A Travellerspoint blog

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Mother's account of my father's first trip to Russia -1962

The first time we went to Woods Hole, we didn’t have children. The second time, Rosalie Ann was a toddler, 18 months old.


At that time we stayed in the A house (the first of the Do Re Me house) with Mrs. Smith. We had two of three rooms on the second floor, overlooking the eel pond. Rosalie Ann had very sensitive ears. I would put her to nap on Granny’s porch in Colorado, There was a swallows’ nest under the eaves. When the mother swallow came home with food for the babies, they would stick their heads up out of the nest. We couldn’t hear anything, but it woke RosalieAnn up every time.

So in Woods Hole, when the fellow in the third room came home at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning, it woke her up. She screamed bloody murder. The first couple of nights I tried to keep it her quiet. Mrs. Smith said he had complained to her. I said the only way this is going to end is if I don’t pay any attention to her. I let her scream. The third night she didn’t scream that long and the fourth night she didn’t scream at all. [When I heard this story, it was Mrs Smith that told Mother to let me scream]

Mrs. Smith 35 years later

Mrs. Smith 35 years later

That same man, many many years later in 1962, when Daddy went to Moscow for an international cancer meeting — this man ended up being Daddy’s roommate.

Aunty Peg went with me to the Russian embassy to get the visa on Daddy’s passport for the trip to Moscow. They said I could just leave it and just pick it up later. I said very casually, not in any hurry or suspicious way, “Oh no, I have time, I’ll just wait for it.” I had heard that they copied people’s passports so they had extra passports to use in a not too proper manner.

Peg and I sat in a parlor by a fireplace. We both knew the place was probably bugged. We sat there and read the equivalent of Life magazine. I said to Peg, “Look at this article here. It must be a lovely country. We talked very complementarily and said very nice things about the things we saw. How nice it must be there. Looking forward to going some day. We just really laid it on. We were there about three hours when they called my name and said the visa was ready. I went and got the passport.

In Moscow a man the head of NIH happened to see Daddy’s passport, and it had four ones after it. “Figge,” he said, highly indignant, “How did you get that rating. I have only a one rating.”
“My wife got it.”

We went to Europe (they bought a VW and drove up through Norway to the Arctic circle) and George and Barbara met us in Stockholm.
[Sleeping Beauty castle on the way back from Stockholm]

Daddy flew to Moscow from Finland. (I told Daddy don’t you take a sauna which meant he would take a sauna -he used to tell a hilarious story about being hotted and cold and flogged, and iced).

In Moscow in 1962, the man who woke RosalieAnn in Woods Hole in 1939 was his roommate. There was only one key to the door, and in Russia, there was a janitress on the floor, and you left the key with her. But Daddy —is Daddy. He was writing some cards and he wanted to go down and get some stamps, with the key. Of course he saw someone he knew and he got to talking. A half hour later when he got back he got to the janitress’ desk and she said, “Your roommate is !@#%@ mad.” That was the FIRST thing.


While Daddy was in Moscow and George was off in the field, Barbara and I did sightseeing in Vienna.

Barbara said, “Now mother, don’t take Daddy to any of these shops because if he thinks you will want anything he will buy it for you.”

Daddy left Moscow on a very early plane. He had gone through customs and they were most reluctant to exchange him back any money, so he bought me a very good ambergris necklace, which I later gave to Barbara, because it was brownish.

When he was about over Poland, he reached in his pocket and found the key to the room. Daddy gave the key to the airplane hostess to take back to Moscow.
I met Daddy in Vienna and practically had hysterics when I saw him I was so happy. I was crying and laughing and crying and laughing. He was back! I did take him down underground to the shops and that is where he bought me the rope gold necklace and the petit point bag.
Gold necklace

Gold necklace

Posted by greatgrandmaR 01:26 Archived in Russia Comments (2)

Make Pictures in Your Imagination from the Words

The beginning of the trip in 1965

I came across a letter my mom wrote about her trip in 1965. It would make a good travelogue except that is wasn't my travel, and my mom is now dead so she can't post it herself. But I thought it was amusing.

In 1965, she and my dad took a working vacation to Germany. This trip entailed a week or so at the German publishers doing the final proofreading of the Atlas, a side trip to where Daddy's mother emigrated from in Germany, a car trip in the Pyrenees, and then meeting a bus tour in Madrid which did three weeks in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

She sent the letters to me, and I retyped them to send to the various members of the family. I didn't have a copier in those days, let alone a computer. My mom would have been almost 56 years old at this time, and my dad would have been 61 and a survivor of one heart attack.

Packing on Thursday

Saturday??? July 10th, '65. I THINK it is Sat.

It seems I can't get away from work, even tho we are away from the phone. Daddy is writing away and I borrowed this machine from the Purser's office to do his typing and have to return it by 11 tomorrow. I hope I can get it out again, but in case I can't I feel that the last 24 hours in the USA should be recorded! Almost blow by blow.

First, I must explain, this is a Remington typewriter, but with Dutch keyboard and some things may turn out a little odd. The parenthesis, quotes, dashes etc are all in different places. Also I find a manual is very hard on my arthritic fingers - this is an especially stiff action.

Where to begin? We were working on finishing Sobotta [the Atlas of Anatomy that my dad was editing], but that had been interrupted with end-of-the-year administrative duties for Daddy. When he got back to writing again, we really put it out. Had Betty (secretary) out to the house so when we finished up the text, we started polishing up the Index. Anyhow, we were proofreading it up until 2 am Weds. We left Thurs. for NYC and the boat sailed Friday.

Thursday morning, Daddy went down to school [where he worked] armed with all kinds of things to do, reports to turn in , a review he is doing for the student yearbook(?). Mrs. D [sec'y] had worked at home last weekend on some justification of the department budget for 2 years hence -- and that had to be turned in, signed etc. Betty came up to the house to type address labels for us in the a.m. B [my sister, who was home with her 2 yo child D.] took the index up to mail to Mr. M [publisher in Germany], getting some more stockings for me, refills for my ballpoint, and lots of little dinky but time-consuming errands. Betty left for school, taking some stuff with her to do. Daddy didn't get a haircut, or get his rough copy of the review typed. We are working on that now.

I was at home getting my checkbook in order, bills paid for B to mail. Daddy phoned at noon to say that the dean had said (when he took the budget thing over) that he would have to get another report of some kind in before he left, that his was the only one not in. Well, when I heard that, I just about collapsed. I knew there was no use rushing down after him. I had planned on picking him up about 1. He was coming home to pack, and we were going to get at least a 6:44 train for NY.

Luckily I phoned Mr. K's office [NYC publisher] to find a book that I had tried every bookstore in Baltimore & the second hand stores, and his sec'y suggested that she try Macy's and have it reserved in my name, and I would pick it up Fri. a.m. before going to the boat. And that I would also like Michelin guide for the Pyrenees, and that I hoped they would both be in the same store. Well, when we got to NY they were both in a big manila envelope waiting for us! Not only that but I noticed that the book had been autographed.

I'm making use of the time Daddy is spending writing to catch you up on all the events. If I went off to read or socialize then it wouldn't be very nice for him. I type things up as he gets them done between writing this -- so you had better read it the same way.

Well, I got down to the school a little after 2. Daddy more or less ready to go. He checked his files for that report and found that he had sent it in Oct., but he had sent it to one dean and the other one hadn't gotten it or some such thing. On the way home, we stopped at the bank, and I put my jewelry in the box, and then got some baggage ins., and then home and packing.

We packed fast and furious. We met friends for dinner, and then started in again after dinner. The packing itself wasn't the trouble, but all the household type of things to do. When I picked up the ins. from Mr. Knight [travel agent], he asked if I was through packing and I told him I hadn't started. I thought he was going to faint out of his chair!

Train to NYC on Thursday night

I had packed everything last week, to see how it would fit and decide on which suitcase, but I had put everything away and hung it up. Well. B came back from her in-laws to takes us down to the train at 7:30, because we thought sure we would make the 8:11. But I finally realized that Daddy hadn't gone thru the medicines and decided on what to take, and there were things I had to do, so I suggested that we just give up and take the 10 pm train, getting to NYC at 1:35 am. We phoned the Statler and told them to hold our rooms.

Even by packing like mad, leaving instructions for B (who was keeping D happy until that, for her, ungodly hour - she was really so sweet about it all), and B was so helpful- sometime she found time to put the hem in a dress I thought I would have to do on the boat.

We finally got in the car a 9:35, but as I backed out of the driveway, I remembered I had no coat, so B dashed back to get it, and again we started off. Traffic was slow. I thought it would all be cleared off by that hour, but no. We got to the station at 4 min to 10, unloaded the car, leaving B to shut it up and take care of D. Daddy carried those heavy suitcases and I took the other stuff. We were fortunate to find the ONE porter in the station who took the bags. We weighed them on the bathroom scales before we left. Mine weighed 38 lbs, BUT Daddy's weighed 54 lbs.

The train was in the station, everyone was just about up the steps --we dashed down, the conductor saw us coming and signaled to hold the train. Daddy went back upstairs to see where the porter was and to snatch the bags from him. He was going down the moving stairs. We were so rattled we had just flown down the others. B was carrying D who was a mixture of sleepiness and bewilderment, trying to adsorb the fact that grandmurmer and grandee were going away on the choochoo train. She didn't look too happy about that, we flattered ourselves.

We got on the train and it pulled out with a swish. We collapsed in the first seat - the one that has a wall right in front of you. Many people got off in Philadelphia, and lots of college fellows got on and then got off in Trenton. The worst thing was when we got to NY there was not a redcap in sight.

And none of those pushcarts, tho they would be difficult with all those stairs. There was a big party of people for the Greek Line and one porter was piling their stuff and we were going to add to it, but we soon saw he had more than he could manage, so Daddy took the suitcases, and I took the camera bag, and my shoulder bag, and a wonderful little 3 legged seat that we have (it is very light weight aluminum, you can carry it on your little finger. & I thought we could take turns using it when we had to wait in line etc.) and I held one of the two handles on Daddy's suitcase to help him carry that. I was really worried about my shoulder, but I was more worried about him [He had a previous heart attack]. I think I might have talked him out of that 18 lb. camera case (plus 3 or 4 lbs. of film) if I had wanted to take unfair advantage of him, and left it with Mr. K's office. That is really going to be our Waterloo.

We struggled on for about 20 feet, and then would stop and rest, then carry on again until finally we made it to the Statler and found their elevators were closed and we would have to climb the stairs. I was afraid of being left there alone - very deserted, but we went partway, and Daddy went ahead and got a bellboy. I thought he was going to faint when he lifted those bags. He had to prove he could do it, and did, but it was a much harder struggle for him than it was for Daddy. I think all boys ought to be put out at hard labor when they are growing up so they develop some strength. Daddy's has really come into good use many times.

We went up to the room and got a hot shower (in spite of the big water shortage in NY - you know restaurants can't bring you water unasked or there is a big fine). We fell into bed and slept until 8

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:33 Archived in USA Tagged new_york cruise packing Comments (3)

Sailing on the Staatendam

Making it to the ship

We fell into bed and slept until 8

Friday morning getting to the boat

Got up and dressed and went to Child's for breakfast. Never go to the one near the Statler. Terrible service. Then I went to Macy's to buy some slips--I remembered I hadn't packed any!! And Daddy decided to get suspenders to wear because nylon shirts make his trousers too slippery and they slide around.

My dad  in the cabin plucking suspender

My dad in the cabin plucking suspender

He was also going to the 5&10 and get some Scotch tape and rubber bands. I wanted to finish my roll of film and mail it in, but didn't have time.

I got back to the hotel at 10:40. Never let anyone tell you that New Yorkers are in a hurry! Those days are gone. I waited and waited to get a clerk to tell me whether they had and where the kind of slips I wanted (I don't like lace all over them), and they were SO slow and ignorant of the stock. I finally found one helpful soul, and she showed me some back stairs to get down to the street quickly, and I dashed to the hotel, getting there before Daddy.

I quickly repacked, using one of the Am Exp gift bags to put some extras in to lighten our burden -- including gown, pjs and Daddy's medicines in case something held up our bag on shipboard. Daddy came in at 10:55. The deadline for boarding the boat was 11:30, for sailing at 12 noon.

I told him I would dash down and check out, mail the book to B and send up a bellhop while he packed. I fairly flew downstairs to find a LONG line at the checkout cashier with a foreigner at the front trying to explain his problem. I had great sympathy for him, but! The bellhop found an asst manager for me, who opened a window to take care of the bill. I found I had no money by this time, and had to cash a traveler's check. Then I dashed to the mailroom, but couldn't insure the book.

By that time it was 11:08 and no sign of Daddy. I was just ready to call the room, when he appeared, and we dashed for the doors. No doorman, but I got a taxi just as he appeared and the driver leisurely made his way downtown.


The Holland American dock is one of the most modern on the waterfront I believe, and a good thing too. I had visions of all those stairs to climb, those horrible roustabouts to contend with for the luggage and that LONG pier to run down -- but no, our taxi was waved frantically onward and upward, a LONG WINDING ramp, as if we were VIPs and stopped within 50 feet of the gangplank. Of course, by this time everyone else was ON the boat and the visitors were coming off in droves. It was a good thing no-one came to see us off. We weren't there to be seen.

They had a very nice baggage man, who helped pull me out of the taxi, laden down with everything that we were to carry, leaving Daddy free to manage the expenses. And a very wild-eyed frantic (but usually stoical looking I'm sure) man greeted us breathlessly, and said "Mrs H.?" I knew he must mean us and I said "F" - he practically deflated like a burst balloon he was so relieved, and stuck out his card and said that Mr. Knight [travel agent] had sent him. He had called the NY office too because he was so worried about our making the boat. Oh man of little faith that Mr. Knight.

He asked for our papers so he could help us get registered,so while he and Daddy did this I phoned Mr. K's sec'y [publisher] -- I hadn't had a chance to thank her. It was so nice to have those books delivered. In our rush and hurry I forgot to mention how they were to be paid for, I realize, but they can deduct it from our account. After all they hold the purse strings.

By this time, Daddy and the man were back and was MOST anxious that I let Mr. Knight know that he met us and got us thru and onto the boat. Either Mr. Knight was very worried, or else he got this man very worried! We actually had 5 minutes to spare.

So during that time, I phoned B to let her know we were OFF, and that is when Daddy phoned Aunt M [his sister who was in the hospital after having a stroke]. She sounded so good that he thought she must be one of the children. We then battled our way up the gangplank against the surging tide of visitors coming off. [Note - I think they must have had to use pay phones on the dock to phone-no cell phones in those days]

We pushed by all the tears and goodbyes and the "be seeing you"s and made our way down to our cabin. Even our cabin boy seemed glad to see us! He opened the door and VIOLA! the biggest cabin we have ever had. This is supposed to be for 3 people, but they put the other bunk close to the wall. We have a huge deep tub with a shower
Taking photo in mirror- non opening portholes reflected

Taking photo in mirror- non opening portholes reflected

- 2 portholes but they don't open - air conditioning etc. There is a pushout part of the chest that makes a desk for Daddy to work on. I'm typing on a coffee table pulled up to a chair. There is a full length mirror and enough room to really dance in.

Mom  at lifeboat drill

Mom at lifeboat drill

Lifeboat drill

Lifeboat drill

F8470-000000320001-3.jpgLifeboats - Staatendam

Lifeboats - Staatendam

On bridge

On bridge

Ferry and the Statue of Liberty

Ferry and the Statue of Liberty

Pilot boat

Pilot boat

Crows nest and flag

Crows nest and flag

Superstructure of ship with sundecks

Superstructure of ship with sundecks

F8477-000000290001-3.jpgCrew painting mast

Crew painting mast

Painting mast

Painting mast

Dad and painters reflected

Dad and painters reflected

Wake of boat

Wake of boat

Dining room Steward

The only fly in the ointment is the dining steward - a prissy, sissy individual. There are 5 at our table - another couple our age with 3 boys (the L's). He is in personnel at Westinghouse at Newark. They are very nice. The fifth person is a young German girl returning to Stuttgart after 1.5 years of business school in California.
Karen - at our table

Karen - at our table

Mid-afternoon tea party - Statendam-July12, 1965. Exakta XVIIa - high speed Ektachrome

Mid-afternoon tea party - Statendam-July12, 1965. Exakta XVIIa - high speed Ektachrome

Mr L was very annoyed about how snippy the waiter was. Daddy went down to breakfast about 10 min before the door closed to get some coffee (I stayed in the room to type - we worked last night until 1:45 am), and he said he didn't know whether he could get into the kitchen or not etc. etc. which is all poppycock as the DR is open until 10 or 10:15. When Mr L heard about this he went to the chief steward and complained, which he had been wanting to do all along, and we had a change at lunch. A steward either makes or breaks your trip, and I like to be on the good side of one and have things pleasant at mealtime, so I hope for the best.
Banquet table and ice sculpture

Banquet table and ice sculpture

Center of table

Center of table

Sculpture and food

Sculpture and food

Banquet table

Banquet table

We haven't missed too much good weather by working. I hope when this is done it will be better. They extended our time to 6 pm for this machine, and I am trying to urge Daddy onward, but the copy the secy made is so confused it is difficult for him. I think he has 5 lbs of books just for this paper, and I am trying to figure out how we can get rid of them. Maybe I'll leave them with the baggage master to be mailed in NY. But they go on two cruise trips to Russia before then.
Dad next to the window

Dad next to the window

Embroidered mural

Embroidered mural

Close-up of embroidery

Close-up of embroidery

I feel sure I must have left some clothes at home, but I can't think what.

You should see the enormous bouquet Mr. Hafner [publisher] sent. Daddy
Flowers from Mr Hafner with Bon Voyage card

Flowers from Mr Hafner with Bon Voyage card

and I said together "It is big enuf for a funeral" and "It looks like a funeral", but it is really gorgeous.

This just about brings us completely up to the last minute. I think I'm going to the gym and try to cycle. I've gotten very cramped sitting here.

Docking Southhampton

Docking Southhampton



Posted by greatgrandmaR 15:56 Comments (0)

Attempting to Shop and Looking up Relatives

The German Part of the Trip

I have a 38 page letter (typewritten single spaced although they were smaller pages) where she describes their trip. This was written on the ship on the trip home in August of 1965

Start of first section that she sent in Southampton: - she is talking about shopping


I did so want to go to Nuremberg during shopping hours, since I felt I knew my way around there a little better, and especially since Herr Wachter (at the publishers) in Nordlingen said that was the most reasonably priced section in Germany, but Daddy was anxious to get our "show on the road", so we just stopped about an hour at the Gerner's [B's former landlord]...It was like a minor coming home...We got there very easily from our past knowledge which was very gratifying.

They were watching a "western" on TV and it sounded so funny-peculiar to hear everybody speaking German! And they were really speaking it - you could tell by reading lips. Herr Gerner said it was made in America, but that is hard to believe. Does anyone know the technical explanation of this?

We gave them a bottle of strawberry wine we got in Ansbach and he gave Daddy an ancient dissector set. Daddy wonders if it isn't from the days of "barber surgeons". But it was difficult to communicate. They SAID they did not know that we might come by but I wondered how he happened to have the dissecting kit handy?


I found out that Daddy had secret desires to go to Koln and wanted us to get there for the night. But we didn't leave Gerner's until 5:30 and it was 6 by the time we got on the autobahn. I told Daddy I wasn't going to drive on the autobahn after dark, or look for a place to stay after dark, and Koln was 600 km away. (Daddy didn't drive since his heart attack)

But we did click off 100 km and when we got to the other side of Frankfurt we found a very nice clean place to stay on the road that went off to Koblentz. In fact, we paid only 9 DM for it, and it had everything the room in Wiesbaden had that we paid 24 DM for. The room was twice as large with fewer people vying for the 'john'. We had dinner and breakfast there and when we registered in their book, we saw that we were the only people from the USA for 3 years back. There were a few from England and Holland, but it was mostly used by the

I was driving, and Daddy was supposed to be the co-pilot, but when he found there were no exciting pictures to take from the road, he sort of dozed. So when I came to signs pointing to Aachen, I asked him if that was what we wanted, and he said yes. So we skimmed off the autobahn and in ten flips of our wings, we found signs pointing to Koln! Here I had confused Aachen with Arnheim, the town in Holland where we were to cross the border. So I accused Daddy of using mental telepathy and black magic to get us to Koln!

We had about 2 hours there, and finally got into the Cathedral. You know we didn't in 1950. It is really an architect's delight. The building itself is spectacular, not necessarily its contents. We also were hampered by not being allowed to take pictures.

I have discovered that Daddy is only happy sightseeing if can take pictures! And the funny thing is, I think that is his chief pleasure in the whole deal. The most difficult the picture is to take, the more fun he has -- at least until he sees whether the picture came out. I'm also convinced (tho we won't tell him) that he doesn't have the 'eye' to taking really artistic pictures and are very subtle to 'see' that you two or I do. However, technically, he can run circles around us. If the picture is pointed out to him, he's the one who will get it the best, partly due to the film and camera he uses of course. Maybe that is the difference between male and female and doing handicraft type of things etc.

We also went to the Dom Hotel where we stayed in '50. Remember it was still being reconstructed after the bombings, and bathtubs etc were still hanging thru the floors in the airways. Well it is certainly 'plush' now!

If only I had more time! I did want some new clothes so badly. I'm tired of what I have been wearing all summer, and feel very 'ratty' besides. But the prices in Germany were high anywhere I went that didn't look 'German'. I don't see how Germans can look so German! Those suits and hats! Those who wear hats. They look like 1916.

Second section - Wurzburg

Lets see where I left off. I guess I'll go back to Wiesbaden. We left there Thursday to go to Nordlingen to do the last proofreading. Oh, I forgot to say that Carol [our first cousin] met us there the day before. She brought us some canned Canada Dry ginger ale. I knew I would need something to drink if it was hot and I couldn't drink 'apfelesaft' all the time (sort of cider) and cokes are universal, but I don't like them. She also brought a jar of powdered coffee for Daddy, a plastic ruler with cm and inches to measure galleys, a bottle opener, and I don't know what else. We had fun together for the few hours we were there. It was sort of like having one of the children with us.

I couldn't figure out why uncle Harry's children turned out to be blondes and ours didn't. Then I realized that was probably due to aunt Alice's Swedish background.

We set out for Nordlingen [where the printers were] about 10 or so and were on the autobahn at first to Wurzburg. We were going to decide there whether to go via Nuremberg or cut off the autobahn (it goes all the way to Nuremberg now) and head for Ansbach and Nordlingen. Well when we reached Wurzburg, we decided to visit the castle, which we had never seen. We were either always in too much of a hurry to get to B's or else we had stayed there so late we had to hurry on to where we were going.

We saw the castle on the hill, and kept that in sight in getting off the autobahn and into the place. You know there was never a sign that clearly indicated the stadtmitte, and we didn't know whether we wanted the "sud" Ost or what, but we got there and stopped below the castle, still puzzled how to storm the ramparts. We asked a uniformed man, and he whipped out a map of the place and marked it. We suspect he was a policeman, but couldn't tell, not knowing the uniform.

We got up to the top and paid a pittance to go in the museum which was really very good. Not so crowded that you had to inch along to see things, but you could really walk around, which was much better for sightseeing with Daddy. We saw the huge wine presses. They had a whole room of them. After we had walked around the restaurants a little and decided we weren't really hungry, we paid another pittance for the tour of the castle. The tour was in German, but for our benefit he afterwards gave a resume in English. We were the only ones who needed that.

It was most interesting. Looked down many feet into a well that had a temple-like structure built over it some centuries later. The castle dated from the 7th or 8th century. And had indications of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden being around there. I asked Mr. Maneke once if G. Adolphus had been at war with German, and his reply was that the two countries had never been at war with each other, that G. Adolphus had been fighting the Catholics down into and thru Germany. I hope this fall I'll have a chance to read over some history so some of this will jell.

They had a beautiful rose garden shaped like a gondola, including the steps, masonry etc. And from that you could get a terrific view of the city. And we also saw the dungeon where those who had opposed those in power had been put, including the well-known woodcarver Riemenschneider. We had met up with his name in Dinkelsbuhl and I recognized it as the same one.

We went down to the town and got directions to the University and landed out by the hospitals and clinics and had to be re-directed back downtown to the Anatomische Institut. I didn't go in but addressed postals in the car. Daddy said they were completely remodeling it, and it looked like it would take at least 6 months. Also that he had more Sobottas than they did. That is where he [Sobotta] began teaching.

There is a girl on shipboard who is going to start med.sch. there and she says they don't start until Nov and go thru Feb. then have Mar. and April for "holidays" and then begin in May thru July and have Aug. and Sept. for vacation - or something like that, because that doesn't work out exactly even somehow. But that is why the remodeling is going on now.

By this time, it was too late to go via Nuremberg, so we headed for Ansbach. We got there just as a street fair was breaking up. We walked around a little and saw a few booths, but not enuf to make it worthwhile except we bought some "wurst" on a roll, which is sort of like a hotdog, only they were about 10 or 11 inches long, and the roll was round and hard - the regular "brotchen". That was really our dinner, we didn't feel like eating anything else then, so we drove on down toward Nordlingen.

It was a longer drive than I thought it would be. The road was better than it used to be, but much of it was still under construction, which meant we had 3 places of one-way traffic, all set up with traffic lights to let you thru. We reached Nordlingen about 9 p.m.

[skipping description of hotel and proofreading until 4:30 a.m. the next morning. We pick up the next day at lunch]

We went on over to the hotel for lunch, Mrs. Wachter joining us. I could see that we were going to have some cans of ginger ale left over, so we gave them each 2 cans. Did we have a time trying to explain it was not beer (the ale gave them that idea); that it was not champagne (the Canada Dry motto); and that they should serve it VERY cold, but not frozen; that they must not shake the can before they puncture it or it would fizz up in their faces. I would love to know what they think of it! Did I tell you that you can't buy cokes in Portugal because the officials think it isn't good for your health?!

The Manekes were going to Dinkelsbuhl to sightsee and spend the night. We didn't want to move for one night, so we drove our own car, following them. It was only about 18 miles. We parked and walked around town. Dinkelsbuhl is a lovely little town, the houses are very picturesque, the flowers are beautiful, and there are swans on the pond. We went in the Cathedral which has a Romanesque door, but the cath. itself is late Gothic and has a very unusual feature, there are three naves of equal height, usually the outer ones are not as high as the center. And the cath. was built before Columbus discovered America! The guide book is in German, but it really needs someone other than a German to do the final work on the translation. They call the portals or doorways or entrances 'porches', and there were some oddities of translation.

Oh - I forgot the most important thing. The Manekes took my camera to the factory where it was made in Stuttgart, and had it fixed for the grand sum of one dollar! I hope the pictures will be good, it seems to work. And I might add that we are returning home without Daddy buying another camera! That in itself is an accomplishment! I also add that we didn't use that blankety-blank telephoto lens for the movie camera more than 5 min. the whole trip, AND I want this thoroly engraved on everyone's mind that we are NOT traveling with it again, unless we have a personal baggage man to carry everything for us! You must back me up!

The Manekes were very excited over a German play that was being given in the outdoor theatre, and wanted us to go, but I knew we would never stay awake thru a play in German with the little sleep I had had the night before. And I didn't want to drive back at night, so we decided to go back to Nordlingen. As we were walking back to the car, I happened to look up and THERE was a stork's nest, and Two storks playing peekaboo with us over the edge. We were thrilled to pieces and took pictures like mad. On of the storks stood at the edge of the nest and "let go" and then we knew why the roof was sort of whitish!

We didn't leave as early the next morning as we thought we might. It was such a grand feeling to be rid of the book and be comparatively free. Mr. Wachter promised to have the final galley waiting for us and then we insert the plates and send it back (Did I tell you that Daddy thinks he's clever, calling me his "galley slave"?)

As we drove past Dinkelsbuhl (which is much more tourist-y than Nordlingen) Daddy decided he wanted some movies of the storks. But they were out feeding someone said, and would be back in a few minutes. We waited about 10 min. and decided we'd better go on. So I drove on and told Daddy to keep an eagle eye out for a stork's next as we approached each town. By jingo! He found one!

For some reason we were always able to look down on the towns (or rather villages) as we approached them. We had expected the nest to be on the highest building, usually the church. But this time no. Daddy said he spotted it by the whitened roof. We made our way into the little village (Neustetten - they actually had a R.R. station) and found a huge nest on a large barn. Inside the cows were mooing and the chickens cackling. This nest was much lower down than the one in Dinkelsbuhl. And it had FOUR storks in it. And they were all standing up and moving around and cleaning themselves up very nicely to have a movie taken. So Daddy was very happy on two accounts. One on being such a clever detective and the other at being able to get movies of something we were interested in ever since that far-distant stork's nest we saw in 1950 with Aunt Peg and Uncle Bob [no real relation, but that's what we called them]

We went on to Ansbach and decided to go via Lichtenau and get some Erdbeer Wein. This strawberry wine is made by Johann Leidel (Lichtenau bei Ansbach) and is really good, or so I thought one time when I tasted it. He and his sister run this little 'weinstube' and his mother was some sort of cousin of granny's. Daddy went in and bought 3 bottles and paid for it without telling who he was (before when we asked for one, they wouldn't let us pay).

He saw they were serving a meal, and it was about time to eat, so we ordered lunch, and as we sat there, the sister came out of the kitchen and sort of looked at us (he had never looked at us really) and she went back, and I guess she thought it over, and came back again and said something to us to show she was thinking. Then we smiled and nodded, and he looked and then looked away, and then back again, and suddenly light dawned and he pantomimed taking a picture, and we all laughed. (That is a great international language.)

We 'chatted' and they asked about Barbara, and the baby and where she was and surprised me by asking to be remembered to her! A little boy came in and I asked if he were his and he said no, his sister's. So when she came back, we mentioned it, and she sent him up after his little sister, they are 5 and 6 years old. He's a smart alecky little boy, and just wouldn't believe we were from America. Thought his mother was 'spoofing' him. But he finally halfway succumbed to the idea and we took pictures of them and the little girl shook hands and curtsied nearly to the ground. We went in and looked at the graveyard that is right there. but didn't see the names of any relatives.

Carol Lynn seemed so interested to hear there were some relatives left and I told her vaguely how to find the place, so we told the Leidels that she might be coming, and that she was very blond and Daddy's brother's daughter and what her married name was. They said that sounded like it was German. In fact the sister's married name sounds something like Carols, but like a dumb bunny, I didn't ask her to spell it or write it down. Now if these pictures are any good, I'll have to send them to the brother unless Carol goes and gets the info.

Now I'm going to write the directions of how to find this place, so if anyone wants these they had better make a note of these, because I won't remember two months from now!

First, you get to Ansbach which is a fairly good-sized town and on any map. If you are coming from Nuremberg, you will reach the road for turning off BEFORE you get into the town proper. If you come from Nordlingen or Stuttgart area, you will go THRU the town, past the 'castle', the hotels, the square etc. and start on the road to Nuremberg. All the main traffic and citified stuff will be behind you, but you will STILL be in Ansbach, just a few blocks from the center, when a road goes off at an acute angle, back on itself (if coming from Nuremberg).

The sign points to Windsbach in big letters and underneath it says Lichtenau in small letters (I think - that is the road anyhow). You go along quite a piece thru some other little villages - about 10 km more or less. And you come to Lichtenau. Keep on thru the town until you come to a war memorial more or less in front of you, and the road turns to the right. But straight ahead is a little road and a walled in place. Take the road to the right. I think it goes over a bridge, but not sure. It isn't much of a bridge. You come to a little section and in front of you is the graveyard, and on your right is Leidel's weinstube with pear trees flat against the building esplanade style. It is very attractive in a German-village sort of way.

To the left of the cemetery is a road leading to Boxbrun, 1 km to this little town where Granny came from - about half a mile. You get to the end of the road and there are several VERY nice looking houses, well kept up with flower boxes etc. That is NOT the place! You turn to the LEFT, and the BIG house on your left is the old Schwab place, and it still is 'A' Schwab place - great grandfather sold out to another family with the same name, but no relation.

We didn't go in this time. They have a HUGE dog chained by the front door, and I didn't want to go thru an explanation as to whom we were in a hurry. That takes time, and we were running a little late, unless we could really stay and accomplish something. I think the reason they have this big dog is that the 'father' in the family was killed or missing on the Russian front (according to a diploma like thing hanging in their living room) and the mother and half-grown daughters, late teens or maybe grandchildren are the ones we saw there last time.

This old Schwab place is really enormous in comparison to most little houses in villages. It has 3 floors, and the walls are about a foot thick, made of stone. A very large living room and enormous kitchen is all we saw. I would have loved to have gone upstairs, but didn't know how to ask! The barn part with the animals is adjacent. There is the proverbial manure pile in the front yard, chickens all over the place. The wood is in a shed across the road and is beautifully and artistically stacked. There is a big structure for all the farm equipment. This place is built on a rise and the fields go down in back of it. The road goes on past, but I don't know to what, we really didn't have time to investigate. It looked like it was just a lane to a few more farms.

[Note: I think this house has been torn down to build a highway.]

We went on back to Lichtenau, and investigated this walled in place that Granny told me about when I was asking her about the family place over here. She said there was a big place wall-in near a bridge where they had what I decided must have been like our county fairs. Now it has a no trespassing sign with "Jugend-? Hof" on the posts.

We wound ourselves back into this cobblestoned group of houses and found the church. The door was unlocked, so we walked in. Daddy said it was definitely Lutheran, and we wandered all around, and then knocked on someone's door (as you face the church door, this house was on your right), and a very bright-eyed young woman (you could almost imagine it was Granny at that age) came to the door. We gathered the pastor was on holiday and the records were all locked up. The church was 3 or 400 years old and it would have been the one granny would have attended.

That is the end of that section of the letter.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:16 Archived in Germany Tagged köln storks nuremberg ansbach wurzburg dinkelsbühl lichtenau Comments (0)

Rotterdam Traffic

Getting to the boat

This was from a letter my mom wrote in 1965:

We expected to have several hours in Rotterdam for a visit with K.. but instead of taking us 50 minutes to get to Rotterdam..it took us about 1 1/2 hours. There were three places where we had one-way traffic due to road construction, and the lines were LONG and full of SLOW trucks. I began to be worried about even making the boat..And then everyone said there were signs pointing to the boat -- we saw nary a one..

It turned out we were being directed to the city office, and NOT to the boat, because we found ourselves in the center of town, which is completely torn up, they are building a metro system. NOW if Holland can have a metro system with the soft squishy ground, it seems to me that Baltimore ought to be able to have one -- at least our ground isn't THAT wet!

We milled around until we found the Hertz office, and we collapsed into it. I can drive all over Europe with the least nerve wracking feeling until I hit the cities in Holland -- they drive with no concern for the "tegenliggers" and scare me to death!

Mr K told us that we didn't have to be on the boat until 3, but we had just been in the main office, and they told us again (told us this in Wiesbaden and Utrecht) that we HAD to be on by 2 or there would be no guarantee --and having had such a close call of only 5 min to spare in NY, we were a little nervous about it -- and very annoyed that we couldn't go on and leave our stuff and then get off -- after all what could we take off that visitors couldn't. NEXT time, I'm going to get visitor's cards for us, and use those to get on the boat, and not use our boarding cards until we want to get on! But we were much too excited and confused to think straight at that time.

Mr K told us he would meet us on board, and the Hertz man said he would take us to the boat. Mr K was really a dear. He had a bouquet of the most beautiful pink roses. After he left we cut the stems and released them from their bonds, and they are beautifully fresh this a.m. I think our steward was VERY impressed at our distinguished Dutch visitor and brought us a vase of water to put them in and had been VERY attentive and helpful ever since.

We went up on deck and looked around a little and he had a map of the harbor for us, which was very interesting...

I had better break this off so it will get mailed in Southampton.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:20 Archived in Netherlands Tagged traffic cruise rotterdam Comments (2)

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