60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 8 August 1952:

Sadly for breakfast we had cheese and dry bread that we had left from Vienna. With my new suitcase I packed with two suitcases instead of one. Whatta change! I even got my coat in at the last minute.

I stopped in a shop across from the Hotel Gruner Kranz and drooled over the Hummel figurines. I succumbed and bought 2 for 6.60 and 8.80. Gee! The crowd certainly had collected a lot of stuff mostly in way of figurines. We got a clue that this might be a good place to shop in view of the fact that this town wasn’t loaded with tourists. So we really went hog wild and the fruits of our labor were much apparent today.

Carol showed up carrying a big box with Dresden china inside. We hurried over to American Express only to wait for 45 minutes for the mail to come in. I mailed off a letter to Lori, but sadly after the long wait there was no mail for me.

We got back on the road again. With all our acquisitions we were having baggage problems again. Somehow we made it all fit but every available space was filled. We went over the programs and schedules planned for Nuremberg, Hidelberg, Frankfurt, and Cologne. Wow! It was going to be busy the next two days. Our time was going to be spent in the middle ages and in medieval cities.
I spotted a Ludwig I shrine, German king of Bavaria, in the distance. There were fields of vines that hung from poles. Someone conjectured that they were hops, which was fermented to make beer. Germans were thrashing the grain just like we did at home. We noticed the mate to Walhalla which we had passed on the road to Regensburg. This temple had 365 steps, one for each day of the year. The winding tree-lined roads had white strips.

Huge detour! We were too heavy for the bridge and we had to get out and walk over the bridge. Andre had quite an experience as the bus just made it through the archway to the town. We asked a man the name of the town and he said Vohburg by the Danube River. On the other side of town we had to get out and walk across another bridge. A barefooted lady with dirty feet followed the bus across. Everyone watched the bridge sag as Andre drove slowly across. I could see some old stone pillars from a bridge that had once crossed the river there. The architecture of that bridge was a little bit different than I had seen before.

We passed through another gateway in the next little village. Wow! What a tight squeeze. Then another gateway going out of the village. The road to Dinkelsbuhl took us through beautiful woods and fields along a dirt gravel road. It was kinda dusty but pleasant surroundings anyway. Some of the woods looked planted like the Schwarzwald-Baar district in the Black Forest. Their crops were planted right up to the edge of the forest. Other areas looked like the Island Park territory back home in Idaho. There was a lot of diversity in the landscapes.

We stopped in a little town en route for a rest and snack stop. It seemed we were getting to Dinkelsbuhl a different way than we had planned. I spied a horse and cow hitched together and the kids on the bus were knocking each other down to get a picture of this unusual scene. I spotted another archway to the city square that looked kind of medieval. The army drove through while we were loitering. Comically one vehicle almost ran into a building and another went the wrong way. A jeep with three fellows stopped to talk to us and we found out they were on their way to Nuremberg. Lots of thrilled little kids gathered around us as we handed out candy and gum.

On our way again it seemed every little town had a big church or cathedral as its center. One small village had a huge cathedral in the center with stables, animals, and hay in the street next to it. We were certainly off the beaten tourist trail wandering through the countryside. We stopped to take a picture of a lady at the plow. The mob crowded down the road and when we got back Dr. Rogers asked if we had almost caused a traffic jam.

Another shower of rain burst upon us as it had been threatening all day long. On the highway to Dinkelsbuhl there was a romantic road and an old medieval castle on a hill overlooking a little village. Kids in the bus were practicing for our program en route to our destination. Dinkelsbuhl was having its 1000 year anniversary and housed one of Germany’s national monuments.

The 13th century town of Dinkelsbuhl, had survived with all of its original atmosphere to modern times. I noticed some similarity between architecture in Dinkelsbuhl and Strasbourg, France. An old city wall and watch towers were still standing. In the city dyed yarn rugs hung from the fences and a violin player was on the street in front of the café. We passed the cathedral and a red house on the square where Kaiser Karl V, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, had lived. Martin Luther had refused to recant his beliefs before the Catholic Church and Kaiser Karl V, and it resulted in Martin Luther’s excommunication. Karl V had so many troubles with his empire that he finally resigned and went to live in a monastery.

Bev had an accident so I loaned her my skirt. Then I got to run around town taking pictures in my shorts. Since the bags were down in the bus, I took my bags with me in order to pack my Hummel figurines properly. Our German-style inn, Gasthaus Soldene Traube, was 500 meters from the square. Our little guide helped me carry my big bag and Lucy my little one to the inn. At almost the end of the main drag we turned down a small side street that looked kind of neglected and run down. Yet the hotel actually turned out to be fairly nice. The room had a big comforter and cold running water.

After getting settled in, we hurried over to the St. Aurelius Cathedral where 15th century paintings hung from the walls and the old bones were decorated with jewels. As I looked around I could see that there were only a few stained glass windows left. When we finished in the cathedral we browsed around in the surrounding shops. Florence bought a new skirt with an elastic kind of band around the waist.

Since we were too hungry to go back to the hotel street, we stopped in a restaurant which was approved by the German travel agency. With radio music in the background and flowers at each table, a cute little boy, Carl, who spoke some English, took our order. Our first course turned out to be a really hot soup with a raw egg in a half shell. The egg went into the soup when the shell was taken out and the hot soup cooked the egg. The second course, sauerkraut and wienies. Only the sauerkraut tasted much different than the U.S. variety. The wienies were pretty tough shelled and quite rich and unrefined.

Back out on the streets, I caught sight of a beautiful lifelike doll in the window. The door to the shop was locked, but one of the ladies heard us trying to open the door. So she hurried over to unlock the door and let us in. We looked at everything and the ladies were getting pretty perturbed at us. They thought we were the typical tourists who were just going to look and end up not buying anything. Then one of them brought out a darling little doll for 3.5 marks that wound up and swept the floor. That did it. We each bought one.

Then all of us stopped at a little store for some oranges and grapes. Meanwhile as my back was turned Alice was on the ground demonstrating the doll to some of the kids. Next was the EES Parlor where we ordered takeout but the lady must not have understood us, because she brought our food to us in dishes. So we stayed there to eat. I didn’t order anything, but I had a taste of everybody else’s meals.

And now back home again at the hotel we had to show off our loot. Quickly we ran down to Herr Watkins room to show him our dollies. Disappointedly for us he wasn’t home. There was a gab fest for awhile and then we got ready for bed. I repacked my suitcases to make room for my souvenirs. Blue striped feather ticks greeted us on the beds and Irene put up my bangs.

60 Years Ago Today


Wednesday, 23 July 1952:

I was up at 6 a.m. to get my tapestry deal taken care of. When we finally got over to the post office across the street we found that no one spoke English. Ione ran over to get Dr. Watkins to help us. Now we were cooking with gas. We finished there and on the way back I noticed how their waste baskets were attached to the light posts.

We went back to the Strasbourg Cathedral, learning that it was built in the Gothic style and later changed to Romantique architecture. The pipe organ was located high up on one side. The clock was very sophisticated and told not only the time, but also the seasons, zodiac signs, and eclipses. It could tell me most anything I would want to know it seemed. If I only knew how to read it, I might add. The clock struck 10 a.m. while we were watching. Everything on the busy clock did something. One little cherub hit a ball, another cherub turned over an hour glass, another figurine high up hit his bell, a priest moved around, and a big organ started playing.I moved on and saw people reaching through a fence around the bishop’s pulpit to rub St. Peter’s head.

We traveled back to the hotel to see if Andre had arrived. While we were waiting the hotel employees became really unhappy with us since we were cluttering up the lobby. A little before noon Andre pulled in with the bus. That was when he thought we were supposed to be leaving.
Now packed in the bus we learned that Albert Schweitzer studied at Strasbourg University before he left for Africa. He received all his degrees from there. Dr. Schweitzer was a universal genius, a theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He had many interests and talents, but couldn’t step on a worm. He wrote the most complete biography of Bach. Herr Watkins said there were still many people that knew him in this area like barbers, clerks, and others.

Herr Watkins told us stories about Schweitzer as we waited at Berden, Germany to cross the border again. We had individual declarations this time so we could change money in Germany if we needed to. Finally Dr. Rogers came. The customs man had to sign all 36 of our declaration forms.

We found ourselves back in Germany again. There were tree lined roads and Strasbourg architecture. War ruins were still apparent here and there. I learned that the fields we saw as we came into Strasbourg were tobacco. I had noticed them before but didn’t know what they were. Other than the tobacco fields the countryside here was quite a lot like many at home with sugar beets and potatoes.

Just around the next bend we came upon something not quite so typical. There were rows of fruit trees or grape vines down through patches of potatoes or beets. It was a good way to save space but this layout necessitated hand cultivation.

I observed another crucifix by the roadside. This seemed to be common for the German people. Again I saw white strips on the trees. Vineyards and fields were located on the slopes, hills and mountains. We passed a small canal with high banks, where a lady was just finishing a big batch of wash. The clothes were spread out along the bank to dry.

Soon after we went back into the hilly country again. I think the Germans must plant a tree every time they cut one down.It seemed we’re taking a different route to Stuttgart than our itinerary called for. During our shortcut, I observed men and women in their native dress shocking grain on the hillside. There were lumber yards and saw mills by the side of road. I spotted grain on a cart that was being pulled by three people. Farther on there were three women walking down the road with two huge baskets full of berries between them.

As we climbed gradually up through the Black Forest again there were tall straight trees again. While we wound to the top a beautiful view opened up to us below of the fields and forest interspersed together. There were all different shades of green and yellow with diverse shapes and sizes of fields. A man was trimming grass along the road side and sweeping it over the sides of the road.

At the top of the pass in Freudenstadt, the city of joy, there were petunias and geraniums in almost every window. It was one of the most beautiful little German cities. I observed new buildings, apartments, and houses. Andre almost scared some of the cyclists right off the road with our blatantly blaring horn.

Then we reached a plateau and then went down into another valley. Meanwhile we left the forest behind, I saw fields and orchards ahead of me. Under a high rail trestle there was a field laid out with racks the shape of big half moons which dried the hay in the fields. I saw how little boy blue got under the haystack.

The majority of German houses had red roofs with wooden fences. As we traveled through the really thick forests we ran into road repair which diverted traffic one way. There were orchards with apples right next to the roadside and groves of tall slender dark needled pines on the other side. Talk about variety of orchards and trees in a small area. Later on I found train tracks right next to the road we were on. There was only one foot between the road and railroad tracks.

We passed the border between the French and American Zone of Occupation from World War II. Farther down the road a piece, we came upon a whole convoy of United States trucks. We drove under the autobahn, the super military highway built by Hitler. As we came into Stuttgart we passed the 7th Army Headquarters.

In Stuttgart there were more red roofs, cathedral spires, and a famous library in ruins. The library had 600,000 volumes, hundreds of manuscripts, and specimens of early paintings. The Natural Historical Museum, Haupt Buhnhopitation, and creative arts building were bombed. Just the fronts and shell were left.

We circled around a little pond and park where people were carrying briefcases. Many boys and men were wearing lederhosen, leather shorts. I spotted a car that had a big dummy on top which held a newspaper. It gave me a funny feeling to be here in this town with all the bombed out buildings around me. At the same time I watched all the hard working but non-prosperous looking people that seemed to struggle in their lives.

As we stopped nearby, the Germans all seemed quite curious about our bus. Herr Watkins told us Schwabens, this region of Germany, were a happy curious people. Then we stopped near the station and American Express in search of our hotel. People in the streets looked at us but when they saw us looking at them they turned their eyes downward.

Alicia said Gutentag or good day to a man who didn’t turn his eyes down. He stopped to talk with us and told us about the Killesbergpark, an urban public park, that was the most beautiful place in Stuttgart. Some American soldiers stopped to talk to us. A little later we gathered to go to our hotel. Personally I hoped it wasn’t in the woods again with candle light.

On our way to the hotel we passed a beautiful huge building with only the front of it left. Shops were still operating behind the front walls. We discovered we were to be led to our hotel by a small black car.

Finally, we found our hotel, the Walderholungsheim Degerloch. It looked like an old ladies home by the type of clientele that were there. We concluded it was supposed to be some kind of YMCA. I noticed large red surfaced tennis courts and paths that led into the woods in all directions. The terrace was nicely landscaped with chairs and tables all around it. Shrubs were pruned sort of like bowling pins.

My room was in a separate building. There were basins, pitchers, and two dark wool blankets. The top sheet on the bed was filled like a comforter. It was too far from town to make it profitable to go back for the evening, so all of us had a good dinner at the hotel or YMCA. For 2.35 marks I had soup, three sausages, potatoes, salad, and coffee ice cream. There was a family table for all of us to eat together.


60 Years Ago Today


Tuesday, 22 July 1952:

Dear diary for some peculiar reason I didn’t sleep as well last night as I was accustomed to. Of course, I was rather uncomfortable with my glasses, earrings, and copper belt on. However, I was thankful for everything else I had had on to keep me warm. I woke at 5 a.m. Usually it is rather hard for me to get up that early. This morning was different, because I woke up raring to go.

As I looked around I found a window open right at the foot of my bed. No wonder it was so cold last night. I cleaned my face and Alicia woke to solve the secret of my disappearing blanket. She had intended to just borrow it until I came to bed but she had fallen asleep. So had the rest of the crew so there was no one to tell me where my blanket was.

I found the washroom with the long trough and brushed my teeth. One of the kids asked for hotel stickers before we started back to the bus. The walk back was quite refreshing as it helped to get the kinks out of my muscles and bones. The forest was misty. It seemed much shorter than the night before.

At the bus we discovered our bags had been taken down and locked inside for the night. We got them out so they were ready to go back on top and then found some oranges at a stand nearby for breakfast. I snapped a picture of hay making on the slopes above the bus.

On the road to Titisee I observed straight pines growing close together with a thick underbrush. No wonder these forests appeared black far away. The road was being repaired. There was Lake Titisee, clear and sparkling below us with a beach and lots of boats. Herr Watkins and Rogers set off to check the temperature of the water. After checking they decided to spend 1½ hours here.
Watkins, Dick, Helen, Margaret, Virginia, Mary and I jumped in to go swimming. Others soon joined us. What a refreshing swim and bath for about ten of us. It was cold at first, but very invigorating. We had a good scrub down with soap and a wash cloth. We took turns scrubbing each other’s backs. We even attracted an audience. Then we dried out in the sun.

Back on the bus we watched the beautiful Black Forest country go by. Andre stopped on a hill above Triberg for a shot of the valley below. It was my last picture so I tried to get a new roll loaded in my camera but the bus was ready to go. In my hurry I accidentally broke the film.

After awhile we stopped in Triberg to shop for cuckoo clocks and eat lunch. We found a nice place to eat at a hotel after wandering in several cafes. I had a delicious meal of soup, roast pork, salad, and potatoes for three marks. I asked for bread and water. It cost extra for bread whereas in Italy it was included in our first and second courses. Watkins read an article in the Hamburg paper to us about friends from Utah while we ate.

We discovered the stores were closed till 2 p.m. and that was the time we had arranged to leave so we decided it would be okay to stay a little longer.

We wandered around the stores for about 15 minutes. As Alicia went back to the bus I told her to honk the horn if the group was ready to go. As I browsed around the book shop there were lots of interesting German books, Reader’s Digest, and children’s books. I thought I heard the horn so I went outside and there was the bus. Some of the kids had been waiting since 2 p.m. and I was really in the dog house. There was a big meeting and the group decided to fine late comers. What a “dealy”!

Next stop was the Rhine Valley where men were putting up hay with ox teams. I glimpsed rows of crucifixes. As we neared Strasbourg, France, I saw typical Strasbourg architecture of medieval structures with black and white timber-framed buildings. Then we reached the border at Kehl, Germany, where there was more red tape. I walked through customs and my passport was stamped twice.

As we crossed the Rhine River, Andre was happy to be back in France. I spotted kids swimming. We crossed the international bridge, and Place des Vosges, the oldest planned city square.
The hotel in Strasbourg was quite different from the rustic hotel the night before. Narrow and tall it sat on a big square near a station with a sidewalk café in front. Our room had two double beds and pink toilet paper. As soon as we were settled I went down to check with the hotel man about Lyon tapestries.

22 July 1952
Hi Folks,
We’re back in France for one night. Last Sunday I gave my German talk twice, once in Zurich in the morning and again in Basel at night. Last night we really roughed it for the first time way up in the middle of the beautiful Black Forest. We slept on beds like we had in the dorm but they weren’t nearly so clean or comfortable.

Then I noticed Bev and the gang. I chased them down to Cook’s to find out about sending money to the missionaries, but they were closed. A fellow came to the door, but he couldn’t give us the information we needed.

Strasbourg was a picturesque city. I went over to the Gothic and Renaissance cathedral to get pictures and I met up with part of the gang there. The cathedral had a beautiful ornate facade facing west. The building was so tall and the surrounding structures were close. Because of this it was hard for me to get pictures of the facade up close. I never finished getting that shot, but I got a picture of one spire.

I met some Egyptian students who were studying medicine at the Strasbourg University. They said the United States was 50 years ahead of Europe in science and invited us to eat with them. I passed on the invitation to dinner and wandered around the older section of the town down by the river. I found more of the typical Strasbourg architecture with sagging buildings, narrow structures, and window flower boxes.

As I continued through Strasbourg, I saw war ruins. Some buildings were gone except for the facade or side walls. Other structures looked like they had been cut in half. Strasbourg was a bilingual city that passed back and forth from France to Germany many times. The older population in the city spoke German whereas the younger population spoke French.

Overall prices were higher here in France compared to Germany. I bought a pastry and ate it along with the lunch that I had purchased in Germany. Then I was off to bed early to make up for the night before.