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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mom's vacation--a family thing

Somewhere in the Geddes archives, I found a small, black book, one quarter inch thick by three and a quarter inches high and two inches wide.  In it, on blue scribed, quarter inch rulings, I found my Mother’s handwriting.  I have very little material of this nature, so, for the family’s posterity, I’m transcribing the writing she made in this small black journal, it having the identifying marking “National 1369 ½,” with a hand written “.20” (probably it’s cost) at the top, on the back of the front cover.  The divisions are by page.

It was written by Elizabeth Ann Newbanks (I recognize her hand.) The following is quoted directly from her journal in its entirety:



Sun – July 5, 1936  Left home 7 a.m. in new Ford V-8.   Ran into some rain and thus had to discover window wiper.  Stopped at Kirkland and got a chocolate soda.  Went straight through to Michigan City,

arriving there at 1:30 p.m.  Ate lunch at Milner Hotel.  Went with Bill and Luckman boys to the lake but was too cold to go in.  Monday night went to show with Julia Kramer.  Tues. July 7, 1936.  Started at 8:30 a.m. on trip to Charlevoix.  

Beautiful scenery—along lake most of time.  Stopped at Holland Mich. for lunch.  Dutch waitresses, etc.  Stopped at Charlevoix over night at Hoover’s Inn.  Nothing but resort town.  Pretty harbor right across street from Inn.

Wed. July 8th, 1936  Started for Mackimaw City at about 9 o’clock.  Arrived there at about ten thirty.  Stopped and got a drink at an attractive Indian lunch & souvenir place.  Took the Algonquin II over to Mackinac Island (which is only

called Mackinac because of mailing convenience—really Mackinaw Island.  Ate at Toms Restaurant and then found two very nice rooms at St. Cloud Place large 3 story house about 2 blocks from town.  Took a 9 mile sight-seeing tour

around  or all over the island and through the state park on the island by horse and buggy.  Autos are not allowed on the island.  We left our car right on the dock they put it right on the steamer.  It was on the island that the

war of 1812 was supposed to have been fought.  We saw the Sugar Lump, a huge stone standing up high in the middle of a forest.  Fort Holmes, on the top of the island; the devils kitchen; and several other historical points.

Almost the whole down town is made up of souvenir places.  A lot of bicycles are used here also.  The buggys are all lined up (about 30 of them) on the main street ready to receive passengers from the numerous large boats that dock

at the island.  I met a couple of girls from Detroit who were rooming at the same place.  We walked down to the Grand Hotel ($20 a day minimum charges) that night and looked into the exclusive shops in the lobby.  Of course

we stayed there and listened to the music of Billy Baer coming from the Blue Room in the hotel.  It also has a large swimming pool but I didn’t get to see it.  We went in the drug store and then came home at about

12 o’clockThursday July 9th ’36.  After breakfast Henrietta and I went to see the fort on the top of the hill.  It sure is some climb.  There is a museum inside and a large display of guns and other old relics.  We wanted to go

speed boat riding around the island but the man couldn’t find enough passengers—so we missed out on that trip.  The Octmara was an hour late so we didn’t leave until 5 o’clock.  My the meals on the boat.

You can have anything and everything you want—mostly more than you want!  We got our costume (gypsy women) and got ready for the big mascarade held that night.  Had a grand march and then voted

on the cleverest & most beautiful & funniest costume.  A lot were original.  The cleverest was a lady dressed like justice with a white sheet wrapped around her and two balanced weights in her hand.

the most beautiful was a little girl dressed in a chimeee deamona to represent a Chinese girl.  The funniest was “Romeo” a fat man dressed in a suit of newspapers with a tri-comf hat made of the same.  Really funny!

We danced for awhile then changed our clothes and went up on top deck to watch the ship go through the Soo Canal.  There were so many lights on the St. Mary’s river that I got all mixed up.  I thought

a boat in front of us was the locks for a long time  It took us a long time to even get to the lock.  We had to stop for a while by the Soo Canal before we entered.  Some small kids were down on the

docks yelling “Flip a Coin.”  (At 1:30 in the morning.)  Several people would through down money and they’d all scramble for it.  The little boy about 4 years old even sang a song for us.  At about 2 o’clock we passed through the Soo

locks.  Then I scrambled for my berth.  I believe if the waves were splashing over the deck I would have slept anyway, I was so sleepy.  Oh yes, all during the trip there wasn’t even a wave  Just as calm or

calmer than the river.  Quite unusual for any lake especially Superior.  So—I did not get sea sick.  Friday., July 10th.  Had breakfast at about 9 o’clock.  Biggest breakfast I’ve had in my life.  Henrietta and I

walked 8 laps around the boat to kind of walk the meal down.  8 laps is one mile on the Octnara.  Played ping-pong and hosed around the recreation room for a while.  Ate a big fish dinner

The best fish on earth.  A lady read Henrietta’s & my palm—telling me that I would always be well taken cared of and waited on !   Have a couple of love affairs and so on!  Went to bingo party and won $2 on       

last hand.  I even surprised myself.  Went up on top deck and watched us go through another river which cut up the penninsula.  Ate supper and then went to Stunt night and song festival

We all gathered together and sang old songs.  Mazo, the Master of Ceremony picked out three men and they had a race of drinking milk through a nipple.  A scream Romeo said that if it would have

Been beer he could have won but, unfortunately, it wasn’t!  Had a game with representatives from different states in it (I was for Indiana).  Mazo would point to (for example) his nose and say

this is my eyes—1,2,: etc.  By ten you were supposed to reverse it and point to your eye and say “this is my nose”  A lot of fun.  Ohio won.  After all the stunts we danced.  All the boys I danced with were grand

dancers.  Mazo danced a couple of dances with me—and has he got personality!  I’m going back next year and be his secretary for the ships’ paper!  (Oh yeah!)  Went to bed earlier because we had

to be up by seven.  Saturday, July 11th   Docked at Duluth at about 7:30 a.m.  Ate breakfast on the boat and then went on a sight-seeing tour of Duluth.  It is all built on a hill and every block you either

have to walk up away from the town or down into the town which is a couple of blocks from the lake.  Duluth is a big country use town.  Left Duluth at about 11 o’clock and started for

Minneapolis.  Ate lunch at Monse Lake.  A cute little place by the side of the lake.  It was a 109 in the shade at a little town we stopped in to get a drink.  Sure was hot.  Arrived in Minneapolis at

about 5:30.  Stopped at Hastings Hotel.  Ate nice dinner and went in town to the show, Minnesota.  Some show.  Saw Clark Gable and Janette McDonald in “San Francisco.”  Grand picture.  They also had

Lew Forbes and his orchestra on the stage.  They sure were good.  Sunday, July 12th  Ate breakfast at about 9 o’clock.  Took a sight seeing bus and went through both Minneapolis and St. Paul

Minneapolis is the most beautiful because of its numerous lakes.  All twelve (in the city) are natural lakes where they have swimming and boating.  Around each lake is a nice park which

makes it even more beautiful.  At 12 o’clock before going through St. Paul we had our dinner at the Lowry Hotel in St. Paul.  There was a convention going on there and were those old farmers, or whoever

 they were having a big time!  We continued our tour and went through St. Paul.  Of course, the capital and everything is there.  The University of Minnesota is also in St. Paul.  Got back to the

hotel at 3 o’clock.

(That’s all—the rest of the journal is blank. She was 5 pages shy of reaching the exact middle of the book.)  I remember some talk about Mom being in a ship wreck.  Perhaps that happened on this cruise, interrupting her journal.  I wish I had found this book while Mom was still with us.  I would have gotten the rest of the story, I’m sure.  She would have been 19 when she wrote this, out of high school for a year, and working as a secretary in Louisville, I suspect.  Maybe this was her first vacation (who knows, Unkle Stu, perhaps?)

Something definitely interrupted her.  I can just see her referring to this small journal as she elaborated on her story, typing it after-hours at her job back in Louisville.  Just imagine what we might have today if she had taken her lap-top with her on the cruise!  Hah!  Of course, she took several lap-tops with her.  They called them “skirts” at that time.  Thanks anyway, mom.  What you left was appreciated.

Steve   22 April 2014