December 25, 1950
My dear ones,
I shall begin this and I’ll mail it when we get to Mombasa as that will be our next stop at the end of this week. It is now 3:15 p.m. and I guess that you are nine hours behind us so that makes it around 6:15 a.m. for you. Perhaps you are up and looking at your gifts. I suppose Evelyn and Leonard are there, too, and I’m wondering what you are doing for dinner. I opened my gifts from you all last night or perhaps it was already after twelve. I don’t know anyway it was late.
Tuesday – 26th
For some reason I didn’t get very far with this yesterday so now I’ll try again. It is much warmer today. In fact it will be an uncomfortable day. Last night we had what is considered a big dinner on this boat but it wasn’t what I’d consider a big Christmas dinner. Anyway people were all in a holiday mood so we had quite a nice time.
Now back to the gifts. They were all so lovely. Lois, thanks so much for the fluff and muff. They will be adorable on my bed. Thank you Jim for the beautiful pins. I like them so much. I wore one yesterday on that dress that I made from Mrs. Foster’s material. By the way, I’m enjoying my clothes that I made. They are nice for boat wear. Thanks, too, for the bath powder and the stockings and everything. Ila had several things in her box marked as from you and her. I was so thrilled with the birds, I call them my love birds. I never did get anything like that after all my talk about them, so I was real pleased to get them.
There is a lot going on all about me, as I’m sitting out here on deck so it is hard to write and also to think. I’m really more in the mood to play some games but the sun is too hot to be out in it without a hat. If you write Ila tell her that I appreciated so very much all of those gifts from her. Perhaps I will be able to write her at Mombasa as we have so much time there but here on the boat it is most difficult. I wrote a letter and wanted to mail it at Aden the other day but didn’t get it done as I thought I could do it on the boat but when it was too late I found out that I couldn’t. Perhaps I’ll mail it from Mombasa.
That was a most interesting place, Aden, different again from any other place that we’ve been. The Mohammedan women there wore gauze over their faces, so you couldn’t see them at all. How terrible. Dust was so profuse there, too. They had an open well there where they let down the bucket. We looked in and the water was only a few feet down. A little boy standing by told us that if we threw a penny in the well, he’d dive in after it. Wasn’t that something to do in the village? Well, I guess that the water was piped there from an oasis some miles away. Rainfall is almost nil there and they depend on the oasis. Some went to see the oasis but we didn’t. It would be quite an expensive trip by taxi. Oriental life we did see, though, in all of it’s filth. It’s typical life. The men dress just the way you see Bible pictures, etc. This turban wound above the head. The long flowing gowns, etc. People begging and tormenting you for something or other at every turn. I’m sorry that I won’t be seeing you at the end of this journey. I’d have so much to tell you about these places. Maybe I can remember it for five years.
Wyn gave me this ball-point pen for Christmas.
We see all sorts of interesting passengers. One that sits beside Wyn at the table is a young priest going to Southern Rhodesia and he is no more like a priest than anything. He is from Switzerland and is what you call a nice kid. We call him “Sweet Boy”. He seems to be so sincere in his faith and he seems to be a decent sort. Well we pray that he may see the Light.
We have a Church of England lay-reader as he is called – some sort of a pastor. He is also a character in many ways. He had a service last evening and we went. Cut and dry and dead. Then two doors from us is a Congregational minister, also plenty old and no wife. He told me that he leaned toward [Harry Emerson] Fosdick’s teachings and I told him I didn’t. He is not too cute, in our eyes.
Yesterday we evangelicals had a children’s meeting and so they gave me the job of telling the Christmas story. The English that we have in our group seem to go around the bush, so to speak, in presenting the way of salvation so I just gave in in my blunt way and my American and Canadian friends said that it was the first evangelical message that they have heard on this boat! The Lord gave me liberty and I had the children right with me the entire time and I felt that He did bless, knowing how critical some of our group are, it was good to hear their praise. I’m not bragging or anything – Ha.
Well, I should do some washing, and I hate to. Ironing is the worst. I wish that I had some seersucker skirts with me. It is almost impossible to get that iron and it is in the hottest place imaginable.
Well I shall not ramble on much more. I shall be looking for at least one letter at Mombasa. The world affairs seem far away to me. I know that the world situation is very serious according to the King’s speech yesterday. It must be very much so in the States. I suppose that drafting is a big thing now. I’m wondering about Don. It will be good to get letters again. How cold is it? How are the hens doing? My, it seems so hard to think of such things – what a life.