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.


60 Years Ago Today

Thursday, August 21, 1952:

While ever so happy about a bath in our hotel room, I noticed it was still raining for our last jaunt on this continent. We had a lecture on England en route to Dunkirk, France.

Now back to the drive we saw Belgian soldiers on field maneuvers. We stopped near Bruge, Belgium to see a windmill, elevator bridge, and Ostend Cathedral. It was a beautiful, lacy cathedral. Then I caught my first glimpse of the North Sea coast. We stopped for pictures at the lovely beach where I caught sight of a land soil boat among the war fortifications along the coastline of sand dunes and grass. Farther on I noticed an overgrown graveyard with crosses.
I spotted a hotel that was built like a boat amidst the sand dunes by the shore of the North Sea. At 3 p.m. we said goodbye to Belgium and hello to France. As we left the Belgium border it was a cinch with no red tape at all.

Then at the French border I observed an inspector looking over some meat which was hanging in a big truck. The French border was just as easy as the Belgium border due to a little grease on the job by American Express. The inspector came on the bus and looked at Andre’s passport and asked if we had ours. Andre asked him if we could get out of their country and up went the gate. And we got through fairly easy with no bags opened. Andre was happy to be back in his own country and the mob livened up as we greeted Marseille, France.

Then we reached Dunkirk where the British had been pushed into the sea. Under blue skies Dunkirk still looked like it was at war. There were rows of houses with red tiled roofs as we stopped by a monument to Dunkirk and had our last dinner on the bus. We indulged with a can of pickles that we have had since Venice. Remember how some of the sailors we met there had given us food from their ship? We also had a big surprise: cookies. We cut bread and made sandwiches on our laps as per old times.

We reached Calais at 1:30 p.m. A Liberty ship had collided with another ship farther out in the channel and was sinking in the harbor. Part of the ship had drifted and the other half sank. After we got out of the bus some French Marines posed for pictures for us. At the dock there were touching good byes to Andre, our bus driver. I shed a couple of tears.

Touring Students Near End of Extensive European Journey

(Editor’s note: This is another in a series by Mrs. Afton A. Hansen of Provo on her experiences with a group of students touring Europe.)

Dear Friends,
The small countries of Holland and Belgium are none the less significant in European history and must have been important to those ambitious Romans who seem to have preceded this Brigham Young University tour by several years, and left their mark in statuary and stone as well as in ideas and laws. In every country, thus far, we have heard the story of “when the Romans were here.” Of course, it took the Romans nearly 900 years to achieve their purpose, while ours has been done in three months.

Entering Holland from Germany, we were immediately aware of the verdant beauty, which plenty of water brings, and the comfortable looking homes which come from economic stability. Large brick homes, many with thatched roofs, are surrounded by spacious gardens and groves.
Amsterdam in Holland is a thriving, homey city, called the Venice of the north because of its canals and waterways throughout the city. In a large glass-topped motor boat we made our customary inspection of the city and found everything to be clean, ship-shape and in good working order. That is, everything but the pulley bars anchored to the fancy gables of some of the older homes. They were used in times past to hoist merchandise from the waterway to the third floor storage room. It seems that it was a very good way to avoid those narrow, steep stairways inside the house.

One typical house, with red shutters and a light burning in the second story window, was said to be the place where Rembrandt lived. This revered old gentleman stands alone in the park just across from our hotel. Right now a pigeon is resting comfortable on the top of his artist’s beret.
Because Holland is below sea level, the dykes are strong and wide enough to support our big blue bus as we travel out in the country for a better view of the windmills. It is somewhat strange to see the land so low on one side while the sea is higher on the other side. Across the green fields can be seen the black and white cows grazing and the white sail boats apparently sailing on the pasture. From the distance the water in the canal is not visible. The slow moving arms of the windmill indicate that water is being pumped into the canals which carry it to the sea, whence it came.

There are no bridges across the larger canals, but a ferry-boat transports people, cars and our big blue bus on our way to the Island of Marken, where the inhabitants retain old traditions in living and in dress. For work and for dress up—the men wear long black bloomer-like pants made of heavy woolen with a tight skirt of the same material. Wooden shoes of course, are part of the picture but not everyone wears them. The ladies and children wear full, dark skirts, colorfully decorated above the hemline. A white blouse, colored bodice, a white lace cap and wooden shoes complete their costume.

A little old man, leaning on the close bottom half of his door, seemed to invite us, with his toothless smile, into his house, which like all the houses on the island is built on piles. On the walls of his cozy, but simply furnished room, were hung a collection of plates of which he was most proud. He was a man after my own heart, so to speak, for I have been collecting plates too. You may come to my home most any day now to have pie and see my plates and spoons.

“The Hague” is the capital of Holland. In passing through this beautiful clean city where in the Peace Palace, the World Court of Justice convenes, we could only wish for a longer stay. Of necessity we had to hurry to Rotterdam, where we were to leave our heavy bags, until going aboard ship for the return voyage.

Brussels in Belgium is a crowded city of 1,300,000 population much like any crowded American city. Kind, availability and prices of merchandise are also about the same as in America.
That , which in Belgium is most unique is the delicate and beautiful hand-made lace, which may soon become a lost art, because the young girls do not care to learn this intricate skill. With needle, bobbin and hand loom, the deft fingers of older women produce designs with linen thread which are called Rose Point, Pearl Point Dutchess and Princess. It is quite expensive.

Brussels is also crowded with huge, massive, impressive buildings in a variety and conglomeration of style and architecture. Statues of royalty and nobility have their story to tell, as well as the statue of the brave young mother who led the resistance movement during World War I, and when shot by the Germans, so bravely said, “I’ll show you that a Belgian mother is not afraid to die.”

Stopping at the gates of the Palace of King Leopold III we saw the changing of the guard. Through the pickets of the iron fence, during a rainstorm, a few pictures were taken. The formality and stiffness of the ceremony almost equaled the stiffness of the fence. True to form, however these girls tried to catch a movable expression in the faces of the handsomely uniformed guards. From the bus, they waved and smiled, with not a flicker of an eye cast from the guards, until in order to get out, we passed them the second time, and then the lone sentry outside the gate responded with a vigorous wink of one eye, much to the delight of the girls.

Parks and driveways around Belgium are beautiful with castles, cathedrals, formal gardens and a great variety of trees—beech, walnut, chestnut, elm, oak and maple. There seems to be as many windmills in Belgium as in Holland.

At Ghent in Belgium we held a farewell party for Andre, our French bus driver who chauffeured us through traffic thick and thin in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium.

Whenever anything irregular happened Andre’s appropriate remark, with his French accent, was “experience.” Leaving him next morning at Calais, over the border in France was a sad “experience,” as he sped on to his home in Paris and we took the steamer across the English channel to Dover and thence to London.

See you there,
Afton A. Hansen

As we got on the boat we were handed a white slip to fill out for English Customs and directed to “D” deck in the third class section of the ship. We went across the Straits of Dover in a pretty little white ship. It was beautiful weather with a lot of English marines aboard.

As we approached England, the White Cliffs of Dover were not quite as white or as high as I had imagined them. At 5:20 p.m. we landed in Dover and had no trouble with customs.

My first glimpses of the English country side was from the train as we rode toward London. It was pretty and green with lots of orchards. But there were so many chimneys. It seemed there must be one chimney pot for each room on the roofs of the houses. I watched red roofed cottages, green countryside between smoky tunnels, and huge apartment houses. I could see the Thames River and the train station. Then I noticed double-decker buses driving on the wrong side of road. Crazy!

An American Express bus came to the train station to pick us up. A big fat driver took us to our hotel. He had never heard of the hotel and had a rough time finding it. Halliday Hall, the hotel, was in a residential area where there were separate rooms and baths. Alice, Elo, Carol, Alene, and I left the hotel pronto to find London via the tube. South Clapham Station was not far and it took only 12 minutes from the hotel to get to the center of London. We explored Piccadilly Square and the vicinity surrounding it as we ate hot dogs.

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.


60 Years Ago Today

Saturday, 21 June 1952:

We had breakfast in our room with chocolate rolls and jam. The missionaries were going to Grasse with us. We stopped at the American Express to put in a claim for Watkins’ severely damaged suitcase. Several other suitcases were banged up, but not as badly. Herr Watkins bought a new one.

Grasse was a small Medieval town on the French Riviera, that was founded as a Republic in the 12th century. In 1732 Heinrich Herterich was a Franchard painter here. Later Pauline Boneparte, younger sister of Napoleon, separated from her husband in 1887 and came to Grasse. It provided a quiet little city for convalescents. Queen Victoria spent several winters here. Napoleon came here after his escape from Elba and was received here at Grasse, but he only stayed one hour.

Grasse, built on a hill, was a major support of the perfume and tourist industry in France. It takes one ton of flowers to make one quart of perfume or two pounds of essence. The process involves fat drawing perfume from the flowers and alcohol extracting the perfume from the fat. Then it is mixed with alcohol to make liquid and beeswax to make solid perfume. There are different processes for each flower as some flowers are more delicate.

Girl workers can’t eat garlic for three months when working with the perfume in the third process while aging perfume for three months in agitators. In the last stage, the perfume is mixed with alcohol 15-18% blended or straight. Everybody was smelling the perfume like mad. It smelled good, too!

The perfume manager had been in the movie business for 12 years in publicity and production. However he liked the perfume business better. Face powders and creams were also manufactured here. Vegetable coloring was used to make powder rouge and lipstick. I gave Herr Watkins a bottle of pain restorers for his headache. Then we had a beautiful scenic drive back .
We stopped to eat at the restaurant, La Cyrano, with the missionaries. We had a good dinner with potage, macaroni au gratin, ham, potatoes and two desserts for 270 francs. Afterwards Carol and I went shopping at Lafayette Galaria for gloves and baby clothes. I didn’t buy anything though. In any case I spotted a store with Iris on the front.

We visited an old cathedral. Just as we were leaving, a funeral procession was coming in. The priest stood by the door and the pall bearers carried in the wooden casket from the hearse. A handful of mourners in black followed the casket.

We window shopped on the way back “home”. We had to ask for directions to the hotel several times, but on our way back we had a strawberry pastry. Gee, everybody wore shorts in this town. I wondered if it could be a beach town.

Touring Students View History, Personality of Old France

(Editor’s note: This is another letter from Mrs. George H. Hansen of Provo on her impressions of a tour she is making with 36 college students through Europe.)

Dear Friends,
Can you imagine this group of Brigham Young University students swimming in the Mediterranean Ocean? We could hardly believe it ourselves-that three weeks after leaving home, we find ourselves on the French Riviera of Cannes in Southern France.

The weather is pleasantly warm this morning and I am sitting here in the Cecil Hotel watching the servants prepare the hotel for the day, also I am watching the street vendors hurrying on their way to market.

After seeing the beautiful blue of the Mediterranean, it is the tall date palms and magenta colored bougainvillea, that attract our attention.

The enchantment of distance has for days now given way to the romance of reality, as we travel along the tree-lined highways. Our comfortable American Express bus is being chauffeured by Andre, a genial Frenchman of about 40 years of age. The loud speaking system, a very good educational device, permits all of us to hear the two professors, and occasionally the missionaries, tell the stories of history as our imagination sees them in the making.

We have seen the conquest of France by the Romans. Those immense amphitheaters (two) with thick stone walls built in the first century B.C. are still being used. Across the street from our hotel in Nimes, France we saw the numerous arched entrances, which afford an exit, in a matter of minutes, for more than 20,000 spectators who will see a bull fight there Saturday.

We are told that there are more Roman ruins here than there are in Rome. There are also more swallows living in crevasses and niches of the ruins than there are in Utah.

A picture of the old beside the new was seen in Vienne. The beautiful old Temple of Aquate et de Liver, built in 41 A.D., is located across the street from an American Launderette where 12 or more automatic washers are in motion.

For several hours on Wednesday we stopped at Fontaine-bleau. We walked through the halls where that big-little man Napoleon walked and talked. His bed was so short that we felt sorry for him, until we learned that he was only five feet and two inches tall. He often carried one of his beds with him when going to battle.

When Napoleon and other emperors and kings of France were at home they lived in the splendor we now marvel. The carved, gilted wood ceilings were designed to correspond with the floors of nine to 15 different kinds of wood. The exquisitely chiseled crystal and bronze chandelier, for which Napoleon paid 4000 francs (more that $1300) in 1945, is probably the largest of many.

The velvety black, carved ebony cabinet of Empress Marie Louise and the harp of Empress Josephine are only a part of the elaborate furnishings of this old stone chateau, built in the 11th Century. The stone staircase, horseshoe-shaped, at the entrance is a mark of individuality for such buildings.

But this country of France does not lack for individuality. Indeed, the personality of these 43 million Frenchmen is sometimes puzzling and sometimes provocative. The little old man driving a mother turkey with two little ones in front of our bus; the street cleaners whisking the gutters with their willow brooms; the small statue of Mother Mary carved in rock about 20 feet above the highway; and palatial homes on the Riviera are all scenes of amazement to the traveler.

-Afton A. Hansen

We took a nap at the hotel for a few minutes. Then we went on our way to a military concert around 8 p.m. We stopped at A La Riviera Department Store to get a piece of material to make a purse. We arrived at an intersection jammed with people. This must be the place. Then music started coming from down the street. The French Navy (at least that was our interpretation of their uniform) came marching into the center of the square. There was more music as the Marines marched in from another street. In competition with the Marines and Navy, the Army came in from still another street. The Air Corp. marched in last and took a position between the other two forming somewhat of a square in the middle.

They played several numbers together and then the Navy wearing berets marched off. They were followed by the Marines in Khaki. Then the Air Corps, which were wearing white hats, strolled toward the beach through a park. There seemed to be a crowd going in a certain direction, so we followed them and ended up at an outdoor amphitheater with the Navy on the stage getting ready to play. We recognized Aprea de ma Blonde and a medley of English tunes including Old Folks at Home. The Marines in khakis and white followed. Both of them played standing up. They brought chairs in for the French Air Corp. They had more of a concert type band with flutes.

Alice talked to the lady next to us and she said they are just marching through Nice for other parts of France. Gee, I really wish I had brought my camera with me. I could have gotten some great pictures as the sunset. Some people started leaving when the more classical numbers were being played by the Air Corp. The other two groups came back in for the finale. And each time before they started playing each group twirled their horns and trumpets together with flags hanging down from their horns and drums.

The amphitheater had an orchestra pit in front of the stage and above the stage were statues, flags, and hanging ferns. A big statue at the back of the arena was put there to celebrate the French Centennial by the maritime services from 1792-1803. Emblems of the crown of France and Navy were displayed at the front of the stage. There were white wooden folding chairs placed throughout for seats. Each level was covered with coarse grass and had a stone edge. We were hoping they would play the French National Anthem and they did! Everyone stood up for La Marseillaise and so did we. We watched the bands crawl into their trucks right in front of the beach and we waved to them. Soon after we strolled on down the beach as if nothing had happened.

After hearing music across the way, we followed it to the Hotel Ruhl. They had beautiful sidewalks and an inside restaurant bar with an orchestra. A sign near the entrance stated they were open all year long. We caught the sight of delicious silver platters of food through the doors of the restaurant. And there was a window display of beautiful clothes inside the lobby. Next was a huge lounge with plush red Victorian furniture and really big lamps with peach satin shades in all four corners. I mean really huge lamps! Then I sat down on the wooden bench outside the hotel to write these notes. Our stomachs were calling so we were off in search of food.

Guess what? Here is Le Cyrano again. It wasn’t too bad the first time so I guess we’ll give it another shot. I had hors-d’oeuvres, ham, potatoes, raspberry and apple butter. An English fellow at a table near ours wrote a note on his napkin “Did you get what you ordered?” He sent it over with the waitress. As he left he came by and talked to us for a moment and we thanked him for his concern. When we got to the two desserts, Alice ordered an orange. She peeled it and lo and behold it was red instead of orange. She asked the waitress how come she got a rouge orange. The waitress explained that she thought it was an orange sanguine from Spain. It was as red as blood.

Later we came down the dark alley from Lilygrass where there was a lady on the street with a dog. Then we cut back to the main thoroughfare, Victoire, even though it meant retracing our steps back to the hotel. At the hotel we crawled into bed as fast as possible.

60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 20 June 1952:

Around 6:15 a.m. or thereabouts we put our swimming suits on first and then our clothes. I went down the street for breakfast and had two little bananas and one orange for 66 francs. The French children were just going to school.

Then we were back on the road again. We came to Arles, an ancient Roman city in France, which had an arena that seats 26,000. After that we saw an obelisk, a Cathedral of St. Trophine, a cloisters, and an Alaede Tombs (once Roman cemetery). Honoring at church was one of the principal activities in the town.

The next town we came to turned out to be Arles. Andre had got off on the wrong road and we had to go back to Nimes. We found a blind priest with a dog along the way. Andre decided to keep the latecomers roll in order to get the kids back to the bus on time.

While on the bus I was learning to count in Italian. This part of the country looks about like Cedar City to me. We went back past the Maison Temple, white house hotel, and plaza. It ‘s 10:30 a.m. and we’re off again. Well this country looks a little richer. We came to the Le Petit Rhone tributary. We had to get out and walk across the bridge because it could only hold eight tons and we weighed twelve tons. The bus was eight tons, and we were four tons. That’s a lot of weight!
Then we crossed the big Rhone again in Arles. There was a former ancient palace, Museon Arlaten,which was established as a museum in 1876. Afterwards we saw a statue of St. Christopher, an old carriage, and a statue of Neptune that was made in the 17th century for Louis XIV. I noticed oleander was growing out of the rocks. The Venus de Arles sculpture in the Louvre probably came from these ruins.

We were given 10 minutes and it was 30 minutes before we left. How can we keep a late roll when almost everybody is late? Herr Watkins and Henry were the last ones to come back. On the road again there was a field covered with piles of rocks like it was trying to reclaim the land. I slept through Salon Aix en Provence which is a region with beautiful statues and fountains. Then the landscape changed to mountainous roads. It looked a lot like Utah.

We stopped at a Shield service station for a little exercise. We were grateful for a nice rest room. Now we were seeing red soil as we discovered a grey streamlined train and our first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea.

Frejus, a seaside region with a medieval city as well, was a popular seaside resort. There were ruins of an old Roman aqueduct, barbed wire entanglements around some kind of military base, white buildings with orange trim, chocolate guards at the gate, cement mixers, and winding mountainous roads going into Cannes. The kids started putting on their bathing suits in the back of the bus.

Finally the beach. What a sight! There were boats and people with a beautiful white hotel along the waterfront. We walked along the beach front admiring the suntans of the bathers. The beach was lined with umbrellas and lounging chairs. The water was buoyant and we rode the waves and walked down along the beach to a pier. Carol and I laid down on the pier in the sun. The mob had gone back to the bus, so we followed them. I had my picture taken with Andre. We piled back into the bus with wet bathing suits and all.

It’s about 7 p.m. now. On the road out, Andre tried to get through an underpass that we didn’t quite fit in. It ended up scraping the baggage on the top of the bus. So Andre had everyone pile to the front so he could back up the bus without fouling things up any worse.

We took the Oleander lined road going out of Cannes toward Nice. It seemed to have the bluest water in the world. It was a city of comparisons with the old and new. There were beautiful new Spanish style homes with palm trees. Nice seemed like a continuation of Cannes with beautiful waterfront hotels.

Our Hotel Cecil was farther downtown, but it was not bad looking. There were bathrooms in every room which was almost too good to be true. Elders Waite and Valentine had met us at the hotel.
Back in the room I jumped in the tub and then had a delicious dinner for 360 francs at the restaurant down the street. I had potage jambon (ham), beans and fruit. I tried to write a letter to Bud, but fell asleep in the middle of it.

60 Years Ago Today

Thursday, 19 June 1952:

At 7 a.m. I opened an eye to look at my watch. A few minutes later and a knock came at my door. French—which we presumed meant it was time to get up. A few minutes later that funny buzz again.

“Madam would you like tea in your room?” About 15 minutes later we crawled out of bed and went down to breakfast. We had a continental breakfast of chocolate rolls and jam for 210 francs.
I noticed I had about six bites on my arms. Where did they come from? Then I found a small grocery shop and pastry shop around the corner. I bought a big loaf of bread for 50 francs. Then I chose cheese pastries and fruit but I had left my money belt in my room. However I recovered with the help of Connie and Bette L. I was really trying to lighten my load—maybe too much.
We were back on the road again with fields of flowers, roses, and the Rhone and Saone basin. I learned this was the lowest valley in France and that the Rhone river originates in Switzerland. Soon after the countryside included roses climbing on a cement fence, haystacks, rich agriculture districts, rich meadow lands, and coal districts nearby. I spied wheat, corn, cattle, and poultry. These lowlands funneled the Southern European influence. Then there were Roman ruins from 600 b.c.

Next was the Cathedral of St. Maurice de Vienne in Angers. It had painted archways and recessed portals which were built in the 12th to 16th centuries in Gothic architecture. The cathedral was in a state of decay with the lilies of the valley inside.

Soon after we saw the Temple of Augustus that was originally dedicated to Augustus and his wife Livia. Then I noticed more Roman ruins along with a Pagan church, laundromat with an automatic Bendix washing machine across from the temple, and Roman forum ruins, which had been a public square or meeting place.

There was a little girl with the curliest blonde hair I’d ever seen. Just about like the little brunette on the boat who had curls all over her head. Andre, the bus driver, changed the tire while we were looking around the city. We saw the square and found a better closed in “dealy”.
I didn’t see the pyramids, but I saw the grape vineyards with sticks, mowing hay, grass in the fields, and old château ruins. Among these beautiful sights were more “U.S. go home” and “Ridgway la peste” signs along the road. Ridgway was a U.S. general who had come to France as the supreme NATO commander. He had just been in Korea and had been accused of using napalm and germ warfare. Obviously I guess maybe the French don’t like us or something.

We continued on through the old Roman Provinces where it had been Julius Caesar’s first job as governor of this area. It was called Crovance with two main southern dialects. This area was also the homestead of troubadours, who were finders of new kinds of poetry, which composed tales of love and romances.

This land was home of Albigenses, an early protestant group, that were considered heretics by the Catholic Church. Crusades were organized against the Albigenses and finally they were wiped out. In one battle alone, 60,000 Albigenses were slaughtered.

We stopped by a service station near a small town, L’Hermitage, which was south of Erme. There were fields on the sides of the mountains. The fields were planted in layers or steps up the mountainside. While part of the mob ate lunch on the stone fence by the station, others crawled down to the river and lunched amidst the bushes and sand fleas. I was among the latter and ate hunks of French bread with cheese, a French pastry, an orange, a banana, and some cherries. The kids had to use the bushes for another purpose also.

On the road again we saw the first rock or stone fences around the fields and the French farmers were harvesting grain with a small combine affair. There were tree lined roads before we crossed the Rhone River. We passed a trailer camp outside of Valance with not so new modern trailers. And there were dozens of bicycles on the street and it seemed to be the mode of transportation here in France.

Little “Orly”, the town, was just like Paris near the public square. It had street markets with flags flying all along streets. It must be a holiday or market day maybe. Yet it sure looked like Mexico with a junk yard, really piled deep. As we headed to the higher mountains there was a stunning field of purple flowers.

As we drove there were more red “go away, go home” signs. One of the members of the Paris Branch said the U.S. had the poorest propaganda machine of any nation. Europeans probably think Russia was giving them the aid rather than the U.S. These signs we’ve been seeing seem to bear this out.

The next landscape scenery included the sprinkling system in the field, grain standing in piles of shocks, and a big gravel pit. There were colorful brushes, brooms, and dusters on the streets while going through the little town of Montelimar. I slept through part of this town. But as I awoke another sign said “US Go Home.” This is getting monotonous. Then there were more château ruins on the hill.

Later we saw the Theatre Antique and the Triumphal Arch Municipal building built in 25 a.d. with three richly decorated arches. The Triumphal Arch Municipal was built to commemorate the conquering of Marsville. These two buildings are the best preserved monuments of Roman buildings anywhere. Theatrical performances were given in the theatre every August. The theatre had perfect acoustics.

I discovered white strips painted on the trees going around curved roads to act as traffic signals at night. We climbed to the top of the theatre via a narrow ledge and stairs. We met little French boys on the way down and took their picture. Pat got surrounded by the little French boys. They took her picture, Pat took their picture and they exchanged addresses.

In Avignon, France the road was being resurfaced. This area was famous for old papal palaces established in the first decade of the 14th century. The palaces had massive walls that looked like huge fortresses, which were built between 1309-1377 a.d. Popes had established topical medieval walls around most of the city.

In 1377-1338 a.d. there were three Popes. One Pope with headquarters In Avignon, one Pope in the Vatican, and another Pope that was elected. The first two Popes ended up excommunicating each other. Peasants had it good while the Popes reigned because there were lots of holidays and lower taxes.

Then we stopped at the Papal Palace. We waved at the troop of soldiers, passed a moat, crossed the Rhone on an old bridge and saw the famous Avignon Bridge where the peasants danced. The city was turned over to the Popes by the Duchess as expiation for the sins of the people.

Soon after we observed one boat of girls and another boat of boys rowing on the river. Pont du Gard, which was one of the grandest Roman works in existence, had a bridge and aqueduct over the Gard River. It was 880 feet long by 160 feet high. Its system consisted of a system of three arches carrying water for 25 miles to Nimes. Other aqueducts copied Pont du Gard.

There was rocky country as we left Avignon and arrived at the Aqueduct. And the scenery included vineyards, tree lined roads, men harvesting grain with scythe, and another “US Go Home” sign. Maybe it was the communists who keep telling us to go home. I discovered spots to show the middle of the road.

We arrived at the aqueduct and climbed up the winding bush-lined trails. It was a massive structure. I took picture of the kids on the top with the aqueduct from the trail. It took 30 minutes to get to the top instead of 10 minutes. Next was a grove of olive trees, dry dock over some railroads, and houses with green, blue and yellow shutters.

At 7 p.m. we got into the city of Nimes. There was a Roman amphitheater that was built in 140 a.d. which held 20,000 spectators. It was one of the best preserved ancient arenas and it could be emptied in five minutes. This area contains more important well preserved ruins than any other city besides Rome.

Later on the bus ride was the Palais de Justice which was an old Gothic cathedral with flying buttresses. A physician lived here by the name of Nicot. He introduced tobacco in France and gave it his name. Next was the Temple of Maison Carree, considered one of the most beautiful temples of modern times. The French had bullfights in this arena.

Finally, we arrived at the Hotel Le Cheval Blanc. Its facade was nice looking. My room was 59 on the 4th floor. The suitcases were taken down early for tomorrow. I wasn’t able to sleep in my pajamas tonight. Carol and Eloise had difficulty with the door. Twila couldn’t get it to open either, but we finally got it open. The WC was at the other end of the hall. I cleaned up with a foot and spit bath combination. Then we dined at the hotel sidewalk café—omelet cambron and pomes frites for 15 francs. We had one omelet between the three of us.

We strolled down the boulevard in search of a French movie. We turned down one movie with Lucille Ball and then passed a street side cabaret deal with a small orchestra, but no one was dancing. People were sitting around watching each other. They really concentrated on us as long as we were in view. We found a movie Deux Sous de Violettes with Dany Robin. The heroine of the movie had so many heroes it was a little confusing, but quite amusing nonetheless. At the end of the day there was only one pillow on the bed.

60 Years Ago Today

Wednesday, 18 June 1952:

At 9:40 a.m. we were leaving Paris by way of the Bastille, which was the site of the state prison. The monument was all that was left of the prison. The monument was dedicated to the glory of French citizens who had sacrificed their lives for the Republic and also to remind the French people of the prison which was attacked on July 14, 1789.

Next we continued on by the Palace of Fontainebleau, which was spared by the French Revolution. I thought the palace wasn’t as architecturally interesting as Versaille was though. However, the Palace of Fontainebleau was much older in history and bigger and richer in historical memoirs.

It was originally started in the 12th century by Louis VII and the commune area was known for passions of hunting and love making. The fountain in the woods was owned by Bleau, therefore its name. On the way we caught sight of the Fontainebleau gardens and a garrison which had been established to keep the poachers and robbers away.

There was an archway with a tree which had been trimmed square with American field troops operating by the roadside. Thick vegetation was everywhere with trees and shrubs lining the road. Lot Dayton, Chief Historian at Fontainebleau, was from Weber State College. Earlier he had been a historian for Eisenhower.

In the antechamber we observed Napoleon’s hat, a painting of Napoleon in emperor’s dress, and a beautiful crystal and gold chandelier. The secretariat’s room had a crystal and gilded bronze chandelier in the back room and glass fragments from the tomb of Princess Louise, daughter of Louis XV.

Next were the rooms where Napoleon abdicated the throne before going to Elba. There was a mural showing the power of justice as we continued to the rooms of the emperor where there was a replica of Napoleon’s cradle. The symbol of a general changed to a symbol of an eagle when he became emperor.

Louis XV had decorated these rooms. The Napoleon council room in the minister’s throne room had the bee as a symbol. When he had been a general, he had chosen the honeybee symbol which represented a hard working man. Soon after was a portrait (copy) of Louis XIII, priceless chandelier, 40,000 francs in Napoleon’s time, apartment of Marie Antoinette, present decorations from Louis XVIII, and bedroom of six different Marie’s including Marie Medici, Teresa, Antoinette, and Louise.

Farther on was Marie Antoinette’s bed, Marie Louise’s jewelry box, and Minerva painted on the ceiling, Then we continued on to Empress Josephine’s harp, a music room, and Napoleon III’s Empress Eugenia reception room. It had two original chairs in the different rooms for the lady of honor. Then we discovered the library that had been made for Diane and murals covering the rounded ceiling.

The Renaissance antechamber was where Frances I married Constantine. Then there were more Frances I rooms which had furnishings, a tapestry on chairs of Beauvais, an ivory box belonging to Anne of Austria, and the first glass introduced from the city of Venice in the 16th century. There was a room where Louis XVIII was born.

Next was a square tower room that was the oldest part of Fontainebleau from the 12th century. And all the kings from Francis I and later have added something to the palace. We proceeded on to see enamel incense burners, Henry IV on the horse that was sculptured in marble, , and hand carved ebony cabinets. I noticed Italian work was more ornate than the French. There were fifteen different kinds of wood in the floor and the floor and ceiling corresponded with a similar look.

Louis XV built a stairway as an entrance to other rooms and one of the rooms was the favorite of Francis I. Later the queen had coverings put over the nude statues. The ceiling was finished by Louis Philippe in 1830 and the gallery was completed by Henry II. The gallery room had last been used in 1930. Again there were nine kinds of wood in the floor. Then we noticed the room of the governess of Louis 14th, Salon of Madame du Manteneau. I could see the old entrance and gardens to the palace from the window.

We ate our lunches on the bus after leaving Fontainebleau. Gee—the food sure tasted good! We had sandwiches with some of Alene’s meat (spam, I believe). Then we had bananas, oranges, and a pastry to finish the meal.

The bus ride included varied interesting and beautiful images: wild poppies everywhere, crossing railroad tracks, one red and white pole raised by a lady at a little booth by the side of the tracks, trimmed Montargis tree in the park, sidewalk part of the road which was as wide as the street, water tank with the name of the city of Nogent on it, X on signs for crossroads, repairing roads, wild poppies growing profusely in fields along the roadside, square white mileage signs, and scenery which reminds me of the way to Yellowstone without the pine trees. I couldn’t forget the scenery inside Andre’s bus with a little doll hanging from the top of the windshield.

As we continued traveling we passed the Briare Canal, a tributary of the Seine, and women working in the fields alone. I caught sight of a man on a bicycle with a cart behind him and another lady pulling her cart along the road as well. There was little traffic on the French roads. There was a gorgeous field of tall white flowers was used to make oil for salads. Then we went through a little town that had narrow winding streets like Mexican cities. We moved along a curbed road lined with trees with a valentine sign, a mowed swatch of grass along side the road, and some men working on the railroad Nuervy underpass. After awhile I started dozing. Then Andre hit his funny loud horn and I woke right up.

Along the roadside there was a beautiful grove of trees, load of hay, lumberyard, cut patch of grass raked and ready to bunch. I kept dozing. After my napping I came to realize there was a little horn and big horn that could jerk me quickly out of my sleep.

Now back to sightseeing. La Charite in Loire Valley dispersed on both sides of the River Allier. In the next village I spotted a house covered with climbing vines. Then we passed groves of trees still maturing, Nevers train station, Hotel Moderne, and some grass bunched along the road.
Soon we stopped at the railroad station. Was it really a “dealy” for the bathroom? However, I didn’t go in and walked down the street to the pastry shop. I enjoyed a fresh roll with raisins, an orange, and a drink. Yea, a clean toilette in the shop! Back on the road there was construction on both sides of road. Soon there were cattle in the fields, and then pigs, sheep, and cows.

In the city of Moiry there were cement telephone poles with rectangular squares. And we learned that each average French farm had 25 acres. The tobacco, utilities, armament, and matches industry were run by the government. If there was a fire, owners of the buildings had to pay for the expenses and damages. The franc was worth 25 cents to an American dollar before World War I and about 36 francs to a dollar before World War II.

The French in this area were Celtics. Their language related to Latin, Greek, Slavic. They were a tall fair-haired people that lived in tribes and had the Druid religion. The Romans wiped them out and ruled with no written law. Clovis was the first king to unite all the tribes in France and he became an important leader in France. He was Christian, so all warriors converted to Christianity. Clovis succeeded in driving out the Visigods from Southern France. In 350 a.d. the Franks in the north had headquarters in Paris and the Burgundians were in Southeastern France.
We saw the old Castle Orateau which was built during the Renaissance in the 9th century. As the Frankish kings became weaker, Charlemagne took over from 768-814 a.d. as a Frankish king and helped define Western and Central Europe. Also, Charlemagne protected the Pope while he knelt in prayer and as a result the Pope crowned him the King of the Renaissance.

The Carolingian Renaissance, in 843 a.d. , stands out as a period of intellectual and cultural revival in Europe. This was the beginning of the Romance languages. Later the Burgundians, a Eastern Germanic tribe, with their seat of government in Dijon, France and Geneva, Switzerland were subdued by the Franks. Afterwards, the fierce and warlike Normans came in the 9th and 10th centuries while Rouen was the capital of Normandy. Charles the Simple, the French king, gave his daughter to a Viking leader Rollo. Then the Normans accepted Christianity and became a vassal to the king.

Later the Normans in 1066 a.d. conquered England and the Normans took home with them the French language and culture, because they had forgotten their own. As a result the French language became the official language of Europe.

The Englishmen like action and wild behavior where the Frenchmen were more mind oriented, intellectual and not so sports minded. Also the French loved order and Frenchmen were more subtle in tastes and in expressing their opinions. However the Spanish were passionate. And the Germans loved romantic literature and had feelings of love. Romanticism came to prevail with Victor Hugo, a French playwright and author, for a short period of time.

Back to sightseeing we saw French peasants that were passing through the rich fertile farm area. In the Middle Ages, the French peasants were a little better off than the European peasants in general. They were quite satisfied with their lives as fifty percent had become land owners during the revolution. This status and high percentage was the best in Europe. In 1952 nearly all the land in France was owned by peasants. The peasants represented the one big obstacle to communism. However there were some sharecroppers in Southwest France that were breeding places of communism. Today France and England have the same form of government.

In the 19th century, peasants constituted 75% of the population. Whereas in 1952, 23% of the population were peasants. Tredita Agular lent money to the peasants. But there were no big supermarkets or tractors to be seen anywhere, because peasants disliked machines. When the peasants died out, the farms were given back to the government.

On the road I spied some road construction where the workmen wore wooden shoes. Then we stopped at a small town on the way for drinks and gas at 80 cents a gallon. Before we left we gave gum to two little girls in the restaurant.

Now back in the bus we gazed at the scenery which had beautiful rolling hills, checkerboard farms, and tombs in a cemetery. There were little tombs where people had been buried on top of each other.

Next on the drive was a basketball court, windmill, vineyard, red tile roofs, circus in Roanne, and Loire River. The night brought a beautiful rainbow and sunset. Coming up was Lyon, France which was the largest silk center and one of the leading car producing centers in Europe. It was the second largest city in France.

Finally we arrived at Hotel de Angleterre about 10:30 p.m. We were hungry and the dining room had just closed as we arrived. Can you believe I got a room 51 all by myself! It has a big double bed, plush red cover, and marble fireplace. Sadly Connie came down to sleep with me though.
In the bathroom I discovered a lavatory, foot bath, hot water, and a short bed with a canvas sheet on the bottom. It was a modern look with a roll pillow and big pillow on the bed. Mrs. Hansen and Dick were put in the same room. The hotel changed it when they realized what had been done.

60 Years Ago Today

Saturday, 14 June 1952:

At 7:45 a.m. Alicia and I ate breakfast which consisted of oranges and apples. Next was a meeting about opera tickets. As we left the Republique Hotel, we saw women riding bikes with their dresses billowing in the wind.

At 10 a.m. we departed to the Hotel de Ville, a Renaissance municipal building, where the affairs of the city were carried on. This building and the opera were the most sumptuous buildings. Under the clock on the Hotel de Ville were the words liberty, equality and fraternity where there were hundreds of pigeons residing. There were flags flying there for a military organization ceremony centennial celebration (Official Leguard Republique de Ville military reception).

Next we headed to Notre Dame on Island Ile de la Cite. We saw the statue of Voltaire and crossed the Seine River to the Hotel Dieu, which was the oldest hospital dating back to 500 a.d. Then I observed a small shop with china which was stacked up really high as we arrived at Notre Dame. It was one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in France and was built between 1163 and 1240 on Ile de la Cite. No other building in Paris was more worthy of a visitor’s attention.

At Notre Dame the street level came up 13 steps where St. Denis was holding his head that was chopped off. There was exquisite iron work on the doors and under the balustrade was the king’s row that had 28 statues representing the 28 kings of France. It started as a Romanesque church which transitioned into the mother of all Gothic architecture in France and Europe. All distances in France were measured from the front of Notre Dame. It was in construction so long, they lost the plans.

In addition, it was supposed to have had two big spires on the top. The left portal pointed above and the right portal did not. And there was a big rose window in the center with recessed portals in front. Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame was supposed to have gone along the top to ring the bell.
Notre Dame was over 800 years old and inside Notre Dame, I couldn’t see any gold. I learned there was no gold with Gothic—that was Byzantine. But there were huge massive pillars, bundled columns, and Corinthian capitol decorations that adorned the building. The stained glass windows had rather subdued colors except for the big windows at the front sides and high up.
Some church workers wore Napoleon looking costumes as I viewed the vaulted ceilings and Joan of Arc statue. We paid 50 francs to go up and see the gargoyles. I noticed the spiral staircase, peep holes and big Notre Dame bell which weighed 13,000 tons. The bell could be heard for ten kilometers on holidays and national events. At the end of the tour everyone gave tips to the guide. I had to go back to tip the guide because I hadn’t tipped him yet.

In April 1682 Louis 14th and Queen Mary had been christened father and godmother of the Notre Dame bell. It had such a beautiful sound with the bell tower measuring two meters by six hundred meters high. In order to ring the bell it took 500 kilograms of power or a total of eight men to swing the bell with four men on each paddle. There were oak timber works to support the bell and its name was Emanuel. This was the second largest bell of Paree after the largest bell at Sacre Coeur Basilica at 17 tons. Then I had someone snap a picture of a gargoyle and me.

There was a spiral staircase, funeral hearse, and flowers on the outside of the oldest royal palace. I caught sight of a streetside john and the police department. Next we visited the Coeur de la Ste Chapelle. It was one of the smallest cathedrals in France and one of the best examples of Gothic architecture, 1200-1450 a.d. The cathedral was high reaching in order to get closer to God. It was on the grounds of the Palais de Justice where Marie Antoinette was tried and imprisoned.

Outside there was iron work on the apartment buildings and accessible Latin Quarter with its attic apartments. Then I experienced the famous Boulevard St. Germain with all of its stores, ancient forum, lions den, and Cluny Museum. We passed a French lady that was on the street knitting and selling papers.

After taking a picture of the chapel where the musicians were performing in the streets, we visited the Sorbonne University where Hugh Law went to school. Next we toured Lycee Saint Louis, an ancient college, with its library, Bibliotheque de Universitie, and round amphitheater lecture rooms. In these amphitheater rooms doctors’ five hour examinations were held where the public was invited to attend. And these rooms were used to teach French to foreigners of all ages and where students worked on their master’s degrees.

There was a beautiful painting above the lecturer’s desk with accompanying plaques presenting the faculty of the school. Other paintings included Corneille, Moliere, Pascal, Bossiret, Descartes, Racine, and Cardinal Richlieu. There were paintings on the ceiling, beautiful gold work around the pictures, and gold velvet on the doors. As I looked around at the paintings, I was distracted by a one armed man who came in. Focusing back at the art, I looked at statues of Victor Hugo and Pasteur.

With repairs being made to the front of the church of Sorbonne, the inside of the church had the original organ at the back of the chapel. The tomb of Richlieu, cardinal of France, was buried there along with his whole family and had marvelous carved details on his statue—folds, lace, wrinkles in hands—by sculpture Girardon. In 1694 it was made out of one block of marble and his hat hung above his statue. Also, a mural of Richlieu in a gold robe was three centuries old. At the end there was a statue, sculpture of bronze, of Cardinal Richlieu on his death chair by LeFavre in 1642. He died while writing with his eyes open at age 57.

The courtyard had lines drawn representing the original Sorbonne. There were exams going on so we couldn’t go into the library. Then I discovered the murals of middle ages characters and talked to a student about Latin and Greek languages. Herr Watkins had attended this school for about two years.

A student showed us around and helped us find a restaurant and pastry shop. At the restaurant the waiter accidentally spilled water on my skirt. The man was in a tizzy, because all of us didn’t want full dinners. I could hardly wait to see what the soup looked like. My second thought was I wish I hadn’t ordered the soup. In fact, I certainly was not hungry when I saw the soup—it looked disgusting. I ate all my pastries instead and I could see I was going to starve to death in France.

We visited the Pantheon, a Romanesque architecture, which included the tombs of famous Frenchmen. The inscription above the entrance read Aux Grands Hommes La Patrie Reconnaissante. It means to great men the grateful homeland. We walked around the Pantheon that was built over the tomb of St. Genevieve. We saw the tombs of Voltaire, Hugo, Rousseau, and a monument to unknown heroes. There was a list of battles with murals of Vow of Clovis at the Battle of Tolbiac and St. Genevieve. There were more murals: Joan de Arc, St. Genevieve giving Parisians confidence as the Attilons or Huns approached Paris, barbarians coming into Paris, and Le Martyre de Saint Denis.

We continued sightseeing with the Palace of Luxembourg, gardens, and Senate building. We met up with Eloise and Ginny as we walked past the Saint Sulpice Church and Abbey of St.-Germain-des-Pres. We asked a man “ou est la metro?” as we struggled with our French until he asked us if we spoke German or English. Speaking in English he gave us directions.

A couple of blocks farther on we stopped a young lady and asked “ou est la metro?” She bettered him by personally showing us to a bus stop and telling us how to take the auto bus directly to the Louvre. She informed us that the bus costs 5 francs cheaper than the metro.

Then a nice lady sat by me on the bus and showed us where to get off. I had a little trouble finding the entrance across from the Lafayette statue which was erected by U.S. school children in memory of Lafayette, a French general. We only had a half hour at the Louvre before it closed at 5 p.m. Then we transferred to another metro in order to return to the hotel to get ready for the opera. Montie Woolley showed us the way.

We were late for the reception at the LDS branch before the opera, because we couldn’t locate the address. It ended up being upstairs and we only had thirty minutes left for the reception. We sang a French song and introduced ourselves. They gave us lollipops afterwards and we sucked the lollipops as we charged down the street in our heels. The French people stared at us anyway, so one can imagine what a show that was!

The L’ Opera Building, which was built in 1669, had chandeliers of glass and gold. As we climbed up several flights of stairs at the opera the lady would not allow us into our box without a tip. She wanted 100 francs from each of us, but she settled for 100 from the five of us: Hermine, Bonnie, Alene, Lucy and me.

We sat behind a pillar, kinda sorta, and the first act had already started. Eloise finally arrived several minutes later with the news that Alice didn’t have her ticket and that the usher had kept her 1000 franc note. We tried to locate Dr. Rogers, but we had no luck.

Then we left in order to attempt to recover her change. Yea! We retrieved her money back successfully. However, we had not found Dr. Rogers. But at the end of the first act we found Dr. Rogers and there were no more tickets available. And to top it off Alice was gone and heavens knows where!

We hurried back for the second act. The box next door was empty so Eloise and I climbed over to the next box just as the lights went out. At the end of the act, I borrowed some money from Alene to go and phone the hotel to check on Alice.

Before I got to the door, the usher came bursting in talking sixty miles an hour in an excited voice. We had a stinking suspicion that the characters next door had been tattling on us. We acted dumb and walked out running headlong into Alice.

Miracle of all miracles! When hearing her story, they let her in for nothing. She had been sitting with some English people in a box right next to the stage. So Eloise, Alice and I hurry back over to her box for the next act.

It was interesting to watch the orchestra and actors at close range. We found the bar between the next act and quenched our thirst with an orange drink. We scrambled back to box 24, our original box, for the last act.

The staging of Rigoletto was superb. The set was three dimensional and in the last act there were moving clouds and storms. Rigoletto was a romantic opera with love, vengeance, and tragedy. At the end there were only two curtain calls.

The opera house was elaborate with ornate gold work, glass and gold chandeliers, murals on the ceiling, and marble stairs. There was a predominance of Americans in attendance. Afterwards, we met a tennis player from the ship and went to an American restaurant, Pam Pam, across the street. We sat at sidewalk tables which were near a colored boy and several interesting California couples, who both were staying at the Grand Hotel.

As we compared notes, the conversation was fascinating about our trip and theirs. They came on Ille de France which was leaving Le Havre harbor as we were coming in on the Sibijak. Then I ordered a bacon tomato sandwich with cheese to go, for lunch tomorrow, you know.

60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 13 June 1952:

At 8:45 a.m. the bed felt wonderful and I had a hard time getting up. The time for things to start was 9 a.m. When we got to the lobby we were late and it was deserted. We stood around in a quandary of what to do. I guess this was a good lesson for us to be on time. Oh, oh, disappointment! Time ticked away. Yea! I saw them and they hadn’t left us after all. They had j­­­­­­­­­­ust finished breakfast.

Finally a little before 11 a.m., we were off. We passed a man drawing beautiful pictures with chalk on the sidewalk of Notre Dame and the Seine River. We went to American Express on the metro. This was all very confusing and I was glad someone knew the score.

Bev’s boyfriend, Bob Mercer, a released missionary, came to the hotel to help show us around. The walls of the underground metro station were covered with billboards and posters. And it was just a half block from the hotel. One ad was about body odor, so a girl had a clothespin on her nose.

I bought a ten-ride metro book for 200 francs. Down inside the metro there were big signs all over the walls. There were sortie signs for the exits. Our metro stops included: Temple station, Arts et metiers, Reamur Sebastolpol, Senier, Bourse, Quatre Septembre and Opera. On our seventh stop we jumped off.

Printemp, the biggest department store, was down the street from the American Express and the opera across the street. Did I have any mail at the American Express? Wonderful! I got letters from Mom, Twila, and Marilyn with one inside from Bud. My morale improved 100 percent. I snapped some pictures before leaving and talked to some American soldiers from Dallas, Texas. After an hour or so we took off again.

We took more pictures at the intersection after walking around the Opera building. At the Opera repairs were being made on the front of the building. Next we saw Aux Galeries Lafayette and Toilities de te et de Campagne, one of the largest department stores in France. We walked farther down the street to the Place Vendome. Napoleon’s statue had such beautiful carvings and the leaves represented his victories. The French took the statue down when Napoleon fell at Waterloo. Napoleon’s nephew, Napoleon III, put it back by melting down a canon to rebuild the monument. The clouds made the statue seem like it was moving.

Then we went to Jardin des Tuileries, one of Paris’s most visited gardens. Eloise said they were going to use my yellow ribbon, which I lost there, for a landmark. While there Dr. Rogers was accosted by a man with pictures of nudes.

The next stops were the Place de la Concorde, Arch de Triomphe du Ca, and du Louvre that had beautiful iron work and elaborate carvings.

Afterwards we went to the restaurant, E. Robert and H. Bogey. It was cheap, just 148 francs, but ugh! We wandered in du Louvre while waiting for the mob. It seemed we needed to start moving faster. Paree might wait for us, but our time wasn’t going to wait for us ever. And we only had five days in Paris. Distracted I looked around and spotted a beautiful plaid silk organza dress for 24,000 francs.

Finally, we were off again. There were not many new cars in Paris and trinkets and tourist items were everywhere in the store windows. Hotel Maurice was probably like a hotel in Mexico no doubt. The mob was strung out the length of a block and we ended up at some kind of shop Bob Mercer had guided us to. The lady supposedly gave us a bargain.

Then we proceeded to go across Tuileries to Place de la Concorde and the American Embassy. This area was considered the wealthiest area of Paris. We found a statue placed where Marie Antoinette was killed by guillotine and her blood flowed in the streets in 1793.

Next on our tour was the Avenue des Champs Elysses which was built for Napoleon’s march of victory. Strangely no one sits on the grass in the beautiful parks here. Then I spotted small kids who were riding donkeys in the park along Champs Elysses.

There were sidewalk cafes and pigeons on the gravel along the sidewalk. I couldn’t really tell which was the street or sidewalk. The cars came right up on what I thought was the sidewalk. Later we passed a store for tall femmes and fat femmes. At a sidewalk cafe we stopped and had orange mineral water (looked like lemon). I took a picture of the Arc de Triomphe with traffic buzzing by on both sides. Then we saw the flame burning on the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Some of the kids got trapped inside a metro at the Anvers station, because they hadn’t moved fast enough to get off. At the Basilique du Sacre Coeur, which was built as an atonement for the pillaging of churches, we rode up on the funicular for 15 francs. It had beautiful ornate gold work, stain glass windows, and a typical Byzantine mosaic. The ham radio operators at the bottom of Sacre Coeur steps talked to us. I had an idea they might be communists from what they said to us. Then we observed the original cloth used by Mary to wipe Christ’s face on his way to his crucifixion. The imprint of his face had remained on the cloth.

Outside children were playing in the sand in front of the church. It was called Montmartre because St. Denis lost his head here while preaching. After his head was chopped off, he picked his head up and walked off preaching for six miles.

Inside the church­­­­ there were confession boxes and elaborate chandeliers with the holy water bowl empty on the left side. A sign requested modest clothing of those who entered the church. Then a bell rang and people kneeled. One lady stood, another lady read, and another repeated something afterwards. I spotted a young girl in white, which usually means it was her first communion.

The church was a combination of Gothic, Byzantine, and Romanesque styles. While the stain glass characteristic was Gothic, I noticed there was a sortie side portal for exiting and an escalator going out to the metro. Really weeping birchy looking trees were by the stairs going down.
Back on the cobblestone streets we bought a really good pastry in a shop for 25 francs. In another shop Alicia and I bought three apples for 118 francs and seven oranges for 113 francs for breakfast tomorrow.

When we met up with Henry, Herr Watkins, and Margaret Brown, they carried a four-foot-long loaf of bread and bottle of milk back to the hotel. And they held the bread without the benefit of wrapping. Herr Watkins told Henry to sneak up the back stairs while he got the key to the room. We returned to our hotel on the elevated metro.

Alene called and wanted to go out and find something to eat. So we crawled across the street to a sidewalky-looking cafe, La Tosca. Whatta deal! Yet this was what we had been warned about. It took us over an hour and a half to get a piece of fish and buy a tablecloth for a couple of American dollars in French francs.

We called this our Opera Comique. In any case we would have tried this cafe later, if not now. We had wanted to eat there tonight so it was good to get it over with. Of course, we swore not to tell anyone else. They could learn for themselves.

The $64 question was who was St. Raphael Quinquina? St. Raphael was one of the seven archangels who performed all manners of healing. Also St. Raphael Quinquina had an alcoholic drink named in his honor.

60 Years Ago Today

Thursday 12 June 1952:

6:30 a.m. and today we land in France! I think I was kind of fouled up a little. Because every little girl was packed except this one. Finally I ate breakfast and everybody prepared sandwiches for lunch. We were optimistic that we would be standing on French soil by 11 a.m.

I hurried back to the cabin to finish packing where I had difficulty closing my suitcase. I couldn’t understand this since I was wearing more clothes than usual. After taking care of the money tips to the cabin boy and steward, I went on deck to take some pictures. Frenchie happened to be in the background of one picture. I don’t remember if I have mentioned her before or not. She looks like someone out of the 1920’s, hairdo and all. Her father was a doctor in New York.

We can see the outline of the harbor now. The harbor master pilot came aboard and we went in. There were boats of every size and shape on all sides of us. We heard the dinner bell at 11 a.m., but it turned out to be a false alarm. We heard it again at noon just as we were arriving in the harbor, and we ate as the boat docked.

After lunch, we discovered that we couldn’t get off the boat until we had our passports checked in the fore lounge. This involved a long line and a certain amount of time. Le Havre seemed to be partly on a hill and partly not. Many of the buildings on the shoreline had never been repaired since the destruction of World War II.

Finally we were ready for the walk down the plank. Just a few steps and we would be on French soil! At the bottom of the plank, however, the French officers stopped us. We had to wait for something or somebody for innumerable minutes. I tried to use a little of the French I had learned which helped pass the time. Eventually a man in plain clothes came up, and we were permitted to take that last step onto French soil.

Customs turned out to be a mere formality for most of us. With an “S” on our suitcases, we were free to go through. However, two or three of the kids’ suitcases were opened.

As we climbed on the bus, which was waiting to take us to the station, we saw the Ile de France and the Sibajak ships move out. At 2:30 p.m. we were on our way to the LeHavre railroad station over a brick street and past a carnival with a Buffalo Bill sideshow. Some of the stores had such funny names as Bar Brasserie and Parfumerie. Most of the buildings needed new faces. Many had never been repaired since the bombing and strafing of World War II.

We had several hours to wait before our train left for Paris, so we spent it exploring the city. Every little thing almost seemed new, different and interesting. As we walked along the streets, a Coca Cola truck passing by reminded us of home. We passed a flower shop, Normandie Fleurs. There were English signs in the windows of stores, cafes, and shops. And some places even had Se Hable Espanol signs. We noticed liquors sold in small grocery stores. We passed a lottery ticket booth where some of the poorest people spent their last penny in the hopes of striking it rich.

Then we walked through an outside market where clothes and all manner of trinkets were sold. Soon after we spotted a bicycle store. Bicycles were a popular mode of transportation and surprisingly bicycles may even have outnumbered the cars. The cars were for the most part rather old and dilapidated. There were food stalls on the streets just like in Mexico. In fact, you could buy just about anything right on the street such as yard goods, shoes, rugs, Lux, Colgate, flowers, or just take your choice.

The trees lining the streets looked like they were growing out of the cement. We passed some nuns and then stopped in a furniture store to look around. The furniture was stacked up with no particular attempt at display except in the window.

Out on the street again we passed people carrying long loaves of unwrapped bread under their arms. There were unbound books for sale at book stalls. And an old truck stopped at a corner and people got on and off, so we assumed it was a city bus. Later a beggar accosted us as we proceeded down the street.

I noticed some of the cars were little tiny cars like Maeser’s. It seemed to be the style to use the horn instead of the brake. A lady on a motor bike buzzed by us. We came to a large estate with walls all around it and our curiosity was aroused as to who might live there. We talked to a gardener and a passerby who knew a little English. Soon after a little old man came out of the gate and a lady stopped to help us. We gathered that it was the mayor’s home and gardens with 46 aldermen also living behind the walls. The sign at the front gate said 83 Ville du Havre, Maison Familiale de Vieillards.

We saw Dick and Henry down the street and exchanged discoveries with them, and then met Alicia afterwards. We came to a park and official looking building. In answer to our “Parlez vous Anglais?” One of the workers fetched a man who told us that it was the Hotel de Ville or town hall and city park. Also, he told us that the population of Le Havre was 165,000. He had been in America in New York City for nine years before World War I and told us about a beautiful park in another part of the city.

We started out for this park or jardines. On the way we passed a shop for mending hoses, and I took a picture of Lucy and Carol at the Services Municipaux. We saw little kids drinking beer at the first street-side cafe. We got tired out before we found the jardines, so we retraced our steps.
On the way back to the station, we noticed lots of mothers wheeling their babies in various kinds of carriages. The mothers weren’t always dressed well, but the babies always seemed to be well cared for. And I noticed lots of cute little red headed babies. As we continued, we noticed they were putting in a new sewer or something of the sort along the main drag.

Back at the station we found a “Dames” bathroom with nothing but the bare necessity. No scrubbing brush had visited its domain for some time. We saw a lady changing her outer clothes in the baggage room of the station.

At 7 p.m. we left for Paris on a pretty dark green train. We traveled third class with eight in a compartment. The compartments or fumeurs had great big windows and dark green leather cushioned seats. The windows of our compartments had signs “Reserve, American Express.”
The panorama from our train window was interesting as we sped toward Paris. There were beautiful fields of light green grass, funny shaped tall skinny trees with busy tops, thatched roofs, and people still in the fields bunching hay. Then I viewed pastured cows in a field of clover that were tied in a circle which were eating their way to the middle. And a green patch of land that looked like good old sugar beets.

As we passed a little station I saw Dames and Messieurs WC (water closets or bathrooms) signs plainly visible. Then there were more beautiful patchwork fields with a straight grove of tall trees and women wearing dresses while pitching hay.

Next we passed through a little town called Yvetot where the houses had regular roofs. Then we proceeded through another town with several short and long tunnels. I spotted a linoleum company in a little manufacturing city, funny crane businesses in another town, and more tunnels. We came to a big station in the city Rouen that was Joan of Arc’s birthplace. In another tunnel, we almost missed the whole city going through the tunnels.

We had our first glimpse of the Seine River and viewed a shrine on the hill which could have been the statue of Joan. There were more small squares of patchwork fields without any fences. They looked like hundreds of little gardens. And there were children playing on what looked like an outside basketball court. Then we passed tall narrow squarish houses, Seine River again, new houses being built, and tiny shocks of hay or grass. And farther down I noticed the Seine River winding again, a small village against a hill, and more small fields with rows of little shacks.
There was another train track next to ours and every time a train passed we almost jumped out of our skins as the shrill whistle sounded loudly. We passed a little village church with beautiful flowers. Then the train followed the Seine River for a ways, another tunnel, another tunnel, and a red roofed village. Two men in the aisle way by our compartment decided to eat lunch. It consisted of a sandwich and a bottle of wine.

We caught sight of the reflection of the trees along the river and then passed through a town with a lot of square buildings near the railroad. I glanced at my watch. It was 9:15 p.m. as we passed a man in the field still working. Another tunnel—I should have counted these blessed things!

The train followed the Seine River and the highway as well. We passed a railroad terminal of some kind and a cellophane factory that looked like a reconverted munitions factory. It was quite dark by this time and there was no light in our fumeurs. As we passed a Ford auto factory at 10 p.m. we saw the lights of Paris.

We finally arrived in Paris! My how excited 36 kids got at seeing Paris. Bev was especially excited because she expected to see Bob, her boyfriend, in a few minutes. The four men of the mob (group) tossed our suitcases out the windows and porters loaded them on a car for 15 cents. We had a nice long stroll to the depot, but Bob was not there. People gave us the once over and we did the same for them.

Two big buses had been waiting for us since 3 p.m. Then we met Andre our bus driver for the trip. We buzzed down the streets with our mouths hanging open. We passed the opera, American Express, sidewalk cafes, Place de Republique, and Hotel Moderne. We really gave onlookers a show—crazy American estudiantes in Paree!

Unexpectedly, our hotel room was heaven. From what we had heard and read we thought it would be worse. There was a great big bathtub and beautiful soft looking beds. This wasn’t hard to take in at all. However there was no soap and the toilet paper was like oil paper. But we were braced for many more hardships than this. We each spent about a half hour soaking and then settled down to bed about 1 a.m.