Sunday, April 10, 2011

Travels with Dorothy and Fred: From Balto to Penn Yan, Prouts Neck & Nyack

Among my favorite items found in the six boxes are detailed trip diaries that I presume to have been authored by Dorothy.  There are 10 trip diaries in all; eight are spiral bound with various color covers (brown, black, and red) and the other two are bound, more deluxe, versions of the trip diary. What I'm calling the "more deluxe" versions are approximately the same size as the spiral bound diaries but they contain more pages along with extra info for the traveler--maps, suggestions and information for increased "enjoyment and traveling comfort," etc. According to the producer of the spiral bound trip diary [Eaton Paper Corporation], the purpose of the diary is to provide travelers with a place to store "personal record of places visited, impressions and travel autographs."

The first pages of a number of the diaries contain Dorothy and Helmuth S----'s names and home address--these pages as well as the all the other entries in the trip diaries had been composed, I am assuming, by Dorothy.   Though the entries are often difficult to read (i.e., to this end, I will indicate with a "?" words, names or phrases I am uncertain of), the diaries detail, among other things, when the couple left for their trips, what the weather was like, what the traffic was like, what the couple's moods were like, where and when they stopped for gas, and how much they spent for items purchased along the way.  Dorothy seemed especially interested in the landscape--noting whether certain landmarks had changed (and if so, how), whether the roads had changed, etc.  At the start of some diaries, Dorothy includes information on the outfits she took with her, detailing what she and others wore to specific events. Special attention is paid throughout the diary entries to what the couple ate, where they ate, how much they paid for meals and whether or not the food (or drinks) were any good.  To be sure, if Dorothy happened to spill anything on her outfit during a meal, it is mentioned here. In this entry, I cover three trips the couple made during 1967.  All three trips are detailed in the same brown, spiral bound trip diary--one that covers trips taken between August 12th, 1963 and November 1st 1968.  I've chosen these trips because their details interested me, because a red photo album in the collection seems to contain images of some of the people and places described in two of the three entries, and because, well, a gal's gotta start somewhere, right?

The diaries detail a number of trips the couple made to Penn Yan, NY--presumably to visit this couple, Irmgard [often referred to simply as "Irm"] and Harold.  This photo of Irm and Harold, taken July 14th, 1959, was found in a red photo album--one that covers about ten years of time. 
 One of the three trips I'll focus on in this particular entry involved a visit to Irm and Harold on July 14, 1968.  According to the first portion of the diary for this trip, the couple left Baltimore at 9:40 on July 14th, arriving at the Amico in Penn Yan at 4:30 (285 miles later) where they spend $8.52 on gasoline. Midway through the day--at 12:05 to be exact--the couple stopped for lunch at a cost of $2.97.  Other purchases listed for the trip included dinner [$22.00], papers [85 cents], telephone to Jo [$2.00], and Irm's medicine [$7.20].  

Of this trip from Baltimore to Penn Yan, Dorothy wrote:  

Left with a minimum of insults--smooth for us. Fred drove till lunch Dutch Pantry.  Very nice but Fred got wrong kind of clam chowder.  I liked my lunch.  I drove for 2 1/2 hours after lunch.  Lots of construction work--very slow.  Onion and tomato catsup fell on my skirt during lunch.  There were lots of places to eat near Selingsgrove.  Fred insisted on Amico so we rolled into station with tank registering empty.  21.3 gallons.  We got to Irmgard's before they expected us.  Dinner was quite late--it was around eleven that dishes were done.  Irm had an infected foot.  Next morning she and I went to town and walked much further than we should have with her bad foot.  Cold.  Too unpleasant to eat on porch.  Harold talked steadily as usual for the whole visit explaining things. Dinner at Dresden--our treat.  Good steaks and very ample portions.  Inexpensive meal and good.  Irm nervous about going to doctor.  We took two cars so if dinner took too long Irm could get there on time.  Told to bathe foot and take anti-biotics.  Polycillin.  Played bridge and enjoyed it till we saw how swollen Irm's foot was.  Next day we went to dock till lunch. Too cool and cloudy off and on. Didn't swim.  Lunch on porch then speed boat ride the length of lake with their friend Leslie.  Dinner at home in dining room--more bridge.  

At 7:05 the morning of July 17th, 1967, Dorothy and Fred leave Irm and Harold's house, heading on to Prouts Neck, Maine--this is another place to which they frequently traveled. As near as I can tell these images (also found in the red photo album) were taken during this July 14th-16th visit to Irm and Harold's. In the upper left, we see Fred "looking at the hole [Dorothy] made in float."  The image right shows Dorothy working at Irm's.  The bottom is one taken of Irm in July 1967.    

On the process of getting from Irm and Harold's to their next destination-- Prouts Neck, Maine--Dorothy writes: 

We got away at 7:05--I fixed breakfast but both Irm & Harold saw us off.  The drive to Prouts Neck was not as far as we expected.  No construction held us but we made a few mistakes driving at the very end.  Sharp exchanges but trip quite peaceful on the whole.  [Name hard to decipher] took so long we weren't ready for cocktails till 7:15.  Orchestra plays for cocktail time and it seemed gay.  Wonderful evening meal--tremendous menu.  We took all courses the first evening.  Very nice refined class of people--retired age.  marvelous clothes on the women.  My kind--expensive simplicity.  Men wore good sport jackets.  No slacks or shorts allowed.  Men must wear coats and ties or ascots.  Few young people and few our age.  Many Canadians.  Prouts Neck homes quite substantial--all homes and the Inn.  No business, no [?-?].  Nice atmosphere.  [Apparently added to the top of the next page is this:  Buffet luncheon marvelous.]  First morning we went to Portland--misting or cloudy.  Went in Longfellow house and bought green tennis shoes for waking on beach and rocks.  After lunch to pool.  I went in. Later we took long walk on beach.  July 19th in morning I saw rockbound coast of Maine [?] state park.  Pool and beach in the afternoon.  Last day, shopped that "the store" then walked around Prouts Neck with Fred.  

Sun came out.  Fred stayed at pool.  I had lunch and went back. Movies in the evening.  Breakfast slow as usual.  Got in about 8:15.  Lunch planned for poolside. First day we could see water when we got up.  Lunch stop [?]  traffic at a crwl around Elicabeth all lanes clogged.  Slowly later by heavy rain, hale [sic], more heavy rain.  [Note:  The red photo album contains these images which I assume are from this trip.  The top image shows Fred walking along the beach in Prouts Neck. The middle and bottom images show Fred and Dorothy poolside.--for the record, Fred must have loved him some sunbathing as he was almost always tan. . .and I'm talking a George Hamilton kind of tan!]         

Following the details of the July 1967 trip to Penn Yan and then Prouts Neck, Dorothy writes about a trip taken November 3rd. In this case, however, Dorothy has not provided a year for the trip.  As the remaining pages in this diary detail trips taken in the summer of 1968, my guess is that this November trip--from Baltimore to Nyack, NJ--also occurred in 1967.   Of this trip, Dorothy writes: 

The night before our trip was hideous.  Fred refused to come to bed.  Ran the washing machine at least twice in the middle of the night.  Claimed the one drink he had before dinner keyed him up.  We had planned to leave at 10:45 but he puttered around so much it was 11:30.  Par for the course gave me no help with the dishes.  Weather gorgeous for our start.  All of Friday stayed pretty.  Lunch at turnpike stop was OK but not interesting.  Ice cream was good.  We got to the Palisades Parkway early enough to get out at one of the Lookouts.  Very nice.  Crossed bridge at a a lovely time.  Sun just starting to set. Had a very good dinner at the General Putnam Inn in Norwalk after driving around to see the town. Got to Allan's around 8--Allan not home yet.  However Allan did arrive around 8:30.  Their dinner looked awful.  So glad we had outs at the Inn.  Saturday it poured till about 4.  Had a regular dinner at Marguerite's--very good.  
She has a quiet, efficient cook--unlike the character Florence and Allan have who enters the conversation.  At cocktail hour (6) we went to Cobb's Inn.  Delightful place alongside of a waterfall (miniature Niagara Falls) floodlit--ducks and geese.  Fascinating.  Dinner back at Allan's--pot roast and noodles.  Early to bed.  Next morning (Sunday) Florence went to church.  Allan Fred and i had a lovely walk in the woods.  Much longer walk than I am used to, but it was no strain on me. Early lunch so we could leave.  Drive to Carl's very easy--had about 3 hours with him at Meadowlakes.  Excellent food at the buffet supper.  Carl's apt. quite attractive. Hated the mad rush of traffic coming home but we made good time. 

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