A Travellerspoint blog

Make Pictures in Your Imagination from the Words

The beginning of the trip in 1965

View Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

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

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


How interesting to have a record of travel back then! I must say your parents seem to have made a habit if cutting things fine before a journey, judging by what your mother writes here!

by ToonSarah

Yes, they did. My mother because she always thought she could do one more thing. She was that way at home too - she'd say to me - I'm just going to pick up bread at the store, watch the hamburgers so they don't burn, I'll only be 10 minutes, and then while she was out she would think that as long as she was out, she would deposit a check at the bank and pick up the dry cleaning, and she would be gone for 45 minutes.

by greatgrandmaR

I have a friend like that - when we're making plans to see him we always tell him a time 30 minutes or so before we meet up so that he's there on time!

by ToonSarah

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.