Travelling Light
Agnes Braceland Henchey

Shoreline Press

Complementing Nancy Marrelli’s book Stepping Out reviewed in this issue is this coming-of-age memoir of Montreal in the 1940s. Henchey captures the city’s daytime world, though Johnny Holmes and his orchestra and the Normandie Roof also come in for a mention, as she worked at an office in the Mount Royal Hotel.

Henchey felt the tug of the glamorous new airline industry, and started working for Colonial Airlines (later Eastern Airlines) at the tender age of 16. These were the days when women were not expected to work after marriage, and were only acting heads of departments, as it was understood that when the men returned from fighting overseas, the women would step down.

Henchey describes growing up in a happy, stable family, but the heart of the book is her time in the airline and travel industry. Her work ethic was second to none: when Henchey was in London looking for temporary accommodation for her husband, she could not bear to see phones ringing off the hook in the overburdened rental office, so she started taking messages!

Henchey’s generous spirit and intelligent reflections on a vanished era make this a delightful memoir. mRb