Saturday, May 23, 2015

A blog for Memorial Day and World War I

Captain Mike Hogg, 1918: US Army, 90th Division, 180th Brigade, 360th Infantry, 1st Battalion, Company D

Ima’s brother Mike fought in World War I and wrote to her when he could. Here is an excerpt form one of his letters:

I have not written very often, because it has been impossible to write at times. I have been on the front for almost four months and in places where it was not healthy to do any writing. However, I think you have missed getting some of my letters. I have written at least once every two weeks at all times.
         Here is just an enumeration of things which I saw one day while we were on a hill in reserve, on the night we went up to relieve another outfit:
         A marsh just below the hill, full of dead horses, torn-up wagons, and cannon. A road just beyond the marsh, winding up a hill in one direction to where a town once stood, but now nothing but white bricks mark the place . . . .All along the slope of the hill where I was, torn helmets of Americans and Germans. Fresh American and German graves, old French graves, pieces of rifles, shreds of uniforms, packs, shoes, grenades, small holes in the ground all over the side of the hill where men had dug in.
         A railroad track, just this side of the marsh, all torn to pieces.  Old pieces of machine guns and ammunition belts of Germans, where they had tried to make a stand.
         The top of the hill all around me covered with what used to be brush, but which was now chewed up by machine gun bullets and looked as if rats had been eating it. Three large observation balloons, one of which was brought down by a Boche. The air alive with aeroplanes. Some were throwing propaganda, which looked like snow falling.
         Shells falling and knocking up the earth every few minutes. Our boys sticking close to the ground; cook stoves camouflaged and in full blast. Every hill in sight full of American Infantry or Artillery soldiers; litter-bearers going after someone just hit by a piece of shell.         
         These are a few of the things I saw from that one spot. Imagine what could be seen when on the move.
         Mike Hogg and his comrades had indeed been “on the move.” The 90th Division had been under fire from August 20 to November 11, Armistice Day, 1918. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ima in Munich: Ten Days of Mystery

Ima’s adventures in Munich, Summer 1907, continued:

Saturday - Munich - to Tuesday
Mrs. Cooper, the friend whom Mrs. Thompson has asked to look after me is delightful. Has taken me in full charge. My time has been most profitably spent in listening to the discussion of various scientific and everyday subjects by two men at our table-- Mr. Baumgardt, and Mr. Monroe. And Miss Koerner, studying for opera, has sung some beautiful von Fielitz songs, and among other things Rubenstein’s lovesong (Romance for Piano). [A dreamy piano piece: did she listen with someone special?] We have visited the new Pinakothek [art museum]. The porcelains downstairs of Old pictures are interesting. The pictures which impressed me were:.[Here she wrote a long list of the pictures.] On Monday took the libretto of Rheingold went into the Eng, Gardens, drove there a while, got out & went to the banks of the Isar and read to each other. . . .

On Monday she sat on the banks of the Isar River--with whom?

She does not say.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A sudden decision to stay in Munich!

Ima’s 1907 diary, continued:

Thursday Munich. [Aug. 22]
Ticket redeemed, place engaged at Musicians Pension where Mrs. [name left blank] from Houston is staying & she, too, goes to the opera... Mr. Scott & Mr. Foster went to St. Petersburg --Mr. Thompson to join them in Berlin Tues. or Wed. morning.
Aug. 23, Friday Munich...
Mrs. B.T., Mrs. L.T., & Miss Ione F. waved me farewell on the omnibus at 9 A.M. All alone-- but glad I’m not going to Vienna--am sick of improving my mind--don’t think I have any --so am going in madly for Wagner & Opera -- not too madly for I am really physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and nerve exhausted -- Have just settled my things most permanent-like in a cozy alias Zimmer [room]  at this pension.

She would spend the next ten days there--but she does not tell us about all of them . . . .

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ima’s Mysterious 1907 Adventures in Germany, continued.

Aug. 19. Monday. Munich. Hotel Linfelder. [Ima went out by herself in this unfamiliar city, to pick up the opera tickets she had ordered from London.]
Out looking--got lost--having left my dear old Baedecker [travel guidebook] somewhere--reached hotel 3:30 P.M. tired hot & hungry....

Aug. 21st Wednesday Munich.
Four o’clock Tristan & Isolde! Started from hotel in a carriage at 3:30 in plenty of time...
[She described the opera in great critical detail in her diary.Was she alone???]
Had dinner between 2nd and 3rd Acts....

Came home decided on leaving out Vienna & staying for [Wagner's Ring] Cycle --if my ticket could be redeemed.

A sudden change of plans: why?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ima’s Visit to Germany, 1907 (the first of many)

Took train at 11:45 for Cologne. Lack of water all the five or six hrs. almost perished. At C. 5:55 P.M...

Cologne Aug. 8 --Thursday
Took a guide who showed us the Chapels of the Three Kings . . . . [Here she gives a detailed history of the cathedral.] . . . By boat on the Rhine to Coblenz. . . . We took our first German beer. . . .

Friday Aug. 9 Coblenz to Wiesbaden
To Stolzenfelz by car, long steep winding, beautiful walk to the Castle. [details of the castle] . . . The two last days [in Germany] are among my pleasantest in Europe . . . .

Here began Ima Hogg’s lifelong love of Germany. On this visit that she may have begun a fateful romance with a young German (a musician, perhaps?) but she was careful to keep that out of her diary.

Saturday--Aug. 10-15 Wiesbaden
Beautiful town but have been resting so completely haven’t seen a thing but the park by the front and the magnificent Kierhaus across. Music all day. Germany is adorable. Germans kindly and homely. Wednesday to Frankfurt. ...Goethe’s home...From train walked up Kaiser Strasse gazing in fascinating shop windows. . . .

How much can we read between the lines?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Was Ima a bit of a snob?

Winchester-- July 3--London
         [Ima and her party visit Winchester Cathedral.]

The Cathedral: Refer myself for details to Baedecker . But it seems irreverent for curious eyes to gaze at this solemn monument to the genius of so many ages of religious feeling--It makes me feel like a barbarian .... walked over the resting place of Jane Austen. I had many thrills of awe to find myself near the tombs of the great as long back as the 11th century! I believe for the first time I know what History means! It was chillingly cold in the church raining outside, so I dared not linger afterwards as I longed to do.
July 4th --London
Arrived yesterday morning with much the same feeling as approaching N.Y. --Don’t care for the City--yet. Although I am longing to get into Westminster & the Art Galleries. Spent the day loafing--all of us tired. Went to Cook, got an umbrella & felt my way about all alone in town. Lunched at a queer place--just anywhere--and found my companions of the cab driver class! Nice things to eat, but interested to find them eating with a fork & spoon--did not give me a knife! Came home to find Mrs. Thompson had got seats for the Opera at Covent Garden. Dressed in our much wrinkled finery, but after we were there--who cares? Caruso & Melba with a good cast gave us La Boheme (Puccini’s). The tier after tier of boxes were filled with coronets and handsome gowns, few lovely faces. The Royal Box has two hideous very ordinary women in it. . . .

Was Ima a bit of a snob?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A July morning and a sighting of England

Ima’s 1907 journal continues.

July 1st
At about ten o’clock sighted Plymouth. Got in about 11:15 and the first sight which greeted us was “Pear’s Soap” advertisement! Mr. Thompson & Mr. Foster stayed with the luggage at the Customs House, & Mr. Scott escorted us in dumpy “four wheelers” over cobblestones so that we created a distinctly embarrassing feeling of disturbance through the quiet quaint old streets. The narrowness of the thoroughfares, & the walled hillyness reminded me a bit of Quebec. Spent the night at the Royal, a fair hotel-single room with comfortable bed at 5 shillings. We were roused at 6:30 a.m. in order to breakfast & catch the 8:30 train for Salisbury...

         [At Salisbury, the party toured the cathedral.]

My first great one, & I am overwhelmed by its symmetry and beauty of exterior, thought the quiet bare interior is most uplifting & inspiring.. . .

The guide was very good. . . .We hurried, much to my despair, for I should love to linger long with the lovely close [A “close” is the area and buildings around a cathedral. Salisbury Close is the largest, and one of the loveliest in England.] Left for Winchester at 3:15 P.M. --Several changes. Lots of fun carrying our own bags. I have two and my rugs. 

Summer 1907 was Ima’s first journey to Europe, but it was far from her last.