Grandma's picture

Grandma's picture
Grandma's Passport photo

Sunday, May 31, 2015

23 - Diary Entry - 7 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had planned her trip to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. In New York, she had transferred from the train at Grand Central Station, spent part of the day walking in NYC, then boarded the Europa and set sail for Europe.


Grandma Cecile settled into life aboard the ship. This is her next diary entry, her second day at sea:


This is Sunday, JUNE 7. How the time is fleeting! We had Mass at 7:00, High Mass[1] at 10:00. There were so many in the chapel it was filled to every corner. There were 2 ushers; Collection for the disabled Catholic Seamen. After church, Te Deum[2] was sung. They rang the bell just like at home, only I believe it was something like a graphophone behind the altar. 

This ship carries a crew of 1000, and 1800 passengers. It is all filled. 

I am sitting at a writing table in the writing room. There are such deep soft carpets and such wonderful furniture.[3] The sea is so quiet, nobody is sick, and if it would not be for the machinery down below, (the vibrations) we wouldn’t know we are on water. I would be perfectly contented, but there is a tingle of homesickness mixed with it all. If Betty and Papa would be here, or at least one of the boys, such you are almost unable to have it alone in spite of everybody is very kind. 

We are 4 in a room[4], I would rather I'd be alone. I heard the trumpet. Do not know what it is for, but everything has a meaning and you have to get acquainted first. 

It is warm and the windows are open all around the ship. One thing I notice is the german doorknobs, European style. That’s what I have not seen for 35 years.[5]


[1] - High Mass - a solemn service where most of the Mass parts are sung, not simply recited, and this was back when the Mass was all still in Latin. From my experience as a child, the High Mass was the later service of the day, as here in her diary. All the singing made it a longer service.

[2] - Te Deum - a special hymn of praise 

[3] -  to see some of the furniture, check out the pictures in the brochure here

[4] - to see an example of the room for four, check out the photo of the stateroom in this brochure 

[5] - german doorknobs, I couldn't see any in the photos in the brochures, not sure what it was that she had missed
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Story to be continued......
To read Post "24 - Diary Entry - 8 June 1936" Click here

Friday, May 29, 2015

22 - Sr Agnes' Letter - 7 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had planned her trip to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. She was finally at sea. The previous posts showed pictures from some of the ship brochures Grandma brought back home.


As Grandma Cecile rode the waves of the Atlantic on the Europa, her oldest daughter, Sr. Agnes (then known as Sr. M. Liliosa) was anxiously awaiting word from her mother. Almost a week had passed since Grandma set off on the train. 

Sr. Agnes wrote this letter June 7. It was postmarked June 10, Beaverton, Oregon, 8:30 AM. Grandma would not have received the letter until she reached her destination. The letter was addressed to her at her sister's (Hermine Bernt) address.

J.M.J.


St. Mary's of the Valley
Beaverton, Oregon
June 7th, 1936

Dear Mamma,

If everything went the way you planned
Beginning of the letter
you must at this time be about in the midst of the Atlantic. With my imagination I've been following you quite closely. Did you really get to go to Mass in New York on Betty's birthday. I've been anxiously waiting for a letter or card from you as I felt certain you would write while on the train - but so far I haven't received a word.

Sister Mercedes is going to visit her relatives for the first time since she has been in the convent. (over 12 years). It will mean quite  a long trip for her also as she is going to North Dakota and Alberta, Canada. 

I seem to to be rather absent-minded but for once I have a good reason for it. You remember I told you about our chapel leaking so badly when it rains? Well, it rained quite hard last night and Sr. Caroline and I were given the privilege of staying up from 10:30 P.M. on and mop up the water as it drained in. We were in bed quite long today but for some reason I can never sleep well during the day.

John Zuber and his sons are doing the concrete work on our chapel[1]. They began today and it will probably take almost three weeks.

Friday evening the commencement exercises will be held here. After that the academy girls[2] go home and our sisters[3] from the different missions come home. That is when this becomes a very busy house.

I haven't had a chance to copy that prayer that you want but I will try to have it for you the next time I write.

My throat hasn't been bothering me for a long time and I feel just fine. I'm so glad it's over with.[4]

Do you know how to talk with your new teeth[5] by this time?

It is nearly time for supper and I must serve, so I shall bring my short letter to a close, with much love to you and my relations.


Your loving daughter
Sister M. Liliosa

P.S. Please write soon, and tell me all about everything.
The envelope for Sr Agnes' letter, dark streaks are from smoke damage
[1] - the concrete work was part of the building of the new chapel for the convent, as mentioned in Sr Agnes's early note of April 19, 1936 
[2] - The "Academy girls" referred to the girls who attended high school at the convent, school would soon be out for the summer

[3] - "our sisters" referred to the nuns who were out in the parishes, mostly employed as school teachers in the parochial schools throughout the valley. While the students at the convent went home for the summer, the teaching nuns all returned home to the "motherhouse" for the summer, making it a very busy place indeed!

[4] - Sr Agnes must be referring to her tonsilectomy which she told about in her note of May 21, 1936.

[5] - "new teeth" Grandma Cecile's new false teeth, as mentioned in Sr Agnes' letter of April 19, 1936.

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Story to be continued......
 To read Post "23 - Diary Entry - 7 June 1936" Click here

Monday, May 25, 2015

21 - More Ship Brochures

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had planned her trip to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. She was finally at sea. The previous post showed pictures from one of the ship brochures Grandma brought home.


That was not the only brochure she had. Here are more images from her collection:

Cover
On close examination of the cover of the "3 Class" brochure, shown at left, a small message is stamped across the "3". It says "THE STEAMER FORMERLY NAMED 'ALBERT BALLIN' IS NOW THE HANSA". According to an article on Wikipedia, which can be read here, this was done in 1935 by order of the new Nazi government in Germany because Albert Ballin was Jewish. This brochure was printed May 1, 1935, before the ship was renamed. Just a reminder of the horrors that were starting to unfold in the world in 1936. Grandma was sailing straight into it.

Here are more images from this brochure:
Inside of the front flap

Gym and promenade deck












Stateroom for 4, like Grandma's room




They ate well!























The above photo of the Stateroom on the Europa has 2 bunk beds, so room for four people. Grandma mentions that she shared a room with 3 others (from June 7 - "We are 4 in a room"), so her room would have looked similar to the one in that photo.

A different leaflet in Grandma Cecile's collection listed all the sailings:
front
back













Besides these, Grandma Cecile had two other ship brochures, one for the Columbus, on which she returned, and one other about the "Famous Four", the New York, Deutschland, Albert Ballin and Hamburg. She did not sail on them.

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Story to be continued......
 To read Post "22 - Sr. Agnes' letter - 7 June 1936" Click here .
 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

20 - Go Tourist - Ship Brochure

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had planned her trip to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. She was finally at sea.


Among Grandma Cecile's "souvenirs" were some brochures she had acquired that were all about the ships in the line on which she was traveling, the North German Lloyd. They give information on the various ships and show pictures of the facilities on board


Worn cover of brochure
This is the largest of the brochures in Grandma's collection. It appears that she folded it to fit in with her other pamphlets. 

Inside the front cover is this page:
Waving farewell at the pier








The Bremen and Europa were fairly similar, but the Europa was smaller by about 2,000 tons.



Compared to life on the farm, the ships were fairly luxurious!
 
 
Information on the Bremen and the Europa

 
Lounge on the Europa

A room from the Europa, but not Grandma's, hers had 2 bunk beds




















An indoor pool








scenes from either the Bremen or Europa
Chapel on the St. Louis




















Last page of the brochure




















This brochure advertising the luxuries of "Going Tourist Class" covered several ships. Ships from the North German Lloyd line included the Bremen, Europa, Columbus and Berlin. The Hamburg-American line ships were the New York, Hamburg, Deutschland, Hansa and St Louis.

Since Grandma sailed on the Europa, those are mainly the pictures shown here. The chapel on the St Louis was included since Grandma Cecile mentions attending Mass (Catholic religious service) on board. That was the only chapel photo in the brochure and probably similar to what she found on the Europa. The brochure itself is 28 pages total. Again, some of the grime on the pages is due to smoke damage from the house fire.

One note of coincidence. When Grandpa Alois  immigrated to the United States, he and his parents, sisters and cousins, sailed in to New York on a ship named the Hansa. It would have been a different ship than the one listed in the Hamburg-American line. To read about the Hansa that was probably the one Grandpa Alois came over on, use this link. The name Hansa seems to have been a popular ship name.

Again, to see  the pictures, click on any one of them and you'll be able to scroll through them all. 

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Story to be continued......
 To read Post "21- More Ship Brochures" Click here

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

19 - Grand Central Station Postcard 5 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile had planned her trip to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. Her diary entry covering her final day on the train, the day in New York City waiting to board the ship and the beginning of the ocean voyage was not written until the next day, June 6, when she was finally at sea.


Passing the time walking about New York City and Central Park on June 5, Grandma Cecile did take the time to write a postcard to mail back home. She addressed this card to her young daughter, Betty, foremost. Perhaps that was because June 5 was Betty's 12th birthday, even though she does not mention that in her message.

Here is the postcard and its message: 


Postcard of Grand Central Station
Postmark: New York, NY Sta K
June 5  3-PM 1936


Addressed to:
Miss Betty Beitel,
Stayton
Oregon
Click HereRoute 1 Box 207

Dear Betty & all the Rest. 

Arrived here safe & sound but tired at 7:40 this morning. My baggage is on the boat already. If I can I will write from the boat but maybe on the other side. M.

Notes about the postcard photo in upper left corner of the card: 
GRAND CENTRAL RAILROAD STATION, at Forty-Second Street and Park Avenue, is the New York terminus of the New York aCentral and the New York, new Haven & Hartford systems. This tremendous engineering feat, often compared in magnitude with the Panama Canal, was completed in 1913. Two hundred and thirty thousand people swarm through it daily.

Photo credits - printed vertically between the note area and address space - Lumitone Photoprint, New York - Made in the U.S.A.


Back of postcard
One item worth another look. Grandma signs the note "M." An educated guess would say that M stands for mother/Ma.

Grand Central Station was the terminus of the rail system that Grandma Cecile had taken from Chicago to New York. She had to find her way from Grand Central to the dock. Besides being a historic site, it is still a very busy train station, with over one million people passing through its halls every day. For more information about Grand Central, check this article on Wikipedia. To see more images, old and modern, visit this link.

The discoloration on the postcard is smoke damage from the house fire that these materials went through in 1985.

I have a Grand Central station story of my own to share with Grandma Cecile. 

In 1981, I was traveling on vacation with my cousin Diane. We had come down to NYC on a train and were headed for Philadelphia. We got off our train in GCS and transferred within the station to a Greyhound bus for our next leg. We were amazed to find ourselves on a big bus with NO other passengers as we headed out of one of the largest cities in the country! 
Diane's photo of me on the bus


The bemused driver watched those two young ladies bounce around his bus and eventually asked us where our luggage was. We had assumed it was on the bus as we had checked it through when we boarded the train. Finally we realized he wasn't joking. Long story short, that nice bus driver made a few phone calls when he got to the next stop (New Jersey by then) and located our suitcases, still sitting on the dock in Grand Central. Two days later, our suitcases caught up with us again. Nothing was missing and all was well, but we did visit the beach in New Jersey having to wear the same clothes that we wore on the train!

That incident did give me a healthy respect for the size of New York City. My hat is off to Grandma for her ability to find her way around the city on foot!
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Story to be continued......
 To read Post "20 - Go Tourist- Ship Brochure" Click here