PG and TD make their first trip to Europe.
Max Elwyn Miller, born 1868, dies.
(PG’s maternal grandfather, aka Gramp)
It was a wonderful trip, and we needed it. I had been working too hard; Thea was swamped with our three brats (excuse me, our three wonderful children). I had been invited to three different meetings; two in Brussels and one on Lake Como in Italy. I flew first via MATS (that’s another story) and Thea joined me at the second Brussels meeting (International Congress of Mechanics). A lovely lady, Jean Perry, moved into our house and cared for our children while we were gone. We toured Netherlands via car with my parents, then took a train through France and Switzerland to Italy. Final meeting was at a former monastery right on the shore of Lake Como. Then a day train trip across italy to Venice for a few days. A flight through (not over) the Alps in a DC 3 to Munich. Just time for a glass of beer and then our flight back home, our marriage renewed.
Gramp was special. Special to all six of his grandchildren. He and Nana had a summer place on Highland Lake in northwestern Connecticut. Every summer while I was growing up our family moved into the “Big House” with Nana and Gramp while the 5 Ackermans (Joyce was my mother’s sister) moved into the little house. Gramp, Dad, and Uncle Jack all worked in the City during the week. They would drive up Friday afternoon and go back early Monday morning. It was a big property, right on the lake with a dock, a canoe, a small rowboat, and a boat with a sail and/or an outboard motor. A tennis court and a playground on the property and infinite woods just across the road which circled the lake. A veritable Eden for six kids who were all on reasonably good terms with each other.
I have a very different memory of our babysitter from that trip. We’ll just leave it as “Everyone survived, and we (the brats) never saw her again”.
Phil, I want to hear more! I thought Mrs Perry was the one we really liked, and there was another babysitter we had horror stories about, who I remember as Mrs Cow although that probably wasn’t her name, the one who took us with her to her other job, etc.
Mrs. Perry was the greatest babysitter! She played cards with us & was fun to be with. Once her son was doing something on one of the TV night talk shows, & she let us watch it. She treated us like people. She’s the one who would come stay with us for longer periods of time, like for 2 weeks when our parents went to Europe. The other was, I think, Mrs. Kalb. I don’t think she did overnight sitting with us (?) Anyway, she was prissy & definitely no fun. She wouldn’t let us shower together, which at that age we were happily doing. And yes, she’s the one who took us to (Catholic, I think) weddings where she did something – maybe play the organ? We had to sit in the church balcony & be quiet. We just assumed this was an “OK” thing to do, until one day, one of us (might’ve been me) mentioned it to our parents (whining, “Ohh, Mrs. Kalb again? aww, we don’t like having to go sit in the church…”) Boy, were our parents angry!
Sue’s memory is far more accurate than mine. But it’s coming back now. We used to call her Mrs. Cow, and yes, it was Sue that complained. Betty and I were far too polite (or something). I guess one day with her was worse than 2 weeks with Mrs. Perry.
Ha ha – you weren’t “too polite”; you were just younger. And probably more intimidated – something which is clearly no longer true
One of my very few memories of NY is of sitting on the floor of a church balcony, playing with toys or dolls or something, listening to the organ and being quiet and getting bored. I remember a vague feeling that something was wrong, probably because “Mrs Cow” told us not to tell our parents, and because my big sister let me know that this was not OK.
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