[Written on hotel stationery in Cherbourg] We get around, don’t we? At the moment we are with John’s parents on our way to see the beach where Dad landed during WWII.
A correction on Valentine’s Day — they don’t celebrate it much in England, but we were amused at the staid Times. They had several pages of tiny Valentine messages, some hilarious!
Took John $pencer to the clinic to have him checked. He weighs 23.5 pounds. They had the most marvelous scales for children — there was a railing built in it so that a child could stand and hold on while being weighed. Normally children are checked there at age 1 and 3, interspersed with home visits by the visiting health nurse. The huge waiting room of the clinic was brightly painted and filled with lots of toys. $ loved it.
Our neighbor, Doris, was telling me she had been a volunteer constable after her son grew up. She was dressed in the regular uniform so that people didn’t know which women were professional and which volunteer. To start off, she had training at Scotland Yard! Then she walked a beat with a paid cop. Think she said she did it for nine years. Now she’s a volunteer at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Anyone can go in that office to ask for help; the workers have huge files they can consult to find what agency or organization could help them. The Cooks are driving from New Orleans to Washington DC in May. John got his super-duper travel books from Loraine in NY to loan to them. Anyone in Tennessee like to meet our neighbors? If so, we’ll give them your name and address.
Speaking of the invaluable Loraine – she quit, so she will no longer be our great ally in the NY office. A thousand cheers for Loraine for all she’s done for us! Would you pray that she finds a new job that she’ll like? Thanks.
The girls have now been told we’re moving. They were excited! We haven’t talked much about the new house because we won’t know for sure we’ve gotten it until March 2 or 3. Will tell you more then.
Lisa walked in asking Kate, “You want to send love and kisses to cousin Barbara?”
Kate enthusiastically said, “Yeah!”
Lisa: “Good. I already typed it.”
The Mehrlings arrived at Gatwick Thursday morning raving – not raging – about Laker. A most pleasant flight, they said. The girls were very excited at seeing them outside school that afternoon.
The next day we were up at the crack of dawn — almost heard it breaking. We stuffed ourselves in the car and drove to Southampton. The ferry to Cherbourg is more luxurious than the one at the Dover crossing. There are cabins on board, though we just lounged around in the reclining seats. Some of us did — Grandma and John C. grappled with $.
In Cherbourg Mom and Dad ate dinner with Lisa and Kate downstairs in the attractive hotel restaurant while John and I sat with $. Then we had our turn. What a marvelous meal! Real French cooking! The service was impeccable, as it usually is on this side of the world.
$ has a canvas cot (crib) that he did well in. Early this morning he began to giggle, and I realized the funny feeling in my toes belonged at the other end of that giggle. He’d climbed onto my bed and sat on my feet.
We went to Utah Beach and walked along where Dad came ashore on D-Day.
Climbing over German concrete bunkers was interesting. We picked up shells and enjoyed the sound of the breakers. $ was a bit confused by the shifting sand under his feet.
The houses here are so different. A typical new one is of concrete, small and cute, with folding shutters and white curtains drawn back. Old stone houses are often connected to the barns with a quadrangle in the middle. Tiny villages are very picturesque, though lacking color in the winter.
It seems that mail is delivered to homes in small boxes hung on the outside of houses — not through the door as in England. In the morning we saw housewives and children walking home from the bakery with long loaves of bread under their arms and not wrapped at all! Speaking of bread — it certainly is as delicious as its reputation. Sandwiches are made with small loaves of crusty bread, sliced through the middle. Croissants are tender and flaky, a real treat. We whipped through a grocery to buy fruit and yogurt; I spotted shelves full of Gerber baby food which you can’t get in England. Of course, $ no longer needed any after we found it.
We watched the ferry come in where we landed the day before. The front of the ship opens its mouth and spews forth cars. At the same time, stairs were rolled to the side of the ferry so that foot passengers could stream off.