November 23, 1950 – Thanksgiving Day

Picture of Eunice Ott

Eunice Ott

Missionary with the Evangelical Alliance Mission

Cunard Line
R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth
Thanksgiving Day

First day:  It is time for me to go to bed but I thought that I should get a line started to you.  After rushing around in New York for three days it was good to get on and get settled.  We seemed to have so much to do and I certainly was thankful that my leg didn’t ache like it used to after being on it for a while.  I could run the whole day and at night my leg wouldn’t ache at all so you see I guess the operation did the trick.

I am sitting here in our tiny two-bunk cabin on the waste paper basket with this typewriter.  Wyn is washing her clothes.  We had so much baggage to get to the boat last night but Wyn and I got all our things in one taxi… two steamer trunks, foot locker, five big suitcases, two small cases, hat box, Dunkeld’s package, two typewriters, and a shopping bag.  Well anyway it is all on this boat including my big boxes.  I must say I have 40 cubic feet of excess baggage and that is costing me $1.00 per cubic foot so you can see the amount of money I had to hand over to the baggage steward this morning.  That is only to England, too.  Poor Wyn had 213 cubic feet excess.  I really think that it is far too expensive for us to take so much so the next time I shall think twice, but then so much of my baggage is for others.  I don’t mind the amount that I have to pay but that of Wyn is terrific.  Anyway we are on our way.

There are several other missionaries, too, on this boat.  One of them from Grand Rapids, lived about six blocks from Wyn’s home and they had never met until tonight.  She and her husband are going to India.  I had a letter that I was reading, one of those which you forwarded, and she asked who it was and come to find out it used to be her boss in an office at the Providence Bible School where she was a student.  Marjorie Moore is with us and a friend of Marian’s.  Ila’s roommate is also here.  So we are quite a group.

Mrs. Weatherly and her little boy on the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth en route to India to join her husband on Youth for Christ work; Wyn on the left.

I suppose that you are wondering what this famous big ship is like being it is the world’s largest.  Well, I have had much better accommodations for tourist class and the meals are not as good as those on that ship that we came over from England on last year.  But we can’t complain.  We are to travel first class from England, so I hear.  They could not get any other reservations for us but in a way it is good.  In fact in many ways.  First, the cost is not too great, even for first class.  Second, the journey is a long one and a hot one so it will help a lot to have better accommodations, and third, it will give us considerably more free baggage space so we should not have so much excess from England.  I hear that there are around 500 tourist class passengers aboard this trip.  They can accommodate 800.  So far I haven’t been a bit sea-sick.  I am faithful with my pills.  But it is very smooth riding so I suppose that that accounts for it.

I surely enjoyed all the letters which you sent to the boat.  You have no idea how much.  I was so thrilled when the steward brought me a handful.  Your air-mail arrived too.  Mrs. Lucas sent me a letter plus a little box and in it was a little stand-up motto, the kind with a cross leaning behind.  I appreciated it so much.  Someone sent me a dozen song books, too, while I was still in New York.  No name was attached.  I have an idea though.  Lillian’s wedding dress also came so I have that with me.  It is a simple one and is easy to take.  Thelma’s mother sent a new suit with me for Thelma, and other stuff.  Now back to those letters; I got one from Ila too and three from you and others so it was so very nice.  That is a nice thing to do when you know of some missionary leaving for the field.  Try and find out the boat etc. and just write a letter to them.

Thanksgiving dinner was not near as nice as it was last year but then I really had a proper one last Sunday with the people with whom we visited, a real super one.  The Everswicks gave us a big turkey dinner and all the trimmings.

I’m glad that you mentioned that you had a part in that necklace as Ila forgot to say so.  It really is very nice and I’m going to take special care of it so that it doesn’t get scratched.

Our cabin has two bunks, a tiny clothes closet, a tiny drawer affair with four drawers, and a wash bowl.  Time for me to go to bed as you can readily see.  I shall continue this tomorrow…  Our breakfast is at eight o’clock.  We didn’t get up this morning as we got up at five to see the Statue of Liberty.  It wasn’t as much of a sight as I had thought that it would be but perhaps I was still too sleepy to enjoy it.

Sunday:  Well, I intended to write a little every day but you see I wasn’t feeling up to par, although I wasn’t actually sea-sick.  Today it is calm and so I am feeling better.  This is Sunday and on Tuesday early in the morning we get to Cherbourg or some such place in France and in the afternoon around two o’clock we get to Southampton.  That is if we don’t get into thick fog off the coast.  We read in the Ocean Times about the terrible storm that they had in the East since we left.  I’m wondering if you had snow in Iowa.  I thought of the boys this noon when they brought me my steak that I ordered.  It simply was warmed on the outside and that was all.  Raw as anything inside.  I ate it anyway.  The coffee is awful.  I long for some good but I guess that that is a thing of the past.  I can’t type in this position but perhaps I’ll manage after a fashion.  We had a little Sunday School this morning but only a few children came.  This afternoon at five we have a service but I don’t suppose that many will be out for that.  We went to the Church of England service this a.m. and it was sorta like a catholic service.

Marjorie Moore has been sea sick for the past few days.  She is a nice kid.

We can’t press our own clothes on this boat.  We have to hire it done so I just decided that I’d wear my clothes wrinkled.  I’ve always been able to on other boats.  The wind is very strong out on deck.  I haven’t been out any today.  Tourist class doesn’t have the ideal deck.

Last night I had a Pepsi-Cola.  Our stewardess got them for us.

I hate to think of packing my suitcase again.  It is a horrible job when the boat is rocking.  Bad enough on dry land.  Did you ever hear anything about the letter which I wrote to Fox?  I wonder what he thought or did?

I’m glad that you had a good missionary to visit the church.  He does right well in getting special speakers etc. it seems.

What are you doing?  Life like this seems so far removed from the ordinary that I seem to forget about the ordinary events.

On this ship there are around 300 people who are making a pilgrimage to Rome.  So there are plenty of Masses every day.  One of their number was put in the hospital yesterday as she was mentally unbalanced and they feared that she might do something.  It seems that she had seen her husband killed someway and it caused this to come upon her.  Perhaps she thinks that a visit to Rome might help.

The Regular Baptists have two doctors on this ship with their families.  They are going to study French in France before proceeding to French Equatorial Africa.  The Sudan Interior has one couple on board with their children.  They are returning for their fourth term.  A very nice couple.  The Westlyn Methodists also have a couple returning for the fourth time.  Another missionary whom we met is of the Dutch Reform Mission in Southern Rhodesia and has been touring in the U.S. visiting the schools of the blind.  She is in [char]ge of such a school out there.  I have heard of it.  [text missing] has sent some of their blind boys there.  This girl [text missing] in England and she saw Inga there.  She is a very remarkable person.  She also is going on the same boat as we are from England so we shall be three instead of two.  Well I guess that I should not do this any longer and go up to the lounge or out on deck for a little while this doesn’t make me feel any too good.  I shall add more before I post this.

London – November 29

Well, here we are at the same place talking and no time to write.  We arrived yesterday evening around seven o’clock here but our boat got in at Southampton at noon but by the time we got things in readiness for sending over to the next boat it was late.  Their folks never received my letter which I wrote concerning our coming but they did receive the prayer letter.  In fact it arrived yesterday morning.  So I called them up when I couldn’t find anyone at the railroad station in London after we arrived there by boat train.  They invited us very kindly to come to their place and now we are being treated as royal guests.  They surely are nice to us and we appreciate it.  Some of the other missionaries are staying at a Christian rest home in London and today we were there a short while.  My what a dismal place.  If they want heat they must put money in a slot and the gas heater comes on and they have heat until the money’s worth is finished!  The hallways are dark, light in the rooms are dim, and all-in-all a very dreary place.

London is such a contrast to the U.S.A.  You can hardly imagine the difference.  So few cars and those are for the most part small ones and nearly all black.  So little lighting on the streets and houses.  They seem to have very little electricity to use.  Dirty and grim everywhere.  The people all dress so shabby and not at all like we Americans.  Well, the contrast is most notable.

Anyway it is good to be this far on our way.  I was so glad to get off that boat as I didn’t feel normal the whole time that I was on it.  I have learned since that we only have tourist class accommodations on the next boat, not first class.  We were misinformed.  It doesn’t matter anyway, really, except $100 or so difference in price – via first class – so it is good we aren’t wasting our money that way.  It cost me nearly $30 to get my baggage from Southampton docks to the one from which we sail in London.  I had the American Express take care of it for me.  I came to last night in the middle of the night and realized that I had left that tent behind me in New York that I’m supposed to be taking out for Jacksons.  So now I shall write and ask to have that shipped out in my name and I’ll inform the British Custom officials that a delayed piece of baggage will be coming along and so I should get it out there that way and it will be cheaper than if I’m taking it with me.

I gave you an incomplete address for here and so far we have no letters from you here in England.  I forgot to put Seven Kings, Essex.  So you see I doubt if we’ll get any letters while here.  However, try and send one to Mombasa, Kenya, Africa – ℅ me on board the Durban Castle, Tourist Passenger, Cabin 405.  We plan to be there from December 29 through January 4.  It would be nice if some of the others would write also.

In regard to my two boxes, thus far they look O.K.  The rope was still around the big one but the one with the drawers didn’t have any on it.  Did it ever?  I don’t think that it needs any though.  The big one was on its side at the pier the last time I saw it.  Wyn has lots bigger boxes than I have.  Believe it or not.  So far the things that I brought on board in New York are O.K.

Well, we shall be doing sightseeing these days while here.

I really should quit this now.  It is ten o’clock p.m. and time for what they call supper – we’d call it lunch of some sort – before going to bed.

Well, I really don’t know of anything more to write about at present.  I just see that it will cost up around $10 to get from Beira to Salisbury.  Just now some of the other missionaries called and tomorrow we plan to go on a group tour of London.  So we are all thrilled about that.  Well I must not ramble on longer.

I’m so sorry not to get a letter from you, but I know that that is all my fault.

I hope that your weather isn’t too severe these days.

The war doesn’t look too good.  Does it?

Well, I must quit.  Love to all.  You can pass this around.

Love,
Eunice

London Sightseeing

Buckingham Palace, London

The changing of the guard, Buckingham Palace

The Tower of London

[Transcriber’s note: Some of Eunice’s typing on a portion of this letter did not make it onto the page, so I completed one word as fits with the text and marked missing text in brackets accordingly.]

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