Grandma's picture

Grandma's picture
Grandma's Passport photo

Sunday, August 30, 2015

34 - Grandma's Letter Home - 15 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile was on her way 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. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the

Now at long last, Grandma Cecile had arrived in her Old Home Country. The ship had arrived late on Friday, June 12, slowed down by the fog. By the time she got around to writing this letter, it was Monday, June 15. 

She must have collected some stationery along the way. This letter was written on Northern Pacific paper, from her train trip across America. It is gray paper, folded to make 4 almost-square pages. She made use of every inch of the paper, writing in one long block of text. 

Her grammar and spelling are not always the best. I added the paragraph spacing and an occasional extra period (she used some periods) just to make it a little easier to read. I tried to be true to her words, making a few additions in brackets to help make her message clear. 

First page - dark spots are smoke stains

June 15, 1936

My Dear All at home: -----

We got to Bremen friday evening at 8:30 all the unloading & revisions took till about 10:30 then we went on the train which stood waiting, since some hours, because we were 10 hr. late, they couldn't go fast on account of fog. 

But believe me I am not going t[h]rough bohemia on my way home. I thought I was lucky, but when I examined my papers, I found somebody must have been in my handbag. 

I know I was terrible sleepy and I had everything when I came to Prag [Prague] and didn't have anything to hunt in the bag I always held my hand over it. But just for a few minutes I drowst of [drowsed off] I cannot find my envelope where I had all those little picktures [pictures] in from Agnes and of course I made friends on the boat, they gave me their address

I had quite a fat envelope full of all kinds of stuff. I know I did not lose it. But I believe somebody thought it must have been my money.
Thanks a tousendtimes [thousand times] I had my money in some other little thing, which was from my mother that fooled them. Those people there are not a bit nice. Even the car on the train had some kind of an offensive smell. 

It's some country though otherwise. Everything to the inch is green and clover & alfalfa fields is so nice looking. They where[were] making hay everywhere. 

And tnow I must tell you how I got here. I got to Grosstohl at 9:30 Saturday. Everything was dark - people where[were] going to bed even the depot was closed. I couldn't phone anywhere, because they lock up at night. I seen a light in the little house next to the depot and asked if there wasn't a chance to get some kind of a rig to bring me up but they thought there was no car in the whole village except one little truck car. 

I thtought they looked honest so I asked them if I could let my suitcase there over night and made up my mind to walk up to my sister Gustie. I had my sommer[summer] coat on and hong[hung] my winter coat on my shoulder - carried that paper bag & handbag & started out.

it must have been an hour I knocked on Gustie's window they answered right away & here I am. My brother Johann is at Mina'ts house so I stay here until he goes back to Oderburg again.  

The joy of seeing them is naturally a big one, but I couldn't stay here for nobody, I long to come home again. 

They had a big celebration yesterday & I met many old acquaintances, but many I have to hunt on the grave yard.

I am writing again, when I am more rested. I dreamed this morning Tony went in the ditch and a policeman told me. Mom
Bottom of page 4

Her last sentence continued from page 4 back over to page 1

Arrow points to baggage claim area

It has been an eventful few days since Grandma Cecile last wrote home while the Europa crept through the fog toward Bremen. The ship was 10 hours late, then she had another train ride through Germany and Czechoslavkia for almost 24 hours. Arriving in the dark again, she faced a locked train station. With no car available, she made the decision to walk what was probably a couple of miles at least, since it took her about an hour. On top of all this, she was sure that someone had picked her pocket, or handbag, on the train as she was missing a fat envelope. 

Her comment about not staying there and longing for home struck a note with me. I remember that feeling when I arrived at Longwood Gardens in early June 1972 after college graduation. It was as far away from home as I had ever been - on the other side of the country from Oregon - in Pennsylvania. I was tired, disoriented and ready to get back on the next plane and go home. Like Grandma, once I rested up, the whole world looked much better! Obviously Grandma was feeling stressed, dreaming that her second oldest son, Tony, had been in an accident serious enough to have have a policeman notify her!

The map in the last photo shows the directions from the train station to the offices of the North German Lloyd in Bremen, Germany. The statement at the bottom of the map was translated as:
"For all trains arriving in Bremen there are on the platforms officials of the North German Lloyd in uniform who are able, if desired, to give passengers advice and directions." 
The arrow at the bottom points to the baggage claim. Thanks to my friend Al Haunold for that translation.

Grandma Cecile also mentions a party to welcome her. There are a couple of photos from that party. They will be in the next entry. 
Story to be continued......

To read Post "35 - Celebration in Nieder-Mohrau - 14 June 1936 Click here

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