60 Years Ago Today (and more)

4 to 12 September 1952:

And so to America. One day, in a boat, kind of ran into another. We couldn’t seem to find too much in common with the characters on the boat. Perhaps it was our fault, not theirs. But they seemed to spend the majority of their time smoking, drinking and playing cards. I did have a few interesting conversations and enjoyed the lectures I attended and symphony music in the nursery and the plays and the picture shows. About the fourth day out, the vibrations or jiggles as we called it found some reason for stopping. It was a most welcome relief. The galloping I could put up with but the jiggles interfered with everything and were fast ruining my last vestiges of sight. We had a Dutch waiter who talked and looked like he is from Brooklyn.

Saturday, 13 September:

Finally after almost ten days the boat docked on solid ground. It felt so good to be back in the good old US. What an amazing trip! I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to see so many things.

Impressions of Scandinavian Countries Given in Final Report on European Tour

Editor’s Note:
The following are Mrs. George H. Hansen’s impressions of Denmark and Sweden, the last countries on their tour of Europe. Mrs. Hansen and other members of the party arrived home Monday morning. This is the 20th and final installment of Mrs. Hansen’s interesting and highly descriptive reports from abroad.

“Three kingdoms are welded together in unity and cooperation to form the charm of Scandinavia,” so said our guide book. But I heard a Dane say, “Oh those stupid Swedes.” And I heard a Swede say, “Oh, those stubborn Danes.” So even in the world’s most homogeneous group, there is likely a healthy competition and rivalry.

All three countries, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, boast of a democratic monarchy, cooperative enterprises and even distribution of the good things in life and social laws which are fair in conception and administration.

Because of a time limit, we had a taste of the hospitable friendliness of only Denmark and Sweden, where the sand and sea seem to be their only natural resources. The Folk Schools play a great part in the development and maturity of the people.

Seeing the cleanliness and orderliness of city and country, of shape and homes, we almost felt that the people live to be clean. With their passion for cleanliness comes also a deep spirituality and a pride in their Royal family.

Freed of Royalty
In Copenhagen, before going to the opening performance of their opera season, our hotel manager pridefully said to us, “You don’t have a King and Queen in America.” Aside from seeing and hearing Carmen sung in Danish we had the pleasure of seeing a King and Queen for the first time. The audience rose to their feet as King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid came to view in the Royal box, on the top of which was a huge gold colored crown. With a gentle smile and a bow they seated themselves and the performance began.

The king and queen are young and have three young daughter, which may necessitate the changing of laws, in order that one of them may someday rule, in leu of no prince in the Royal family.

Castles and estates in Scandinavia have a hominess and rustic beauty, most appropriate to the country. With white-washed walls and red tile roofs they are cosily nestled near lakes or surrounded by moats which reflect their color and charm.

Peaceful Country
At Svendborg Castle in Sweden, walking leisurely beside the clear water, over a wooden foot bridge, along a winding path, we heard the singing of birds in the trees, and saw a tiny frog leaping through the grass. It rested near a healthy patch of red clover, from which grew a proverbial spot of good luck, a four-leaf clover. Amid such peaceful beauty in such a lovely country, what better luck could I have than just being there, I pondered, as I put the leaf in my book.

The next day, alone on my way home, to the hotel, from Sunday School, I decided to go into a certain milk bar to eat lunch. Just inside, to my great surprise was Attache and Mrs. Oliver Peterson (Mrs. Ester Eggertson Peterson). They had come about 400 miles from Stockholm to be in that milk bar in Malmo when I walked in. Malmo is about the size of Salt Lake City. It was just one of those super magic situations which thrilled all three of us. It must have been the luck of that four-leaf clover. Of course the main reason for them being there was for Attache Peterson to talk at a meeting of the Swedish American Society. Would that I could have accepted their generous invitation to go home with them and partake further of their Swedish hospitality which is so enticing.

Quiet Moment
Going early to church one summer evening in the far north country offered another opportunity of quiet restfulness, on the green along the shore of the Baltic Sea. Sitting to watch a young boy toss sticks for his dog to catch, as the crimson sun slid slowly through the clouds, behind the ships which were so noiselessly sailing to and fro over the receding reflections in the water, what a most happy moment at the end of a long summer’s journey. The scene was worthy of the miles traveled.

The next day began a 19 hour journey over sea and rail to reach Rotterdam, and from there to America.

On the Groote Beer we counted the rolling and pitching days until we were home. These days were full of the usual interest on a student ship. Students and professors, cooperate in a program of education and entertainment. Stage shows, musical concerts, athletic contests and discussion forums, kept us well occupied. Professors from England, Netherlands, France, Canada and the U.S. have led in discussions on politics, history, philosophy, education and language, from a world-wide point of view.

Comments were most interesting from one group of students who had spent seven days in Yugoslavia.

The student travel project, begun in Holland and participated in by students from the world over, cannot help but result in a clearer understanding of our world neighbors, and a broader point of view for everyone concerned. The chief requisite for such an experience is an open mind.
It is interesting to note that a threat of removal of this opportunity hung over the students from South Africa, because it appeared that they were discriminating against students with dark skin. The few colored students on the Groote Beer seemed to be of the highest type.

A storm at sea was a new development. In order to avoid the center of the hurricane, we were off the regular course and on the way to Newfoundland. However, we arrived safely and believe me it is an experience we will long remember.

Things Remembered:

  • The Gothic Cathedral in Rouen
  • Notre Dame
  • St. Chappelle
  • Strausborg
  • Paris and Lyon from distance
  • Frenchmen staring at our pedal pushers
  • Andre came to our aide with baggage
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • 12 Avenue radiating from Tomb of Unknown Soldier
  • Sacre Coeur’s Byzantine architecture
  • The Latin quarter of Paris
  • Sorbonne – all the universities in Europe are modeled after Sorbonne
  • Rhone Valley to Lyon, one of most beautiful drives
  • Andre complained cause we took long pretty route and many of us slept
  • The large aqueduct – Avignon pont du guard
  • Roman monuments in this particular area so well constructed that they withstood many invasions
  • Vienne Early Home of Christianity – Cathedral St. Maurice
  • Temples of Olivia and Augustine
  • Ruins of Old Roman Forum with automatic washing machine across the Street
  • Triumphal Arch
  • Roman Theatre
  • Avignon Papal Palace Cathedral


Raw (old fashioned) oatmeal
All kinds of fruit (no peel) which has been ground
Brown Sugar
Add brown sugar to yogurt. Mix everything together thoroughly.


60 Years Ago Today

Wednesday, 3 September 1952;

Our last day on this continent! It was a delicious, typically Dutch breakfast. We met up with Pat, Betty and Dot again for the rest of the journey. Went shopping to check on earrings, no soap. Then I ran from store to store trying to make some last minute purchases and checked American Express for mail. I used dollars to make my purchases, I suggested that the exchange was 3.25 as a joke. Ended up back to first store to get salt and pepper and mustard Sets. It rained till it was time to go and I wasn’t packed. I could’t get everything in, so I took a skirt out. I ended up with books, skirt, new purchases and Margo’s Dresden in one arm. We took a taxi to the pier.

We left Rotterdam, the city without a heart. There were lines and more lines. This I could not bear. After visiting 5 or 6 tables I learned that my room had been changed to 136. No bag in room 136. Was I in the right place? A helpful porter sorted it out for me, and everything was under control. It was a very cute room for 5, LO, Betty, Carol, Margaret and me. Much cozier and more modern and lighter than the Sibajak.

We found the dining room. It was filled and it was too late to eat. Shucks! Just because our line was longer. We scavenged a little bread and an apple. A purser gave me a clue about postman in smoking lounge. I sent an air-letter to Mom and Dean Woodruff. There was a serpentine band singing. So this was sailing on a student boat, very different than the Sibajak. Millions of students, too, in all shapes and sizes and lots of characters. It started to rain. We found out there were sandwiches and coffee for those who missed dinner. Well we got sandwiches anyway.

In the cabin I got all my trash in one place and hung up my clothes. Yeah, no packing for 9 whole days! That would be hard to take. There were people walking past our porthole. Really top stuff this trip. We went down for dinner early but they wouldn’t let us sit down. So we hung over rail for fresh air and waited. Dinner was good except for rare meat but it was not like the Sibajak. We had quite the character for our waiter. I lost my way again. Guess I’d have to get a map of the ship.

I spent time in the library reading. It was precious time. Also did lots of writing in diary. Jiggle, jiggle, we were out on the open sea now. I talked to a student from Minnesota. He said it was best to see one thing each place, instead of running all over the place. His philosophy had merit. I stuck my nose out on deck, it was blowing and cold. Back at my cabin and all the beds were filled except mine. Mine filled too. I tried to read for a while with bed lamp on. I fell asleep. In the middle of the night L.O. woke me to turn off the light. I set my watch back before going back to sleep.

60 Years Ago Today

Sunday, 8 June 1952:

At 6:30 a.m. we had sunrise service. The service included a prayer by Mrs. Hansen and talks by Hermine, Dick, Henry and Pat. The music included a solo by Florence Rogers, several quartets, and the chorus. Our program was designed for visitors, but there was none to be seen.

After breakfast I read to Alicia until lunch. I did a repeat performance until dinner time. And everyone made it to dinner except Alicia. Her trouble wasn’t just the sea, however.

When we finished dinner, we got mixed up with a Baptist minister in the hall. The argument got a little warm once or twice. Once we left I read and talked with Alicia again till it was time for the movie. The movie was Standing Room Only with Dutch subtitles. We enjoyed the subtitles. At bedtime I found a cute steward to renew the hot water bottle for Alicia.

60 Years Ago Today and Tomorrow

Friday, 6 June 1952:

At 7 a.m. it was time to get up for breakfast. We looked at the stormy seas through our porthole. At 7:20 a.m. I crawled out and made a fast job of it. That morning our tables looked rather empty and the portholes were closed on the port side.

After breakfast, I joined the rest of the kids on our bunks in the cabin and crawled back in bed. I was just going to relax for a few minutes, but I fell asleep and missed class. Later the steward came in to shut our porthole. The chimes sounding the lunch call brought me back to consciousness. There seemed to be fewer souls with appetites every meal. Sea sickness was taking a toll. It was almost an endurance test I do believe.

On deck it was pretty damp with the spray beating against our faces. We finally found a comfortable spot in the aft lounge which seemed to be fairly centrally located. Here we spent the afternoon shooting the breeze and playing cards. After dinner I decided to take half a Dramamine just to be in style and went to sleep.

Saturday, 7 June 1952:

At our 8:30 a.m. class Dr. Watkins gave a lecture on Paris.

After class I wrote a few letters till 2 p.m. Then I ate lunch and talked to Bill Speckmann, our dining room steward. He was only 22 and had gone to school for 12 years. I napped, read about painting and sculpture, and then cleaned up for class and dinner. It was Saturday night, you know! But everyone else looked as dirty as ever so I felt rather out of place.

After dinner we Virginia reeled (dance) in the aft lounge without shoes. After awhile, I ran down to change my skirt and shoes so I wouldn’t be seen in socks. We played and danced until 9 p.m. when the regular musician came in to play for the dance. There were all kinds of costumes at the dance as one boy came in shorts. I danced with Dick, Herr Rogers, and Henry. Then I went up to the fore dining room to see the rest of the movie The Big Clock. Bill and Irene came by, so we had an interesting conversation about philosophy and the ways of life until people in a nearby cabin objected to our noise.

7 June 1952

It is Father’s Day tomorrow and here I am in the midst of more water than I believed there could be in the whole world. This is my first letter of the journey. It has been hard to settle down to writing or anything thus far, but I am using my will power today.

The bus trip from Provo to New York was tiring but fun. There was no time for letters except while the bus was moving. Washington and New York were interesting. We had the personal attention of Senator and Mrs. Watkins and Senator Bennett’s staff, had lunch with them and visited the floor of the Senate.

When we arrived in New York via the Lincoln Tunnel, Alice and I took a cab to Aunt Ellen’s. We were late arriving and they were in bed, but they welcomed us heartily and gave us a bed, our first since leaving Provo. We had a chance to visit a little before leaving the next morning. We had a very good breakfast and caught a cab back to the hotel. We really saw New York by taxi I do believe. We had to get baggage insurance and money changed, and then we took a quick look at New York from the top of the Empire State Building.

The bus picked us up at the Times Square Hotel for a very quick and not very extensive spin around New York and then to Hoboken Pier 5 to board the Sibajak. We set sail at 4 p.m. The sea was calm the first night and day and fairly calm the second day, but yesterday we picked up a slight storm, so we have been experiencing what it feels like to be on a rocking boat.

About two thirds of the kids have tossed their cookies. I haven’t had any difficulty as yet except for a little woozy feeling when my stomach gets empty. We have had very good meals and I have enjoyed them very much. It is a little calmer today. We have been holding class morning and afternoon.

60 Years Ago Today

Wednesday, 4 June 1952:

I felt pretty good after my first night on the Atlantic, even good enough for a shower. It was quite a sensation for me to be in a cramped area which was surrounded by four walls with that rocking motion of the ocean. The water was fine, but then I discovered that my towel had not come to the shower with me. Unfortunately it had stayed in the cabin. But luckily our cabin was close by. I called to one of the kids and, lo and behold, they heard and answered.

At 8:15 a.m., we were called to the aft second sitting breakfast by chimes being played by Corey, one of our Indonesian waiters. After a delicious breakfast of everything one could possibly have hoped for, we made the purser responsible for all of our worldly goods. It was nice to let someone else worry about our valuables.

We had more exploring and picture taking up on the prow. Then we met and talked to several members of the crew. Not long, thereafter, we heard a rumor that Henry had tossed his cookies.
Lunch came fast after breakfast, because we were assigned to the aft first sitting. However, we had a slight period of confusion in getting our seating arrangement straightened out. Herr Rogers finally arranged for us to sit together on approximately two and a half tables. Lunch was only one course less than dinner and the courses were so good.

After chow, we sat on the deck sunbathing and talking to some other students until time for class. We sighted several porpoises not far from the ship. At our 2:30 p.m. meeting, we elected Pat Anderson as our president and set the time for subsequent meetings.

That evening we decided to dress for dinner which turned out to be another delicious one. The only flaw in the ointment was Betty Lou and Joyce weren’t feeling so well. Later on the entertainment schedule for the evening was a dance and show. After dinner we w andered around the deck and enjoyed the refreshing sea air.

Then Irene and I went into the dance which turned out to be a rather quiet affair. We watched the pianist for a while and then stopped by the movie with Ray Milland. He put me to sleep so we gave up and turned in for the night.