New Mary Text

Here is the latest version of the text for the children’s storybook about my great-great-grandmother. I’d love some feedback if you have suggestions.

Grandma Mary, will you tell me a story?

Of course, Irene, what story would you like to hear?

Tell me again, Grandma Mary, about how you came to Zion.

OK, I’ll tell you. The story starts far away in England. Close your eyes, Irene, and imagine you could travel back in time to when I was a little girl, just your age. I had a happy childhood. My grandmother would tell me stories too. I was an only child because my sisters and brother died when they were tiny babies. I was rather delicate when I was young so I was raised on milk tea.

I grew up in a cozy village with lots of beautiful Elm trees. That is why we called it Coton-in-the-Elms.

But Grandma Mary, that sounds like there was cotton in the trees. I don’t see why that was the name of your village.

Irene, in the English way of speaking coton means cottage or little house, so Coton-in-the-Elms means cottage in the Elm trees.

Grandma Mary, why did you leave England? It sounds like such a beautiful place.

Coton-on-the-Elms was a beautiful place and we were a happy family but things started to change after the missionaries came. It didn’t happen right away, but the after the missionaries came to our village, our lives began to change. In most ways those changes were good. But some changes where very hard. I was just a little older than you when the missionaries came. They taught us about Jesus and Heavenly Father’s visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith. We also read more about Jesus in the Book of Mormon. My family believed what the missionaries taught and we were baptized in a nearby river.

Was the river cold, Grandma Mary?

No, it was July when I got baptized and the water felt good. Plus I felt all warm and happy inside. It was the Holy Ghost telling me I was doing the right thing. We were happier than we had ever been because we knew how much Jesus and Heavenly Father loved us and that we had a living prophet to guide us. But as the years went by some of our neighbors believed bad things about our new church. And some of them were mean to us and the Prophet said we should gather to Zion where we could be safe and live with other saints.

Grandma Mary, why didn’t you leave England while you were still young like me.

Irene, my family was too poor to go to Zion. We worked hard but we still didn’t have enough money yet for the long trip. When I got older I learned to sew from my uncle who was a tailor. It took me a long tome to get good at making dresses but it helped me to earn more money. I was lucky because when I met, and then married, a handsome young man named William Upton, I could make my wedding dress.

We all dreamed of going to Zion far away from Coton-in-the-Elms in America. In Zion they were building temples to the Lord and we would be with many other saints. Plus we could hear the Prophet speak the words of God. So we continued to work hard and save money to go to Zion.

So Grandma Mary, how long did it take you to have enough money to come to Zion?

Before we had enough money, Irene, a most wonderful thing happened. The Prophet Brigham Young came up with a plan to help Mormons like me and my family go to Zion for less money. We would pull handcarts, instead of needing horses or oxen to pull wagons. Plus we could finish paying for the trip after we got to Zion. So in May of 1856 me and my family sailed with lots of other Mormons on the ship Horizon from Liverpool England to Boston in America.

What was it like on the ship, Grandma Mary?

Well Irene, it took many days for us to sail across the ocean and some days the seas were rough making everyone seasick. There were more than 800 of us going to Zion so it was crowded. We kept busy sewing the tents we would soon be using as we crossed the plains and we sang songs. The children played as quietly as they could but with so many people it was often very noisy.

One day, as we got closer to America, the ship was surrounded by thick fog. We were scared because we couldn’t see, but all the saints prayed and the fog parted just in time for the ship to avoid an iceberg. The fog closed around the ship again but there were no more icebergs and we were safe.

What happened, Grandma Mary, when you finally got to America?

I remember how excited I was when I finally stepped off the ship in Boston. It felt so good to be on solid ground again, but we still had a long way to go to reach Zion. We all climbed into train cars that had been used for cows to continue our journey. It wasn’t very comfortable but we were moving toward Zion, so we endured the hard benches and tight spaces.
One night when the train was stopped a mob of angry men surrounded us as we slept. They were mean and wanted to hurt us because we were Mormons, just like in England. But the Lord protected us and the mob left without hurting anyone.

Another night in Cleveland, Ohio, there was a fire. That was scary too, but the saints helped to put the fire out and everyone was safe. Finally we came to the end of the train ride.

Where you in Zion then, Grandma Mary?

No, Irene, in those days Iowa City, more than a 1,000 miles from Zion, was the end of the railroad tracks, By the time we began the hardest part of our journey it was July and very hot. Even though we had traveled for more than two months we still had a long way to go yet to reach Zion. We still wanted to get to Zion so me and my family loaded up a wooden handcart with our few belongings to begin walking across the plains, pulling and pushing our handcart.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Indians along the trail. I was excited and scared at the same time because there were stories about Indians hurting people. But these Indians just looked at us, they didn’t hurt us. I was so grateful. Later in our journey, at Fort Laramie, we saw more Indians and the kind Indian children shared candied fruit with the pioneer children.

Grandma Mary, was did you ever get tired?

Yes, Irene, it was hard work. It was so different from our life in England. But we were going to Zion so each day I walked, pushing and pulling with my mother, father, husband and cousin in the Martin handcart company. Gradually we got used to it. Each night twenty of us slept together in a big round tent with our feet toward the middle and we cooked over fires.

But there were good times too. When we camped by a river, the children had fun swimming. I enjoyed seeing children, just like you, having fun. We had much to do each night in camp, yet we always found time to sing songs. We were glad we were going to Zion We gathered wood or buffalo chips so we could make our fires. The handcart would break and need to be fixed. And we were getting worn down. Time was running out to get to Zion before winter came so we traveled as far as we could each day.

How did you do it, Grandma Mary, walking day after day, pushing and pulling a handcart?

When I felt tired or discouraged I would sing the Handcart Song. The words and the melody helped me continue one step at a time. It gave me strength when the voices of other pioneers around me sang too. The words and the melody would lift our spirits and we could keep going.

There was a big problem. It was taking us too long to get to Zion and we didn’t have enough food. So Elder Franklin D. Richards, an apostle, road ahead in a fast carriage, to tell the Prophet that the handcart pioneers needed help and more food. We prayed everyday for help to come and we kept pushing along as fast as we could go toward Zion, hoping to get help before winter.

Grandma Mary, did you make it to Zion before the winter storms came?

Irene we didn’t. The weather had turned from hot to cold in just a few days.
I remember the day we crossed the Platte River. It started to snow and we had to wade across the river through the cold water. It was so cold that I even saw ice floating in the river. We had to cross many icy cold rivers to reach Zion. Everyone was hungry including me. We worked hard every day and the cold weather made it worse because there wasn’t much food and we had to make it last as long as possible. I felt hungry everyday. But I wanted to reach Zion, so I walked and pushed and pulled anyway, just like everyone else.

What about the help that Elder Richards promised to send, Grandma Mary?

Well Irene, we didn’t know this at the time but help was on its way. Hundreds of miles away in Salt Lake City, Elder Richards arrived in time for General Conference and told Brigham Young about me and the other handcart pioneers. He said we needed food and help to make it safely to Zion. The prophet told the men to gather food and wagons and then go and find us on the plains. Then he ended church early so everyone could help get the wagons ready to go.

Tell me, Grandma Mary, about the man who rescued you.

Well Irene, a righteous man named Burt Simmons already had a stout carriage full of food and ready to go. He and many others followed the Prophet’s directions and quickly left Salt Lake to help me, my family and the other pioneers reach Zion. They hurried as fast as they could to reach us before winter came. But they didn’t make it because the snow came very early that year.

How did you keep going, Grandma Mary, not knowing when help would come?

I prayed all the time, Irene. All of us did and we sang songs. I was so hungry and so cold. There was lots of snow and it was hard to pull our handcarts. No one had enough to eat. Some people died, including my mother, my father and my husband. I was so sad but I knew that my only hope was to keep moving on toward Zion and the help that was coming. A big winter storm came and the snow was so deep that we had to stop for a few days in a place now called Martin’s Cove. Soon Burt Simmons found me and he and other rescuers helped all the pioneers make it to the Salt Lake Valley. I was so weak and my feet were frozen. I don’t remember much about that part of the journey.

Grandma Mary, how did you get better? Since your family died who helped you?

Burt Simmons drove me in his sturdy carriage to his home where his wife took good care of me. I was so happy to be warm and have enough to eat and I was finally in Zion. But it took a long time for her to nurse me back to good health. She even saved my feet from the frost bite. Many others lost fingers, toes and even feet because they were frozen. After several months I was strong again and could really start my new life in Zion.

I love that story Grandma Mary. You are so good, noble and kind. I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Thank you, Irene. The Lord has blessed me. I’ve been married in the temple and have nine children, your mother being the youngest. Plus I have 57 grandchildren just like you. I still remember what it was like to not have enough food to eat so I never waste any food, not even a potato peel. I’m so happy that I can tell you about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father and how they have blessed me. Making it to Zion made all that possible. I never would have had the life I’ve had in England.

Grandma Mary, I’m so glad that you are my grandmother. Because of you the Lord has blessed me too.

Mary Book – Text

Mary and her mother in England

Here is my current text for the children’s story book about my great-great grandmother, Mary Taylor. It has come a long way but I want to revisit it after Brandy Heineman finishes her series on storytelling for genealogists. I’m sure her posts will help me make the text for my book even better.

Grandma Mary, will you tell me a story?

Of course, Irene, what story would you like to hear?

Tell me again, Grandma Mary, about when you were little, like me.

OK, I’ll tell you. I had a happy childhood. My grandmother would tell me stories too. I was an only child because my sisters and brother died when they were tiny babies. I was rather delicate when I was young and I was raised on milk tea. Close your eyes, Irene, and imagine you could travel back in time to when I was a little girl, just your age.

I grew up, far away, across the ocean in England, in a cozy village with lots of beautiful Elm trees. That is why we called it Coton-in-the-Elms.

But Grandma Mary, that sounds like there was cotton in the trees. I don’t see why that was the name of your village.

Irene, in the English way of speaking coton means cottage or little house, so Coton-in-the-Elms means cottage in the Elm trees.

Grandma Mary, tell me about when the missionaries came to your village.

Oh, Irene, that was a glorious day. I was just a little older than you when the missionaries came. They taught us about Jesus and Heavenly Father’s visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith. We also read more about Jesus in the Book of Mormon. My family believed what the missionaries taught and we were baptized in a nearby river.

Was the river cold, Grandma Mary?

No, it was July when I got baptized and the water felt good. Plus I felt all warm and happy inside. It was the Holy Ghost telling me I was doing the right thing.

Grandma Mary, tell me about how you learned to make such beautiful dresses.

When I got older I learned to sew from my uncle who was a tailor. It took me a long time to learn to be a dressmaker. I was lucky because when I met, and then married, a handsome young man named William Upton, I could make my own wedding dress.

William and I dreamed of going to Zion far away from Coton-in-the-Elms in America. In Zion they were building temples to the Lord and we would be with many other saints. Plus we could hear the Prophet speak the words of God. Sometimes the people were mean to us because we had joined the church. But we didn’t have enough money to go to Zion.

Then, Irene, a most wonderful thing happened. The Prophet Brigham Young came up with a plan to help Mormons like me and my family go to Zion for less money. We would pull handcarts, instead of needing horses or oxen to pull wagons. So in May of 1856 me and my family sailed with lots of other Mormons on the ship Horizon from Liverpool England to Boston in America.

What was it like on the ship, Grandma Mary?

Well Irene, it took many days for us to sail across the ocean and some days the seas were rough making everyone seasick. There were more than 800 of us going to Zion so it was crowded. We kept busy sewing the tents we would soon be using as we crossed the plains and we sang songs. The children played as quietly as they could but with so many people it was often very noisy.

As we got closer to America, the ship was surrounded by thick fog. We were scared because we couldn’t see, but all the saints prayed and the fog parted just in time for the ship to avoid an iceberg. The fog closed around the ship again but there were no more icebergs and we were safe.

What happened, Grandma Mary, when you finally got to America?

I remember how excited I was when I finally stepped off the ship in Boston. It felt so good to be on solid ground again, yet our journey to Zion wasn’t over yet. We all climbed into train cars that had been used for cows to get to Iowa City. It wasn’t very comfortable but we were moving toward Zion.

One night when the train was stopped a mob of angry men surrounded us as we slept. They were mean and wanted to hurt us because we were Mormons. The Lord blessed us and the mob left without hurting anyone.

Another night in Cleveland, Ohio, there was a fire. That was scary too, but the saints helped to put the fire out and everyone was safe.

Tell me about after the train ride, Grandma Mary.

By the time we got to Iowa City and the end of the railroad tracks, it was really hot. We began the really hard part of our journey to Zion. We had been traveling for more than two months but we had a long way to go yet to reach the Salt Lake Valley. Me and my family loaded up a wooden handcart with our few belongings to begin our journey across the plains.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Indians along the trail. I was excited and scared at the same time because there were stories about Indians hurting people. But these Indians just looked at us, they didn’t hurt us. I was so grateful. Later in our journey, at Fort Laramie, we saw more Indians and the kind Indian children shared candied fruit with the pioneer children.

Grandma Mary, was it hard?

Yes, Irene, it was hard work. It was so different from our life in England. But we were going to Zion so each day I walked, pushing and pulling with my mother, father, husband and cousin in the Martin handcart company. Gradually we got used to it. Each night twenty of us slept together in a big round tent with our feet toward the middle and we cooked over fires.

But there were good times too. When we were camped by a river, the children had fun swimming. It was so good to see children, just like you, having some fun. We had much to do each night in camp. We gathered wood or buffalo chips so we could make our fires. The handcart would break and need to be fixed. And we were getting worn down. Time was running out to get to Zion before winter came so we traveled as far as we could each day.

What was it like Grandma Mary, walking day after day, pushing and pulling a handcart?
It was a long hard journey so I would sing the Handcart Song. The words and the melody helped me continue one step at a time. We didn’t have enough food to make it to Zion. So Elder Franklin D. Richards, an apostle, road ahead in a fast carriage, to tell the Prophet that the handcart pioneers needed help and more food. We prayed everyday for help to come and we kept pushing along as fast as we could go toward Zion.

Grandma Mary, tell me about crossing the icy rivers.

We had to cross many icy cold rivers to reach Zion. I remember the day we crossed the Platte River. The weather had turned from hot to cold in just a few days. It started to snow and we had to wade across the river through the cold water. It was so cold that I even saw ice floating in the river. Everyone was hungry including me. We worked hard every day and the cold made it worse because there wasn’t much food and we had to make it last as long as possible. I felt hungry everyday. But I walked and pushed and pulled anyway, just like everyone else, so that I could reach Zion.

What about the help that Elder Richards promised to send, Grandma Mary?

Well Irene, we didn’t know this but hundreds of miles away in Salt Lake City, Elder Richards arrived in time for General Conference and told Brigham Young about me and the other handcart pioneers. He said we needed food and help to make it safely to the Salt Lake Valley. The prophet told the men to gather food and wagons and then go and find us on the plains. Then he ended church early so everyone could help get the wagons ready to go.

Tell me, Grandma Mary, about the man who rescued you.

Well Irene, a righteous man named Burt Simmons already had a stout carriage full of food and ready to go. He and many others followed the Prophet’s directions and quickly left Salt Lake to help me, my family and the other pioneers. They hurried as fast as they could to reach us before winter came. But they didn’t make it before the snow because it came early that year.

How did you keep going, Grandma Mary, not knowing when help would come?

I prayed all the time, Irene. All of us did. I was so hungry and so cold. There was lots of snow and it was hard to pull our handcarts. We didn’t have enough to eat. Some people died, including my mother, my father and my husband. I was so sad but I knew I had to keep moving on toward Zion. The snow was so deep that we had to stop for a few days in a place now called Martin’s Cove. Soon Burt Simmons found me and he and other rescuers helped all the pioneers make it to the Salt Lake Valley. I was so weak and my feet were frozen. I don’t remember much about that part of the journey.

Grandma Mary, how did you get better?

Burt Simmons drove me in his sturdy carriage to his home where his wife took good care of me. It was a long time but she nursed me back to good health and even saved my feet from the frost bite. Many others lost fingers, toes and even feet because they were frozen. After several months I was strong again.

I love that story Grandma Mary. You are so good, noble and kind. I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Thank you, Irene. The Lord has blessed me. I’ve been married in the temple and have nine children, your mother being the youngest. Plus I have 57 grandchildren. I still remember what it was like to not have enough food to eat so I never waste any food, not even a potato peel. I’m so happy that I can tell you about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father and how they have blessed me.

Grandma Mary, I’m so glad that you are my grandmother. Because of you the Lord has blessed me too.

I’m open to suggestions on my text. I feel very inadequate to write the text but I’m dedicated to making this project the best that I can.

60 Years Ago Today

Tuesday August 26, 1952:

Bong! Bong! Bong! Someone was beating on a tin pan in the hallway. I came out of a deep sleep with a big jerk. Today will be full of goodbyes to our group that would be returning to the United States. For those of us who were left we would be touring some of the Scandinavian countries. Yea! I’ll be traveling on to more countries.

I quickly jumped into the tub. I’ll always remember England for the wonderful hot water and luxurious baths I’ve had every morning in my private bathroom. My cute room had a desk and bookcase with a little heater built into the wall. My bed wasn’t the softest in the world, but surely good enough for sleeping.

I threw everything into my suitcase and it was really a miracle that I could get it closed with all the additional books I had purchased. I pushed the elevator button, but there was no movement below, so I took the stairs two at a time. There were bags sitting in the room off the lobby, and my bags joined them.

Across the courtyard there was a crowded breakfast room. Most everybody there was busily eating. After running around I managed to get a breakfast together at the breakfast room with bacon and beans for the main course. Unfortunately, I forgot my last two sugar cubes at the hotel.
After breakfast, we all congregated for farewells and put a few coins in a box for Mr. Tester, our guide. We said goodbye to Mr. Tester and my what a weeping good time we had. While the bus was waiting outside Hermine said the prayer. I tried to get in the emergency door with no luck.

Now we’re in the bus and all set to go. We conjectured on the number of chimneys in London as we headed for the Liverpool Street station. Dr. Rogers passed out various kinds of tickets for the reserved seats on the train we would be going on.

The train station looked kinda like the Victoria Station that we pulled into Thursday night. We found our tags on reserved seats with a table in between with even numbers on one side and odd numbers across from them. I tried to finish up my English air letters, so they would be ready to mail before we left England. As we went through customs I got rid of and mailed one of my letters to Marilyn. The official who checked me promised to mail it for me. Then I finished a note to Caroline on the window of the dining room and handed it to a uniform at the top of the gangplank. He took it off the boat for me and with luck the letters will get to their destination.

At Harwich, England we were going to journey to the hook of Holland on the Princess Beatrix. We checked bags by leaving them in a pile in a hallway in a hold area. I guess anyone can’t get very far with the luggage, because they’re just too heavy.

It was kind of windy on deck, so we parked ourselves just inside the lounge. But not for long since then there was dinner call. And seeing as how we had such a huge breakfast (not), we were really hungry. We filled a table with our happy faces on. There wasn’t much choice on the menu so we ordered the cheapest meal. We got thin slices of rare meat on huge silver platters which were surrounded by vegetables. The meal cost one dollar. Whatever the meat was it turned out to be just a little rare. Meanwhile, we had to twist their arms in order to get some water. And I almost got my water for free because the waiter just skipped me and I had to wait and wait and wait. Then I about forced my money on him for the water.

All of us just got settled in the lounge again and an announcer stated that we needed to get our passports checked down in the dining room. Outside and halfway around the boat we finally found the door he wanted us to go in. We were practically the first ones there. We discovered we didn’t need our customs declarations after all. I’m confused because we had so much money with us. It seems that part was skipped also.

As we ventured upstairs again we acquired some cockney boys. At first they were interesting, but they soon became pests. Margaret H. found half a dozen boys and amongst them was a Canadian kilt wearer. We took the opportunity to take pictures. In the little shop downstairs I drooled over the Dutch delft (Dutch blue and white earthenware) and trinkets. I was trying to compare prices with other stuff we had seen. I ended up purchasing a post card of the boat with my few coins.
After the boat arrived in Holland we traveled on the train to Amsterdam. American Express waited to take us to the Schiller Hotel and it was just like coming home. My top floor room had a shower. Yea! Then we endeavored to find something to eat.

Visit to England Winds Up interesting Accounts of Touring BYU Students

Editor’s Note—Here given is the account of the visit to England of the group of BYU students who have toured seven countries of Europe under the sponsorship of the BYU language departments. Dr. Max Rogers directed the tour and Dr. Arthur Watkins was the guide.

Mrs. George H. Hansen who has sent interesting letters describing some of the places visited preceded the last letter home, arriving early Monday morning. Asked for a statement. Mrs. Hansen enthusiastically declared. “It’s so good to be home. My head is all in a whirl, and I haven’t settled down yet.” Mrs. Hansen and members of the group report the food while away was very good as a whole, especially for tourists and the accommodations, the best.

By Mrs. Afton Hansen
Letter to the Editor

Dear Friends,
Who could do justice to “merry old England” in a page or two, except to say that the places of so much interest which we have heard about for so long are now to us real. London Bridge, but it is not falling down; the tower of London, with its gruesome tales, most likely true; Banbury Cross, with no lady on a white horse; Picadilly Circus, a large street square; Leicester Square, Windsor Castle, River Thames, No. 10 Downing Street, Ye Old Curiosity Shop—which is old, but in good upkeep; the romantic cottage of Ann Hathaway; Shakespeare’s home, with the baby tender before the fireplace, his school desk, and the papers he wrote, these and many more are there. We saw, touched and felt the pulse of London and vicinity in action.

Perhaps one of the best places, to hear and see London in verbal action is Hyde Park, a large area of which one corner is used as a civic safety valve. On Orator’s Corner, anyone with a gripe, grievance or message can go and shout to his heart’s content and be assured an audience.

Thousands of people were walking, standing sitting or lounging on the grass, while listening to any one of about 25 speakers going at the same time.

The LDS group had an interested audience as well as an irritating professional heckler. Other recognized groups were the New House of Israel whose representative wore a long reddish brown beard, and attracted about 50 people; a Negro welfare organization; and a Communist leader shouting for peace and socialism.

One man standing on a step-ladder, with years of time showing on his unshaven face and with a toothless half cynical grin was shouting, “Do you know what—I been around a long time and I know that the dead don’t go up, they go down.” Touching the rolled up sleeve of his faded blue shirt he said, “See this shirt, it hung on a line, but I don’t believe in hangings, so I took it down, when nobody looked. It ain’t a sin to steal, its a sin to get caught.” Hearing the click of a camera shutter he turned to Dr. Max Rogers (our tour director) and said “You took my picture, who said you could? I’ll sue you.”

Another man standing on a box claimed to be a woman and was demanding in a squeaky masculine voice “We women must stick together.”

An English gentleman insisted that Englishmen are snobs, full of class distinction. But we saw very little of this, partly because our lodgings for the short week in London were in Halliday Hall, a student hostel, where meals were good, rooms were very comfortable and personnel very accommodating.

At famous Oxford University with its twenty-seven colleges with only three for women, we sat in the chairs of the graduates, listened to stories about former students, and caught the delightful inward chuckle of English humor.

One student had a disliking for a professor and his easily remembered lines are still quoted “I do not like you Dr. Fell. The reason why I cannot tell, but this I know full well, I do not like you Dr. Fell.”

Stories about English royalty of course are many. Edward VII who was fond of shooting in the forests around Blenheim, one day lost his way. Inquiring his way of a man whom he chanced to meet, the man offered to take him to town. Chatting as they walked along Edward VII remarked that he had heard the king would be at the tavern that evening.

“Well,” said the man, “I think I shall go, I’ve never seen the King. But how will I recognized him?”

“Everyone removes their hats when they see the King. So the only man with a hat on will be the King,” said Edward.

Later at the tavern, there were two men with their hats on—, the king and the gentleman of whom he had earlier inquired his way. Said Edward VII, “Both of us can’t be King, we’d better toss a penny to see who is the King.”

A similar story of royalty not being recognized is when the Prince of Wales first attended Christ Church at Oxford. An older student welcomed him with a slap on the back saying, “A new student. Pray tell who you are.”

Said Edward, “I’m the Prince of Wales.”

Not believing him, the student replied, “Well, I’m the King of England.”
Later at meal time, the Prince of Wales was invited to sit with the big noises at the head table. As he passed, he slapped the friendly student on the back and said “Hello Dad.”

England’s countryside which is not occupied by royal estates or forests is divided into small sections of picket handkerchief size, hemmed with hedges of ivy, privet or laurel. The larger squares are fringed with those beautiful spreading chestnut tress, the mighty oak, or huge maple trees beginning to show traces of autumn color. In the Windsor forest are still many potential Windsor chairs.

Britishers are anticipating a host of world visitors next summer when in June, the coronation of the new Queen is held.

Near the end of this summer’s rich experience we find ourselves, slightly immune to fortresses, castles, museums and art galleries, even though England has much to offer, which we have not neglected, it seems we would almost rather go shopping for linens, china or Royal Doulton figurines. But even this has lost some of the savor; partly, because the shelves are almost barren. The export ships must have been heavily laden.

Theater entertainment and stage shows were extra good however. Our group spread themselves around to see Mary Martin in South Pacific, Waters of the Moon, The Love of Four Colonels, and Katherine Hepburn in The Millionairess and Noel Coward’s witty comparison of American and English personality in Relative Values. A universal undertone of international understanding seemed to run through most of the shows, as was expressed in the line of a song in South Pacific sung by Lt. Cable—”You’ve Got to be Taught.” . . . “From four in six to eight, you’ve got to be carefully taught to hate, —from voices you will hear, you’ve got to be carefully taught to fear.”

Judging from a series of newspaper articles in the Daily Express, Londoners have the same crowded condition in their schools as we have at home. “The Big Squeeze” heads the article, with a sub-heading of “Are the schools wasting our money?” At present there are 1000 teacher vacancies in London, with the same cycle of not enough money equals not enough teachers equals poor results for the student, and causes the author to end the article with “Why Make Guinea-pigs Out of Today’s Children.”

To a criticism of today’s schools, a professor gave this comment, “Education is a tool in the hands of a student. It equips the student for the last effort which he himself must make.”

From London, part of our group started for the good old USA, while 18 of us sailed across the North Sea to Scandinavia for one more adventure.

60 Years Ago Today

Monday August 25, 1952:

After breakfast we purchased tickets for the South Pacific play the hard way by waiting in long lines. Then I was off to shop with L.O. on Oxford Street. I tried to get my shoe fixed unsuccessfully and then we were off to the British Museum, which had collections of history and culture. At the museum we saw famous musicians and writers. It was such a thrill!

At the museum I examined documents and writings by Matthew Arnold’s Sonnet on Shakespeare in his own writing; Thomas Hardy, an English novelist and poet; Henry James, American-born writer; R. L. Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer; Oscar Wilde, Irish writer and poet; William Butler Yeats, an Irish poet and playwright; Keats, an English romantic poet; and Shaw, a Scottish architect; Kipling’s poem Recessional, an English writer and poet; Hyperion, novel by Friedrich Hölderlin; When the Lamp is Shattered by Mary Shelley, a British novelist. I found letters by Carlyle, Scottish satirical writer; letters by Darwin, English naturalist; original expedition diaries by Captain Scott, an English Royal Navy officer and explorer; manuscript by Beowolf , an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet; personal log book of H.M.S. Victory, Horatio Nelson; small box of victory containing human hair; and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, father of English literature and greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. I ended up buying a post card of Shaw’s work.

Soon after I identified historical autographs of the Royalty: Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, rulers from Mary Queen of Scotts to Queen Elizabeth, Benjamin Disraeli, and Queen Victoria. Finally, I got to look over the seal of Royalty, Magna Carta from 1215, Shakespeare deed, marble statue of Shakespeare, Paleolithic Art, Stone Age art from England, recent acquisitions from recent diggings in Yorkshire, weapons from Indonesia, Java masks, Turkish pottery, Persian arms, Rosetta stone, model of the Pantheon Iris, beat up statue showing battle between the Centurion and the Lapith in mythology, and sword and scabbard from Romans advancement into Yorkshire. Wow! That sure was interesting.

Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII, ruled England and Ireland from 1533-1603. The Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England. This offensive did not succeed.

Later on Charles I was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1600 until his execution in 1649. And Louis XIV reigned France from 1638-1715 and it was the longest documented reign of any European monarch.

Cromwell was one of the commanders of the New Model Army which defeated the royalists in the English Civil War. After the execution of King Charles I in 1649, Cromwell dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England, conquered Ireland and Scotland, and ruled as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658. A political crisis that followed the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in the restoration of the monarchy, and Charles II was invited to return to Britain and ruled till 1685.

After James II ruled from 1685-1688, the English Parliament offered the Crown to his Protestant daughter Mary in 1689 who jointly ruled with her husband, William II. However, Parliament started to become the ruling power during these events and slowly over time started to limit the power of the English monarchy.

In 1707, the flag, the Union Jack, was chosen for the soon to be unified Kingdom of Great Britain. And the United Kingdom came into being with only one crown. In 1760 George III became King and led for 60 years to 1820. At this same time the Industrial Revolution began in Britain and spread to the rest of the world during the 18th and 19th century. Then the American Revolution began with a political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire. These colonies became the United States of America in 1776. This revolutionized British Colonial policy. William Pitt was a British Whig statesman who led Britain during this time. George IV became King of Britain from 1762-1830.

After the museum we found a funny little cafeteria café. Unfortunately, Carol had left her camera at the hotel. I tried to call American Express to see if we had any mail and can you believe the phone was out of order. After several tries we gave up and caught a bus downtown to Piccadilly to see for ourselves.

On the bus we met lots of our crew with their arms full of purchases. Carol and I caught another bus to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Works. Carol bought some chips and offered them to a lady inside. She was quite thrilled when she found out what they were. Going back we jumped on the bus and it pulled off before L.O and Carol could get on to return. They caught up with us later.

Afterwards, we cued up for the South Pacific play. The music and play were well done. Then we went “home” past Covent Gardens. During this time L.O. and Carol took my shoe to see if they could get it fixed with no luck.

60 Years Ago Today

Saturday August 23, 1952:

Today we started a guided tour of London, which was 698 square miles. There were bombed out buildings with all the debris cleared away. First we saw Trafalgar Square, National Gallery of Art, Savoy, Bush House, statue of William Gladstone, St. Clement Eastcheap Church, building of Lesser Courts, Fleet Street, and Cheshire Cheese. Strangely it was legal to drive on the right hand side of the road and so different than what I am used to. Crazy!

On our tour, Tom Collins was our guide and we passed by more bomb damage, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Cannon Street, an old London stove, a narrow winding street, East Cheap Street, Tower of London, and All Hallows-by-the-Tower Church where John Quincy Adams, the U.S. sixth president was married.

We emptied the bus to stand in line to see the Crown Jewels. It was the real deal with the largest cut diamond in the world at 513 carats. There was a round display case which was built to a point. We viewed the Royal Scepter, Imperial State Crown with a Cullinan II Diamond, Black Prince’s Ruby, Queen Elizabeth’s Crown for the Queen Mother, Queen Mary’s Crown, and St. Edwards’ Crown which was less bejeweled with only a few earlier monarchs crowned with it. Later, it was used only for display at the coronations. Unfortunately, in 1649 a.d. Cromwell confiscated and melted down most of the Crown Jewels.

As our tour continued we saw an ampulla, which was a small nearly globular flask or bottle with two handles. It contained oil which the sovereign was anointed with. Then there were salts which were placed on a coronation banqueting table where people would sit in front of or behind according to rank. Then we viewed the Maundy dish, which originally were six silver dishes used to hold the gifts. Now Maundy money, specially minted, was distributed to the poor of Westminster.

Next we learned about the Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348 a.d., which was the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. And there was a legendary old 13th century wall that the English didn’t even know existed till World War II bomb damage revealed it.
We arrived at the Tower of London, the bloody tower where untold unofficial executions took place. And from the 3rd century to 1820 there were many political prisoners there as well. Sir Walter Raleigh spent 30 years there in prison under James I and was visited by Prince Henry.

Finally, he was executed at the Palace of Westminster in 1618 a.d. Archbishop Laud, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 a.d. to 1645 a.d., was held in the Tower of London. He leaned out from the Tower of London and blessed Charles I Earl of Stratford.

At the Tower of London, Beefeaters were ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London and acted as tour guides. The walls of the White Tower were 15 feet thick and earlier it was used as a prison. On display was the uniform coat of Duke of Wellington, an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, who was one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century. Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, was tried for treason with trumped up charges and beheaded at the Tower of London. Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII, died in childbirth. Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, was also tried for treason for committing adultery while married to the King and was beheaded in the Tower of London as well. Lady Jane Grey, who was a prisoner at the Tower of London during her nine day reign was convicted of treason, let go, and died later in the Wyatt’s Rebellion.

The ravens of the Tower of London comprised of at least seven individuals (six required, with a seventh in reserve). The presence of the ravens was traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the Tower. A superstition suggests that “If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.” It was pointed out how the Tower Bridge center rises to allow boats to come through.

After the Tower of London, we headed to Tooley Street while we learned that the population of London was 8,300,870. Then we went down Duke Hill Street and to Nancy’s Steps that led to the London Bridge. Next we caught sight of the English stock market, Bank of England in Windsor, Princess Street, Moorgate Street, garden at the bottom of bombed out building, St. Gill’s Church where Oliver Cromwell was married, a congested area, Cheapside Street, a bombed out warehouse, and an office building section. We also observed the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral which was architect, Sir Chris Wren’s, masterpiece. There were eight scenes painted on the dome showing the life of St. Paul.

There was a book which holds 28,000 names of U.S. military men who had lost their lives in military operations from the British Isles. There were pictures of a presentation of a book to Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower which was dedicated on July 2, 1951. Continuing on there was a statue of Queen Anne in front of a building that used to be at St. Paul’s Cathedral. At this time a fire engine buzzed by us.

At 1:30 p.m. we were at Trafalgar Square and started off to St. James Park, Buckingham Palace, statue of Queen Victoria, Queen Mary’s house, Marlboro House, Hyde Park corner, War Memorial, and Park Lane. Benjamin Disraeli, a British Prime Minister, lived at Grosvenor Square, a large garden square. It was the end of the morning tour.

In the afternoon, our tour resumed to Dickens Old Curiosity Shop, Lincoln’s Inn, Covent Gardens, Long Acre Street, Little America, Roosevelt’s Statue, Oxford Street, Wallace Collection Museum, and Marble Arch, which was built to be a white Carrara marble monument entrance to Buckingham. It now stands on a large traffic island on Oxford Street. Soon after was the smallest house in London where special smaller furniture had been made for it. And in Hyde Park there was a dog cemetery.

Then we drove by Kensington Gardens, Serpentine swimming pool, Prince Albert Concert Hall, Albert Memorial, Royal Palace of Kensington, Queen’s site gate, University of London, Science Museum, Natural History Museum with a petrified tree in the garden in front of it, Sloan Street, Edgar Allen Poe’s school where he went, park for old soldiers, Chelsea Barracks, apartment houses for workers, fashionable Dolphin Square, St. George’s Square, apartments for workers with all different colored doors, Tate Gallery, Parliament with a picture from Lambeth Bridge, St. Thomas’ Hospital, Big Ben, County Hall, red brick Scotland Yard, and Statue of Richard the Lionhearted.

We ended back at Westminster Abbey and waited for a few minutes before we could go through. Since services were being held the choir was singing. Then a prayer was said, organ music was played and everyone stood. Kipling, Handel, and Scott were just a few of the many distinguished literary people that were buried there. Oh, oh! There were no shoes inside the church. Oh well! What can one say. It was too late.

Then we ended up on 10 Downing Street where the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom works with over 100 rooms. There was a British red telephone booth on the sidewalk. I forgot to push the buttons. We called Halliday Hall about getting tickets, but no soap.

Later Lucile, Betty Lou, Carol, Elo, and I squeezed in for standing room only for The Millionairess staring Katharine Hepburn. When it was time to go home, we got on the tube. After awhile we wondered about being on the wrong train, because we were the only people left except for one other man.

Finally, a conductor came up to us and told us we would never get home this way, because this train was going to bed, I guess. We hadn’t heard him call to change tubes. So he told us exactly which train to take to get to Clapham South. After following his instructions, we made it back to the hotel safely for a good night’s rest.

60 Years Ago Today

Friday August 22, 1952:

In the morning our hotel included a big breakfast. Afterwards I dashed down the street to see about tickets with L.O. and just barely made it back in time for our tour. I left Betty feeling low.
Our guide told us that there were definite class distinctions with many British born snobs. First on the agenda was Oxford. It was a pretty town and the university had 27 schools or colleges with buildings scattered all over town. I took pictures at Christ’s Church College, one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. John Wesley (1636–1678) was an English nonconformist minister who was a student at Oxford.

Next was the Trinity College which was another college at Oxford and I snapped some pictures of it. I viewed the first work of Christopher Wren. He studied at Oxford and was one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history. Soon after we saw the Bedouin Library with broken bottles on the walls. Each student bedroom had a sitting room.

As we left Oxford we drove by Blenheim Palace, the home of Sir Winston Churchill. It was in a small town, Woodstock, that was eight miles northwest of Oxford in Oxfordshire, England. The palace was 2700 acres and walled. I noticed a vegetable garden between the wall and road with scarecrows and unusual haystacks.

Later we stopped for pictures of the countryside in Warwickshire. We also discovered thatched roofs which had lasted over 400 years and one church that had shrubs in the shape of bottles. Back on the road I caught sight of flax fields and a waterfall that was a miniature Niagara.

We learned one of the earliest discoveries of England was by Pytheas of Massalia, who was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony around 300 B.C. During this time the Celts, which had inhabited most of Western Europe, arrived in England. The Celts were fair haired and wore bright colored clothes with brilliant colored necklaces. Also, Druidism, a religion, was practiced by offering human sacrifices at this time.

In the middle of the 2nd century Rome conquered the Celts and built big walls to keep the Picts and other enemies out of England. In the 5th century Roman’s military withdrew and left Britain open to invasion primarily by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Hoards who initially settled in the eastern part of the country. The Hoards wiped out Christianity, but it was reestablished in the 6th century by Augustine, a Roman philosopher and theologian. In the 580 A.D. King Ethelburt was the first English king to convert to Christianity.

During 871-899 A.D. Alfred the Great was noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings. Danelaw was used to define the treaties, boundaries, and kingdoms between the English king, Alfred the Great, and the Danish warlord, Guthrum. Then from 1042-1066 Edward the Confessor was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England that helped to restore order. He was the founder of Westminster Abbey which was later demolished in 1245 A.D. to make way for Henry III’s new building, which still stands today.

Before his death in 1066 A.D. Edward the Confessor mishandled the succession issue of whether William the Conqueror or Harold II of England would ascend to the English throne after his death. Harold II ended up taking the throne, but Edward’s dangerously indecisive actions contributed to the eventual Norman conquest of England by William the Conquerer at the Battle of Hastings.
During William the Conqueror’s reign he built the Tower of London with the Gothic arch which had been started in Northern France. At this time Charlemagne reigned and united much of Western and Central Europe. In the 14th century Joan of Arc, a peasant, heroine of France and a Catholic saint, was burned at the stake by the British in Rouen, France. She paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII through her divine guidance in many important victories in the Hundreds’ Year War. Charles VII crowned at Reims, France helped remove the English elite and replaced them with a new French-speaking aristocracy. And their speech had a profound and permanent effect on the English language.

Soon we arrived at the 14th century Warwick Castle with a moat and drawbridge. There was a picture of Warwick on the grounds and in the chapel of the castle there was a blind guide who was a war veteran. The oldest piece of painted glass in the window near the rear of the castle. Then I saw a Virgin Mary painting by Perugino, an Italian painting of 14 bishops, and a portrait of Lord Warwick’s family in the hall.

There were portraits of the Earl’s great great grandson, Lord Brooke by Morrison, and of the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837, who reigned the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In the dining room there was a portrait of Charles I by Van Dyke at other end of the great hall. I glimpsed swords, armor, tapestries, a long table, Italian carpet, chairs, Oliver Cromwell’s helmet and carvings and a painting by Rubens. The last royalty to use these rooms was the Countess of Warwick.

As we continued through the Warwick castle, I identified a portrait of Frances Evelyn, an Italian marriage chest, an English bottom drawer, an American hope chest, a cedar drawing room, and an Italian decoration. There were Van Dyke paintings with the middle painting taller than the others. I learned that Robert Rich had been Earl of Warwick in 1918. The green room was the music room and there were Rubens portraits and paintings of Princess Margaret, Lady Brook, Richard Dumbleby, a Spanish warrior, and Earl of Stratford.

Our tour progressed to Queen Anne’s bedroom with paintings of her over the mantle piece and bed. There was a replica of the crown at the head of the bed. She weighed 14 stones or 308 lbs. and had 17 children, who all died before her death. Next was the balcony and a painting by Hobey of Henry VIII at age 45 hanging over a fireplace. I noticed a little clock which had belonged to Marie Antoinette and a bronze. There was a little round painting located through the wall and down some stairs.

Then on to Stratford-upon-Avon where Anne Hatheway, 26, and Shakespeare, 18, got married. It was the third birthplace we have visited of some of the greatest writers. Previously on the trip we saw the birthplaces of Goethe and Dante. Along with Shakespeare’s living room, there was a museum in what used to be his father’s workshop. This was where Shakespeare’s printed works, early quartos, and folios were put together.

With a Holy Trinity Church nearby, an old ferry traveled across the River Avon. There was a U.S. Army Field Band giving a concert in front of a new theater.
Next on the tour we saw the Memorial Park and extra iron ore sitting in the middle of the field. There was a spot for tea and cakes where we found another bus load of kids. We had punch and banbury cross buns. We all sang, the bus load of kids sang, we sang, they sang, we sang. They clapped and we clapped. It was so much fun! I spotted a new kind of car which was a one seater. What a great day!

From 1154-1189 A.D. Henry II, who was born in France, brought reformation as he ruled as King of England. At various times, he controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Richard the Lion, the next English king, had a great reputation as a great military leader and warrior. In 1191 A.D. he took 8,000 of his men to Palestine to help a family friend to try and retain the kingship of Jerusalem. Then around 1649-1660 A.D. there were six Stuart monarchs who ruled both England and Scotland as well as Ireland.

In 1215 the Magna Carta was the first document that was forced upon a English king by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons. It was an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. In total fifteen Plantagenet monarchs, including those belonging to cadet branches, ruled England from 1154 until 1485. It was a royal house that originated in France. King Edward I of England, who ruled from 1272-1307, gave his son Prince Edward, later King Edward III, the title Prince of Wales. Wales was subsequently annexed by England under the Laws in Wales Acts in the 1500’s. Then King Henry VIII ruled from 1509-1545 A.D. During this time Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church and helped provide an atmosphere for the Church of England to flourish. Also, from 1523-1534 A.D. a Medici, Pope Clement VII, was Pope.

50 for 50 #32 – Fish and Chips

As I was deciding what I wanted to do to celebrate my 50th year this week I starting making a list of the ideas that where possible. Then one of the ideas jump out as the perfect choice, fish and chips. I listed this as an idea to celebrate going to England in 1983 with BYU volleyball team. This week seemed like the perfect timing since the Olympics are finishing up in London too.

So I picked up some French fries and some battered fish patties at the grocery store along with a bottle of malt vinegar. It has been a busy week so there was no way that I had time to do it all from scratch. That would have been fun but not very practical. I can’t remember if I actually ate fish and chips while I was in London but it is the symbolism that matters. It worked out to be a fun and quick dinner that fit perfectly into my schedule.