know you and have grown fond of your “Editor’s Notes.” While so much changes, the assumption is always that when I open the magazine, your words will be there. I have to believe there are many more baby boomers looking for the written word and certainly looking to be entertained by your good sense of humor on a long flight.
A GOOD OLD FRIEND
Reading your article “An Antiquated Art Form” immediately made me nostalgic for the lost art of writing. For me, picking up a copy of American Way is like reconnecting with an old friend. It’s what I look forward to when my flight first begins.
REASONS TO READ
I am now at 30,000 feet enjoying the March 1 issue of American Way. Take heart, my friend. Good writers are getting fewer and farther between. I once tried to read American Way on ascent and descent. It is simply not enough time to get it all read. So accept my compliments and continue your current day job.