60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 18 July 1952:

At 7:30 a.m. I was up and dashed out to the hotel next door to call Carmen again. The operator rattled on so fast that I couldn’t understand her. Finally, I decided there was no answer and I went in the rest room for a few minutes. I accidentally left my coin purse and address book, so I waited for the next lady to come out of a bathroom stall. Everything looked like it was in order.

This time a little girl helped me with my call and I was successful! Carmen was really excited as we made plans to meet at Bahnhof. It was 1.20 francs for my call. I opened my purse to get it out and discovered my 5 francs were gone. The pretty shrewd lady in the rest room after me, took my money. I noticed her in the dining room, followed her out and accused her of taking my money. I couldn’t speak German well enough to argue with her, so I chalked it up to bad experience. It was my first loss in Switzerland. I can’t wait to get to the Lucerne part of the trip.

When we drove through Robiata, the Swisse were making hay with a rake, by hand no less. There were machines in some parts of Switzerland for raking hay however. We arrived in Lucerne a little after 10:30 a.m. We headed straight up to Bahnhof. But I couldn’t see Carmen and her companions. So as Andre parked the bus I went searching for them. They found us first.

Later they told me how they had discovered the bus right after we had left it. It was quite a reunion. Carmen had brought her companion, Maxine Lamborn. They guided me on a short tour of the city. Sights included the glacier gardens, big lion monument, glacial mills, topographical map, and house of mirrors. Lucerne and surroundings were typical Swisse mountains. There was an artificial glacial pot to show how the geological process worked. At the end of the tour we reached a tower for a view of the stunning city.

I hurried back to the bus because I thought I’d be late again. Thankfully everybody else was late this time. Then we were off for a drive past the towers. And back to our three hotels: Rutli first up, then mine, and the Wieldermann.

My hotel had been a private residence at one time. The elevator had a door on one side to get in and one on the other side to get out. The lady behind the desk said she would appreciate it if we would have our meals there. It was a nice little room with only a slightly thicker comforter, kinda like a mattress.

I dumped my stuff and took off with Carmen and Maxine to find some chow. We traveled across a bridge to the Kresses which was commonly called A.G. The menu of the day was done, so we crossed back over the bridge to a cute little terraced café along the other side of the river.
Then we had a delicious one franc dish with a wine sauce. It was kind of like a meat pie only the pastry was much lighter and crispier. The dinner ended up with a delicious pineapple pie pastry. We treated the missionaries. Herr Rogers said he would take care of paying for the missionaries, but he hasn’t so far, 6 francs worth now.

Down below the café we ran across a little change dealy where the lady said she’d give us 470 francs for $10. What a deal! We could hardly believe our ears. Everybody decided to change their money at that kind of rate. Even the missionaries decided they had really been missing the boat by going to American Express to exchange their money. But guess what? Our bubble broke before we all got away though. Apparently a man came in and gave the lady a clue about the really good rate she was giving. When I wandered back in to see what was holding up the other kids, she decided she had made a mistake. She must be kind of new at this money changing job. She gave 427 francs instead of 470 francs per dollar.

We crawled around looking for a bike rental place, so we could go bike riding with the missionaries. We found a good cheap place, but they only had one bike. By that time we had lost everyone except Alice and Betty. Ione, Cherie, and Bev had gone back to the hotel to put some clothes on, because a nun had called them dirty. It was because they were wearing shorts. Betty and Alice had decided not to go either, so yours truly paid two francs for the lone bike till 6 p.m. I took off with the missionaries.

We rode out till we came to the place where the lady lived who the missionaries were going to visit. I waited for a few minutes outside before going bike riding. The missionaries soon returned, because she wasn’t there. However, before we got away, she turned up and gave us a hearty welcome. This time I was invited in the flat on the second floor into the living room. It was very similar to our living room at home. The flat was quite well furnished. The lady was about 28 years old, nice looking, and the mother of eight cute little kiddies. The only flaw in her ointment was a drinking and unfaithful husband. This I found out from the missionaries before we went in to talk to her.

She began talking as soon as we met her and didn’t stop except to take a breath until we left. I gleaned several bits of information from the conversation. She was quite nervous and she was afraid her husband was driving her crazy. She was going to a rest home for two weeks. We met four of the children: Bruno who was a little blond boy who looked like a girl with curls and all, Erika who was one of the oldest girls with straight bangs and hair like I wore in the first grade, Hansie and Joseph who were two darling little boys who looked a lot like twins but weren’t.

After talking for a little while we went in and helped with her washing which a hired man was doing. We rang clothes out by hand and took them up on the roof to hang out. Only we rinsed them out again in three long tubs and then hung them up. It was a beautiful view from the roof. I ran down to get my camera and returned to the wrong flat. A surprised man greeted me when I opened the door. After correcting my mistake I took a picture from the roof of hay making, mountains, and roof tops.

After we had finished with the wash, we returned to the living room for some delicious apple juice and pastries. Then we bicycled through the streets of Lucerne signaling just like the cars did. I passed some of the group and then stopped to capture a shot of the cathedral from the middle of the street. I cycled up a low hill to the missionaries’ abode then and down again flying low.

We entered into the missionaries’ apartment building from a garage. Upstairs there was a one room flat with feather comforters. The missionaries had access to a bathroom down the hall. I met the missionaries’ grey haired and witty landlady and her dark haired and Italian looking granddaughter. I took their picture on the little balcony. Then I had prayer with the missionaries, and left to go back to the locale two blocks from the hotel to take the bike back. Missionaries had an appointment for 6 p.m., so I left them and went back to the hotel.

After returning my bike no one was home so I found my way to the A.G. There was a bunch of kids just finishing. The menu of the day was done so I had a ham sandwich, gelatin salad and ice cream. I had to take part of it with me to eat, because they were closing. Gee! The place really was a lot like Kresses or ZCMI’s snack bar where you stand up to eat. I got to look at the food and decide what I wanted.

I window shopped on the way back to the hotel. Then the kids got together to go practice at the locale. The missionaries met us just as we were going to the church, since their cottage meeting had fallen through. We all had a fun time practicing. Some little boys came in and sang for us. They really enjoyed singing and yodeling and we enjoyed talking to them.

Afterwards we crossed the river over the bridge of death to an ice cream spot on the opposite bank. The waitress had an accident and dumped a whole tray of pastries on the floor. We all had delicious ice cream sundaes. I bid adieu till morning and hit the hay.


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