Sunday, December 1, 2013

August 1, 1959 America Goes Camping, Congress at Work, The Iwo Jima Monument at Dusk, The Pigeons in the Park and The Falls at Night

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"We're still trying to dig our way out of the ironing and the kids' souvenirs but we haven't worked very hard at it.  We've been swimming twice and have just played the week away and dreading for next week to come when we have to start watching the clock again.

I think the trip was good for all of us and we are more rested than we have been in a long time.  The camping out was fun and it was easy.  Most of the camps charged 50¢ or 75¢ a day and were always kept clean.  They all had caretakers and these places were just like tent cities on lakes or rivers.  I think half of America goes camping.  Everyone is friendly and helpful & it doesn't take long to learn the things one wants to know.  Ann made friends wherever we camped.  We had Canadian neighbors once and their little girl was the same size as Ann.  She practically stayed with us.  They were nice people and it seemed like we had always known them.  Bob was more interested in seeing & doing the things around than in hunting playmates.

We did our first real sightseeing in Washington, D.C.  and saw all the usual monuments and the capitol.  We went through the White House with about 1000 other people.  The guards walk you through certain parts & you aren't allowed to stop walking so you have to look fast.  Bob wanted to see Congress at work but when we got to the gallery door the guards wouldn't let us in without a pass.  There had been an attempted assassination of the Cuban Air Force officer, Diaz, the day before.  Maybe it didn't get into your paper.  The guard told us to go to Senator Dirksen's office & get a pass & told us just how to get there on the capitol subway but we decided it would take too long.  Of all of Washington, I think the Iwo Jima monument in Arlington Cemetery is the most impressive.  You remember the picture of the marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima?  We saw it at dusk and I don't think I'll every forget seeing it. 

We went into the Smithsonian Institute but the kids weren't impressed.  They have seen too many museums, I guess.

I think a lot of our tax money is going for buildings because everywhere we turned there were buildings going up. 

Philadelphia was disappointing and we had an awful time finding Independence Hall.  The streets were not well marked and were dirty.  When the kids saw the Liberty Bell they were ready to leave.

All of us enjoyed New York but the thing the kids liked most (and the best thing that happened the whole trip to them) was feeding the pigeons in the park.  The kids would hold out their hands & the birds eat out of their hands or sit on their hands & eat out of a sack.

We went out to the Statue of Liberty, went to the top of the Empire State Building & took a boat trip around Manhattan Island.

We spent a little time at the United Nations building & did a little shopping.  That is, the kids did.  We found a Japanese store where I bought some paper napkins & two little scrolls.  There were too many interesting things to see & do.

The campground in Conn. where we planned to stay was full when we got to it (and it has 1000 tent sites) so the patrolman in charge sent us to a place that we had never heard of.  It was lovely--wooded & on a lake--and we stayed two days before going back to the beach camp.  You will remember our Irish friend, Sully, that we knew at Yale. We were camped 9 miles from his home so we called him and had a wonderful evening talking about old times with him & his wife.  They have four children and Bob & Ann enjoyed them.

While we were camped at the beach we took a day & went to New Haven, East Berlin, New Britain & Hartford.  New Britain is a nice town but I don't think I'd ever want to live in New Haven again.  It was nice seeing Aggie again but we didn't have half enough time to visit.

Niagara Falls is still a wonderful sight to see.  The kids loved it but Canada was just more of our country to look at--just like our own Midwest.  You hear about things being cheap in Canada but we didn't find any bargains.  Perhaps we weren't in the right parts.  Souvenir shops are full of junk just like every place.

Bonnie, Ann & Bob at the Falls
In Detroit we went into the Ford Rotunda which is an exhibit hall
advertising Fords.  That was interesting but we were too late for the tour thru an assembly plant.  When we left there we had seen the last thing on our list so everyone was ready to head for home.  We drove
late & stayed in a motel that night.

Pretzel looked at us a minute when we went after him & then he started dancing up & down.  He was so happy but had been a good boy while we were gone.

It's almost dark & I planned to pull some weeds so I'd better get going.  Hope you both are fine."

             Lots of love,



  1. Ann it made me smile reading Bonnie's comment 'Souvenir shops are full of junk like every place'. What really irks me is trying to find any Australian souvenirs in Australia that are not made in China? I am not denigrating the Chinese (my daughter-in-law is of Chinese Heritage) but it seems to me souvenirs should be manufactured in the country of origin. It would certainly give more people at least part-time work.

  2. I completely agree, Merryl. I've been trying to find some Christmas gifts made in the USA for friends overseas, and I'm not having any luck at all--at least in terms of finding something that can be easily shipped. So far, the only Missouri item I've found is a corn cob pipe! Not the most exciting souvenir, is it?


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