TRAVELS© Christopher Earls Brennen
In June of 1963, my last as an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford, I was fortunate to win a summer travel scholarship, The North Atlantic Crossing Trust Scholarship, for travel to the United States over the summer months. This scholarship scheme was set up by William Appleton Coolidge, an alumnus of Balliol and a wealthy member of the old New England family that included Calvin Coolidge. The scheme was intended to provide its recipients (in those days 8 per year) with an exhaustive exposure to the United States and its culture. It was a very generous scholarship. Our travel to and all our expenses in North America were provided for. Automobiles were rented so that we could drive throughout the country. But, perhaps most interestingly, we were also provided with a list of people in the United States, Balliol alumni and other friends, who had expressed a willingness to put us up or otherwise entertain us. Thus we travelled around the US visiting one host after another and experiencing a broad spectrum of the American culture.
We were expected to travel in pairs and it was my good fortune to be able to link up with Tom Cookson with whom I become friendly through our participation in the Balliol Dramatic Society. Tom was a pleasure to travel with and we had many great adventures and frequent hearty laughs. To pass the time during the long drives we would practice monologues which Tom had memorized; I think I learned a number of monologues from the revue ``Beyond the Fringe'' and have entertained with those party-pieces ever since. Also, I had brought along a beat-up old guitar and we often played and sang for our hosts, usually to their delight. One universal favorite was my rendition of ``Speedy Gonzales''; other favorites were ``Michael Row the Boat Ashore'' and ``Where have all the flowers gone''. The only place where our act was awkwardly received was at the Sedgwicks.
Though we met with William Coolidge at both the beginning and end of our travels, the adminstration of the scheme was in the hands of his secretary, Mary Sargent. Her office was at the National Research Corporation on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachussetts (an organization headed by Mr. Coolidge). Mary kept track of our travels and typed up the diary that we submitted every few days. Typed versions of this diary were provided to Mr. Coolidge and also lodged in the Balliol College archives where they can probably still be found.
What follows is that diary, my written account of our adventures. It is necessarily guarded in places, with some of the less palatable incidents omitted. Consequently, I now add and embellish the account with the italized insertions in square brackets.
The following maps indicate a part of our route through the southwest.
July 4 to 9, 1963.
Voyage. On the fourth of July, Lachlan Mackintosh and I left Southhampton on the S.S.France bound for New York. The voyage was very restful after the hectic days of examinations, and excellent facilities were provided to make the journey as enjoyable as possible. We spent at least five hours a day enjoying the superb French cuisine at a very lively table of Americans, ranging from Italian and Irish descent to two real all-American ladies. We discussed everything from Profumo to the price of an apartment in Jersey City, but the majority of the conversation took the form of comparisons of the British and American way of life. The theatre, the swimming pool and the French and American young ladies made pleasant interludes between the meals and we had great amusement in the reaction to the Mackintosh kilt. The funniest thing was Lachlan trying to maintain to a Frenchman that he had nice enough knees to wear it.
On the S.S.France
On the S.S.France
On the S.S.France
On the S.S.France
Tuesday, July 9, 1963.
Coming into New York from the sea is a magnificient sight especially when the sun is rising like the dawn of a new experience. With the Statue of Liberty and the towering blocks of Wall Street growing from minute specks on the horizon into the most awe-inspiring initial impression of any city in the world, one couldn't help feeling a little small. We docked about 8.00am but didn't manage to get clear of the Customs until 11.30am. Then on the invitation of a friend of Lachlan's we booked into and lunched at the Princeton Club. In the afternoon we visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I took great, though hardly appreciative interest in the really ``modern art'', consisting of car bumpers, wooden painting-sculptures and wire frames of one sort or another. In some way they all seemed to be parodies on history or modern society and some were indeed quite amusing. But I felt it was a rather prostituted type of ``art''. After a long day the evening was spent wondering at the lights and facade of Times Square and Broadway.
Statue of Liberty from S.S. France
New York from S.S. France
Wednesday, July 10, 1963.
After a misty aerial view of New York which seemed rather unreal from the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building we made our way to the United Nations Buildings. On a guided tour we were shown round the various conference ``theatres'', including the assembly itself. The interior decoration was mostly done by Scandinavians and was very refreshing after the solidness of most of the other buildings in New York. The whole set-up of the United Nations seemed extremely well organized both architecturally and executively, even if they do have difficulties in the more important spheres and phases of the organization. The afternoon was devoted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One thing that did strike me about American art galleries was their superior lighting techniques of the paintings and the rooms themselves with as little artifical lighting as possible. An excellent evening was spent dining with Mr. Porter Chandler.
Manhattan from the Empire State building
United Nations building
Sign across from the United Nations
Thursday, July 11, 1963.
We left New York with the same awe-inspired feeling with which we arrived in it. A feeling that everything was larger than life. The skyscrapers, the cars, the people all seemed to contribute to this. But with much greater efficiency than British airlines the DC6B of North Eastern soon left all this behind and we very soon touched down in Boston. Having met Tom Cookson (TRC) at the airport and been dumb-founded at the fantastic ``three-dimensional'' system of expressways of Boston, we were given the annual briefing of all Pathfinders by Miss Sargent as yet another group started ``travelling a new world''. We drove out to Topsfield in the late afternoon having had my first experience of driving an American car on American highways. All three of us were amazed at the beauty of the place. It is the sort of house that everyone dreams of having when they are young. All being tired we took a swim in the pool, dined and went to bed.
William Appleton Coolidge
Bill Coolidge's house in Topsfield
Bill Coolidge's house in Topsfield
Bill Coolidge's house in Topsfield
View from Bill Coolidge's house in Topsfield
Friday, July 12, 1963.
The morning was spent shopping at the Harvard and the afternoon in conversation and collecting Terry Cooper from the airport. [It was from Cooper that I first learnt that I had received a first class honours degree in Engineering Science.] We also had a ride on the MTA from which, as the song says, Charlie never returned. We had a little difficulty returning when TRC got stuck in the revolving gates. After all, the man at the co-op did say that he had a strange shape. We also met Roger Miller who introduced us to the slot machine lunch. When we got back to Topsfield in our car, a Plymouth Sports Fury, Mr. Coolidge had arrived from Venezuela and we had our first dinner with him in his wonderful home. I also learnt not to trust an amateur wine connisseur especially when it is TRC.
Tom Cookson and the Plymouth Sports Fury
Saturday, July 13, 1963.
A very leisurely day spent lying in the sun and bathing in the pool. In the evening Mr. Coolidge took us to dinner at Locke-Ober's and introduced us to the real ``American steak'' (another awe-inspiring experience). After that I can only say that we rolled along to see the film ``Cleopatra'' in which Liz Burton and Richard Burton were said to be starring. It lasted 4 1/2 hours and really was one of the worst spectaculars I have seen. It was mis-cast and far too long. In fact we didn't arrive back at Topsfield until 1.30am.
Sunday, July 14, 1963.
After the late Saturday night none of us managed to awake in time for church which was rather a pity since the local church really did look very beautiful from the outside. A very enjoyable and leisurely afternoon was spent at Wingaersheek beach with Mr. Coolidge. We were also taught the elements of baseball by three young American girls. Not quite cricket, I would say. When we got back to Topsfield, David Keen had arrived and we spent the evening listening to a most entertaining Cooper/Cookson argument on the basic requisites for top government officials.
Monday, July 15, 1963.
This morning we drove into Boston from Topsfield and rode the MTA over to Harvard. One thing about the Americans is that they seem to think up the fanciest possible names for the simplest things. Like ``surface transit vehicles'' for buses or ``rapid transit trains'' for the tube. We walked around the campus or yard of Harvard for a while and went into the library. Perhaps it was simply the fact that summer school was in session, but the atmosphere of the place was much more relaxed than that of Oxford. [One reason for the visit to Harvard was to find a copy of the London Times in the Harvard Library since the Oxford finals results were published in that newspaper. I was able to confirm that I had received a first class honours degree.] In the afternoon we enjoyed a very pleasant and informal garden party held by Mr. Coolidge at Topsfield. Americans, at least the ones we have met so far, are much more relaxed in conversation than Englishmen and really much easier to get to know. In the evening we had our first experience of American television. The best comment seems to be ``You'll wonder where your dentures went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent''.
[Mary Sargent has added the footnote: Editor's note: ``Proper phrase is ``You'll wonder where the yellow went.....''. Error was undoubtedly caused by writer's difficulty in understanding English, you know!]
Tuesday, July 16, 1963.
Having taken one last swim in the pool we finally set off to ``travel a new world''. We said our farewells to Mr. Coolidge and Miss Sargent at the office and were off. We headed for the Massachussetts Turnpike and only after performing a circle of about a mile diameter around a town called Newton did we manage to reach it. It was plain sailing from there on and soon we arrived at the home of Mr. R.C. Miller in New Haven, Connecticut. Mr. Miller is a Professor of Theology at Yale whose son Frank spent a year at Winchester with TRC. Unfortunately Mr. Miller was in Alaska at the time but Mrs. Miller extended warmest possible hospitality to us. In the evening we played tennis and went swimming with Frank and his sisters at the New Haven Lawn Club and then watched our first baseball game on television.
[Randolph Crump Miller, retired professor of divinity at Yale University, died of cancer on June 13, 2002, in Hamden, Connecticut. He was the Horace Bushnell Professor Emeritus of Christian Nurture at the Yale Divinity School, where he taught for 29 years. A jazz enthusiast and expert, Professor Miller spoke widely on the theology of jazz, as well as on topics in theology and Christian education. ]
Wednesday, July 17, 1963.
Today we were shown around Yale by Frank's sister Rives. Again the relaxed atmosphere such as that at Harvard was the first thing that struck us. The architecture of Yale is just like a slightly newer and cleaner version of Oxford, whereas Harvard is completely different with its Georgian and Corinthian facades. And again Yale has its colleges as seperate units whereas the colleges at Harvard were really just seperate buildings on the same campus. We were shown into Yale library which looks like a church more than a library and into (blank) college. One thing that struck us as rather strange was that at Harvard and Yale the freshmen were seperated from the other years and lived in a sort of college of their own. Surely it would be better from the point of view of experiences to intermingle the years right from the start. Another strange anomaly was that while students had such luxuries as television telephones and refrigerators in their rooms they had to sleep in double-decker beds. Perhaps it is simply that an Englishman values his privacy more than an American. The new colleges in Yale were much more exciting than those in Oxford especially the new Art and Architecture building which has done what most new buildings in Oxford have failed to do, namely fit in with the old yet be new and exciting in themselves.
New Haven really is a beautiful town. Rather like Oxford yet without the staleness that one tends to feel in Oxford.
The evening was quite a contrast to the rest of the day. Frank and Rives took us to a trampoline gymnasium and then to an amusement park where we saw a completely different face of America. We played baseball against a ball throwing machine and took a ride on a roller coaster. Quite the most terrifying thing I've ever experienced. Although these sort of places do seem rather sordid at first they do play an essential part in the life of the ordinary working person. They provided excitement and amusement in the otherwise dull and relentless routine of their life.
Thursday, July 18, 1963.
Before we left New Haven this morning we bought Mrs. Miller a present of the ``Anatomy of Britain'' by Anthony Sampson. We thought this would be suitable since they were really anglophiles.
[In the years that followed Tommy maintained contact with the Millers. Indeed he lived with them when he returned to New Haven to teach for a year at a local high school.]
Then after the goodbyes we took the Connecticut Turnpike into New York. These American expressways are a little frightening! If anyone in Britain drove a gasoline lorry at 75mph down the M1 he would be swiftly dispatched to a lunatic asylum. But I suppose this is just another example of the speed of life in America. We met James McCloskey, another friend of Tom's, in his office on 42nd Street. He works for UPI in the News Building. He gave us a guided tour of his department which was really very interesting. The most amazing thing was the photo teleprinter which reprints news photographs on a teleprinter type of machine, just in the way that a televsion picture is transmitted. We saw all the news and photographs that would be in Friday's papers as it came through on the teleprinters from all over the world. In the evening he took us to see a baseball game, the San Francisco Giants versus the New York Mets. It is a fairly simple game to understand unlike cricket and we were soon able to follow almost every play. The only really confusing thing was the substitution system. The Giants ran out winners 6-5. Ed Bailey hit a home run with two on base in the 6th for the Giants but the Mets ran them close with two home runs by Al Hicks. The game seemed to be played completely unemotionally from the players point of view unlike English soccer and even without a ``Howzthat'' as in cricket. But the crowd was very lively and shouted rather than cheered as English crowds do.
Friday, July 19, 1963.
This was the hottest and most humid day I have ever experienced. We were completely incapacitated during the day and used the time to try and catch up with our mail. We were staying with the McCloskeys in Floral Park, Long Island, and in the evening we took James out to dinner at the Charred Oak. By that time it had mercifully rained. After today we certainly recognized the meaning of the so-called ``discomfiture index''. Later we went to a Brando film called ``The Ugly American'' - real movie bliss after the Cleopatra shambles. Brando is definitely the greatest cinema actor in the world. The film also took some very sensible digs at some aspects of American foreign policy in the underdeveloped countries. Essentially that they tend sometimes to confuse idealism with communism.
Saturday, July 20, 1963.
Having said our farewells to the McCloskeys we left a wet but much cooler New York and set out for Washington. By this time we were getting used to map reading and easily got clear of New York after a superb view of Manhattan from the Williamsburg bridge. This was only a short stay in New York as we intended to return there at the end of the trip. We drove straight to Washington. I have been alittle surprised by the amount of forest which seems to cover the undeveloped parts of the East coast. Even between New York and Washington there are some very wild and rather beautiful stretches of country of the lake and forest type. This is especially true of southern New Jersey. We arrived in Washington around 6.30pm after a hard days drive. An American who is presently at Balliol and whom both Tom and I know, called Reed Chambers, had invited us to dinner at his home in Rittenhouse Street so we made our way straight there. We discovered that Lachie Mackintosh had arrived a few hours before us and it was very kind of the Chambers to have us all to dinner. In the evening we went to ``La Boheme'' in the open air amphitheatre in Rock Creek Park. The production was excellent although rather typically American in the splendour it gave to the very minor features of the opera. The voices were amplified by neccessity duew to the size of the theatre and this tended to give some strange irregularities in the sound. One annoying thing was that the audience seemed to keep arriving almost till the end of the second act and the intervals were all particularly long. I have omitted one arther amusing incident which happened when we were trying to locate the Chambers home. We stopped to ask the way of a man who happened to be passing. When I addressed him he immediately asked if I was Irish (he turned out to be Canadian Irish). When I said I came from the North he said ``Shake hands, Paddy''. However, immediately I did he referred to me as a fraud saying that I was using the wrong grip. Now Tom spoke. He said `` ****, a limey'' and walked away in disgust. Its a bewildering country! Unfortunately we hadn't managed to arrange accommodation for tonight so we had to resort to a motel.
Sunday, July 21, 1963.
We started the day by phoning Mr. Di Bona and he immediately insisted that we should go and stay with him while we were in Washington. This was very nice of him to do this at such short notice. The afternoon was spent mostly in conversation with the Di Bonas and the majority of it revolved around Balliol. Mr. Di Bona had just gone down when I came up to Balliol. He also told us alot about the Pentagon and its organization and this led on to discussing the major topics like Cuba, Polaris, etc. We had been invited out to dinner by Mr. Freedman, the father of Reed's girlfriend and spent a very enjoyable evening there. They had just moved into a new and completely wooden house in which were incorporated some new and interesting ideas on design. The Butterfly roof and the Japanese lintel line were two of many. After dinner we were taken for a night tour of the lights of Washington - very impressive. We did the Capitol, the Lincoln and Washington memorials and the White House. There is nothing quite to match the magnificence of floodlit white marble. And that reminds me that I must make brief mention of the new ``Old Manuscripts'' library in Yale, New Haven. This amazing building has no windows and relies on the light transmitted through its white marble walls entirely for its daytime lighting. Quite amazing!
Monday, July 22, 1963.
We had lunch with Reed Chambers today in the Senate Office Building. He then took us up to the offices of Senator Russell (Georgia) where we managed to get Senate passes. We rode the little subway train from the Office Building to the Capitol and soon found seats in the public gallery of the Senate. The bill being discussed was a rather untopical one on fishing subsidies but nevertheless it was interesting to watch the procedure. Each speaker seemed to be completely ignored by the other fifteen senators present. It is rather strange to see someone being very intense about some point in his argument and absolutely noone taking any notice. Both Goldwater and Ted Kennedy spoke for a short time but alot of the remarks were inaudible in the public gallery. When it came to voting more senators arrived purely to vote without having listened to the speeches. It seemed to me that since all the speeches could be read in the Senate Report that only the vote was relevant and the speeches were merely made as vote capturing manoeuvres. We then made our way to the Smithsonian Institute but hardly managed to get a foot through the door before a policeman announced that the museum was closing. After this fiasco we decided to call it a day and went back to the Di Bonas for dinner. We spent a quiet evening talking about what we had seen in the States so far.
Tuesday, July 23, 1963.
We managed to rouse ourselves very early this morning in order to try to get into the Civil Rights Committee hearing in the Senate Office. We got in more easily than we expected to hear the committee questioning Franklin Roosevelt, Jnr. He is Acting Secretary of Commerce and the committee were discussing with him a report which he had made to them of the effects integration or segregation would have in terms of the economy and trade in the South. The main attack on Northern Democrat Roosevelt's report came from Senator Thurmond (South Carolina). Tom and I both felt that Roosevelt handled Thurmond extremely well. Thurmond really only had the one argument namely that by making tradesmen unable to choose their customers the State was limiting their (that is the tradesmen's) freedom. But besides this his method of attack consisted purely of trying to lead Roosevelt in subsiduary and irrelevant arguments. However, Roosevelt's most impressive characteristic was that in each case he was able to baulk Thurmond from doing this. There was also quite an amusing episode when Thurmond called him a Communist. This was certainly an extremely interesting morning even though we were later to learn that our judgment of Roosevelt was somewhat limited. Having had lunch we made our second visit to the Smithsonian Institute. It was a little disappointing after the good impression it had given us on our brief visit the previous day. In the evening we again had dinner with the Di Bonas. I must say that they were extremely hospitable throughout our stay in Washington. There we certainly made two very good friends.
Senate Civil Rights Hearing
Wednesday, July 24, 1963.
We had lunch today with Frank Sieverts in the State Department where he works as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. In fact he is responsible for deciding what information the press is given about the American Affairs of State. We discussed civil rights in general and in particular the debate between Roosevelt and Thurmond which we had seen the previous day. The afternoon was spent in conventional sight-seeing. We toured the Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington memorials and the White House (unfortunately from outside the railings). We also bought a pair of Bermuda shorts each. The strange thing about these was that we first went to a shop where they cost 10 dollars a pair. They sent us to a place where they cost 4 dollars and that shop in turn directed us to a place where exactly the same shorts cost 1.75. Certainly a strange method of salesmanship. Mr. E.A. Rose and his wife had invited us to dinner and we spent a most enjoyable evening with them at their country club.
Thursday, July 25, 1963.
We left Washington DC today for Durham, North Carolina. On the way out we passed the familiar sign: IN EVENT OF ENEMY ATTACK THIS HIGHWAY MAY BE CLOSED. This I feel sums up in a nutshell the attitude which the Americans have toward modern warfare - rather unrealistic. We drove straight to Durham arriving there around 5.30pm. Professor Carter had made reservations for us at the Jack Tar Motor Lodge in Durham and invited us to meet him for breakfast the next morning. We booked in there and spent the evening catching up with our correspondence.
Friday, July 26, 1963.
We met Prof. Carter for breakfast. He is an amazing man for his age with the fire and drive that would shame any 20-year-old. He had already done 2 1/2 hours work when we met him at nine o'clock. But he was also very hospitable despite the fact that his wife had had a very bad accident and was paralyzed down her left side. He took us on a guided tour of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We were particularly impressed with Duke. Built in the forest it is one of the most beautiful universities I have ever seen. But its greatest recommendation is that the planners have left a tremendous amount of space available for expansion. A facility which very few English universities could boast. Also, of course, as would be expected the sports facilities were greater than Oxford, Cambridge and London put together could muster. He then took us on a frank and factual tour of the poorer Negro and White sections of Durham. This is difficult to comment on. The negro quarter admittedly seemed a little worse, yet the great majority of them had television and automobiles and none of what we saw really lived up to our idea of slums. At lunch time we took our leave of Prof. Carter and drove on to Asheville, N.C. There we contacted a friend of Dr. Carter's, whom he had told us to look up. We then had dinner with this Dr. Sluder. He was the first real Southerner we have met - even Dr. Carter is what he called a Yankee. Dr. Sluder was unable to put us up in his house but he very kindly booked us into a convenient motel.
Saturday, July 27, 1963.
After having lunch at Dr. Sluder's very lovely home, he took us on a tour of Asheville. Among the many things which he showed us was the old Vanderbilt home. This is a house built in a huge estate in the Smoky Mountains to the design of a French chateau. The house and gardens from the outside were very beautiful but inside the house there was a typically American collection of antiques from all ages and eras of all parts of the world. In fact the only things worth seeing inside were two Renoirs hidden in one corner among vases of the Ming Dynasty and 17th century Spanish tapestries. A very motley collection of odds and ends. Dr. Sluder was a very interesting man. He was, oddly enough for a Southerner, a Republican and a very outspoken one. He gave us the Southerner's point of view on the civil rights question. He raised one other point which we hadn't heard before. He said that the great majority of Southerners accept the idea of integration as morally and philosophically right. However, he said that all these changes take time. One only creates hatred when these things are pushed. He thought the changes should take place quietly and without publicity and that this was what was happening in most areas. This is the main objection he had to the Civil Rights Bill. We left Dr. Sluder with the same impression as we had had with Prof. Carter, namely of the tremendous hospitality of the Southerners. This evening we managed to reach Cherokee in time to go to see the Indian Drama, ``Unto These Hills''. This is held in an open theatre on the mountainside in the Reservation and is essentially the story of the Cherokee tribe from 1750, before the white man reached the shores of America, up to the present day. The story of the struggles that Sequoya, their tribal hero, overcame in trying to keep the whiteman from overrunning their precious mountain home. But the great part about this drama is not in the play itself. The theatre was built and the drama written and enacted originally by a group of professional actors, with the Indians merely performing the small parts and the dances. These professional theatre people gradually taught the Indians how to run the theatre and to play the main parts of their own people. Now the Indians run the whole show themselves and make enough money from it so that the reservation no longer requires government money or help in order to survive.
Asheville, North Carolina
Sunday, July 28, 1963.
Today we visited the restored Cherokee Indian village of Oceanaluffe on the reservation. It was supposed to be a replica of an original village on that site before the whitemen invaded the country. I say ``supposed'' because the wjole thing was set out in very typical American tourist fashion. You just followed the arrows from one section to another each demonstrating one particular craft of the Indians. The actual village was non-existent. It was merely a series of stereoptyped huts with each craft seperately exhibited. The only interesting part of this guided tour was the council house where we learnt a little of the totem system of civilization among the ancient Indians. After lunch we drove up into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We were just preparing to admire the tremendous view from the top of the Newfound Gap when the heavens opened and unfortunately reduced the visibility to about 20 yards. The storm showed no signs of clearing so we called it a day and drove down the two hundred odd miles to Atlanta. We had tried many times to locate and contact John Moore in Atlanta and failed, so we had to resort yet again to another of those ``homogenized'' motels. These places, pretty as they are, are completely characterless and the above adjective we both agree is an appropriate one.
Cherokee, North Carolina
Cherokee, North Carolina
Monday, July 29, 1963.
Today we decided to make up for some lost time and travelled all day. We covered about 425 miles from Atlanta to Pascagoula, a village about 100 miles east of New Orleans. The scenery was fairly dull and flat compared with that of the Smoky Mountains and the surrounding district, but still much more densely wooded than I would have imagined. We finally stopped for the night in a small and inconspicuous motel just outside Pascagoula. The proprietor and his wife once they heard we were English students and not ``Yankees'' were extremely kind to us. They cooked dinner for us and we got round eventually to talking about civil rights. It was interesting to hear the ordinary mans view of the problem. He produced the usual stock argument of freedom of the individual but he also told us something of the actual state of matters. How interracial marriages are forbidden by law in some states and how community segregation affects a man's ability to find work. I think the freedom argument can equally well be turned against segregation as for it. He also showed us an editorial in a local paper on the problem and which he said echoed his and his friends views. It contained a multitude of emotive words and no constructive logical argument. It showed that the press can go a long way in creating mass hysteria in these sort of situations; and mass hysteria makes the problem impossible to solve without bloodshed.
Tuesday, July 30, 1963.
We arose fairly early and drove the final 100 miles from Pascagoula to New Orleans. Here we first went to the British Consulate to collect our mail and then booked in at the cheapest of the central hotels, ``The Jung'' on Canal Street. We decided to really start our visit to New Orleans with a swing so we booked a place on one of the guided tours of the Night Clubs. This started at nine o'clock and covered four clubs, the 500 club, the Sho-Bar, the Poodles Patio and Mary Jane's. All of these are situated in the French Quarter, the Monmartre of America. The first three are traditional night clubs with floor shows and fantastic drink prices. This was our first experience of these sort of places and we managed to come away with both our honour and most of our money. As the tour guide said ``your reputation was shot down the moment you set your foot in New Orleans anyway. But I must say it was much more ``respectable'' than we had anticipated. It was very interesting to sit and listen to the jazz and dixieland music in places where it was born, and to sing to it ourselves in Mary Jane's, a sort of Irish-type bar.
French Quarter, New Orleans
French Quarter, New Orleans
French Quarter, New Orleans
French Quarter, New Orleans
Tom in New Orleans
French Quarter, New Orleans
French Quarter, New Orleans
Wednesday, July 31, 1963.
This morning we got up rather late after the night before and had a quiet lunch in the hotel. We took a trip on the S.S. President up the Mississipi River. This is the last of the steamboats left in service. The river and the view from the boat however have changed considerably since its heyday. There are now 10 miles of wharves on the banks of the ``Ole Miss'' and New Orleans has become one of the major ports of the United States handling more coffee, bananas and sugar than any other. Elsewhere, on the other side of the ``levies'' or dykes the industrial potentiality of these sites has been exploited to the full. We had dinner at an Italian spaghetti house in the Creole section and spent the evening just walking around the French Quarter listening to the strains of jazz and watching the people in the street in this fascinating city.
Paddle Steamer, New Orleans
Tom on paddle steamer, New Orleans
Thursday, August 1, 1963.
Having collected our mail from the consulate, we spent the morning and early afternoon sight-seeing in the Quarter. The amount of very beautiful Spanish-American architecture and French wrought-iron work hidden away in its narrow streets is quite amazing. Tom bought some paintings in one of the many artists alleys in the ``Left Bank'' of America and I some ``antique'' pieces of jewelry as presents. It is difficult to describe the fascination this place holds for us. Perhaps it is simply that it has so much more character and ``old world charm'' than anywhere else we have encountered in the States so far. We then spent the rest of the afternoon recovering from the heat of the day and in writing some letters. After dinner as we were strolling down Canal Street we came across a large crowd gathered around a dixieland band playing in the street in front of a cinema. As we approached we discovered that the band was composed purely of children ranging from a washboard player of about 19, to the electric guitarist of about 18 years of age. The music they produced was absolutely great in that it seemed to be completely spontaneous. In fact they had been hired by the cinema as an advertizing stunt (how often that seems to be the case in America) and were all sons or daughters of famous old-time jazz stars. Of course we had to go and see the film afterwards. It was called ``The Great Escape''. The Americans delight in making fun of the Germans and, to a lesser extent, of the officer-type Englishman. After the film we wandered in the French Quarter again and went into a club for a drink. Two ``hostesses'' then came up and sat down beside us and we were forced purely by embarrassment to buy them a very expensive drink. We the realizing that we were about to be ``skinned'' beat a hasty and not-too-honorable retreat.
Friday, August 2, 1963.
This morning we decided to go along to the police station to find out the truth about the ``hostess'' affair the previous evening. We discovered that it is in fact illegal if the girls are employed by the club. However, the policeman who seemed very embarrassed about the whole thing said not only that it was their word against ours but also that we would have to stay over and testify if we wanted to file any complaint. I must say that we got the impression that they could not be bothered with us and that they had what they thought more important things to do. But at least this whole affair was an experience and was our first contact with the seedier side of life. We then had some lunch and headed out of New Orleans towards Texas. We drove northwestwards towards Dallas, through the Bayou country of the Mississipi delta and up the Red River Valley. We reached Marshall, Texas, by the time we stopped for the night.
Saturday, August 3, 1963.
Today we continued our way westwards. As we were driving into Dallas on a huge four lane highway around lunchtime and doing around 60mph, a car pulled up beside us and the two chaps in it started to talk to us. Surprised as we were, we were rather pleased to meet someone from Dallas. The two chaps, it turned out, both went to the university in Dallas and by quite a coincidence one read engineering and the other literature. We let them take us for a drink and spent most of the afternoon with them. We talked with them about our own subjects and made many other comparisons of our respective university lives. Tom and I were both rather taken by their immediate hospitality to us. In the evening we travelled again and reached Vernon before we stopped for the night. The countryside had gradually changed during our travels from New Orleans, from marshland to the wide open spaces of the northern Texas prairie. We really wouldn't have believed it possible to be able to see cars approaching you from over the horizon. And, thank goodness, the humidity begins to lessen as we move westwards.
Sunday, August 4, 1963.
We had been unable to contact Mr. Montgomery Ritchie by telephone at the J-A Ranch in Clarendon but we decided to go to the ranch itself even if only to see it. And this we did. When we arrived at the ranch there was no-one there at all. But at least it was worth our while going there even if only to see the wild country in which it is set and the Palo Dura Canyon. Eventually, while we were wondering at the fantastically English house looking completely out of character in the middle of what to us seemed semi-desert, a cowboy rode in. He helped us to contact Mr. Ritchie, a we discovered he was travelling to England the next day. We were therefore unable to meet him so we drove on to Amarillo where we stopped for the night. In the motel we talked to the proprietor and his wife for some time. They told us all about rattlesnakes and in fact made us a present of a rattle from a snake which she had shot. Before we went to sleep we searched the room for these frightening creatures just in case. We also telephoned Mr. Marshall at his ranch in Watrous, N.M., and he very kindly invited us along for a few days at the ranch. During the last few days we have spent most of our time travelling and hence we were very glad of the chance of a few days rest at the ranch.
Ranch in Texas
Monday, August 5, 1963.
We spent some time this morning catching up with our mail and then set off for the Fort Union Ranch. On the way we drove through some of the wildest and most magnificent scenery we have seen so far. Vast great rimrocks and mesas with cliffs of tumbling red and white rock. We took quite a number of photographs but even they couldn't capture the vastness of the scenery. We arrived at the Marshall's place about 5.30pm and in time for dinner. There we met Mrs. Marshall and her youngest daughter, Ellen. All the rest of the Marshall's rather large family are out making their way in the world and to replace them every summer they invite nephews and other students to spend their summer vacations at the ranch. This summer's lot had been spending the day in Santa Fe and arrived back shortly before dinner: Andy and Angus are working at the ranch and Suzie takes care of Ellen who is unfortunately a mentally retarded child. After dinner we all sat round and talked about the workings of a modern day ranch. Mr. Marshall was apparently away in Texas looking for winter pasture. We also discovered that his reason for doing this was because they had had a particularly bad drought at Fort Union this year. But it was very enjoyable to be in the company of a lot of very nice people again after a long series of motel nights.
Tuesday, August 6, 1963.
We discovered this morning that life begins at a very early hour on a ranch. Andy and Angus set off on their daily chore of bringing in the horses at 6 o'clock. Tom and I had breakfast at 8.00am. Then all the gang took us riding. Neither Tom nor I had ever dared ride one of these creatures before, so this was a new and initially a slightly frightening experience. We merely walked around the pasture in front of the house until we got the starting mechanism, the steering and the accelerator taped. Then my horse, Ben, developed a faulty clutch and bolted off at a gallop. This proved easier than I had expected to control. I, or we, soon got used to trotting and cantering. The former is by far the trickiest. I could not understand how to prevent always going downwards when the horse was coming up to meet me. Tom and I ate a standing or buffet-type lunch. In the afternoon we did some shopping in Watrous for Mrs. Marshall and wrote some letters. We also played some paddle tennis and which, I am pleased to report, the British outshone the Americans. Mr. Marshall then arrived back from Texas in time for dinner. After dinner we had a very enjoyable sing-song (very apt on a ranch we thought) accompanied by guitar. Mr Marshall excelled himself in a solo of ``Michael row the boat ashore''.
Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico
Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico
Ride to the mesa, Fort Union Ranch
Ride to the mesa, Fort Union
Ride to the mesa, Fort Union
Ride to the mesa, Fort Union
Round up, Fort Union
Wednesday, August 7, 1963.
This morning we went for a long ride, up the rimrock behind the house and onto a vast mesa. The scenery was expansive and wild on every side. It was like riding on top of the world with rolling seas of mountains on every side. On the way down from the mesa we found some original Indian arrowheads which we added to our quickly growing collection of mementos. After lunch we went across the valley to Fort Union National Monument. This was originally one of the famous junction stations on the old Santa Fe trail. Being made originally of adobe it has by now been reduced to a weathered collection of mud walls along with a museum telling the story of the fort. Only the prison, ironically, remains in tact due to the fact that it was built of stone. It wasn't really very impressive especially when one thinks that the majority of houses lived in in Britain are older and held usually more drama between their four walls. In the evening Angus's brother Sandy and his wife and a girl called Susan Bunker arrived for dinner and we had another very enjoyable campfire type sing-song to finish the day.
Thursday, August 8, 1963.
Across the valley and the ranch from the house lie the wooded and wild Turkey Mountains. Mr. Marshall took Tom and I and the other guests for a trip into them this morning. Luckily we had our first experience of the renowned wildlife; first of antelope racing across the wide open spaces; the of vultures feeding on some dead carcass. Then we left the jeep and climbed up the scree to look at some old Indian hunting caves. As we were posing in front of one of these caves for photographs I heard something like a buzz of a bee from behind me. I instinctively looked around and there about 2ft away was a rattlesnake looking as though it was about to strike. After the first moment of fear, it was all rather pathetic. We had to kill it and, of course, the poor snake didn't stand a chance even of getting away. Then, of course, the rest of the conversation during the morning was on the subject of snakes. One rather interesting fact emerged. Apparently the worst killer of cattle on the ranch is lightning. They lose up to 30 cows a year to it. We drove on up the canyon into the mountains but it soon started to pour with rain and we were forced to turn back and return to the house. After lunch we actually did some stiff manual labour. We worked with the rest of the cowboys digging up old railway sleepers and carting them on a truck back to the ranch to be used in making new corrals. We got to know most of the cowboys during our stay and they really are a very likeable bunch. The superintendant of the ranch is a huge ex-sheriff called Pope Gossett. He is a fascinating man. A real cow puncher, he looks as though he was taken straight from a Hollywood western. This was very hard work so we spent a very restful evening listening to music and talking.
Friday, August 9, 1963.
This morning it was my turn to get up at 6.00am, ride out to fetch the horses from the pasture and bring them back into the corral. The air was very refreshing at that time of the morning and it was extremely pleasant just to walk across the mesa as the sun was rising and to feel great to be alive. It was about a 4 1/2 mile ride each way. The horses were about as far as they could be from the ranch. But at least I was working on the ranch and in that way getting to know the people. In the short space of time in which we were at the ranch we got to know all the people there fairly well. It was very rewarding to stay in that one place for a reasonable length of time rather than rushing on to see as much as we could from a purely sight-seeing point of view. There we were accepted as people, not as tourists. After breakfast, I was back on horseback again. Today they were going to brand almost the final bunch of calves. I rode out with the cowboys and helped to round up all the cattle, including the mothers and the two bulls, and to flank the herd as it was driven into the corral. Then the real work started. Each calf was successively roped, thrown, branded, dehorned, vaccinated, clipped and castrated. It was a fairly sickening sight really but a job that the cowboys insisted had to be done. One exciting interlude occurred when the two bulls present locked horns in combat and one of them had to be removed to another corral. In the evening Mr. and Mrs. Marshall asked us to take Ellen to see Walt Disney's ``Summer Magic''. This was preceded by a Mexican meal at a place called Mama Lucy Lopez's. Neither Tom nor I really took to Spanich-American food, but Mama Lucy was charming - it was her birthday so we all sang ``Happy Birthday'' for her. Then unfortunately during the film I started to come out in a rash all over my body. That night just before bed I covered myself in calamine lotion which seemed to reduce the rash slightly. The movie was typical Walt Disney and very good as a children's film.
Round up, Fort Union
Round up, Fort Union
Round up, Fort Union
Round up, Fort Union Ranch, New Mexico
Round up, Fort Union
Round up, Fort Union
Round up, Fort Union
Saturday, August 10, 1963.
By the time we arose this morning everyone except Ellen, Suzie, Tom and I had disappeared for the weekend. The four of us had decided to drive over to Taos, about 150 miles away, to see the pueblos there. We left in the morning, had a picnic lunch at the side of the road, and arrived in Taos in the early afternoon. We went straight to the pueblo. This is one of the few still inhabited by Indians (in fact Navajo) and is not commercialized to anything like the extent that Cherokee is. Of course we had to pay an admission fee and a photographic rights fee to get in but from there on we were allowed to roam about at will mamong the adobe houses. The Indians themselves had set up little curio shops in their homes and Tom and I both bought some little trinkets. The houses themselves weren't particularly interesting as the Indians seemed never to depart from the basic square but the little adobe church in the centre of the square was fascinating. Here they had experiemnted with shapes, in the towers and in the windows. The non-linearity of the building gave it a distinctive quaintness, like an old English Tudor house. The Indians were obviously very poor anbd no-one could really blame them for cashing in on the tourist industry. We then went and had lunch in the town itself and afterwards found the Kit Carson Museum housed in his original homestead. This wasn't really particularly interesting. It was a motley collection of old rusted guns and saddles some of which did and some of which didn't belong to Carson himself. There was also a bath tub (plus a bath plug later inserted) donated by Spud Johnson, Taos 1959. By this time my rash had reached gigantic proportions and my lips had swollen up. Cookson was licking his lips in anticipation of conferring the last rights but eventually did something constructive and telephoned the Marshall's doctor in Las Vegas. He told us to come to the hospital there so after a quick meal we headed back home. I met the doctor at the hospital and after a quick examination he diagnosed all allergy either to Mexican food or to a weed I came in contact with during the branding. He was an extremely nice man and we talked about my experiences in America for sometime. He gave me a couple of jabs and some tablets and told me that it should clear up fairly soon. We then headed home fairly late in the evening and went to bed.
Sunday, August 11, 1963.
Today we had been invited to spend the day with the Bunkers, friends of the Marshalls, at the lake just outside Las Vegas. Mr. Bunker is Professor of English Literature at Highlands University, N.M., and they have about 8 children of assorted ages. We spent the morning sailing and swimming with them and then when a thunderstorm suddenly broke over our heads, went back to their home for lunch. In the afternoon it continued to rain and we just sat around talking and listening to music. We discovered that Mr. Bunker had once been in the Indian Reservation Service and some of his stories were very interesting. When we got back to the ranch, Mr. and Mrs. Marshall had returned from their weekend away and we spent the evening talking, especially about the melodrama Mr. and Mrs. Marshall had seen in Durango, Colorado, during their trip. They had also arranged for us to go and stay with friends of theirs in Durango on Tuesday and to see the melodrama - fantastically kind of them considering they had also bought us tickets for the opera in Santa Fe on Monday.
Monday, August 12, 1963.
While Tom had gone out to ride early in the morning and, incidentally, also fallen rather undaintly off, I spent the morning catching up on some letter writing and cleaning out the car which had been filled about neck-high in garbage. After lunch we sorrowfully packed our bags in preparation for departure. We were going to see the opera in Santa Fe with all the others except Mr. and Mrs. Marshall and were going to stay the night there, to travel on again. The Marshalls were without doubt among the nicest people I have ever met. We had bought them a present but it hardly seemed adequate repayment for the wonderful week we spent there. Having said our goodbyes to them, the two cars set out for Santa Fe, through some splendid mountain scenery. About halfway we stopped at the Pecos National Monument to eat the picnic dinner we had brought with us. The National Monument is the ruin of a pueblo in which the Pecos Indians lived until they were wiped out apparently not by some gun-happy cowboys but by small-pox. We were able to see one part of a pueblo which we hadn't seen before, namely the underground tribal ceremonial rooms known as kivas. Then as we moved on to Santa Fe, the rain came thundering down again. We reached the Opera a few minutes after it had started due to some difficulty in finding the place and sat down in the rain, for it was an open-air theatre, to watch ``L'Enfant et Les Sortileges'' by Ravel. In fact they were doing two short opera, this and ``Le Rossignol'' by Stravinsky. The latter which requires spectacular costumes, was somewhat spoiled by the rain, as they were only able to use full regalia on the main characters. But they are two very simple and enjoyable operas and we were cursing our luck for the fact that at all three open air performances we have attended since arriving in America, it had rained. Afterwards we said farewell to the rest of the gang and set off to find a place to lay our heads for the night. We discovered that all the motels and hotels in Santa Fe were full, so we were forced to drive about 20 miles to Espanola to find accommodation.
Pecos National Monument
Taos, New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico
Tuesday, August 13, 1963.
This morning we set out to travel to Durango, Colorado. To do this we had to climb and descend the mountain range which makes up the great continental divide. The scenery was magnificent. On the New Mexico side it was barren and rugged with great cliffs of yellow, red and grey stone, but as soon as we bagan to descend on the Colorado side this changed to beautiful wooded and green valleys. When we arrived in Durango we went straight to the offices of the Durango Herald-News. Mr Ballantine, the man with whom Mr. Marshall had arranged for us to stay, is editor of this newspaper. Unfortuneately Mr. Ballantine himself was on a weekend holiday, but Mr. Marshall had arranged for us to meet the managing editor, Mr. Perkin. He gave us a guided tour of the newspaper offices and the printing rooms which was very interesting and entertaining. He then directed us to the Ballantine's house. We were greeted there by the Ballantine's children and their housekeeper, and after a quick swim in their pool got dressed and ready to go to the Melodrama. Durango is really a tourist town with ``old west'' attractions. There is a little narrow gauge railway which runs up into the hills to a ghost town where gunfights and bank robberies are staged. Durango itself is full of ``saloon-type'' bars and floor shows on the old west model. The Melodrama was staged in the Strater Hotel. The audience sat round tables and were served with drinks by the cast in their make-up and costumes. Before the actual drama started we were entertained in the old style by a man called Cappi who sang and played an old honky-tonk piano. Soon everyone was singing. This also happened between the acts of the drama. The play itself was pure melodrama. The crowd cheer the hero and booh the villain and everything is fine in the end. It was extremely slickly done and very enjoyable. Afterwards the cast gave us a few vaudeville acts, but the whole thing was very informal and depended a great deal on audience participation. One very amusing incident occured when Governor Love was introduced and Cappi, in his honour, sang ``I can't give you anything but love''. But as Cappi said later, it was a show, not a political rally. Afterwards we met most of the cast through Linda Bergman, to whom we had been given an introduction by Mr. Marshall, and we spent about three hours talking and drinking with them in one of the old-style bars, the Diamond Belle. About two o'clock we finally broke up and made our way to bed.
Devil Creek Turkey Management Area
Wednesday, August 14, 1963.
We were sorry that we couldn't spend any more time in Durango but we had to move on. Having spent the morning doing some letter writing, we said farewell to the Ballantines and headed off. We travelled southwards through the Navajo reservation. This reservation we estimated was about the size of Ireland but in all other respects, completely different. It was almost entirely deserts with huge great structures of rock rising from the desert to break its monotony. A pretty mean place to put the Indians even allowing for its size. When we reached Gallup we turned west along Route 66 and arrived at the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Monument about 6 o'clock in the evening. This park is a fantastic place made up of scenery one has only seen before in science fiction films. It was rather like driving on the moon. The Painted Desert is in a canyon and shows the effect of severe and long-lasting erosion by glaciers and wind and rain on sandstone and various other colours of rock. But the Petrified Forest is even more fantastic. About 160 million years ago a forest was washed by floods into the sea at this point. Before they had time to decay the logs were buried beneath hundreds of feet of sand. Then at some time the whole level of the land was raised thousands of feet by volcanic eruption and movement of the earth's crust and the sand was hardened into rock. Since then glaciers have worn into the flat surface of the land and formed great clefts which have exposed these logs by this time petrified and turned to stone. These stone logs lie everywhere in the valley. Sometimes whole and in places forming natural bridges and elsewhere as shattered fragments. But even these were just not ordinary stones. They really looked like pieces of wood. It really was an amazing sight. It was dark by the time we left the park so we travelled to the nearby town of Holbrook and stayed the night there.
Meteor Crater, Arizona
Thursday, August 15, 1963.
Having driven westwards about 60 miles from Holbrook this morning, we came to the Giant Meteor Crater. This crater formed by the explosion of a meteor when it punctured the earth's surface is about a mile in diameter and 800 ft deep. A natural H-bomb. There was also a museum containing all the history of the metoerite craters throughout the world and various other geological displays. We were both agreed as we moved on that the meteor had hit in a very thoughtful and considerate place. In the middle of the desert and only a couple of miles from Route 66, for the benefit of tourists. We travelled through some very arid country to Flagstaff and then northwards to the Grand Canyon. This, of course, is an almost undescribable sight. Its enormity and depth make it the eighth wonder of the world and the colouring adds beauty to its size. We spent most of the time trying to find points from which we could take photographs which would show what it was like. But this we found impossible - it is completely unphotogenic, mainly because of its size. We were both rather sorry that we could not afford time to take the mule-trip into the canyon bottom. We stayed there until darkness forced us to leave. We then drove about 100 miles to Seligman on 66 where we stayed the night.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Friday, August 16, 1963.
After breakfast we drove for most of the morning through desert, via Kingman, to the Hoover Dam in the Black Canyon. Here we stopped at the largest hydro-electric scheme in the western hemisphere and took a guided tour of the place. Tom was particularly impressed by the huge overflow water tunnels on either side of the dam. They were huge concrete pipes about 30 ft in diameter. We felt rather like flies looking down into a bath outlet. One rather shocking thing we learnt was that 96 men had been ``slain'' in the construction of the dam. This seemed a fantastic figure to us especially as the guide announced it as though it were inevitable. Then after a quick lunch we drove the final 30 miles to Las Vegas, checked into a motel and had a very long and refreshing bathe in the swimming pool (the thermometer read 110 degrees F in the shade). In the evening we went into the most famous gambling centre in the world. We had decided that this time no one would play the susceptible tourist with us, so we just wandered through most of the big gambling centres looking at the people and sensing the atmosphere. Tom succumbed to nothing but I put a couple of nickels in a slot machine just to try and calm the eagle eyes of the many house detectives. The people who inhabit these places are a strange helpless disease-ridden group. Gambling is their disease. Yet it seems all the same to them whether they win or lose. They must simply be attracted by the music of the place, the roll of the dice or the clatter of one-armed bandits. To them this seems the only thing to live for. When we had seen enough of this we decided to cheer ourselves up by going to the cinema. We saw a most amusing and entertaining film called ``Irma la Douce'' with Shirley McLaine and Jack Lemmon starring and went to bed in higher spirits than might have been expected in this ``ghost'' town.
Saturday, August 17, 1963.
We left Las Vegas early this morning to try to beat the heat of the Mojave Desert. We filled up with petrol and just kept going till we reached the outskirts of Los Angeles. The heat was so terrific that we knew if we stopped we would never get started again. The desert really is an awesome sight. We live in constant fear of a breakdown and certainly didn't envy the people who had to stop for boiling radiators or punctures. It was extremely pleasant to eventually come down through a canyon and to see the green grass and trees again. Now we know what it must be like to come across an oasis. Mr. and Mrs. McLennan had very kindly booked us a room in the California Hotel in Fullerton, very close to their home, so we went straight there and and lay down exhausted to sleep for about an hour. Eventually we arose and went along to their home for dinner. Also present were a Mr. Gerald Woods and a lady friend of Mrs. McLennans. The conversation was a very lively one and ranged from politics to Tom's near wife though I can't say the two topics were exactly dissimilar. The heat of the day had exhausted us so we had an early night.
McLennan home with Tom Cookson
Sunday, August 18, 1963.
We slept very late this morning and being very far behind on our letter-writing and diary we spent the morning and early afternoon catching up on it in our hotel room. Then around four o'clock we again made out way to the McLennon home where we ate an early dinner. We discussed our sight-seeing plans and Mr. McLennan gave us the low down on everything that he thought was worth seeing in California as well as Los Angeles. We had decided that that evening we would visit the world-renowned Disneyland to see exactly what it was like. After a quick briefing by Mr. McLennan on the set-up of the place, we set off to spend the evning there. We found that it was slightly different than our pre-formed impression of the place. We thought it was a sort of subsiduary to Disney's films and that it contained much more of the history of these. In fact it is a completely separate commercial enterprise and in fact it is very difficult to have a dreamland if you have to pay through the nose in that dream. But nevertheless it is the king of all amusement parks and I'm sure we would have enjoyed it much more had the queues for all the rides not been quite so long. Admittedly this was during the weekend. I think the part I enjoyed most of all was the cinema in which they showed lots of the old silent films. That is the Keystone Cops, Charlie Chaplin, etc. I think the popularity of these films and their harmless humour will never die. Nevertheless we felt we couldn't come to L.A. without going to Disneyland and went away quite glad that we had.
Monday, August 19, 1963.
After the previous couple of fairly leisurely days we really got down to the job of seeing something of L.A. today. Mr. McLennan picked us up at the hotel about 9 o'clock and took us out to the Union Oil Research Center where he worked until 6 months ago. We were given a guided tour of the centre by a friend of Mr. McLennan who is still working there. This was extremely interesting to both of us. We saw something of the new experimental techniques of everything associated with the production of petroleum and oil; from experimental drilling samples to the octane number testing in test cars. Also some interesting sidelines like the production of a machine to cancel out the noise made by another machine. Mr. McLennon then took us along to see the Oxford collection at the Pomona University Library. This naturally enough is a collection of some of the literature on the subject of Oxford. We spent some time browsing around needless to say in the Balliol section and then went for lunch. We left Mr. McLennan at the hotel after lunch and drove down to the coast and south to the Mission of San Juan at Capistrano. This is one of a series of Spanish missions, each a day's walk apart, established on the California coast about 1780 by Father Junipero Serra. It is an extremely beautiful place. The old Spanish buildings with their arcades and gardens made it a sort of oasis in modern California. The quiet serenity of the place tended to be slightly marred by the various notices telling where to or nor to walk, or what the different rooms and houses were used for. It was so peaceful and beautiful that we sat for some time in the gardens enjoying the colours and quiet. Eventually we dragged ourselves away and drove up the coast to Corona del Mar where we bathed for the first time in the Pacific. Afterwards we made our way to Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park and there had some dinner. This is a collection of ``Old Western'' buildings which have been transported from one place or another and grouped together to form a sort of ``Old West'' Ghost Town. We didn't really see much of this but we were impressed at the fact that no admission charge was made and that the owners relied for their income purely on the profits of the shops and restaurants. We had had a fairly busy day and by this time it was getting late so we went back home to bed.
Tuesday, August 20, 1963.
Due to Tom's interest in education, Mr. McLennan had very kindly arranged an interview for us this morning with a Dr. Lake who is administrative head of the high school in Fullerton. So aorund ten we met him in his office. We started off by discussing the aims of education and the differences between the English and American systems but the conversation soon began to stray to other subjects: the English class system and world politics. I found him an extremely intelligent man and this certainly proved a worthwhile visit. One interesting comment came when he was quick to reassure us that he was an administrator not a teacher. This followed the conversation on class systems and he laughed when he realized what he had said. We didn't want to intrude on his time for very long so about 11.30am we left to meet Mr. McLennan at the library in Fullerton. He then took us out to see a fruit plantation at Placentia which is owned by a friend of his. We saw oranges, grapefruit, avocados, figs and lemons in their natural state. It seemed almost sinful to us to see grapefruit windfalls lying rotting on the ground. They cost at least a shilling each at home. The owner picked two huge bags, one of grapefruit, the other of oranges and gave them to us. The oranges really were the sweetest I have ever tasted. We then had lunch at the McLennan home and our first mail for what seemed like ages arrived. Then after our second bathe in the Pacific, we went along to the home of Mr. Woods on Balboa Island for the rest of the afternoon and evening. He has a lovely home on the shore of the island, with its own quay and boats moored alongside. We spent a very pleasant evening with him and a few of his friends. The conversation was fascinating and he seemed very pleased when Tom and I sang a few of our by now well-rehearsed numbers with guitar and piano.
Wednesday, August 21, 1963.
Lachlan and John had arrived from S.F. the previous night and we joined them for breakfast after which we met Mr. McLennan and drove with him into Los Angeles. He showed the four of us around the centre of the Mexican part of L.A., namely Oliveros Street. There were some interesting old buildings but the whole street is of course commercialized now as a tourist attraction. Nevertheless the old candle-stick makers are still as they were years ago, and we stood watching the process of the actual manufacture of candles for some time. Most of us also bought great Mexican hats as souvenirs. Lachlan unfortunately couldn't find one large enough. We then left Mr. McLennan as he had some business to attend to, and tarvelled out to Forest Lawn Memorial Park, of ``Loved Ones'' fame. This is almost as fantastic as the book itself. It is the ``ultimate'' in commercialization; the commercialized morgue and graveyard. The various sections of the cemetery are called ``The Slope of Inspiration'' or the ``Hills of the Benediction''. All aspects of burial and the last rights were advertized. Although the whole thing was quite funny, it made me a bit sick. It seemed to remove all vestiges of respect for the living or dead. I was glad to get away from this ``Hitchcock'' like place. We then continued our sight-seeing by going down to Marineland near Long Beach. This is a large fish circus-cum-zoo with three basic ``pool shows'' and various other aquaria. We took in the seal and dolphin performances and the whale show. They were all quite amazing and entertaining. The seals especially seem to have an inate stage sense and their little ``asides'' added to the performance immensely. In the late afternoon we spent another hour in the wonderful Pacific surf and then had some dinner. We then headed for the Dodgers stadium to see Sandy Koufax pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals. The stands were apparently packed out by the time we arrived but due to the ingenious know-how of Beastall we managed four black-market tickets for only a dollar more than the original cost. The game was very close fought due to some excellent pitching by both Sandy Koufax and Simmons for the Cardinals and the game was tied at 1-1 until the 16th innings when the Dodgers won through. In fact being rather tired we returned to the hotel after the 9th inning but listened to the rest on the wireless.
Forest Lawn, Los Angeles
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Thursday, August 22, 1963.
Mr. and Mrs. McLennan had been fantastically kind and given up alot of their time to entertain us so we were sorry to leave them but we had to move on. After breakfast we bid them farewell and set off for Los Olivos which, due to the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Sedgwick, was our next stop. We drove up through the fruit plantations of Southern California and along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world to the Laguna ranch. This part of California reminded me very much of some parts of France with its long straight roads bordered by lines of great poplar trees and its gradually rolling countryside. When we arrived at the ranch we were greeted by Mrs. Sedgwick, her son Jonathan and her daughter Suki. After a dusty and hot drive, we jumped at their offer of a quick bathe in the swimming pool before dinner. The ranch houses are set in a rich green oasis in the middle of a dull yellow pasture land. In the shade of the willow trees they have two swimming pools, a tennis court all with piped mood music to increase the impression of a luxury playground. As we discovered when he arrived shortly before dinner, Mr. Sedgewick is primarily a sculptor who uses the ranch merely as a second source of income. This explained the numerous busts and other pieces decorating both the houses and their surroundings. After dinner we spent the last few hours of the day talking mainly about the subject of the true American culture. It was decided that the new era of musicals such as ``West Side Story'' would live as one of the original contributions Americans have made to the art-form.
[The Sedgwicks were clearly a bizarre and troubled family and a very wealthy one. I later learnt that they had first owned a much smaller ranch not far away and that oil had been found on that land which made them very wealthy. Mr. Francis Minturn Segdwick, a successful artist, seemed distant, cold and narcisstic and we really only saw him at dinner. Mrs. Alice Sedgwick had had a stroke that partly paralyzed her. Francis had had three nervous breakdowns prior to their marriage in 1929. Before that marriage, Alice's father visited Francis Sedgwick's doctors at hospital where he was recovering from a phase of manic-depressive psychosis. Alice's father was advised by Francis's doctor at the psychiatric clinic that Francis and Alice should not have any children. They eventually had a total of 8 children: Alice (Saucie) in 1931, Robert Minturn (Bobby) in 1933, Pamela in 1935, Francis Minturn (Minty) in 1938, Jonathan in 1939, Katharine (Kate) in 1941, Edith Minturn (Edie) in 1943, and Susanna (Suky) in 1945.
The Sedgwicks lived in their own world, and even had their own school constructed on their property. The children were not allowed to go to public school. Edie and her sister, Suky, were taken to a woman doctor in the Santa Ynez Valley for daily vitamin B shots.
Minty was an alcoholic at the age of fifteen. In the early sixties, he was hospitalized and was found dead in his room in early 1964. He had hung himself the day before his twenty-sixth birthday. Bobby also had psychiatric problems and had a nervous breakdown in the early 1950s during his sophomore year at Harvard. He was taken from his dorm in a straitjacket. He died in a motorcycle accident in January 1965. Edie was first institutionalized in the autumn of 1962 after suffering from anorexia. She moved to New York in 1964 and became a consort of the artist Andy Warhol but sank into drug addiction and died of an overdose in 1971. In 1963, when we arrived at their ranch most of these troubles were ahead of them. We only met Jonathan who would soon be the sole male heir and Suky. Jonathan seemed to be a devil-may-care loner. He had just arrived home from Harvard and was proud of only getting four speeding tickets during a high-speed transcontinental drive in his fancy red sports car. He also had a huge collection of records which he proudly showed us in his own cabin on the ranch. I don't remember much about Suky except that she was a skinny girl. She later had a torid love affair with the maverick physicist Jack Sarfatti. She survived her husband, John Gemmell, who died in 2005.
Just over four years after our visit, on October 24, 1967, Francis Minturn Segdwick died. Toward the end of his life, one of his brother's heard him say: "You know, my children all believe that their difficulties stem from me. And I agree. I think they do."]
Francis Sedgwick CEB at Sedgwick ranch
Friday, August 23, 1963.
Mrs. Sedgwick has an older married daughter who has three children of ages 5, 6 1/2, and 8 respectively called Lila, J. and Jonathan. These children were housed at a ranch with a German girl called Doris, working in America for a year before she took up a job as a school teacher, while their parents went on vacation. In the morning Jonathan, Jnr, Suki, Tom and myself drove into the nearby village of Solvang, an old Danish settlement, to look around. This quaint old village has charm and character like so many of the tiny villages in America but unlike so many of the towns or cities. It is a mixture of Spanish-American and Tudor architecture. This unusual combination contributed to its charm. Tom was very keen to play a little golf so we drove over to the nearby course only to find that we had to be sponsored before we could play. After lunch, Mr. Sedgwick soon arranged this and Tom and I set out with the two boys Jonathan, jnr. and J. to play a few holes. The whole thing was a complete shambles. We couldn't take our eyes off the two of them without them digging up the green, picking up the balls of the couple coming behind us or just generally creating a racket. The result was that our tempers and golf deteriorated. After nine holes we gave up and on the way back to the ranch actually bought them some candy as a reward for not actually getting us thrown off the course! By the time we did get back it was time for dinner so we spent a remarkably subdued evening, our morale shattered by the afternoon.
Saturday, August 24, 1963.
This was a very lazy and relaxed day. We spent the morning and afternoon swimming, sun-bathing and intermittently writing letters and diary on the plaza around the pool. The kids, both old and young, kept us company and gave us an informed tour of Mr. Sedgwick's studio, down to the last detail. His work was very representational and much of it seems to occupy predominant positions in the country's parks and civil offices. At present apparently he is involved in the sculpture of a life-sized whale for Marineland. I must say we felt a little overawed and self-conscious of all the wealth of worldly luxuries that surrounded us. Towards the end of the afternoon a group of Harvard and Radcliffe students arrived. To be exact one guy and three dolls. They took little notice of us being too engrossed in their own conversation and enjoyment. The guy was a superb diver and guitar player and probably lots of other things and he knew it. The dolls spent their time hero-worshipping him. What room was there for two hobos like us. We played with the kids. The Americans worship prowess, the English status and the Irish, freedom and whiskey. Our last evening with the Sedgwicks was a somewhat bizarre one. As well as all the young folk, Mr. Sedgwick had also invited two painter friends of his and their wives to dinner. After Mr. Harvard had sung first some folk ballads, and later degenerated to sacrilegious and rather dirty songs, one of the painters, rather drunk by this stage started to tell some very long drawn out and not very funny stories. The evening dribbled to a close.
Sunday, August 25, 1963.
We had decided to try and reach San Francisco today so about 11 o'clock we said a grateful farewell and set off. [We could not wait to get away from these crazy people.] We drove solidly only stopping for lunch at one of the Spanish missions whose name I forget. Like the others this was a charming little group of buildings with a sincerity that a religious history breeds. The scenery was a little bleaker than the previous days drive but still mellowed by the friut groves and poplar trees. We arrived in San Francisco about 6 o'clock in the evening. Unfortunately we had been unable to find anyone who was willing to put us up so we set out to find a reasonably inexpensive hotel. In the process we explored a little bit of ``the city''. We came across the steepest hills I have ever driven on. The car seemed to defy the laws of gravity. Also the quaint old cable cars and narrow streets. The thought that this city could belong almost anywhere in the world occured to us. Almost immediately we felt that this was a city of charm and character and we knew why so many people we met called it their home. By this time it was getting late. We found a hotel, the California, booked in and had some dinner. After dinner we went for a stroll through the streets and eventually to a movie called ``The Balcony''. This is one of the strangest films I have ever seen. It was centred in a high class, fantasy-like brothel, in a revolution-torn country. It seemed to compare the man's world with fantasy and the woman's with reality.
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Monday, August 26, 1963.
Before breakfast we made a few phone calls and managed to contact Mr. John Naff who invited us to have a drink with him after he finished work. By the time we had had breakfast, collected the car from the parking lot and our mail from the British Consulate, at the same time catching up on our Times and Observer reading, the morning had disappeared. But we set out to try to do some sight-seeing before lunch. We drove down along the bayshore to the Golden Gate Bridge, crossed it and stopped at the vista point on the other side. The view of the bridge, Alcatraz and the S.F. skyline was tremendous. San Francisco looked what it is - one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We the headed northwards up and down the windy and steep roads to the Muir Woods National Park. This is a forest of the giant California Redwood trees. The bases of these fire-resistant trees are burned and smouldered into strange shapes and doorways. We walked up through a peaceful little glen to a place known as the Cathedral Grove where U.N. representatives once met in commemoration of Roosevelt. Here the sun coming through the tree tops formed beautiful shapes and shadows on the ground like the windows of a church. It was pleasant to escape the bustle of the city for an hour or so but, after a quick lunch, we headed back over the Golden Gate Bridge. On the way back to the hotel we paid a quick visit to Fisherman's Wharf, from which most of the atmosphere of S.F. is radiated. Then quickly we returned to the hotel, washed and went along to the offices of Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison [This law firm went broke in 2003.] to meet Mr. Naff. We went for not one but quite a number of drinks with him, and talked with him about the rudiments of the differences between British and American law, neither Tom nor I showing a very great knowledge of legal matters. But he had some interesting comments on American politics - that the choice of Robert Kennedy as Attorney General was an insult to the legal profession - that George Romney's greatest disadvantage in his running for the Republican nomination was the fact that being a Mormon, he had to believe that the negroid race was inferior. Mr. Naff bid us goodbye in order to catch a train home but before doing so he invited us to his home for dinner the following evening. We then staggered out for something to eat and later went to the theatre to see a Road company performance of ``Beyond the Fringe''. We both agreed that three of the cast were terrible and the main character passable. They seemed to massacre a great script but perhaps that was just because we have both heard the original cast's recording of the show.
Tuesday, August 27, 1963.
After a few letters and breakfast we left the hotel on foot to see more of the city itself. We took the ``cable'' car to the top of Nob Hill. These cable cars look just like trams but are hauled by a constantly moving underground cable onto which they grab when they want to move. They are used to try and overcome the transport problem caused by the fantastically steep hills. From the top of Nob Hill we got a very good overall view of the city, then clung onto the cable car again as it travelled down to Fisherman's Wharf. We wandered around the most cosmopolitan port in the world for some time, passed the fish market, the restaurant owned by the famous hitter Joe Di Maggio and the many trawlers and fishing boats moored with their forest of masts and beams. We then took another cable car to Chinatown, a clearly defined section in the heart of the city. It was rather like walking from New York to Hong Kong in a couple of strides. The back to the hotel where we fetched the car and drove again to the Golden Gate Bridge in order to photograph it as the mist rolled in from the Pacific - a magnificent sight. Again we returned to the hotel, washed dressed and drove over to collect Mr. Naff from his office. We then headed for his home and were greeted by his charming wife and their three children. We spent a very entertaining evening with them. We compared the Balliol of his day and ours and the Balliol poatoes with machine gun bullets. For the first time on out tour we toasted ``Floreat domus de Balliolo'' and drank port. We returned to our hotel very late after a very pleasant evening.
In Muir Woods
Wednesday, August 28, 1963.
We slept later than usual this morning due to the previous late night and spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon preparing for the train journey. I haven't mentioned this before. We found it necessary because we were so far behind in our schedule. But we both felt it was better to have spent alot of time in some particular places, getting to know the people, than to have moved on so constantly around the country, trying to see as much as possible. During the morning we wrote some letters, bought apresent for the McLennans, turned in the Plymouth and did some shopping. We had become fairly attached to the Plymouth. It took us 6500 miles without a hitch. We were sorry to have to turn it in. After lunch we packed and took a taxi to the station. Then a coach took us across the Bay Bridge (8 1/2 miles long) to Oakland Railway Station. As San Francisco disappeared into the mist, I felt that someday I would be back to one of the most wonderful cities in the world. We boarded the ``City of San Francisco'' domeliner at Oakland and were escorted to our two-berth cabin by our steward. It was fairly cramped especially when we got our numerous assorted suitcases in but there were two observation and lounge coaches also in the train as well as the diners. So we only used the cabin as a bedroom. And I mustn't forget to mention the contraption in one corner which operated so that on the pull of a lever a collapsable lavatory fell out of the wall at you. A similar thing happened with the wash hand basin. The train skirted the bay for some time and then headed inland. It passed the ``mothball fleet'' of about 160 pre-war and naval vessels tied up in a sort of maritime junk yard. There must be thousands of tons of steel there which is simply rusting away. Surely someone could find it profitable to buy and resmelt the steel. We rushed on through the night and reached Sacramento just as we went to bed.
Thursday, August 29, 1963.
I woke very early in time to watch the train passing over the Salt Lake desert and later the lake itself. This is what I had imagined a real desert was like. A deathly place, where no man could survive for long. Absolutely flat, gleaming sand with white salt drifting on its surface in the wind. The shores of the lake were covered in mounds of solid crystalline salt. This was really the only interesting experience of the day. We spent most of the time trying to write our diaries, staring out at the endless rolling plains of Wyoming and Nebraska, or eating fantastically expensive railroad meals. The train rumbled on through Cheyenne, Laramie and North Platte.
Friday, August 30, 1963.
It was wonderful to awake and see the green fields and trees again. They seemed so much more beautiful than we had seen them before. Then about 1.00pm the train arrived at its final destination - Chicago - the world of Al Capone and `Legs' Diamond - we saw only black and a maze of power pylons. After some delay the Hertz people coughed up a Ford and we drove north to Winnetka, a suburb of Chicago. Here Mrs. Stepan had invited us to stay for a few days and when we we arrived welcomed us warmly to their magnificent home. Mr. Stepan we discovered is the head of a firm not unnaturely called ``Stepan Chemicals''. They have a large family most of whom have gone out to make their way in the world and only the second youngest, Paul, was at home when we got there. Mrs. Stepan then took us to the house of a Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer in order that we might use their swimming pool. We then discovered that Mrs. Stepan was once the holder of a national swimming record. A record which was also held by her eldest daughter Marilee. When we returned to the Stepan's home for dinner we met Marilee, her husband Dick and some friends of theirs Cecily and Jimmy O'Riley. There ensued a very enjoyable evening. The conversation tended constantly toward literature and drama, Jimmy being a film director. Jimmy and I also had another common interest as would be obvious from his surname. I must say that after a drink or two they peformed lustily to the accompaniment of the guitar. After a really great evening we didn't get to bed till rather late.
[The Stepans were, indeed, very hospitable. In the years that followed our visit Stepan Chemicals grew into an international conglomerate, changing its name to the Stepan Company but remaining in family hands. Alfred Stepan passed control to his eldest son, F. Quinn Stepan, Snr., who, in turn, passed control to his son, F. Quinn Stepan, Jnr. I had a chance to repay some of their hospitality when Paul Stepan, whom we had met when we first arrived in Winnetka, came to Oxford and to Balliol College to study for a Master's degree. His wife Ann, who accompanied him for the year in Oxford, wanted to continue her studies toward a degree at a U.S. university and asked me to supervise her on a correspondence course that she had arranged. Thus we met throughout the year for the purpose of this supervision. Both Paul and Ann went on to distinguished careers in business and politics in Chicago; Ann was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. I was saddened to learn that Paul died of cancer in 2013 and that Ann died shortly thereafter in 2015.]
Paul and Ann Stepan
Saturday, August 31, 1963.
Slept long and soundly last night due to the fact that I found it impossible to sleep on the train. Thus our start to the day was rather delayed but we eventually set out to see something of Chicago, with a briefing from Mrs. Stepan on what was most interesting. We drove down the lake side drive first to the McCormack Convention Center. This hall was originally built to house the Democratic and Republican conventions but while we were there an exhibition called ``A Century of Negro Progress'' was being held. This exhibition covered most aspects of negro advancement - from the historical point of view and in the fields of art, medicine, sport, music, etc. Just after the entrance to the hall there was a tableau showing negroes in ``Darkest Africa'', their original environment. One interesting little thing I noticed was that the waxen figures all had Indo-European features although they were black in color. The atmosphere of the exhibition seemed to be geared very much to the emotions. A negro spiritual version of ``John Brown's Body'' played continuously in the background. There was a model of the sitting statue of Lincoln with all that other great men have said about him displayed on placards on either side. Also there were huge scrolls of paper provided for all negroes to write their names and predictions on. These were to be buried so that they could be ``re-discovered'' after a further hundred years. I found it a very emotional but slightly non-constructive exhibition. Demonstrative, I suppose of the negro temperament itself. We then moved on to Chicago's famous Museum of Science and Industry. This is most certainly the best museum of this type I have ever visited. There were push-button working models of everything. We were fascinated by the large scale model of the Santa Fe railroad, a fascination reminiscent of childhood days. We also toured the German U-boat captured in 1944 by the American Navy - the first enemy warship then to have been boarded since the 1840s. By this time it was getting late in the afternoon so we were unable to look around the University of Chicago when we passed it in the car. We drove on through the ``seamy South Side'' as it is always known. For three miles we didn't see a single white person on the pavement and although the slums were really bad, there seemed to be in progress quite a bit of clearance and construction work. We then then drove back to Winnetka and had time for a swim before Marilee and Dick arrived to take us out to dinner. They took us to the Ambassador East Hotel, or rather its dining room called the Pump Room. Here apparently J.F.K. often stays and dines. Marilee apparently was once waiting alone in the hall when he stepped out of an elevator. The only thing she could think of to yell was ``Wait till I fetch my mother''. We ate a magnificent meal there and then went to see a show called ``The Second City'', Chicago's version of that Establishment show. This we found extremely amusing although some of the regional jokes were lost on us. The evening however was not yet over. We were taken to a famous Chicago alehouse called Chances-R where the floor was knee-high in peanut shells and then for a tour of Chicago by night, seeing the fantastic Flat Janitors Union Headquarters. This consisted of two helical type towers of about 40 storeys each which looked rather like corn cobs. Then to bed - exhausted after a great day.
Sunday, September 1, 1963.
We arose just in time to greet Mr. Stepan and the youngest son John as they arrived back from a trip to most all of the South American countries. The family reunion activities lasted until lunchtime. Neither Mr. Stepan, a man of boundless energy, nor John had had any sleep the previous night but this did not seem to deter Mr. Stepan, an ardent golfer, when he heard that Palmer, Player and Nicklaus, the three greatest golfers in the world, were playing in an exhibition match today at Waukegan, 20 miles north of Winnetka. So soon after lunch six of us set out to see them play. It was very relaxed and amusing golf. Plamer particularly seemed a great crowd pleaser with his apparently light approach to the game. Mr. Stepan, we then discovered, had been taking lessons from Arnold Palmer's father and in the course of this had met Arnold himself and his manager, Mr. McCormack. This man McCormack also manages Player and Nicklaus as well as one or two up and coming players like Bob Charles. Quite a business! So after the match had finished we were introduced to both Palmer and McCormack. After that I'll be the envy of everyone on our nine-hole course at home. On the way back to Winnnetka we called in at Mr. Stepan's club (a men-only affair). This also had a magnificently manicured golf course. But these American courses have no rough whatsoever - mown grass the whole way. After dinner we drove down to Jim and Cecily O'Riley's home to spend the evening with them. It was very pleasant. We sat round talking about films and the theatre, and listening to records of shows until quite late.
Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus
Monday, September 2, 1963.
We rose early and after breakfast bade farewell to the Stepans. They had been extremely kind to us and made our stay in Chicago one of the highlights of our trip. The drive to Detroit was fairly uneventful. It started and ended with drives through huge industrial areas with the middle section being very pleasant rolling countryside. Mrs. Haessler had given us fairly lucid directions and we found our way easily to their home where they had kindly invited us to stay. By this time it was getting fairly late in the evening and since we had not yet eaten, Mr. Haessler accompanied us to the nearby ``Howard Johnsons''. We spent both in the restaurant and when we returned home listening to Mr. Haessler's experiences as a radical objector during the war and as an atheist and socialist. He told us about his being ``Professor'' of American History at Alcatraz! He seemed a highly intelligent man but too ready with ``facts and figures'' to baffle any arguments which we put forward. Mrs. Haessler also told us about her visit to the Women's Congress in Moscow at the time when the first woman was shot up into space.
[Carl Haessler (1888–1972) was an American political activist, conscription resister, newspaper editor, and trade union organizer. He is best remembered as an imprisoned conscientious objector during World War I and as the longtime head of the Federated Press, a left wing news service which supplied content to radical and labor newspapers around the country. Carl attended public school in Milwaukee and went on to college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, from which he graduated in 1911 with a bachelor's degree in Latin. From 1911 to 1914, he attended Balliol College. There he became interested in the socialist movement and joined the Fabian socialists. Upon his return to the United States, he took a job teaching in the Philosophy Department of Illinois University at Urbana. He also continued work on his Ph.D., which he received upon completion of his dissertation, entitled "The Failure of Scottish Realism." With the American entry into the European conflict early in 1917, the ethnic German pacifist Haessler was dismissed from the university for his political views. In the spring of 1918, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He accepted being drafted but refused to put on the uniform in boot camp and was therefore court martialed under military law. Haessler was found guilty and issued a sentence of 12 years of hard labor of which he completed just over two years of his prison sentence, served at the stockades of Fort Leavenworth and Alcatraz military prison from June 1918 until his released in August 1920 by a presidential pardon. In 1922, Haessler was named as the managing editor and secretary-treasurer of the Federated Press, positions which he retained until the end of the news service in 1956. Beginning in 1963, Haessler became involved in draft counseling of conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. He died on December 8, 1972 at the age of 84 years.]
Tuesday, September 3, 1963.
Detroit was one of the few purely industrial cities we visited and so we readily accepted Mr. Haessler's invitation to tour the city with him this morning. We first drove to the vast Ford motor works and later to the Cadillac works. During this time Mr. Haessler told us something of the pre-union days and the troubles experienced while the trade unions were in their infancy. From there he showed us the new convention centre, the Auto-Union headquarters and Grosse Point, the upper class residential area. This filled up the morning. Being very soon after Labour Day, Mr. and Mrs. Haessler were very busy with various things and so we decided after a brief but interesting stay in Detroit to move on. So, after lunch, we headed for Windsor and Canada. We had no difficulty at the customs and soon were driving through country which from the place names seemed like back home - over the River Thames, through Chatham, London and Windsor and the counties of Kent and Middlesex. One thing we did notice was the comparitive lack of commercial advertizing along the roadsides and in the smaller towns. It was very pleasant countryside. After a short stop in Hamilton we arrived in Niagara about 9pm and in darkness. The falls were magnificent. They were lit up with floodlights in a varying rainbow of colours. A fantastic sight with all the power raising a constant mist and rain for thousands of yards around. Then after a meal we found a motel and went to bed.
Wednesday, September 4, 1963.
Arose early and went to see the Niagara Falls by day. Not quite so pretty but still impressive. Then we drove across the bridge and back into the United States. We had decided to get to New Haven by the evening where Mrs. Miller had again invited us to stay for a few days. The New York Thruway and the Mass. Pike took us most of the way. These great high speed slashes of concrete and tar are magnificent for getting from one place to another but not for seeing the countryside. Nevertheless it was noticeable that we were back amongst the wonderfully rocky and wooded terrain of New England. Arriving at the Miller home about 7.30pm we met Rev. Miller who had been in Alaska on our last visit to New Haven. It was nice to resume our acquaintance with this wonderful family. Over dinner, we talked about our experiences since our last visit and about the new ideas in and about religion today. Afterwards Rev. Miller showed us some of the photographic slides he had taken during his visit to Alaska and incidentally some of Ireland taken the previous year.
Thursday, September 5, 1963.
This morning, after bidding goodbye to the Millers as well as to Tom, I caught an early train from New Haven to Boston. It was a pleasant an uneventful ride through the almost-English ports of New England. The leaves were beginning to turn and it would be a cold blustery autumn I would be returning to. Took a taxi over to N.R.C. and talked with Mary until about 4.30 when she drove me out to Topsfield, where I was welcomed back by Mr. Coolidge. Unfortunately he had a dinner appointment this evening so I spent a short time watching television - then to bed.
Friday, September 6, 1963.
After breakfast I went with Mr. Coolidge into Boston to N.R.C. From there I went on a shopping and present buying expedition first to Harvard Square and then into the centre of Boston itself to Washington Street. Very impressed by the range of goods displayed compared with the equivalent in Britain, although the salemanship was much more high-powered. Then, after saying goodbye to Mary, I went back to Topsfield with Mr. Coolidge. After another great Topsfield dinner, we talked and watched a little programme ``The Flintstones'' on tele. Very amusing and harmless nonsense.
Saturday, September 7, 1963.
This was my last day at Topsfield and in America. My plane left at 10.30 from Boston Airport bound for Shannon and Dublin. In the morning I went for a walk with Mr. Coolidge and the dogs, before driving to the nearby shopping centre for lunch and some shopping. These shopping centres are a very sensible innovation especially for a country so auto-mobilized as America. They take a huge area of land and cover the whole thing in tarmac for parking space. Then in the middle they build arcades of shops of all sorts, including branches of the large chain stores and with such things as amusement parks for the children and cinemas. The whole place is traffic free and provides relaxed and worry-free shopping. After this it was back to Topsfield for a bathe in the pool and a restful afternoon before the overnight trip. Then after dinner Mr. Coolidge drove me to the airport where he saw me safe on my journey home. I was flying Irish International Airlines. It was nice to be back among my own people again but I still felt a little nostalgic. I was leaving behind me some wonderful people whom I hope were now my friends. I had seen and done so much in America that it seemed my second home. But I was looking forward to seeing my family and my wife again. I saw the dawn after only a couple of hours darkness and a little later we touched down at Shannon. It was the end of a wonderful trip. Thank you, Mr. Coolidge, for the experience of a lifetime.
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Last updated 12/3/05.
Christopher E. Brennen