60 Years Ago Today

Tuesday, 1 July 1952:

At the continental breakfast we had marmalade and chocolate. I lost count of how many slices of bread we ate. Later I tried to brush my teeth without water. Today we’re off to the island of Capri. All of us walked down to the same pier we had gone to the night before and climbed through three boats to get to ours—a cutie speed boat. I climbed on top of the boat to sun bathe or burn.

As we rounded the bend, Capri’s blue shadow gradually grew larger. After approximately an hour there was a crowd of boats ahead. We sat rockin’ like a rocking chair waiting to go into Blue Grotto cave, one of the biggest draws on the island. Several kids got quite seasick and “tossed their breakfast.” It included Nelda, Carol S., Carmela, Betty Lou, and Joyce.

We had to get down low in the bottom of the boat to get through the hole into Blue Grotto cave. It was a huge cave with clear crystal blue water. It was absolutely indescribable as we swam in the water close to the boat—so refreshing!

Eventually we got back in the boat and everyone was trying to change back into their clothes. The men were first as they held a towel in front of the cabin door. Then it was the girls’ turn. What a circus! I wore my swimsuit underneath my clothes so it was a cinch for me. I just left my wet suit underneath.

Then we went back around the island to dock. We had three more boats to go through again to reach the shore. There were convertible open buses waiting for us. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner on the terrace of a beautiful hotel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Dinner consisted of spaghetti, breaded veal, potato chips, salad, and fruit. After I took pictures from the terrace.
We piled aboard a bus for a 300 lire per person ride around Capri. We wound round and round past the little shrine and beautiful white villas. I saw a pensione once owned by Caesar Augustus. At the top we stopped at a village of little shops for our benefit. We walked past the shops to a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea, a part of the island of Capri, and the mainland. I took a couple more pictures of the sea.

Then we proceeded back through the Nastri Gelati marketplace. And I couldn’t resist a couple of scarves. I talked the Italian man down from 2800 lire to 2300 lire for both scarves. Next we followed Herr Watkins up to view the rocks of Capri and its gardens. I spotted a chateau in the distance. On the way back I got lost in the shops and succumbed to some bathing shoes for 1600 lire. I hope I’m not sorry. Then back to the square again to catch the bus and then the boat.

We got on a big boat this time–but heavens, it rocked more than the little boat. Water came over the sides and got the kids wet near the rail. Nelda, Betty and Carmela got sick again. An accordion player played for us and went around asking for alms. Again we passed over three boats to the shore. Then we climbed up the road and finally the stairs to the hotel.

Some Italian ladies and girls knocked themselves out laughing at us in a rather rude way. I don’t know for sure what brought it on, but we sensed ridicule in it. Perhaps it was the Levi’s, shorts, and peddle pushers they found so hilarious. One of the ladies stopped Alicia to tell her about her son who is in America in a very high and harried voice.

At the hotel I dashed up and stripped down to my bathing suit. I took 100 lire with my soap down to the beach for a swim and shower while Alicia had a bath in the wash basin. Then we dressed for dinner.

I scraped my soup bowl until the waiter asked me if I wanted more. He hardly had gotten through asking me when I was ready for more soup. It was mighty delicious tomato soup. White fish, pastry roll, and fruit followed the soup. Afterwards I walked down to look around the shops and the people. Back at the lobby I fell asleep trying to write. Once again we slept on the terrace.


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