Mr and Mrs. Morris
How it started....
Over 30 years ago, I met my future wife at a fraternity party. I was first year at Dalhousie University and she was in grade 12. It begs the question, why was she there... after all... drinking age in Nova Scotia is 19? I have a daughter entering grade 12 today and I hope she doesn't partake in any frat parties. For one thing drinking age here in Ontario is 19, and besides, she might meet a "wanna be" pilot. :)
I thought at age 20 my career was well on the way having a commercial pilot license with a three year B.SC in physics. Boy, was I wrong! Many may think this next saying is politically incorrect...but it's said... "Behind every great man is a woman." Charlene was/is that woman. And believe me, to chase a pilot career is no easy task, for either one in the relationship.
To those aspiring pilots out there, hold off marriage until you are firmly entrenched in your career because aviation is a marriage challenger. For me, I kept telling my wife, "wait until I get established in the airlines." That happened when hired at Air Atlantic.
I couldn't dodge her any longer. :) On September 7th, 1990, we married in Bermuda. Yes, we capitalized on airline discounted tickets for us, family and friends.
Airline passes...(Don't know why I am mentioning these)
Even as I speak, my eldest daughter is sitting in the CLT (Charlotte, N.C) airport travelling home on passes. Yesterday after my flight, I picked up my middle daughter visiting a friend in Montreal. (I hope she didn't visit any fraternities - Captain Doug belonged to "Delta Upsilon" and was awarded "party animal of the year"...think "Animal House." I must tell my daughters to stay away from frats. :) And my son and wife arrived last week from Halifax on a pass.
But with any relationship comes it challenges. Heck, we moved eight times and six of those moves transpired during Air Canada days and I've always been based in Toronto! We even entertained moving to Dubai to fly for United Arab Emirates. There I learned the saying, "happy wife, happy life." In hindsight, I'm glad we did not pursue it. We were also close in heading to Bahrein for two years. But a the recession kicked in and quashed that idea. China, India, Vietnam, Korea, the middle East are all screaming for A320 drivers. But Captain Doug is no longer wanting to chase carrots. However, my wife is still up for a challenge - or so she says.
She has been with me scraping every cent to build time as a private pilot, watched me change careers, "scud run" it with a bush pilot operation in the Maritimes, see my brain turn to mush right seat in the Dash 8 at Air Atlantic, "wing walk" over to Air Nova and then sit on the fence as to whether to go to Air Canada. (The connector union had many convinced to wait and get on fictitious seniority list. I thank my lucky stars I was not one that waited. It took me a millisecond to decide. The millisecond relapse also included my wife firmly saying..."give your head a shake!).
She also witnessed starting wages at Air Canada of a meagre $35,000 (it's 37,000 now) for a family of five, a two week strike, me stressing on simulator rides, me taking a seniority hit of 601 numbers, taking a 25 percent pay cut on the "small bus" fleet, flying with "undesirables" (luckily it's rare in the left seat), no pay raise in 12 years, and commuting (twice in my career).
Yes, she persevered.
Relationships, similar to flights, come with no guarantee of being turbulent free. Luckily for us, the seat belt sign has been off for most of the journey.