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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 Comments (3)

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)

Boarding the Ship to Come Home

The End of the trip

Wed., p.m. Aug 18th '65 - Return Trip

Dear Families. I'm going to try to get my letters done while I have the typewriter borrowed before I have to do any typing for Daddy...

We are in the harbor at Le Havre, and I want to get a letter of some kind off to you in Southampton so you will know we made the boat and are O.K. We do not have the palatial (in comparison) room on this trip we had on the way over. It is about as big, or just a little bigger, than our bathroom! It has bunks, and a 'john' shower and sink. Very small and dark

Our room on the way over was really for 3 people, so we had plenty of space. Considering we had so much work to do on that trip, it is fortunate that it worked out that way. We are going to 'read over' again the galleys [for a book]..but we hope to do that on deck.

We were at a table for 6 last night, but very dull. A German girl who had been visiting relatives in W. Berlin, but works with an import firm in N.Y. and she had been taking seasick pills which had her practically anesthetized (the water is smooth as glass), and a pickled woman with Dutch background and she had been visiting the Netherlands and had been ALL over the country, but when I asked her about Zeeland (picture on menu) she remarked that she hadn't been there!

And a HANDSOME man with dark hair and eyes -- the kind you see drawn on Egyptian masonry -- where you see the eye, the whole eye, tho you are looking at a profile. When asked, he said he was from the Netherlands but "was living in Switzerland now" -- that was the last word he spoke, no, he commented on the queer taste of the water and guessed it was he was not used to it. He was very odd, he acted all through the meal as if he were ready to take flight at any second, and looked around and acted as if he were 'hunted' -- Of course, since he was so handsome, maybe he was afraid of being 'hunted for' by the youngish German girl -- she remarked after he fled that he had terrible manners, ate his meat with his bread and butter knife. The 6th seat was vacant.

So today we asked if we could change tables. We were put at a table with another couple, don't know how that will be, because they were leaving as we arrived, and they look considerably older. We may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. We had a good table coming over, so it encouraged me to ask for another large table -- I think after this, if this doesn't work out, we will stick to tables for 2. We do enjoy each other's company!..

We have had the roughest trip of any of our crossings. We couldn't figure out why, after we left Southampton, the boat began to roll some, but there wasn't a whitecap to be seen. There was no wind, nothing to indicate a storm. That was Wednesday. Then on Thursday, Daddy began taking dramamine, which I have no faith in. Every time he has taken it, he has been sick, and I haven't taken it and have been fine. [Dad was always seasick, and my mom never was. Fortunately I've inherited her genes] He seems O.K. now, and the sea is much calmer, although it is very foggy out. He found the dead center of the boat and spends the time there in the lounge. It is amazing how much less motion you feel there too!

We shifted from the original table, as I said, and are at one for four. The man is very nice and pleasant, but I don't know how he puts up with his wife. She has a very 'sour' expression - very dissatisfied with everything - is a perfect example of a pessimist.

The first meal we were evidently sitting on the side of the table they had sat - we were there first at that meal and didn't know. She said before she sat down "We have always sat there". I didn't say anything or indicate we had heard, but afterwards Daddy said, "Always - snort - all of two meals". It makes no difference to us, so the next meal we hurried to be first, and sat in the other seats so there would be no complaints. She is pleasant now to us since I have a connection with N.C.

It is much smoother today, but very foggy so we haven't been able to use our deck chairs really since we left England. I hope it will be better soon.
Dining Room Experience

Daddy got up and went out on deck early, then came back and we proof read some before breakfast. That was a mistake, we should have gone out. The sun was shining and our table partners said they saw whales and they were spouting. That I have never seen, and would love to!

She is really the most pessimistic person! The bacon isn't cooked enuf, there are onions in the other thing, that person in back of her is disgusting. She just isn't interested in anyone on the boat, and feels so fortunate that they had some congenial people at the table with them! I can't be my usual Pollyanna self or it will look too critical of her. I feel there are probably plenty of nice people on board, tho I haven't had time to talk to them.

When we bought the bus tickets for going to the RR station, at the purser's office, Daddy was looking at the liquor info and saw that we could bring in 5 bottles of Old Forrester for 15.00, which is about half price. I said I didn't know what we would do with it, and the man behind the counter said he did. Daddy said he thought we really had enuf for egg nog at Xmas and we didn't want a surplus - and I said as far as I was concerned, one bottle would be a surplus, and I thought the man behind the counter would have a fit.

We decided it would be too heavy to carry and there was no one we cared that much about to give anything like that to that was worth the trouble to get it. I did get a very pretty ring on board. A garnet ring, which will take the place of a ruby one for my birthstone. It isn't a priceless ring, but it is very nice.

There is a dance team on board who gave an exhibition last night on Spanish dancing. This is a very nice boat, the service is lots better in the DR than on the Statendam.

We went to the "Hat Show" last night - hats were made out of all kinds of things. 1st prize was won by "big bad john" - and it was a white hat made like a toilet seat, with a shiny round aluminum foil covered "pipe", probably roller from towels, and then a "box" with flowers on it like a coffin (the toilet box) and then a wire holding a dangling string for the pull cord. That was really clever. They also had a windmill with tulips, and a ladybug (a very good one) on a woman and a tall stovepipe hat with a cowboy boot picture pasted on the front. They were "ladybird and the tall Texan".

We also saw a very good documentary film called "Mediterranean Holiday". It was a picture of the Swedish sailing vessel of young boys and their voyage around the Med. And the ShangriLa of the 6th fleet was also in it.

We are 5 hours late, due to the rough weather I guess. I didn't know we were scheduled to be in at 8 am. I guess this just about wraps up our trip.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:21 Archived in France Tagged cruise lahavre Comments (0)

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