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.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Stormy weather, but not for Ima.

     As the President Lincoln continued its nine-day voyage across the Atlantic in the summer of 1907, there were more games, and teasing and camaraderie at festive dinners. There was fair weather almost all the way--until Saturday, June 29. Ima didn’t mind at all:

Until two days ago then became stormy and very cold--all happened just to my taste. I shall not try to describe the never ceasing fascination of the sea, and the moonlit nights-as well as the sun set of last evening-But I shall remember them always. No one has been sea-sick--the credit due to our perfect sailing ship. Tomorrow we expect to reach Plymouth where we shall bid a reluctant good-bye to our ship.
       Ima was sailing aboard a German ship, and when the United States entered World War I in 1917, the President Lincoln was seized in New York harbor and converted to a U.S. Navy troop transport ship. In May 1918 a German U-boat torpedoed the vessel, which sank in about 20 minutes with 715 people aboard. Twenty-six were lost with the ship, and the survivors in lifeboats were rescued by a U.S. destroyer.

       No doubt Ima Hogg was saddened by this 1918 news, remembering the pleasant summer she sailed on the President Lincoln’s maiden voyage.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

At sea, aboard the President Lincoln, June 1907


      Ima does not write about the enigmatic Mr. Scott, but she writes about other passengers aboard the President Lincoln on that crossing in the summer of 1907.

The passengers are mostly German so we have fallen completely in to the spirit of things, even trying out our bits of “Deutche” words on them. Really, though, have made comparatively no acquaintances. My table seat to my right though is occupied by a lovely old gentleman Rev. Wilkie from Florida and his wife to his right. A Mr. Dick from Newcastle Eng. Has played bridge with us and defeated us all. Much of our time has been spent at cards, some at reading, we have been dutiful enough to dive into guide-books--then we’ve walked leagues. Shuffle-board is a great game- I can’t play it much, but intend to spend lost of time at it on the return. Mr. Thompson and I matched Mrs T. & Mr. Dick at “ring-toss” --they beating us by one point only.

         Ima Hogg was never one to lose, if she could help it. No doubt there was a rematch.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A bittersweet leave-taking, and a pleasant voyage

[Time for a flashback here, to an earlier part of Ima’s diary and the beginning of the trip.]

June 22--Sailing- President Lincoln, Hamburg-American Line.
Cabin 63 - Room-mate Mrs. Ben Thompson.

An auspicious start--a glorious warm day, our ship - 618 ft. long--making its maiden trip. Many friends had telegrams, letters, books and flowers as farewell to me, and we waved them a far away good-bye with grateful hearts for their remembrances - a home leaving being at best somewhat sad. , , ,

“Somewhat sad,” indeed: In this summer of 1907, Ima Hogg was hoping to escape her grief for her father, who had died March 3, 1906. For months after that, she had suffered from what we today would call a depression. Now she was embarking on a journey that would carry her far away from home--and perhaps change her life forever. She traveled with family friends, the Lewis Thompsons of Texas, their sons Ben & Lewis, and their governess, Magdalena. IH’s roommate on the voyage and probably on land travels was Mrs. Ben Thompson from Nacogdoches (a relative of the Thompsons, most likely.) This group from Houston was joined by a Mr. Scott, a chemistry professor at Austin College, and a Mr. Ben Foster and his sister Miss Ione Foster from Kansas City.

         As usual, Ima tells far too little: We never even learn Mr. Scott’s first name, but on the outing to Windsor Castle she “scrambled up” by his coat sleeves when she turned her ankle.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A bad cold, and a visit to Oxford

Oxford - July 11

Real sick but ambitious in such a spot. Morning drove--stopping first at Christ Church...The Tom Bell tolling...Oxford is very quaint with its high walls & old architecture....Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. B.T., Mr. Foster, & Miss F. all drove to Blenheim castle -- the rest of us preferring to stay in O. After lunch went back to Christ C. & into the Cathedral...Sunny beautiful day so we lingered long on the shady path running towards Magdalene. This is the sweetest of all the colleges, I think. We didn’t go inside the buildings here but in the quadrangles through the cloisters, on the bridge where the swans--black ones--swim....I long to get back to Oxford, once again.

Ima, “real sick,” was not one to be daunted.