Amy Child/Barton – 1959 trip to the USA - Full diary (PDF, 23.7MB)
This trip was primarily to visit her sister’s family in California and she recorded great detail of the trip, in contrast to the very brief details she kept of her trip to Marseilles in 1920, logged in a tiny diary.
On 3rd July she flew to New York with her cousin Cecil Taylor and they stayed there touring until the 6th, when she flew on alone to visit her sister Edith’s family in San Pedro near Los Angeles. Edith and her husband Bernard had settled there 40 years earlier, and their son Colin and daughter Dora were also hosts for the visit. Amy stayed with the family for eight weeks.
On 30th August she flew to Chicago and was met by other family members who drove her across the border to their home in Canada. These relatives were Peter William Speller and Rosemary Louise Child, daughter of Donald Child (Amy’s brother). They had 3 daughters - Tessa Louise born 1954, Joanna Mary born 1956 and Hilary Kate born 1960. Peter and Rosemary with their 2 daughters, Tessa and Joanna, had recently left Southampton on the Homeric on 4th May 1957 bound for Quebec, Canada, when Peter was listed as a tea planter. Three days later Amy returned to London, to be met by her two daughters, her brother Donald and other family members.
Throughout the diary Amy describes a large number of family other contacts that she met while she was shown around the areas. She also records great detail of the people, the places and the food, providing a rich insight into life in the USA at that time, seen through the eyes of a British visitor.
The diary itself is written in a 1959 Cow & Gate Appointment Diary, with good space for recording details. In addition to the daily records reproduced here, the diary contains lists of flowers & tress, churches, notes on ‘The old missions of California’ and details of ‘postcards sent’ while on holiday.
[Additional notes recorded at the front of the diary]
Friday 3rd July 1959
Left home about 5.30 & met Cecil at London Airport N. just after 9p.m. & Mary too. Had dinner together & then sat until 20 past 11 when we were told to say goodbye to our friends & make our way to the flight reception room. After a little while I was called to the desk & given a telegram which gave me great joy. We took off dead on time – midnight. How some of the passengers seem to be having large square meals on trays & it is just on 1am. I have had some warm milk. Shall now try to rest. ‘Tis all very queer & quite impossible to realise that we are airborne – except for poppy ears! We are to rise to 28,000 ft. Our route is via the south pt. of Greenland & Goose Bay. I am sitting by an oval window overlooking the huge wing span – all so wide & ….. there is no feeling of space – the clouds below look like billowy “cushions”.
Quite good naps – very light about 2am. Passing over tip of Greenland – a beautiful peach coloured sky early am.
Saturday 4th July 1959 INDEPENDENCE DAY!
8am Tea & biscuits.
10 to 9 Just passed over the St. Lawrence sea way! Breakfast to come. Breakfast was served on individual trays – cereal - green figs - bacon & egg – croissant & butter – an individual jar of Chivers marmalade – tea or coffee - & the knives & spoon & fork were fitted into a neat white envelope bag.
Passed Long Island low enough to see its pattern of buildings. Fastened our safety belts at a quarter to 11 - & touched down at 4 mins to 6 NY time! Drive from airport to Statler Hotel – through the centre of this city. 8.10 Had a bath and now going to bed until mid day, 9th floor up! Room 961 Statler Hilton Hotel 7th Avenue. Slept soundly & dressed by 12 noon when we went across to the Pennsylvania Station opposite – to the restaurant for some lunch. We chose coffee & sandwiches but what s’s they proved to be – thin triangles of toast – turkey & cheese between the 1st two slices, then bacon & tomato between the next – then lettuce between the next – speared through the centre with a fine wooden needle. Four of these monsters on each of our plates. Tasted excellent - & we ate nearly the lot. After a walk round the main avenues we took a taxi to Pier 81 & at 3pm started on a river tour of Manhattan Island. Very enjoyable. Took 2 and a half hours & had all the most interesting places pointed out as we went. It gave a complete pattern of NY surroundings & explained why there are so many skyscrapers – amongst other things. We travelled down the west side past New Jersey, Ellis Island, Liberty Isle, Statue of Liberty & then up round the East side – seeing Wall St. – China town –– U.N’s buildings. The huge aircraft carrier Randolph was in dock with accompanying destroyers – dressed with flags - & “at home” for I.Day. After a rest & a meal we walked along to the Empire State building - & went right to the top. There are 3 lifts for the job with 2 changes. It was wonderful up there – we stayed & stayed – picking out the places we had had pointed out in the afternoon. Then later the lights appeared & it became more & more beautiful – fairyland indeed. The observation tower at the top is of steel & it has a give of 2 inches in a 100m.p.h. wind & indeed so many people were milling around up there one could feel it sway. The airports are 20 miles out to the east & Long Island. We saw in the half darkness the red winking light of a heavy plane climbing into the sky.
Perhaps – who knows – starting off on the reverse trip I had made from London the previous night.
Things to remember. The steam covers in the streets. The [?] hot water & heating systems. The crossings – when the crossing lights are green a flashing red signal DON’T WALK operates. When the crossing lights are red the DON’T WALK ceases to operate & the WALK flashes green. I thought these signals most helpful. & they were well observed by pedestrians.
Sunday 5th July 1959
I started the day by being rung up by my next door neighbour S.C.Taylor! Telephone by every bed (I imagine!) television set in every room. I haven’t turned this one on. Air conditioned rooms – cool & fresh – but not so far unduly hot outside. Yesterday the temp. was 80 to 90 degrees but the breeze from the rivers made it quite bearable. I got bathed & dressed by 9am. After a breakfast of orange juice, coffee & rolls we started off at 10am to walk to church. We chose St. Thomas’ on a corner of 5th Ave! Street & it was a good choice – beautiful inside – rather like or very like one of our bigger churches at home & the church was familiar & simple. I felt at home & enjoyed it. It was quite a long walk - & as we approached the bells were playing O worship the Lord & it sounded like Northleach Church – for it was one of the tunes they played on their bells.
After lunch we were picked up in a car by friends of C’s – Mr & Mrs Schild (Germans) & taken round to see more closely the places we had seen from the steamer – & had pointed out – Greenwich Village – the artists’ quarter – Harlem including the Bowery – a dreadful place where the alcoholics live – or rather do not live – Wall Street – China town & so on. Then round to the East side to the U.N.’s H.Q.s where we were taken on an hour’s tour of the building – a very modern building beautifully equipped in every way – with youthful & very knowledgeable girls of different nationalities acting as guides. Then to Central Park & on through the beautifully wooded park land at the N. end of the Island stopping to see from the outside an old snuff mill – (now a restaurant). Then on to town again to a French restaurant for dinner. The walls were decorated with wonderful murals of Paris & its people most beautifully done & I was much more interested in them than in the food & the people around. We were back here at the hotel about 10.30ish. What a day to be sure – but these folk were most kind & did their utmost to show me so much of interest & when I can sort it out in my mind I really have quite a picture of N.Y. (right or wrong)!
Monday 6th July 1959
It is 7am Mon July 6th now & I must soon be getting up & preparing for the final stage of this journey! Breakfast & packing. Left the Statler Hilton Hotel, 7th Avenue about 10.30am. Am now sitting in the plane – 12.25 – Cecil has brought me thus far & I am now on my own. No one could have been kinder or more thoughtful. I hope to be met this evening at Los Angeles.
Later The day has been uneventful – my seat was by a p’hole again & the land has been visible all the way – thousands of miles of it – looking like an orderly, well laid patterned brown floor – very regular - & apparently unending. I could have done with some one next to me who could have answered questions but she was completely uninterested or didn’t know the answers – just sat & read & smoked - & waited for the time to pass! Lunch was sandwiches & coffee or tea. Dinner was hot – meat & spaghetti – salad – roll & butter – apple crumble – biscuits - & tea or coffee to drink.
The plane now full – but they all behaved like a bus load of people – very matter of course. The last part of the journey was over the desert – real desert – then the Rockies – the Grand Canyon & desert again stretching right to Los Angeles which is built on the reclaimed edge of it. It took about 2 hrs. to cross all this - & two hours of that sort of country seemed a very long time & it stretched as far as the eye could see. We came down about a quarter to 7 but had to put our watches back 3 hrs. on the way! Colin & MB & AE met me. C’s birthday - & we went to their house & did not get here until 11ish. Dora turned up too – very much the same only older! Colin as much like his father as our family I thought. They have a nice home. They have just built a swimming pool. We ate birthday cake & ice cream together – which is traditional I understand. I haven’t had a chance to explore this place yet. We arrived after dark but it all looks very nice from this bedroom window – tho’ not a bit like our homes I should say.
Tuesday 7th July 1959
Posted to Helen this afternoon.
CALIFORNIA ADMITTED TO THE UNION THE 31st STATE ON SEPT.9th 1850
158,297 SQUARE MILES!
8am. Now. I have been told to stay & rest at present so here I am.
This has been a quiet day – starting with a cup of tea with a tea bag! A. Edith wishes me to stay put whilst they have their breakfast some time together - & then get up & have mine. I unpacked after breakfast. The bedroom is about the size of Helen’s – with a nice big closet for clothes. We had lunch outside – glass of milk & peanut butter sandwich – salad - & a plum – for each on a tray. Then about 5.30 dinner – mince – beans – potatoes – fresh peaches to finish - & eating was over for the day. We went to bed about 10. I slept better but my sleeping habits are topsy turvy at present – it must have been nearly getting up time for us when I went to bed!
In the afternoon the others disappeared to rest & I sat & wrote & rested & then A.E. & I went a walk along the road to the P. Box. These to me looked exactly like litter bins & in N.Y. they stood on the pavements side by side – one marked for mail only! It seems that here the mail is put in bulk in one of these boxes & the postman comes along later to deliver it. There was a little letter box for outgoing post. I had not expected to find all this so tropical. Palms everywhere – pepper trees, bottle trees, eucalyptus, fuschias, enormous geraniums like weeds, hibiscus, bouganvillia, oleander, plumbago – a riot of colour. Water sprinklers are piped everywhere & in constant use. The water comes from the Colorado River & it must be in plentiful supply. Palm trees against the ……. low white buildings, red roofs – it all looks very continental. This is a lovely residential part – broad roads – nice houses - & away on the horizon stretches the ocean. The lights at night are quite fabulous – as might be expected!
Wednesday 8th July 1959
My first letter today from Magsie – how nice.
Started the day as yesterday - & after my breakfast & tidying up U.B. took me for a ride. His car is a Chevrolet – hard topped open convertible – which meant that the sides wound down more or less in one piece. It is 2 years old – looks like new – would seat 8 easily & has only done 12,010 miles to date. He took me to see the ocean – the fishing fleet - & round by the docks. We watched little boats being lifted from & put into the water by means of a simple electronically controlled sling. We saw about 5 private cars with trailers treated thus. It must be a very expensive hobby but as U. B. said it is all done “on time” which means H.P.! Lots of bathers on the beach too – & surf rides. In the parks or gardens running along the sea front in places there are big stable benches & tables & brick built open cooking facilities – families bring everything & stay all day, probably night too. These are situated under groups of trees & the picnickers bring wood for their fire with them – a very natty & safe way to cook out of doors. Back to lunch – same as yesterday. The others have gone to rest. I am resting writing in the living room at present. It has been hot today - 92 degrees in Los Angeles the evening paper says but this is higher up here & a fresh breeze from the sea. So far I have not found it unduly hot & the evening news says that London has it too!
Dinner at 5.30ish – milk to drink, macaroni cheese, French beans & tomatoes - & ….. to finish. At 7 A.E. took me in the car down to the Wed. night prayer meeting – 8 middle aged to old women and men – taken by a man. A.E. has lots of pals down there. They all seemed very happy to see her. A new moon shining as we came back. Bed at 10pm.
[Additional notes recorded at the front of the diary]
On the whole very few traffic signals & controls. & as in N.Y. thousands of monster cars! They are fitted with cat’s whiskers – about a foot of stiff wire – spiral and therefore flexible which protrude at right angles from the car – kerb level by the back front wheels on the driving side.
When driving in to park they scrape about the kerb to give warning since the cars are so low & so long. They would be scratched by the kerb! When one cannot park the kerbs are painted red. Where vans can deliver or buses stop to putdown passengers – yellow – where one can park natural or white.
Thursday 9th July 1959
A letter from Richard & Karin today - am I not fortunate?
8am now & the others sound to be having their breakfast. It is going to be hot by the looks of it. The bungalow faces due E & W & this room is on the W side & is cool at present.
A quiet day – a bit of tidying up this am then a rest. I sat & wrote to my brother Stewart whilst they slept. Then dinner at 6 & afterwards I tidied up the flowers outide & swept up what is known as the Patio! Bed at 10. I am glad that there is not something going on all the time – it suits me to be quiet! I mended the leather on the heel of my sandal which was torn in N.Y. when the heel slipped into a grating hole & cleaned up lovely light bag which D & M gave me. It was decidedly grubby after the trip here – but not on the trip to N.Y.
Friday 10th July 1959
A letter from my Helen today – so now I have heard from all my family this week. I am indeed fortunate.
I have been out this am with Bernard. Started at 9.30 & got back about 11. We went along the coast road as far as marine land – a special place on the cliff with huge restaurant & tanks with strange fish to see. On the way back we went into the Shoppers’ Market – a vast one storey store with everything to buy – beautifully laid out – it seemed to me first class stuff especially the green grocery. Lots of queer looking things I hadn’t seen before. Tomorrow Colin is calling for us at middle day & taking us up into the mountains 1600 feet up where they have hired a “cabin” for August. We are to spend 3 or 4 days there on our own. I shall like that. This is the hottest day I’ve had so far but it hasn’t worried me so far as I am not really working.
Yes, it has been hot & about 35 miles away in the Hollywood Hills a dreadful fire has been raging & a number of homes have been burnt out – very expensive ones it seems as might be expected! The lights in the harbour area tonight have been beautifully clear & glowing orange – a lovely sight in the distance. The coast too has been showing dimly for the first time since I came – on the other side of the bay - Signal Hill one of the largest of the …. – Seals Bay – so we sat outside until bedtime 10pm – we enjoyed the fresher air after the hot day.
Saturday 11th July 1959
This has been a busy & exciting day. Got up about the usual time & then washed my clothes - & when I was going towards the little line in the garden a little humming bird was sitting on it so I had a good view – the tiniest little thing about 1 and a half inch perhaps a baby. I don’t know. Then we packed & prepared for going to the mountains with Colin. We drove over there & he brought us the rest of the way. Stranger & rather ugly scenery in some ways at times, lovely in others. They all take such pride in their homes & gardens & they are beautifully kept. We came through a mixture of some well kept residential areas – with brown mountains towering in the distance. The road up into the mountains was wide & well made & as we climbed trees got longer & the air fresher. Colin has taken this cabin for the month of July – Annabel has been up here with the boys & her sister & husband & their two boys. It is 6000 feet up – by the side of a lovely but not natural (I understand) lake. The chalets stand in a pine grove – between 50 & 100 feet from the lake side. The children are having a wonderful time & the whole place is teeming with life. Annabel is hard put to it to sleep us all I’m sure but I have been given a room all to myself with a glimpse of the shining water. We three have been out with Colin for our evening meal – the place is commercialized but not too much so. A very well run restaurant & now back to bed.
Sunday 12th July 1959
I stayed in my room until I was told I could come out. The place was milling with people – we three, Colin & Annabel & the two boys, her sister Marie & her husband & two boys. Goodness knows where they all slept! Colin took us along to a little church not far away & then to a cafeteria for lunch to ease the situation here. Today this lake, Lake Arrowhead, has been teeming with little boats & small yachts & water skiers. Now at 9.30 it is at last quiet – getting darker. Just before 7 the others packed up & went & we are here for a couple of days on our own all being well before returning to San Pedro.
Colin took us a drive after lunch – further up into the mountains – to Twin Peaks & Blue Jay. We looked down on another lake – Lake Gregory – another man made lake as this one is. The danger of fire in these mountains must be very great. Thousands of people must be here – there are chalets & villages everywhere. It would only take one match to do it. There has been a really disastrous fire in another part of the mountains – 35 miles from San Pedro – only this week – about 25 or more permanent large homes were burnt out. Everyone, young & old must be aware of the danger as they must grow up with it. There is so little rain. I am glad to have had the chance to see all this but I shall not be sorry to go back to S.P. I feel rather cut off here – a long way from home.
Monday 13th July 1959
Another lovely day – the lake is not as crowded as yesterday. We went along to the village this am & I bought some postcards & posted some letters & have done nothing since except sit out & read. Saw a lovely bird this evening a blue jay. It is a beautiful deep blue with a black head with a crest & a lovely slender shape. I watched it for a long while amongst the trees. It has not been too hot sitting outside in the shade. I must try & do a bit of sketching.
Tuesday 14th July 1959
Went to the village this am & did a bit of shopping & had a look round. Then after lunch I tried to put on paper the view from this place of the lake – the cabin too – but very unsuccessfully. However I hope that it will remind me. We are to pack up tomorrow & go back to San Pedro. Perhaps there will be a bit of post for me. I am already beginning to wonder when I can come home but I must be patient. The lake has looked lovely today & it has not been unduly hot.
Wednesday 15th July 1959
Tidied up this am & wrote some cards – packed up ready to return to S.P. We went along to the village & fed the fish by the slipway with the bread that was over. Lots of little ones & about five large perch & some lovely gold fish evidently put there. They were large & very brightly coloured & healthy looking.
We left at 3 & reached here at 6.30. The roads are endless – little houses numbered well over the 1000 mark. Lots of orange groves – the fruit bright in the sunshine. When I got in there was a letter from Tad & how grateful I am for it. I am more than ready to start for home but I shall settle down – I must – I miss the phone – I have never been out of touch with my family before except when I had Father with me.
Thursday 16th July 1959
A lovely fresh day – much like home – with a fresh wind & clouds. A letter for me from Helen & from Stewart – the highlight of the day. Went down town with E. after lunch (corn beef sandwich, 6 prunes & a drink of milk). She took me to the Free Library & then left me to spend time there & then come back up here on a bus. The bus ride cost 15 cents & was quite a long way. I brought some books back to read with her ticket. They can have 10 at a time. She chose 6 & I chose 4. I’ll be very glad of them. I crossed the street & bought a bit of wool & then caught the bus. Good for me to find my way a bit.
We walked along the road in the evening & then to bed about 9.30.
Friday 17th July 1959
A letter from Magsie today. What a joy & a help the letters from my family are. It is a fortnight today by the day since I left home. I did my washing this am. & then mended E’s little bamboo tables & did some writing. After lunch we went down to the ocean to see a friend of these folk – a Miss Hayward. Her little home, converted from a garage & very nice, looks right out to sea. A nice garden too. She comes from an original old American family & had a number of interesting & beautiful hand made Indian necklaces & buckles handed down from her mother. She insisted on giving me an old silver ring which I found most embarrassing - & afterwards I found out that she does not like the English! She wanted to know what I thought of the Americans – but I haven’t met many yet – or been here long enough to form any opinion whatsoever. Nor do I think it is a question which I should be asked!
Saturday 18th July 1959
Down town with B. A lovely morning. 5 minute car wash – a wonderful idea – high pressure! Then all round the docks & ships – San Pedro & Long Beach docks & came back to the S.P. side from L.B. on the ferry. Letter from Tad & Karin & George – good. Wrote letters all the afternoon & went to post & read & knitted at night.
Sunday 19th July 1959
Church this am. E. went down to S.S. at 9.30 & B & I later 10.30.
After lunch Dora came with four of her family. The eldest is away with his father at present. The children were very good – a nice little crowd. They did not leave until nearly 8 o’ clock – then we sat around until bed time which is 9.30 here.
Monday 20th July 1959
Quite a busy day. B. took me to Maine Land – a few miles along the coast by the sea. We left at 10.15 & did not get back until 4 o’clock. Lots to see. Wonderful performing sea lions & dolphins & porpoise & 3 enormous whales that did all sorts of clever tricks. And a diver who went down into an enormous tank & fed the fish. We had some lunch there & enjoyed it very much. It was hot – but not too much. There were hundreds of children all having a wonderful time. No post today. We sat & read when we got back.
Tuesday 21st July 1959
DORA’S 130 So McCADDEN PLCE. LOS ANGELES 4 CALIF.
E. & B. took me down to the bus station at 10.30 this morning & I came to Los Angeles where Dora & Tony met me. She took me to a place called the Farmers Market for lunch & there were lots of interesting stalls to see & plenty of things I would have liked to buy for the family too. However I changed £20 at the Bank with her & was only given 56 dollars & a few cents for it so I shall have to be pretty careful. In the afternoon we took the children to a park for an hour or so which was pleasant. And at night Dora took me & Tory Bell, her S.S. teacher to the Hollywood Bowl. It was lovely. We saw Carmen & the music & the colours & the settings were beautiful. Set in a basin in the foothills. Thousands of people in the seats round & up the hillside. The music & the colour & the open sky made of it a very memorable scene. I thought of how Tad would have enjoyed it. It all seemed much less dramatic & more natural on a larger open air stage. The background is a huge inverted bowl which houses the orchestra & choir & throws back the sound. We did not get back until after 12. There were so many cars parked it took ages to get away. This is a beautiful home! Spanish design really lovely. We saw the office yesterday & that is beautifully planned too & furnished. Dollars talk, there is no doubt about that. A.E. thinks I should move to where there are more people. I could be more useful, I wonder? I’m not much use.
Wednesday 22nd July 1959
Sat upstairs in my room until lunch time & wrote to the family. The children were out at Bible School & D. was busy. After lunch she took me out in the car. She took me first to a park in the middle of the city Rancho le Brea – where there are enclosed springs of pitch – an awesome place & full of interest. Then on in to the Beverley Hills & to see the homes at Bel Air – the most exclusive homes of all. Very lovely too & quite English in their situations & gardens but Spanish in design. These are now the places where the film stars live! In the evening D. drove me & the children up into the hills & we looked down on the city of 2 million people. The lights were wonderful. Coming back we visited a drive in eating house & had iced drinks but the children had the giggles which made it all a bit awkward! Back at bed time.
Thursday 23rd July 1959
Started about 7.30 – little Margaret came in & sat on the floor with her book & crayons. Later I went down town with Dora. She took me to lunch & a fashion show in Los A. largest & most expensive store Bullocks of Wiltshire! Beautiful lighting & layout & of course clothes! Have rested this afternoon with the children popping in & out. Not much after 5pm now & we are going this eve. to a S.S. show of the children. We had a nice time going to see the children. The three little ones took part & were thrilled to have their mother there. Dora went to the library & got out about 6 weighty tomes about America. I shall never be able to read them all – it would be a life time’s job! S he has been most kind & attentive & the children are very friendly.
Friday 24th July 1959
ROLLING HILLS RANCH
Had a letter from Don’s Rosemary today & I shall hope to just see them on my home. D. has been busy packing to go to the Ranch & I have been mending for her all the morning. 12 now & she is giving the children lunch before they start off & I am to have mine later & wait for E. & B. who are coming over from San Pedro.
Later – Here we are now settled into this remarkable place but the evening sky & the stars look just like home through the trees. Many horses are boarded here & Jenny has asked me if I want to go out at 6.30am & see them exercised. I’d love to of course. I have my own bathroom & if I’m awake I must try.
It is on the edge of the desert here but very much reclaimed land with tall trees & lawns. The mountains in the near distance look much like the Coolins jagged against the sky. There is a swimming pool & the children have had a lovely time just like little fishes!
Rolling Hills Ranch 20245 Devonshire Street Chatsworth California. 167 acres bought for nearly a million dollars!!
Saturday 25th July 1959
I did get up early & went round the ranch with Jenny – the smell of the trees & the light on the hills was lovely. We saw all the horses & the cattle – Black Angus - & I came back to properly dress & have my bath. Dora took us all in the car to see a children’s play San Fernando Valley State College teenage drama school group. It was very well done Snow White & Rose Red & we enjoyed it. It was terrifically hot then 100 or more. Had a sleep this afternoon & just getting up now. We have just come in from a ride round this reclaimed desert. The mountains are the queerest formations – very interesting to see close I imagine.
Sunday 26th July 1959
Dora & Edith & I went down to Chatsworth, the nearest village (!) to church this morning. A lovely simple church just built & I liked it so much better than the S.P. church which I found stifling.
In the afternoon & evening we sat in the garden under the trees – the temp was 98 degrees – hot! Dora went in to Los Angeles to see Robert’s father who is ill in hospital.
Monday 27th July 1959
We have had an expedition today & a picnic to San Fernando Mission. Had our lunch in a little park opposite the mission – in one of those places set apart for picnics with tables & benches & brick stoves to burn wood. The mission was wonderful – the beauty of the old Spanish design & the murals & the deep window embrasures & cool rooms. There were many old treasures to see made by the Indians in the early days. When we came out – full of the early life of California – we saw a helicopter with stacks of men & machines making a “Desila” movie. Not much for the passers by to see but fun for the children there.
There is a (small, I should think) rocket base not far from here in the desert which puts off queer noises rather like blasting at times. The mornings & the evenings are lovely here when the air is fresh. The birds are interesting here but no one can tell me any names.
Tuesday 28th July 1959
Quite a busy day which started with orange picking after breakfast. They look & smell so good & there are very many of them. Quite tough to pick but the fruit is heavy. Only two kinds grown here – navel & valentia & the navels were picked two months ago. D. has what she wants for her own use. They have to be washed & dried. The trees are sprayed & it must be washed off. Then we went to call on a lady who has Palomino horses. The most beautiful creatures – she has 5 – & has dozens of awards for them. They are only used for “parade work” as she called it & for breeding. The stallion was 18 hands high, weighed 380 pounds & she has refused £7000 for him. I have never seen such royal creatures & I wished that Tad could have seen them too. Helped wash oranges in the aftn. & in the evening Dora took E.& B. & me to the Bowl again. A concert this time – very nice – but not exciting like Carmen! We got back late & everyone including Robert & Jinny who had returned were in bed.
The horse lady used a vacuum cleaner instead of a curry comb & the horses liked it! She showed us all the trappings for parades – leather & silver – hand engraved.
Wednesday 29th July 1959
Met R. & Jinny this am. After breakfast E& B & I went a stroll up to the barn to see the horses & watched ‘Curly’s’ daughter exercising a horse round the half mile track. She has done the job since she was a child & rides beautifully. He galloped a mile & the movement was fine.
This afternoon Dora took us a ride into the SIMI valley. Quite fertile in comparison with this & it had groves of walnut trees with plenty of nuts. The trees are not like our own & I understand that some ranches make a feature of growing English walnuts!
This evening Dora has had a couple of friends to visit her – a lady Dr.& her husband. Nice folk & the woman very interesting. She has worked with the World Health Organisation & was a great talker. I wrote p. cards this aftn. The pool has been cleaned today & the children have had lovely swims.
Thursday 30th July 1959
We saw one of the horses ridden round the track again. Washed oranges with the children this morning & then went out for a while. Saw three model homes – modern – interesting to see & beautifully furnished. We went into town this afternoon. E. & B. went back to San Pedro & I hope that she sends on my letters soon. I have missed them so much. Long Belle & Dora & Robert & I went out to dinner – ‘The Corsican Restaurant’ – then to the Hollywood Bowl again. I have been most fortunate. It was the Bolshoi Company Festival of music & ballet – a bewildering & wonderful programme.
A huge company. Many beautiful costumes & full of spirit & variety. The whole thing was such a spectacle & one I shall not forget. Back to the Ranch & into bed 1am. Shocking!
Friday 31st July 1959
Started the day by picking oranges with the children & washing & drying them. They are sprayed & have to be cleaned before use. D. wants to get her winter store harvested & has only until the end of this month to do it as afterwards the pickers start – the fruit is sold on the trees. It has been very hot today & we have not done more than was needed. D. had a visitor this afternoon for a while a girl from New York in California on a visit. Have written to the children & am now in bed. D. & R. are out this evening. Margaret & I went down to the barn before her bedtime to look for Bernard’s cat. They brought it out here & left it to find its own living. We found it & fed it & it seemed delighted to see me. ME of all people! He didn’t want the cat. A.E. made him have it & obviously he has been yearning to get rid of it especially as it killed a baby humming bird.
Saturday 1st August 1959
It has been very hot today & we have not been far. Did some oranges this morning & then went into Chatsworth to the Drama Group play Wizard of Oz. Extremely well done by teenagers. We all enjoyed it. Rested this afternoon & had another bath! Dora & Robert went into town & have a dinner party tonight. Had six air letters sent in today. I was so very glad to hear.
Sunday 2nd August 1959
Not quite so hot today. We have not been out except that I went round about with the little ones this evening. We had a rest this afternoon. Robert was at home all day so the children had a lovely bathe with him. Jinny’s puppy wants training badly. She nips one’s legs & generally makes herself a nuisance – a pity – she could be made a nice doggie. This is my fifth Sunday away from home. How very glad I shall be to get back kind tho’ everyone is.
Monday 3rd August 1959
I have been turning up a frock for Dora most of the day & it has been pleasant to sit & sew. Dora took us out to Granada Hills to a restaurant Mamma Lucia’s where we had pizza pronounced pitza. A sort of pastry base flat & very thin covered with cheese & tomato & sausage. It tasted very good. Italian dish!
Tuesday 4th August 1959
I packed up this morning & Dora brought me & Jinny & Sonny into Los Angeles. She took me down to the city & I caught the S.P. bus at 3.18 where E. & B. met me. It is beautifully cool here. The air is as fresh as at home & I am glad to be back. D. & the family have been so kind to me & I have enjoyed being with them very much but it has been hot & I have got rather tired. A letter here from Tad for me which I was happy to have. Have been writing pcards this eve.
Wednesday 5th August 1959
We went out in the car this morning & visited a large “store” in a new area called Broadway which has recently been opened to “take care” of so many thousand people who have just settled into homes near. An enormous place – sold everything under the sun. Got back & had some lunch & then E. drove me down to her hairdresser to have my hair washed & I walked back.
Thursday 6th August 1959
Did my washing after breakfast & then left with E. at 11.30 to go down to the church to Christmas in August! Women’s C. Service Soc. Prayer Meeting luncheon. Nice fruit salad & ice cream & coffee, business meeting & speaker finishing at 2pm. About 90 ladies all very smartly turned out.
Back now & had a letter from Helen & have settled down to write whilst the others rest.
Friday 7th August 1959
Went down to Cabrillo Beach with B. this morning & it was lovely down there. We stayed just a few minutes & then he took me into the maritime museum. Lots of strange fish, shells & other things to see & some lovely models of ships including the Cutty Sark. He showed me an old telescope of his father’s which he had presented to the museum.
In the afternoon we had to dress up & go to a tea party nine women & two men! They were very kind & there was a nice back garden to see – not much size but private & green & a summer room which was nicely built.
Saturday 8th August 1959
Went a walk this am. I wanted to get as far as the ocean but did not manage it.
This aftn. a nephew of B’s Peter McMullen came – Tad’s age – come to study music at the Los A. Conservatory of Music. A saxophone player in a band. Family lives in Toronto.
Then Colin & family came with new dog 8 months English Bull Terrier & Dora & the three youngest children. Quite a crowd. It was nice – the children seemed to be really glad to see me again. Straight to bed when they had gone & it is now 10pm.
Sunday 9th August 1959
Colin & Annabel & the boys called for us at 9am. Plenty of room for 9 in their station waggon! They took us thro’ Long Beach & along the coast to Lugana where we went to service & then had lunch. Then called in friends there who lived next door in Seattle many years ago. Then on to call on more friends in a “trailer site”. 50ft.x10ft. caravan – lots of them overlooking the ocean – all made into permanent homes with verandahs & extra rooms built on.
Then on to San Juan Capistrano the oldest of all the C. Missions – very interesting. The coast out there was lovely & the first time, except for the hills at the ranch & around there, that I have seen the earth since I left home & not houses! We returned here by about 8 – a very nice day. Thousands of houses & people & cars along the coast between Long Beach & Lugana. Tin Can Beach & the squatters – an amazing sight.
Monday 10th August 1959
Went out with B. this am. at 10. He drove me up over the hills behind S. Pedro & went along the coast towards Marine Land to see the Glass Church called the Wayfarer’s Church. A most unusual place with a marvellous view of the ocean. It was a nice morning & we did not get back here until 12. The hills were a lovely pinky brown & the ocean very blue. This afternoon E. has taken me to visit a friend. A daughter was there with her husband & small baby. Then down to see the Assistance League Gift Shop.
When we got in B. wanted me to watch a beautiful ship going out – the Matson Line Passenger (750) trip to Honolulu – takes 4or 5 days. He says they have a very good time – dress for dinner every night! I would have liked to have gone in an ordinary steamer but not that way. She looked a lovely sight sliding down the channel between the docks & out through the break water.
Tuesday 11th August 1959
We three went over to Long Beach this am & got back about 1.30 or so. We spent the time walking round the shops. Went there through the docks area & saw a ship CARNFORTH NEWCASTLE. I’d have liked to have been on her very much. We found in the evening paper that she was sailing today for London. I should have liked to have gone home like that very much.
Wrote letters outside this afternoon. It has been a lovely day with a beautiful cool breeze.
Wednesday 12th August 1959
A very nice day. We have been along the coast to Rotonda – one of the beach cities. A lovely drive – the colours were lovely & it was a beautiful morning. There was a little pier & lots of men fishing. We had lunch at a restaurant on the pier – fish and chips – very nice & beautifully cooked & the most English lunch I’ve had since I’ve left home.
Then we came back along the coast & sat & looked at the sea a while. Got back here about 3 & the others rested whilst I wrote & then went to the pillar box.
Had a letter from Magsie & I hope to hear from Mary soon about going home.
Thursday 13th August 1959
B. has been very kind to take me out. There is no way of getting far here except by car. The roads are so very, very long & everything so far away. We went down to Cabrillo Beach – lovely sand – bus loads of children bathing. I paddled & enjoyed it all for the best part of an hour.
After lunch I sorted my papers I want to post home which took a long while. Then at 3 o’clock E. had three visitors who stayed until five. All very pleasant & friendly. Sat & read in the evening – bed at 9.20!
Josephine is expected tomorrow & I move on to Annabel & Colin.
Friday 14th August 1959
Did my washing this am. E. & B. went out to have their hair done!
Then E. took me to lunch with a Mrs Tubbs – 7 all together with her. We got there about 12.15 & it lasted until 4o’ clock. They were all friends & had many other friends in common - & all sat round & talked & talked. A nice little house & Mrs Tubbs was a dear.
Josephine arrived by plane this evening & is spending tonight with Colin & Annabel.
Saturday 15th August 1959
4040 ATHENIAN WAY LOS ANGELES
Had a quiet morning & packed up ready to come over here. About 3 o’clock C.& A. came with D. and Josephine & we were all taken to Disneyland – the most fabulous place one can imagine. We did all sorts of things - over head rides, the Missouri River Steamer round Tom Sawyer’s Island with all sorts of amusements to see. Had a lovely barbecue chicken dinner outside & to finish up the submarine ride! We were all quite exhausted & got to bed about 1 – hence this shortened version.
Sunday 16th August 1959
I slept until 9.30am! but fortunately was not too late for church. Colin took Charles & me to a down town church seating about 2000 & pretty full at that. We went out for dinner & picked up Annabel’s mother who came with us. Then we went on a drive round & I was shown the street of streets – Hollywood Boulevard! It has in it a Chinese theatre where the premieres of the films made in Hollywood are held. Chinese pagoda front built by Sid Graumen, a wealthy Hollywood film producer. In a huge forecourt are big paving stones each containing a film star’s name, footprints & handprints & a message of sorts! Milling with sight seers – evidently one of the sights!
Went a walk with Colin & the dog round the block before going to bed.
Monday 17th August 1959
Annabel & I have had a very nice day. Went to the airport to the T.W.A. office & confirmed my ticket for Sunday Aug. 30th.
Then took Charles & a friend of his & went down to the city to see the first street of Los Angeles – OLVERA ST. Mexican – very quaint with all sorts of quaint shops & booths. I did some shopping there & we ate Mexican food & poked around for hours & did not get back here until 8pm.
Went a walk with Colin & Annabel round the block to give the dog a run before bed.
Tuesday 18th August 1959
Dora & the little ones called for me & Annabel about noon & brought me over here & took Josephine back. She is leaving at 12.30 tomorrow (Wed) to fly back home & is spending tonight with Dora. It has been very nice to see her. She is cheerful & friendly & does not seem too badly – tho’ she is not of course too well.
I found three letters awaiting me & was very glad to have them.
Quiet the rest of the day.
Wednesday 19th August 1959
Went down town with Edith after breakfast & did not return until lunchtime. We pottered around her shopping centre – shops of all kinds – the really big stores – most unusual.
We called at the local Y.W.C.A. & were taken round the building – part of which is newly opened. Only 12 bedrooms for girls which surprised me & more surprising still only one of those available for a casual visitor who might need a home for the night.
Thursday 20th August 1959
Went a bit of a walk this am. & out with Edith in the afternoon to call on a friend of hers not far away – Mrs Crane.
Dressed up & went out to dinner at 6pm. to Mr & Mrs Johnson Williams. Two more couples were there besides E. & B. Everyone was very friendly & kind. We saw some movie pictures of Hawaii as well as California. 11pm now & just off to bed.
Friday 21st August 1959
We have been out all day today leaving at 10.30am & not returning until 5. We went to Knotts’ Berry Farm about 25 miles away. Lots to see like Disneyland – including a ghost town which means a gold mining town that has been deserted when the gold has run out. It was all most interesting – all the usual buildings – original. It is almost as popular as Disneyland - & very well run. We walked ourselves pretty well off our feet. 19 covered waggons were drawn round in a huge circle with benches round & below where at night there is community singing round a huge fire in the centre. I am glad to have seen the old pioneer waggons & the old mining town with its buildings – what a life it must have been.
Today Hawaii was proclaimed the 50th State. Alaska was declared the 49th on Jan. 3rd.
Saturday 22nd August 1959
Have been down town with E. in the bus this am to try & see about my ticket from Windsor to London. No success so far. I must go to the office at Los Angeles on Monday when I go to see Dora. I hardly expect to get on the same plane as M. now but I did not hear from her until yesterday. Hot here today. For the first time since I came last night the high mountains ahead from this house showed up across the ocean. I had no idea at all that they were there. They are there again today – really high & a lovely sight.
Last night a football match was played in the Stadium in Los Angeles - & today’s paper says that the spectators numbered 85888 – imagine it!
Sunday 23rd August 1959
Edith & I went to a fairly near B. Church this am. – Ocean View – where Len preached in 1955. Quite a good sermon too – much better than I have heard over here before.
In the afternoon we had a walk in Avril Park – a nice green space below the hills – very pleasant - & unduling.
At 6 o’ clock we set out for friends of theirs – the Morriseys – who had invited us & another couple to supper. An outside “patio” with a home built fireplace & a good smelling wood fire. Got back here at 10 & came straight to bed.
Monday 24th August 1959
E. & I caught the 10.30 bus from S.P. to L. Angeles & Dora & four of the children met us & we all had our lunch together at Clifton’s where they had some lovely big coloured photographs.
After lunch Jinny & I went to the Trans Canada Air Office to see about my ticket. Then the children & I had three rides on the Angels’ Flight! A steep cable lift from one street level to the other! Then to the Goodwill Step run for any disabled purple second hand stuff – cleaned & rejuvenated.
In the evening Jinny came with us to Oklahoma & Mr & Mrs Gordon. He is Fox’s casting director – Jewish I should say. We had dinner just at the Mona Lisa restaurant.
The show is in the Temple First Baptist Church! Quite unbelievable – nothing but a vast theatre with all its accoutrements occupying what is obviously one of the most expensive sites in town & a huge site at that. Oklahoma was lovely for the most part – the music does not pall. It was super & the acting excellent. A memorable evening.
Tuesday 25th August 1959
Dora & the children & I went down to the city this morning & she took us all to the museum. She had promised to show me the skeletons & bones found in the “pitch pools”. A most amazing collection which must have meant years of work & research & the job had been beautifully done.
We had lunch in the cafeteria attached to the museum. There were so many interesting things to see but it was not possible to do very much in the time.
I caught the 3.32 bus to San Pedro & another bus up here. The tuna fish cannery employees were coming off their shift & the bus reeked of fish. A letter from Helen when I got here – good. During the evening a special delivery man brought me a letter from Trans Canada Air Office posted at 2pm with my ticket to go with Mary – good.
Wednesday 26th August 1959
E. & B. went off on business & I had a phone call from Dora to bid me God Speed.
Left soon after 11 for Marineland – a lovely fresh misty morning. We went on the steamer cruise at 12.15 – really lovely – an hour’s trip. Had fish & chips & coffee sitting on a seat & soon afterwards came back getting here soon after 3 o’ clock. A lovely outing.
Started packing this afternoon. I hope I am going to be able to get it all in!
Thursday 27th August 1959
Bernard took me down town this am to get a tax clearance form before I leave the U. States. I cannot go without letting them know that I have earned no money whilst I have been here & owe no tax therefore!
Then he took me to the dock area to see a big ship at the Matson Dock – The Monteray bound for Honolulu tonight with 750 passengers. She arrived from S. Francisco this am & will go on to Australia from Honolulu.
Friday 28th August 1959
We three left home about 11.30 & B. drove us over to Long Beach to Pierpoint Landing. It is a large artificial area built during the war in the harbour & since sold to the L.B. authorities for a million dollars. Large parking spaces, restaurants & so on.
We sat & watched the fishing cruises come in – they go out at 6am & return at noon – crowded with men & some women. Each fisherman may have 15 fish whatever size & after that no more. Many of them came ashore with sacks almost too heavy to carry. We had Chinese food which was very good indeed & got back here about 3.30.
Population of San Pedro 55000.
Saturday 29th August 1959
Went down town with E. after breakfast to post a box. I very foolishly bought Rosemary’s children dolls’ furniture when I thought I was going on the train! Have done my bit of washing since.
Edith packed lunch & we went down to Point Fermin Pk overlooking the ocean & sat on a low wall & ate it & then had a walk in the park. The palms all look so beautiful against the blue of the ocean. There was a lovely fresh breeze.
Have completed my packing but I can scarcely believe that I am really bound for home tomorrow all being well.
Sunday 30th August 1959
Left the house at 10 mins to 6! A lovely fresh morning & hardly light. We have been sitting for three quarters of an hour & now the door is closed. 7.45 & we shall soon be taking off. We are off & to cruise they say over the loudspeaker at 15000 ft. over Palos Beaches, Catalina Island, then over the mountains & the desert & the snow clad very lovely Rockies to Denver 11.30 am on the plain – farms & grain fields – such a change. 20 mins stop, now off again. Last stop Chicago – a vast area of buildings on the plain by the side of Lake Michigan. Rather late leaving there & an hour’s journey to Detroit where Mary & R. Mary & Peter met me & brought me over here by car – & across the river into Canada. I really feel I am on the way home! The little girls are dears – rather like Penelope.
An excellent flight - very beautiful.
Monday 31st August 1959
439 EASTLAWN BVDE RIVERSIDE WINDSOR ONT.
It has been a quiet day & a happy one. R’mary & Peter have made me very welcome & the little girls are dears. We had a little walk this am & played “Scrabble” afterwards.
Had a rest this afternoon & this evening have had visitors – an Indian & his wife – she is very sweet. R’mary cooked us a lovely supper Spanish casserole & we had a very enjoyable evening.
The mosquitoes here are very troublesome – Mary is badly bitten.
Tuesday 1st September 1959
Left about 11 this am with a packed lunch for all of us & went just back to Detroit & America! Over a lovely big bridge with passport officials at the one end. Called at the BOAC office to have my ticket endorsed for CTA travel. Then back by the tunnel this time, the Detroit River & the border. In window I saw the plaque commemorating the crossing of the slaves at that point into Canada & freedom. Called at the CTA office & my ticket is now ready for tomorrow & home. We had lunch in the “Store Wall” Jackson Park in Windsor & then Peter took us on to Pt. Pela – the s’most tip of Canada – by the side of Lake Erie – a beautiful drive & lake. Coming back we passed Kingsphille where Jack Miner lived. The man who ringed the Canada geese who came down in his fields. Rain this eve. my first since I left home! A very nice day for us all.
Wednesday 2nd September 1959
Went a bit of a walk with the children, their mother & Mary after breakfast & just before 11 Peter took us all to the airport at Windsor. We took off in a Viscount at 11.30 & landed at London! three quarters of an hour later. Then on to Toronto. No customs until England we found. We had nearly 3 hrs. at Toronto but no chance to use the time. We sent the Windsor people a card & sat & watched all the folk collecting for their flights. Ours left on time 5pm. Unfortunately we are not able to sit together. A great pity. I am in the 1st cabin at their expense! Rather bumpy at present & very misty. A pity. I can see nothing but beautiful clouds. Dinner - hors d’oeuvre, soup, fresh salmon & salad, steak, peas, mushrooms, asparagus, sweet, cheese & biscuits, coffee. Have just had a cup of tea at some unearthly hour. Not getting light yet.
Thursday 3rd September 1959
HOME SWEET HOME
I watched the dawn break amongst the clouds – a lovely, wonderful experience. The floor of white clouds which stretched to the horizon was tinted with rose which deepened to violet. A new Jerusalem indeed. We came into London airport by 10.15am & met the family at 10.30 waiting outside the door of the custom shed. Don, Penelope & her girls & John & Helen & Margaret for me. M. came down by plane & the others met her at L. Airport at 9.30. A very happy & thankful reunion. We had lunch with Penelope & came on home & found a wire from Tad & Karin – very nice. We have spoken to them tonight & are now settling down early to bed with very grateful hearts that we have been united again.
[A separate note at the front on the diary]
THINGS TO REMEMBER SAN PEDRO.
BRICK FIREPLACES & TABLES AND BENCHES IN PARKS.
HOUSE CONSTRUCTION WOODEN FRAME COVERED WITH ALUMINIUM
FOIL – THEN CEMENT OR BOARD.
VACUUM STREET SWEEPER.
DRIVE IN EATING HOUSE
GARAGE WITH LIFT