Guest writer! John’s mother wrote this on Hotel Sofitel stationery.
Dear family in Stony Brook,
Here we are situated in a very lovely French Hotel in Cherbourg, France. It’s about 5:30 p.m. French time which is one hour earlier than Greenwich time which is six hours earlier than Standard Time. We have just returned from a very interesting trip through Normandy countryside. What a delightful area! There are many, many old farms here, apparently occupied by several generations. They are all made of brick or stones cemented together. The farmers were out cutting down the hedgerows which break up the fields into small plots. Our main objective was Utah Beach where Dad landed on D-Day. We walked on the beach, climbed up and down the dunes and looked at the remains of the gun emplacements which were partially dug into the dunes.
It was a peaceful scene today as the tide receded. The shore was lined with shells (sea) all so different from June 6th, 1944. We saw the monument erected in commemoration of the 4th Division. There were a few landing craft there as well as a half track and a landing craft — all left over from the war.
We stopped in a little restaurant across the street from all of this where, after much grunting and gesticulations we made our wishes known. Between the proprietor’s little knowledge of English and our equally little knowledge of French, we made out fairly well. She was so anxious to please, and we were so hungry — equally anxious to please. We had cheese or ham sandwiches on French bread.
This is a church in Normandy that we saw as we drove around
We were met at the airport by John, Anne and little John. It was so good to see them. The only one who has changed is little John. In the afternoon, after a good nap, we went with Anne to pick up the girls at school. They both have grown and look fine also. We had afternoon tea when we returned home followed by dinner later. We saw the girls’ rooms and some of their treasures. Lisa has taken some pictures which she was anxious to share with us. John C. went to the office after meeting us, so he came home a bit later for dinner. Their house is very nice — giving them plenty of room. The girls and I toured their garden, seeing the fish pond and tennis court. We also did some bird watching, which is always so much fun.
The weather is not like NY when we left on Wednesday. There were occasional snow flurries on Wednesday with cooler temps — just barely above freezing. In spite of this there are a few flowers in the garden. It’s an interesting country. There will be so much to talk about when we return home.
We hope you get this letter before we return, but at any rate you will know we have been thinking about you.
Much love to each one of you from us all.
Dad and Mom