Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Remember Whensday

RMS Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary

Sally at The (Mis)Adventures of Karl and Sally has begun a meme where old family photos and stories take center stage one more time. Won’t you join us? Just click, and allow yourself to go back, back ……

Being a “meme newbie” I must confess that clear-cut memories of my family’s first real vacation are haphazard … like witnessing random snapshots shown at lightning speed on some giant screen. I’ve chosen these 1957 excursions not just for the warm fuzzies that still linger ~ but because I credit those sailings as the germ which grew into a life-long infatuation with cruising.

By all accounts, I was a happy ~ tho’ reckless ~ 7 year old. Oblivious to potential hazards, I loved exploring the ships' nooks and crannies. In those days parents weren't inclined to worry; they'd reason, "We're on a ship; how far could she possibly go?" (An age of innocence, yes!)

A couple of virtual snapshots remain focused:

We 3 Willers lined up, awaiting Sunday morning religious services. I'd slipped aside, beneath a purple velvet-like barrier to join what I can only guess seemed a more interesting group of folks. Then, like a rocket, my mom’s arm shot out, grabbed mine: “No!, You mustn’t go there … that’s First Class.”

Our return voyage aboard the Queen Mary, took an unfortunate route across the North Atlantic’s stormy seas. This, before stabilizers became commonplace. More than half the passengers – mother included – took to their berths. Public areas and dining rooms were virtually deserted. An ex-Navy seaman, my dad seemed immune. I didn’t know any better. Together, we’d brave the elements out on deck, careful to use the thick ropes strung up by crewmen to ensure no one was injured. Ah, how the Queen rose high, higher … then plummeted carelessly, crookedly down again. Up and down, side to side! I was thrilled -- and to this day, I enjoy being on a ship in crazy weather.

There being more than few children aboard both the QE and QM, the staff would host little tea parties and such to keep us entertained. That's me on the far right, no doubt challenging the kid to (my) right, "What are you laughing at?" Mom was so proud of my "french" braids ... now, I'm thinking they look painful!

Here I’m wearing a concoction my dad assembled – in full pout, totally humiliated because “people are looking at me; they’re laughing.” (How I feared being looked at too closely!) It’s rumored, a full meltdown ensued. Poor daddy!

A couple of years ago DH and I were near Long Beach and thought it fun to go visit the old Queen Mary. Wow, it had been 50 years! I was eager but anxious all the same. Would I remember? Now, the tour is very interesting if one remembers its history of service in WWII, or is a naval enthusiast. (I am neither.) So, while DH thoroughly enjoyed that side of things, I kept my subconscious on high alert, waiting for the light bulbs in my brain to fire.

Unfortunately, there were but a couple of nuances... like a dream, here one instant, gone the next. Disappointed! I’d tried so hard … but don’t suppose that sort of thing can be forced.


  1. Hi Mevely -- glad I found your blog (through remember whensday). Wow that was an amazing trip you took back then. And sounds like the travel bug stayed with you.

    I enjoyed reading about your life-journey in your profile too.
    Sallie at FullTime-Life.com

  2. That must have been a wonderful adventure on the Queen Mary, - Charles, my husband, returned from WW2 on the Ile de France and fancied it far more than the trip over on the Andes, which he figures was a South American River Boat.

  3. That is a wonderful description of a ship in a storm. I have never been on a cruise ship but I would like to try it at least once. After 30 years in the Navy, I guess it would be like a busman's holiday. If you haven't already, you might like to take a tour of the USS Midway in San Diego. The accommodations were nothing like the Queen Mary but it sailed on the same oceans and the ports of call were all the sweeter given our spartan life at sea.

  4. What a wonderful adventure, even if you only remember bits and pieces of it.

    Thank you for your prayers yesterday. God answered.

  5. Wow! You crossed the ocean in style. Our family tended to cross in cargo ships and it is a wonder we didn't have any serious misadventures in that "age of innocence".(that I remember anyway)

  6. What wonderful memories and pictures. I've toured the Queen Mary in Long Beach. It's so interesting. I can imagine it was really interesting for you. Anytime I'm on any kind of boat (or airplane), I'm zonked out on Dramamine because I really have a problem with motion sickness. I'ml glad they make the non drowsy kind now.
    Thanks for the nice comments you made on my photos. The top three pictures I made with a 35 mm camera before I had a digital one. That camera takes so much better pictures, but I haven't used it in years because the film thing is such a bother. I know they make comparable digital cameras now but they are cost too much for me. However, since I've already on my 4th digital if I had bought a really good one in the first place I might still be using it. LOL

  7. That must have been quite the adventure for a young girl!

  8. What fantastic pictures and the story behind them. I enjoyed reading it immensely!

    Thank you for sharing this week. :-)

  9. Hey sweet friend....just wanted to stop in to say thank you for visiting my blog, and for your support for ovarian cancer awareness*! I hope you are having a great afternoon*! _Ashley*

  10. Sounds to me like you remember a lot about that trip. full pout? Hahahaha. You were gorgeous!


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