My journey to Charleston was not easy to say the least. On arrival to Newark Airport the queue to the immigration authorities was enormous. 6 parallel lines with about 150 people in each were shuffling forward in slow motion but mostly standing still. I had 2.5 hours to catch my connection flight and I could see it was not going to happen. At last it was my turn to give them my finger prints and look nice for a "mug shot." Smile, look relaxed. Ran from there down to the baggage claim area and got hold of a porter with a big cart hoping he would take me, my box and baggage on a fast track to the right terminal. When he saw the big box he said "that's sure gonna cost you a few bucks ma'am"
Never mind, just get me there!
Over at customs to get the carnet stamped there was a new queue. With the precious stamp in place I tried to hurry the porter up but he had lead in his shoes and told me his big cart wouldn't fit on the monorail train to the next terminal. I ran upstairs to get hold of an ordinary baggage cart. fumbled the $6 into the slot, dropped my handbag with all its contents on the floor, grabbed everything, ran to the elevator and got back to the porter. With everything loaded on the new cart we got the train to terminal A. After that there were numerous elevators and long corridors before we arrived at the check-in counter for USAirways. The porter took $20 for his services and left. At the check-in I was told I was too late and would have to take the next flight to Charlotte but then there would be no more flights to Charleston before the following day.
Never mind, just get me there!
The box and my baggage were taken off me and with relief I proceeded to the security check for the gate. After sitting for a while trying to calm down and get my breath back the loud speaker announced "Would ms Elizabeth Tyler please report to the information desk"
I jumped up and in the sudden movement, my money pouch, which I had opened to pay the porter, emptied itself and 400 dollars in small notes scattered all over the floor! Kind people helped me gather them up again and I went to the desk. There was a message from security that they needed to open the box because it couldn't fit in the X-ray machine. I gave them permission to unscrew it.
Shortly afterwards the loudspeaker demanded my attention at the desk again.
"Ma'am, you didn't say them screws were special"
-Well they're not special to me, I have a screwdriver but it's in the other bag that's checked in.
"You have to come back up and get it Ma'am"
The plane was now boarding and ready to leave so I ran all the way back through security to the check-in desk where they had retrieved my other bag. Fished the screwdriver out so they could unscrew all 16 screws while I ran back to the patiently awaiting passengers that were already on board.
Finally the plane lifted with me, my baggage AND the box.
In Charlotte USAirways gave me a courtesy toothbrush for the night. I found a nearby motel and continued on to Charleston the next morning.
At the airport there was a long queue for a taxi to Downtown Charleston.
"There ain't no way dat crate'll fit in a cab ma'am" "you's gonna have to get a bigger taxicab."
"Never mind, just get me there!"
I finally arrived at the Robert Lange Studios gallery and could deliver the painting all in one piece.
To be continued...