The Fulbright Year Abroad, Part One: Sep-Oct 1954
 


Introduction

In 1953 Mila Jean Smith graduated from the University of Kansas City with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and was encouraged ("forced!") to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship to spend a year in Europe, gathering material for a master's thesis.  Her research proposalto study British pantomime and how it might be applied to producing plays for childrenwon approval, and in September 1954 she left Kansas City MO to begin her first trip abroad.

Three decades later, I was commissioned to assemble a new set of scrapbooks for Mila Jean, and got as far as her arrival in New York City (the furthest point reached in College and the Lively Arts).  My attention was then diverted for the next several years to the "unexpectedly dramatic" Ehrlich family saga, To Be HonestI did manage to compile an abbreviated Jeanie biography for Further Family Forest in 1984; but she herself, at some unspecified date, constructed a fresh scrapbook from her Fulbright memorabilia.  This was done very much according to The Mila Spiral, jumping ahead to future events and then rotating back to previous ones a few pages later, with occasional exclamatory captions and commentary.  Tucked inside this scrapbook was a handwritten reminiscence, similarly undated, which retold the story in capsule form with additional particulars and exclamations.

Had that been all, her entire Fulbright Year Abroad could have been covered on a single webpage.  But Mila Jean was an enthusiastic correspondent throughout this year (as she would remain for the next sixty) and wrote frequent letters home to KCMO, recounting her adventures in considerable depth, breadth, and length—some running upward of 5,000 words.  These dispatches were saved and returned to her, and much later got carefully filed in chronological order by my father (very much according to the Linear George method).  In addition, Mila Jean had kept a series of communiqués from John Douty, her ex-boss at the KCU Playhouse, who underwent European escapades of his own in 1954-55—some in tandem with his ex-assistant.

With all this source material at hand, I have restricted Part One of The Fulbright Year Abroad to its first two months, ending with Jeanie's rapturous/riotous pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon.  "How can I in words express the inexpressible?" she asked.  "For sheer heaven and hell I will never experience the like of the past few days, so I won't burden you with too many details."

Happily, plenty does not translate to too many, any more than British panto consists solely of mime.  So strike up Kitty Kallen's "Little Things Mean a Lot" (Number One on the 1954 Hit Parade) and prepare to embark.



















 

 

A Note on the Text and Illustrations

To enhance the clarity of reading these letters online, I have amended punctuation, adjusted paragraph breaks, and expanded most abbreviations.  Mila Jean made frequent use of ellipses in typing: a spaced " . . . " indicates one in her original text, whereas a closed  "..." is my editorial condensation of excerpts in the Notes.

This webpage is best viewed on a device using both fonts I employed: Comic Sans for Mila Jean's entries, and Verdana for my own.

In selecting illustrations from the Fulbright scrapbook, I have excluded those that were of mediocre quality to begin with, or had faded over timeMila Jean's "hideous misty (I think it was raining at the time) view of the [Bristol] Cathedral" was a mere gray blobas well as generic touristy snapshots (e.g. those taken of Canterbury) that lacked Jeanie's presence or a significant role in the unfolding story.

 


Sep. 12, 1954

[typewritten in New York City, to the Nashes in Blue Springs MO]

8:00 pm
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, Greetings and KUDOS, and all that sort of rot,
       Felt that I should write now before all sorts of ghastly things start happening, like sailing, etc.
       First things first, the trip on the train was not exactly smooth, shall we say, rather inclined to hump itself into oblivion, and rather long, but nothing really horrible happened, except that St. Louis station is a mess, badly organized, discourteously staffed.  A nasty red-cap took my bag and promptly disappeared, leaving me alone, angry, and wondering where the h--- I was supposed to be, wandered around the whole place and finally located a gate with the proper identification, stood with all my stuff for fifteen minutes, then rammed my way through with fifteen thousand other people and after much more wandering around (NO red-cap, porter, or etc. in sight).  Dragged my way aboard, some unseemly red cap pointed vaguely forward and I staggered to the proper cabin or stateroom or what they laughingly call a "room-ette."  I was just as happy that I didn't have to tip the red-cap (who had disappeared, though my bag was there) or the porter due to the fact that I was quite bitter at the moment . . . too much time spent directing people and expecting others to follow me around, I guess.  Made directly for the diner—had a $2.25 fillet of haddock, too strong, but tasted good to me, sat with a lovely little old motherly type of lady to whom I poured out my heart (Fulbright data et al), we staggered back together, and I showed off (?) my roomette to her . . . my, what a charming (I use the word loosely) little world in its own a roomette is.  Still, I could have committed mayhem on one John Douty, who, for all of his careful instructions, neglected to tell me about NOT letting down the bed with the door closed—result, I almost ruined my profile, so to speak, dear brother-in-law.  It was a frightening experience.  Went to bed and read Morton's fraud stories until about 11:00, managed to be the only one still asleep and in that particular car until 9:30 (10:30 train time) the next morn . . . went forward for scrambled eggs to the tune of $1.35—got to eat looking out at the marvelous scenery of Horseshoe Curve . . . the superintendent of the diner and I exchanging friendly comments.  Went back to roomette and entertained a darling porter from another car for some 45 minutes until the conductor entered and gave nasty looks at said porter—we both, by the way, are the same way, politically speaking, if not the same color.  Read for the rest of the trip.  Somewhere out of Philadelphia my porter friend came back to say goodbye, but true to form, Little Mila Jean tried to force her way out of the train at Newark, and had to be forcibly detained by two porters.  After that, both of them kept coming back at two second intervals to tell me how much longer it would be, to ask why I was so eager to get off, etc.  After disembarking all went well, I found the escalator, Joann and Patricia, and my bag waiting at the top.  We giggled, and descended on the big city.
       So much for the train—from here on it really gets hysterical.  Managed to locate a taxi and get to Central Park West—just like something out of Street Scene, with rickety elevator, peep hole in door, bugs named Archie, a dumb waiter manned by an easygoing [operator?] named LeRoy who hates to pull it up and down so simply yells, "Jess throw it right down" and down go bottles, trash, all (I thought at first on LeRoy, but have since found out that LeRoy stands aside while the stuff goes past him).  We dragged bags in and prepared curried chicken, drank some lovely white wine, changed to my black peddle pushers, and just began to relax when . . . the phone rang!  (The only time so far.)  Patricia went to answer it and came back looking astonished, saying it was for ME and it was a man!  My word, who else knew the number but John Douty?  And of course it was—he was in the lobby of the Astor and to quote him, said, "I just wanted to find out if there was anything your mother should know" as if he were my lord protector or something—of course, he meant WHAT had I done with travelling salesmen, etc.  I was a trifle tired and tipsy and kept giggling and he was on his way in to see a show, so I told him to come over at 11:00, even though he was supposed to leave for Baltimore at midnight.  It was all so absurd, and like home that I couldn't get over it.  Joann and I took a walk down Broadway, bought a fifth and some ice cubes and got home in time to greet the good Dr.  I had prepared the girls by telling them how nasty he could get, how antisocial, how bitter and sarcastic, etc. . . . Naturally, he was in one of his most social, giggly frames of mind, so we all had a good time although it was warm and humid.  John departed for the subway (I trust) about 3:00 AM after he and I had killed the fifth between us.  It seemed that he and his stepmother had had words about his going to Paris, or something, and he had come up to New York to escape.  He is taking all three of [us] to see Tallulah [Bankhead] the night of the 16th . . . we have seats in the fourth row balcony . . . it may be lousy, but I'm very excited about getting all dressed up and seeing her finally.  We're compromising by having him to dinner that night.
       Next day I felt rather whoozy, but Joann and I set off—got English money changed, [went to the] top of Empire State, going through stores, got theatre tickets and wandered down through Theatre Row (I also got a ticket for myself for Tea and Sympathy for Wednesday matinee since Jo will be going to school by then)—then a frantic ride home, dinner, dishes, then to Greenwich Village that night until midnight—all fabulous.
       Next day Staten Island ferry, Wall Street, Old Trinity church and its wonderful graveyard in back with Alexander Hamilton, Gramercy Park, 14th Street park where the Communists hold their cell meetings, wandered around near Brooklyn, saw Washington Irving's old home.  That night we were near death and Hurricane Edna threatened so we stayed home and watched the TV, cut and washed my hair.
       Yesterday slept until 1:00 during which Edna shrunk and we didn't even know it—ate and went to a show which contained four old Chaplin movies and an Andersen fairy tale, a Russian film.  Came home and didn't get through with dinner until after 11:00.  Read Fulbright stuff and gabbed until 3:00 AM.
       Slept until 11:00 . . . one of Edna's manifestations was that she flooded the basement, so we had no hot water for two days and had to keep heating enormous pans of it.  After three spit baths we managed to tear off (Patricia and I, Jo had to work) to the New York City Ballet at 2:30—was marvelous, every seat in the house filled (K.C. should look sharp).  Patricia & I wandered down Fifth Ave window shopping, came home and ate and she is now reading the NY Times while I type.  Jo should be home soon, we will play some 20's records, eat (again) and retire.
       Tomorrow I must go shopping, see all the museums, try to pass on John's card at the Museum of Modern Art, Coney Island, Bronx Zoo, call the Consult here 'cause Mr. Douty feels that I should to check some matters, such as visas, etc., all unnecessary I'm sure.  Try to buy a camera, etc.
       Tuesday everything I didn't do before.  Wednesday I'm on my own—Tea and Sympathy—want to see Teahouse, too.  Do a washing.  Thursday I'm staying home, will pack in the morning, cook up some exotic messes for John, then the theatre that evening.
       Friday is it: providing no more Ednas show up.
       This place is fascinating, made up of the weirdest incongruities imaginable, utter wealth side by side with utter poverty, the most gorgeous things in the world, the loveliest looking people side by side with the ugliest, most sordid, dirty, depressing things imaginable.  The things to do are innumerable—all kinds of wonderful things to see, culture, plus . . . yet also filth and nasty, discourteous people.  It's also the noisiest place alive, the subways are deafening but useful since you can get from Greenwich Village to here in some thirty minutes—terrific speed.  Most of the people look jaded, pale and sick to death of things, yet I've never encountered at the same time such excitement and zest for life and art than in certain places here.
       Naturally I adore the theatres, the graveyard with all those fabulously old gravestones (Alexander Hamilton's wife was from 1730-1825 or something), Fifth Ave, Gramercy Park, and all the night spots that reek of Scott Fitzgerald.  Also love parts of Greenwich Village.  Am getting used to the subways, but like the buses better 'cause I can see where I'm going, at least part of the time at that 90 mile an hour rate.
       All in all, I love the place with limitations, and am looking forward to Europe.  I'm determined I won't get [sea]sick, and will still get there (the ship) on time . . . yet, I must admit I'm glad John will be around, since this Father Confessor gimmick is useful at times, especially when he trundles me around, me wide-eyed and innocent.  So-O-oh, yes, Father, the train was on time at ALL points.  Mother, all was well, even found an ivory comb, old or new?  One horrible thing—the mirror in the little case broke right off the bat—yet, when would I use it?
       Life is great, I was getting in a terrible rut, please tell everyone that it is next to impossible for me to write, even postcards . . . this little letter alone took an hour and a half and I won't have even that later on.
       Hope all and everyone is well—please forward this letter to my wandering travelling parents, Mellie.
       Love to all from roving reporter M.J.  (Smith, that is!)

Sep. 17-20, 1954

[on United States Lines stationery, to her parents]

       [Sep. 17]  10:00 PM
       Darlings—
       After two hours sleep last night, a frenzied packing spree punctuated by falling into the suitcases, etc., Jo and I staggered out with luggage at 9:30 this morn, boarded with absolutely no trouble (except for John who overslept again per usual, arriving frenzied & sans his required cup of coffee & [with] red-rimmed eyes at 10:30).  This [ship] is a microcosm of the whole world—everything—elevators, cocktail lounges, even the tourist class is in utmost splendor.  The food is enough to fill Pete Nash 24 hours a day—each meal lasts for at least an hour & a half, usually two.  Anything & everything you could possibly want: entreés, soup, salad, main course, millions of rolls throughout, drink & exotic desserts all in one meal.  My table partners are wonderful—better than I could have hoped for.  The gentleman on my left named George—around 45-50, handsome, an administrator of hospitals who is going to Denmark & Scandinavian countries to visit the hospitals—cultured, charming, gracious.  The gentleman across [is] handsome—around 25, a Fulbright law student going to London.  The lady on my left an intense Education Fulbright studying at Birmingham.
       They show movies everyday—today Beauties of the Night in French—marvelous, with Gina Lollobrigida.  Tomorrow, Hobson's Choice with Charles Laughton, for which they are charging $1.85 in New York.
       My cabin mates are all very nice, although I see little of them since none of us is ever there.  Cabins are lovely—don't even miss the "facilities."  We're rather crowded since one girl has something like five suitcases.  Oi!
       Last night after an agonizing day (I will explain at a later date all about it), not being able to locate John until he called at 6:00, we had a hysterical dinner during which time John opened the wine [with] the cork zooming to the ceiling, the wine spewing over—Joann running out for whipping cream at the last minute, etc.  We were lapping up coffee at 8:20, dashed out for the subway & made it at 8:45, just were seated as the curtain rose.  Tallulah was fabulous, of course—the play lousy & trite but fun.  We wandered through the pouring rain to the Algonquin (John's hotel) for drinks & eats.  Then walked 15 blocks to my favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald hotel where I kicked & screamed & stamped my feet in the puddles until I got to ride in the horse drawn carriage through Central Park (to the tune of $10).  The little man sits up front in a high top hat.  I was blissfully happy, John was petulant, Joann giggly (Patricia went home since she had to work).  After that we wandered down Fifth Avenue & took the subway home.  Had a drink & talked while Joann did counterpoint in the kitchen.  John went home & I packed.  Joann stayed up until 5:15 AM doing homework.  Had a telegram from Jane Davis, by the way—very sweet.
       Today was complete madness, of course.  Please be thankful you did not come [to see me off]—for many reasons.  By the time the ship slipped neatly out, Jo Ann [sic] was looking weepy, John was carefully averting his eyes & staring off into the wild blue yonder & I felt horrible.  The band was playing America, flags waving.  I got to stand very near where they were, but the one heartening thing that happened was that John screamed "See you in Paris" & it sounded so terribly continental & reassuring I couldn't feel too badly—sob!
       We had lifeboat drill shortly after sailing—all very silly but necessary with all of us standing around looking ridiculous in our Mae Wests.  In my stateroom was a card from Bill, with a dollar, saying "Have a drink on me."  I needed the dollar desperately, since I really exhausted my supply of money.  Will use it for a deck chair.  Jo Ann & Patricia gave me a gorgeous necklace & bracelet imported from Venice—black & gold, quite lovely.  I felt ashamed, though, they are awfully bad off financially.  Papa Stegman was fine & very talkative the whole time.  Jo Ann took millions of pictures, so you should be satisfied.  She says she will write as soon as she has the strength.  Right now she's prostrate.
       No seasickness yet.  I took my dramamine on deck without water behind John's back—don't know whether it helped or not.  Other people have been sick, I noticed uncomfortably, but I just keep on eating & eating.  I just went out on deck & was bent double in the terrific wind.  It is extremely cold & wet & foggy.
       Skipping around in subjects, I enjoyed Tea & Sympathy a great deal—very much the director's show (Elia Kazan) beautifully paced & blocked.  Joan Fontaine was acceptable if not ideal, the play weak in spots.  We rode on the carousel in Central Park, shopped—got a pair of black calf opera pumps for good, a $3.95 Brownie evening veil, etc.  The trip to the United Nations was most fascinating & only cost us 50¢ (for students).  A tremendous building of almost outrageously modern & ostantasious (spelling?) [sic] decor, but interesting to see.
       They tell me that the first night in London you have your choice between an Old Vic production or Sadler's Wells—my word!
       Right now the combo is playing "Three Coins in the Fountain" & "My Wonderful One"—I think I shall have [it] since it always makes me nostalgic.
       I now find my way around the tourist part pretty well, hopping on & off elevators at will.
       John & I got lost for 20 minutes today in the first class section!!
       Thanks loads for letter, clippings & postcard, Mother.
       Think I will go down to old "B" deck & turn in.  Bye for now.

       Sept. 20th, noon
       This is the day when every good voyager stays in bed—blustery, rocky—everyone is either sick or dull looking.  I slept until a half an hour ago, feeling it would be useless to get up just for breakfast & then have to sit inside for three hours staring at nothing.  They won't let you go outside.  I'm in the second settings for eating: 9:15, 1:30 & 7:30—which usually don't start until 9:30, 1:45 & 7:45.  Today the movie is Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn & Bill Holden, which I hope to see.  Yesterday it was some Egyptian excavation with Robert Taylor of which I only saw 15 minutes.  Saturday night my table mates & I went "up" for a drink & to see Hobson's Choice, dragging to bed at 2:00 AM.  No matter what time you get in it's bound to be late, since we put up [i.e. put forward] the clocks one hour & fifteen minutes every night & you never feel as if you are getting enough sleep.  Saturday my roommate & I also sat on deck all day with a group of Fulbrighters & sang folk songs & had beer, very charming.  Yesterday was lovely, sunny with the sea so calm & blue, & we sat on deck all day in deck chairs, getting burned & sleeping.  After only 3½ days I've gotten rather sick of being in one place so much, even though it is so large one has the feeling of confinement.  It will be fun to get in London & wander around to the point of exhaustion, rather than just sleep because you've eaten too much or because there is nothing better to do.  We Fulbrighters have a special train to London, which leaves some two hours after the other & doesn't get to London until 9:20.  I imagine we will be dead by then.
       Until the next stage of my journey—Love, MJS

circa Sep. 20, 1954

[postcard of S.S. United States, to her parents]

I'm sending these little epistles to everyone.  I've written you a letter which you should get sometime before I get back, I hope.  Aren't I being the dutiful daughter & writing often?  Sometime soon your luck is bound to change for the worst.  Have a feeling we will be rushed from now on.  Love, MJS

Sep. 27, 1954

[telegram to the Nashes in Blue Springs MO]

ARRIVED SAFE FULL HAPPY WONDERFUL VOYAGE GIVE PARENTS LOVE JEAN

Sep. 27, 1954

[airmail from "Drama D., University of Bristol," to her parents]

9:30 AM
Dearest folks:
       I must apologize for not having submitted a more detailed report than that hurried telegram to Mellie.  I didn't know whether or not you were home yet—hence, the letter to her—also cablegram.  My letters & postcards will undoubtedly be coming at odd intervals, probably the first one I wrote on the boat arriving last.  This one will cover the London portion of my jaunt.  This morning I am leaving for two days in Bristol, to see what sort of accommodations I can manage.  The whole prospect is rather frightening, being alone and still unsure of myself monetarily.  However, it must be done—and how else can I expect to do anything—especially get to the Continent if I'm weak-livered?  Sept. 29-Oct. 4 is the siege of Grantley Hall in the North Country.  Then finally school begins somewhere around the 10th.  I am writing this small epistle in my freezing garret room in Bedford College for Women, a part of the U. of London where half of us have stayed for the past 4½ days.  The first day in we received our first paychecks, and due to the expected but unprepared-for cold temperatures, Muriel [Tetreault] (my table-mate on the ship, who has been my constant companion here) and I ran downtown and bought twin sweater sets.  Mine is robin's egg blue cashmere—gorgeous! but expensive for here, not for the U.S.  Ours legs & feet ache constantly since we've been on the "go" since arriving.  Yesterday made a much too brief tour of Canterbury Cathedral (Canterbury is about 66 miles from here).  I can tell you this will be a "weepy" year.  I can't seem to gaze at all these traditional beautiful things without being touched.  Saturday night we covered Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace.  I'm glad we went at night—much more lovely.  I played it very stupidly on the Theatre & only went to see one bad one—Pal Joey, a usually cute show but wretchedly staged.
       May I say that the most impressive thing about England is the people who—without exception so far—are the most charming, cheerful, accommodating folk alive—especially when you consider what they've been through.  They smile almost constantly.  Secondly, it has the most beautiful grass & flowers imaginable.  Our college is in Regent's Park which has a stream with sailboats, ducks, swans sailing over—and flowers surrounding.  Canterbury, with its old Elizabethan houses, was most charming.  Naturally I've committed every error possible in the way of money (someday I will write you about the railway station) but how else does one learn?  By the way, the food is almost as bad as I expected!  Hope you are all well.  More later.  Love, MJS

Sep. 28, 1954

[airmail from "c/o Mrs. Reade, 3 Oakland Road, Bristol 6 England," to her parents]

       Just realized that I dated a letter to John last night "Sept. 17th."  What a laugh he'll get out of that: the day I last saw him.  Well!  Bristol is very charming, with old winding streets, hills, and a lot of local color.  It was terrifically bombed, I take it—they're still building up the center.  I got here under the protection of a motherly lady, who sat opposite me on the train (which, by the way, was very fast & efficient).  She got me in a lovely hotel next door to the University, where I have a huge double bed—sorry tonight's my last [there]—[she] also took charge of getting my steamer trunk, loading it on a taxi & on here to the hotel.  I repacked my suitcase with heavy tweed suit, long socks, heavy gloves & every sweater I own for Grantley Hall.  Went to the University Accommodations Office—got the names & addresses of two places—walked to the first place and took it.  As far as luxurious living is concerned, the room would take last place, but Mrs. Reade says I can do anything with it I want, so I hope to buy a paisley spread (like mine at home), cushions, & knick-knacks to liven it up.  They [the Reades] both are gracious, charming folk who were completely ruined by the blitz.  She is deaf & smokes hand-rolled cigarettes in a holder, laughs all the time.  He is handsome, is in the Consulate, member of the Labo[u]r party—both in their 60's.  My room is done in varying shades of beige—get the picture?—ha!  I would appreciate it if you would look up my prints of Paris that I had up in the sleeping porch (now in my bookcase) & send them or anything else colorful you find so's I can start fixing up the place.  It is dirt cheap, plus all meals!!  Hope to rent a typewriter when I get back.  Opened my account at the bank today—very charming manager—I'm invited for tea the first Sunday I get back.  My steamer trunk is now unpacked at Mrs. Reade's (more about that episode later).  I leave tomorrow morning on the 8:45 train—have to change trains twice!  Ach!  Get in Ripon at 5:32.  Please write soon—I expect to be back the 4th or 5th.  Then to work!  Love, MJS

Sep. 30, 1954

[postcard of Haworth Moor, captioned "There is a spell in purple heath too wildly, sadly dear"—Emily Brontë]

This was Wuthering Heights come true—kept expecting Heathcliff to come bounding over the moors at any moment!  The Hall is a gorgeous Georgian relic and the food more than ample and good.  We are having one tremendous time—are spending all day tomorrow in York, which dates back to Pre-Roman times.  Went through the Brontë house (much too commercialized) & Bolton Abbey—& gasped at the wild beauty of the "blasted heath."  It is cold!  I wear tweed suit, long socks, sweater & coat constantly.

Oct. 5, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

Dearest folks:
       At last the opportunity to sit and breathe and deeply at that, to relax and be lazy at good old Bristol.
       I am still not used to this typewriter since I just bought it several hours ago—don't scream.  It cost £20 to rent one for ten months, and only £25 to buy one, so I did the terrible deed.  It's a darling thing, only weighing 8 pounds, with its own travelling case, cover, etc.—a British make of the Italian "Olivetti," supposedly the best in the business of portable typewriters.  I put £10 down, and will pay the next installments during the next two months—hence, second extravagant buy—the first being of exotic blue-green cashmere set.  I seem to be the type to throw money around, although I must admit I'm being overly prudent these days, thinking that the first month will probably be the gauge by which I will plan other month's allowances.
       Arrived here last night from the North, after some eight or so grueling hours on the train—having to change twice, with layovers of 20-30 minutes each time.  The train to Bristol arrived at least 20 minutes late, it was cold and drizzling and I felt rather lost, but was taken in hand by a student representative from the U. who had been in Grantley Hall.  Got a taxi, staggered up the dirt path to Mrs. Reade's, expecting, no doubt, a deserted flat etc., only to be greeted by a warm couple, a tasty dinner, and a letter from John on my mantel-piece!  To say the least I was elated.  Spent the rest of the night unpacking, reassured by the fact that it would be the last unpacking for at least two months; had cocoa and read in the Reades' sitting room and so to bed.  Since I had contracted a cold due to an ill-advised jaunt up a mountain top near Scotland, Mrs. Reade insisted on serving me breakfast in bed, overriding my negative protestations, and it was rather nice to say the least.  Finally got up around 9:00, dressed, went to the bank and got my checkbook and £20, to the typewriter shop, over to the University to see the ill-fated Dr. Wickham who naturally was not there, saw his assistant prof in the department who, by the way, is very attractive.  He stated that "Glynne" would probably see us Fulbrighters tomorrow, which promises to be a horrible session.  Said Handsome: "Oh, you're the young lady who's interested in children"—I felt like saying "only impersonally," but merely smiled vaguely.  If Wickham has me working directly with children I shall perish on the spot!
       Bought an India print for a double-sized bed, and took it apart (you know, they can be dealt with that way if you want curtains out of them) and put half on my bed, and half on the steamer trunk, which is now a kind of window-seat, like we planned, remember?  The large twelve-foot window is directly opposite the door, next on the right as you come in is a small table, which serves as a desk, upon which are enthroned a lamp (slightly the worse for wear, with an askew shade upon which are drawn prints from Bambi), the box which we packed jewelry in which now contains stationery, a gold candy box which I got in York (full of candy, but now sadly empty of its original contents) when we went through a chocolate factory—which now contains pencils, pencil sharpener and my one letter received so far from Sir Douty.  Next we have about a four foot fireplace which holds a small electric heater and upon which I have standing my two beanbag clowns, next is a small bookcase with four shelves, next a towel rack, next a wall upon which rests a huge cream-colored wardrobe big enough to contain all my dresses, skirts, etc., and beneath a huge drawer into which I have placed my shoes (a fact which Mrs. Reade finds hilarious for some reason).  Then the door.  On the left wall is a big cream-colored dresser which contains the usual things, upon which I have placed: 1) my lovely alarm clock, 2) my lovely thermos bottle.  I must admit they look rather lost in all that space.  Next is the bed, which is very comfortable, looks somewhat better with the print on it, the print being gold, blue & orange.  Then comes the dresser, which has a mirror (this, in order to differentiate it from the other, is more like a dressing table), four small drawers in the top, and two larger ones below.  Here I have all cosmetics and jewelry.  And so back to the window.  The walls are light green, the carpeting faded beige.  All in all, it is most satisfactory, being quite large, with a lot of space for clothes.  It has a somewhat uncomfortable chair and a smaller one for the desk.  I hope to get another lamp, a cushion or two and some other do-dads to liven it up more, especially pictures and what have you, but basically it's all very nice.  The food is good and plentiful.  Also, every night she gives me a hot water-bottle, which makes it nigh perfect.
       On with today—I met Margaret, the girl who was up at Grantley, for lunch and she showed me around the Student Union and the University.  It rained constantly and my umbrella, sadly oh sadly, fell apart for some reason, so that means a repair job or a new one.  These Britishers are queer for dances—one tonight, one tomorrow night and on Saturday.  I cannot take tonight's, being wet, tired, and "coldy," but may indulge later in the week.  Also got a ticket for a student production of School for Scandal Thursday night and am going with Mr. Reade to see a collection of Viennese costumes shown by the Swiss ambassador Thursday afternoon.  The University itself—my part at least—is all in one building called the University Tower, obviously as its name implies a tower, with nice ceilings, rather High Gothic with enormously high scaffoldings, and rather austere dark, cold hallways.  It's actually not much visually, but I dare say I'll get along in it alright.  The students, the few I've met, are quite nice, cheerful and friendly, but all seem so much younger than I, maybe, perhaps, because they are!  Actual course work does not begin until Monday, but I don't even know if I'll go to classes. Oh, Wickham, where art thou!  I've been told he's one of the handsomest men in Bristol---!
       The siege of Grantley Hall was probably the most marvelous five-day period of my life.  I went all the way from Bristol to Ripon, almost the entire length of the country by myself (NOTE) with[out] a hitch, everyone being most helpful and friendly—arrived dogged-tired [sic], but triumphant.  We stayed in rooms with app[roximately] four or five girls to a room with little curtained cubicles, all very clean, containing a bed, wardrobe, mirror, etc. with the "Facilities" down the hall.  This supposed inconvenience by the way does not bother me in the least, surprisingly.  I am disgustingly regular, manage to get a bath in at least every other night, and do not deplore anything except the toilet paper ([sample] enclosed) which is a damned nuisance and unsatisfactory.  Anyhow, the food was really very good, although it is without question maddeningly monotonous in range and scope, extremely starchy (three kinds of potatoes every meal, and custard sauce on every dessert).  Almost a complete absence of milk, fresh fruits, and salads—I try to get them on my own, by buying fruit from vendors, milk instead of tea, etc.  The English do not know how to cook or season food, and are extremely unimaginative, but do have marvelous pastries, and roast beef (when it's cooked properly).  They fed us extraordinarily well there, probably much better than they eat normally there.  Grantley Hall, by the way, is an 18th Century Country Home, renovated as an adult education college.  As its assistant warden they have probably one of the most delightful men on earth, called Jack Lightfoot—a homely little gnome of a man who knows everything there is to know about art, architecture, music, enjoyment of life, and laughter—more than anyone I've ever met.  He was a source of constant fun for all of us—one night we all went up to his room and listened to records, sang, etc.  He always squired us on the tours, explained the Gleisande glass in windows, how you can tell English Gothic from French Gothic windows, the original architecture of the place, etc.  We were on the go constantly—had lectures on all sorts of things, none boring—visited York, all sorts of Cathedrals, quaint old streets, the Brontë house, the moors, an old Georgian house with all sorts of fascinating relics in it which the owner is now opening up due to lack of funds on his part.  For instance, he had a tiny silver tea set owned by Marie Antoinette, supposedly the plaything of the little Dauphin, a piece of jewelry of Charles Stuart—all things acquired by members of his family throughout the generations.  It was displayed in the original settings of the lower rooms of the home, quite nice settings actually, but much too cluttered, and the whole idea of his having to show off the family relics rather struck me as lamentable.  The run through the chocolate factory also depressed me, seeing near-children working nine hours a day doing such hideously mechanical work that would drive me crazy in one hour.  One of the nicest things for me of the whole trip was a run through an old Georgian theatre in a small old town of Richmond.  We would never get home from these jaunts until 7:00 or after, then a huge meal, then a talk, a trip to Lightfoot's room or a cold walk to the pub much too far away for comfort.
       (Slight break for dinner, consisting of scrambled eggs and peas and toast, and a bath, very hot and good.  Mrs. R. just knocked on my door and presented me with a banana . . . and so it goes . . . ha!  By the by, the address is: in care of Mrs. Reade, 3, Oakland Rd., Redland, Bristol 6, England.  I was slightly confused before, thinking the Redland 6 was the phone.  It's not.)
       The Fulbrighters on the whole were a quite wonderful bunch of people, not without the usual dull tools, unaware group, dilletantes, etc.—but mostly nice, bright kids full of intelligence (not intellectuals), enthusiasm, very much conscious of the wonder of Europe and their responsibility to live up to it—they seemed to want not to abuse the privileges involved in this adventure; most, like me, seemed unsure of just what they were to do, but quite willing to work like the very devil to get the most out of everything.  All were cheerful about the inconveniences, like five [or six] girls to a bathroom, one of them in the tub, three washing undies in the bowls, one on pot, one kibitzing—most of them had nice senses of humor—to the extent that I was darned sorry upon leaving Grantley Hall.  Hope to get up to some of the other cities to see Muriel and Harriet and another girl named Donette in London on weekends.
       The others coming to Bristol are the oddest assortment of individuals you'd ever hope to meet: Mr. and Mrs. Bill Cannon doing rehabilitation work for the blind—he is partly blind, ugly, rather unaware, Southern, in [his] 30's; she is rather pretty, fat, all "oh's and ah's," Southern—both rather pleasant, but not my type.  As for the Drama group!  Jerry Lieder [sic] is [pushy?], the Les Vogel type, obnoxious, on the whole probably the worst in the group, typical Pal Joey type, wise-cracking, probably talented in his field: musical comedy.  Marcie is small, blonde, kittenish, mad for any man in pants, helpless, superficial—wants to write plays.  Jack Sommers is the best of the group: tall, dark, handsome, seemingly very intelligent and mature for his age: 21, subject: Elizabethan staging.  Unfortunately, none of them and I seem to vibrate at all—maybe it's better that way.
       As for Xmas presents, that's all.  According to customs officials, I would have to pay so much in duty that it would break me up if you sent anything, and likewise with you, so I'm planning on picking up all sorts of delightful things in my jaunts over Europe, and take them through, duty-free, with my $500 exemptions coming back for you-all.  We can have Christmas in August, and won't it be fun?  Tell everyone that the nicest things I could hope for would be letters from them, nice fat ones, or perhaps you could save the money and help me through my Fall semester next year, for I certainly won't have a cent.  I must confess I am darned glad I will be with John at Xmas, since that time is probably the worst of the lonely periods.  He is getting along okay—no place to live as yet, but he said he would write either yesterday or today.  He's so funny and odd, said he didn't speak to a soul on the boat, and gets terribly mixed up and flustered with his French.  Mother, he said Og (your "almost" dog—part hound, part husky) got run over by a car and died, poor little tyke.  I must finish this letter to you and get on with him.
       It is so hard to get used to thinking in terms of Pre-Roman times, saw the Roman walls and walked on them at York, and couldn't quite comprehend that they were actually patrolled by Roman huskies some 2,000 years ago.  I think we're going to have to wait with the scrapbook and do it together, I already have a huge stack of stuff which I couldn't possibly send, and I think my explanation and chronology would have to be present at any pasting-in process.  I get guide-books for everything and postcards to save, also muddlers, coupons, and camera shots.  I'm a bit wary of the three rolls of film I took, I do such stupid things that I'm expecting them all to come out white or all black or some such mess.  I'll take them in to be developed tomorrow.
       Until next installment, Cheerio, as we say.  Give everyone my love and save lots for yourselves.  XXX, Jean
       [attached: a sample of British toilet paper, stamped "W.R.C.C.—Please Wash Your Hands," with the handwritten postscript "(as if we wouldn't)"]

Oct. 10-13, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

       [Oct. 10]
       12:30
       Whilst waiting for my first Sunday supper with the Reades I shall attempt to fill in the gaps, as it were, since my writing has been sporadic, and will probably be more so from now on.  I'm going to hold this letter until Tuesday when the enlarged photos come back from being developed.  Wouldn't you know that I, of all people, would turn out tremendously good pictures, after committing every possible error?  I recently read my book on the Brownie camera and found that I had been using it all wrong, and even then every last picture was good.  I think it would probably be a good idea if I number each pic, then give a description of it in the letter, then you could start a separate scrapbook of pictures I have taken, and therefore get that out of the way before we start on the big one.
       I think that between us, Joann and I have told you enough about the sailing: I will never do it that way again, if I have the chance to sail again, that is!  It is infinitely better to say a brief farewell, then depart for the other side of the ship or go down to the cabin.  There is something about standing for some 45 minutes on deck staring down at your friends and them staring back, and then slipping away from them (not fast, but excruciatingly slow) that is painful even, I dare say, if you hated the people who were seeing you off, let alone dear friends.  I told you about the ship and what incredibly wonderful table partners I had.  By the way, George (the older man) is going to be in Paris next week and will see John, I hope.  Also I listed the movies, the wonderful food, the smooth voyage, but neglected to say it all got rather dull, being confined after that many days.  The day we hit land or could see it in the distance was almost frighteningly exciting.  I kept jumping up and down, screaming, taking pictures, etc.  Naturally, during the most thrilling part they dragged us downstairs for immigration proceedings, but luckily I went through it with George and instead of sad-sacking it, we laughed and all was fine.  Actually was nothing but sitting down, saying your name, giving the man your passport, answering some questions and leaving, but of course, the waiting amounted to some two hours.  The Fulbrights had a special boat-train from the rest of the passengers departing at Southampton, consequently had different sittings for dinner, so we had to bid a reluctant farewell to George.  Being a bon vivante (as John says) I wanted to make the most of my last meal and was calmly eating cheesecake with my waiter (who was absolutely mad and French—he was eating caviar) when the porter ran in and said that everyone had gone ashore—[I] made a mad dash to the cabin (which had been vacated), grabbed all the stuff in sight (deducing that it was all mine, since everyone else had left) and ran down the gangplank.  PAUSE TO THINK OF A SIMILAR SIGHT.  Do you remember that scene in Gone With the Wind when Scarlett rounds the corner of Peach Tree Street and sees the millions of men lying on the railroad as far as the eye could see?  Well, that's the way I felt.  Noise, confusion, milling people wherever you looked.  I decided that rather than panic I would take my time, since no one obviously was going anywhere for hours, and enjoy it.  You could never see a similar sight in the States: little, tiny, wizened men in suits, shirts, ties, who were porters, dragging large carts full of steamer trunks, two suitcases, and clothes at ONE TIME!  Smiling and good-natured, all of them.  Naturally never believing the Government I decided that my stuff would not be under the letter "S" and it wasn't.  Took greater part of thirty minutes to find all of it.  After that episode in NYC I was sure my trunk had never got on, but eventually found it.  Managed to drag all the gear together in a semblance of order and wondered vaguely how and where to find a porter.  Finally, one of the boys informed me that the trick was to walk all the way up to the gate and catch the porters as they came back from the train.  Of course, the walk to the gate was some distance comparable to Central Library, but I did, and grabbed one unsuspecting soul.  By the time we had stomped back I had a time finding my stuff in all the jumble, then it had to go through customs, a process amounting to nothing: "Any intoxicants, cigarettes, etc.?"  "Okay."  Then wheeling the whole mess back up to the gate, sending my trunk through to Bristol, losing the porter, carrying all the rest of the stuff through the gate, wondering what to do with the big suitcase.  Finally at one dark unidentifiable door an equally dark face peered out, and I peered back—a hand took my suitcase and a voice said: "Don't worry, lass, we'll get ya there alright"—my first introduction to British charm. The trip up to London was naturally terribly tiring.  I sat with Charles (the other table partner) who had waited for me all during the grueling process and who swore I was the last one through, and another charming couple who were going up to Edinburgh to study the ministry.  It was cold and drafty, got off the train (which was late) and got on a bus to Bedford College, where part of us stayed.  Naturally the trip there consisted of "oh's and ah's" over Big Ben, all the sights, etc.  The first jaunt through Bedford was enough to make all of us want to go home: it was 10:00 PM in the 40's I'm sure, and every window in the place was down, with the wind whipping through the damp halls.  Of course, all of us wanted to go to the jonny, and that was the second big shock—little wooden stalls with the paper like I showed you.  We were crushed (or is that the right term?  Ha) and ready to give up.  Also the bed mattresses must have been made of straw because they crunched when you sat on them and also collapsed in the middle with either side engulfing you in a suffocating, uncomfortable manner.  Nevertheless, we slept like logs, only to be awakened by a sound which can only be described as a bullfrog during mating season at 7:30 the next morn.  It was agony to get up, not only because we were so tired, but because the floor was like ice and you could see your breath.  To make matters even funnier the house was being painted all the week we were there and little men kept peering in the rooms.  Quote, "Hey Frank—look, there's a gull (girl) in there" but not unkindly or insultingly, just "funnily."  Muriel was in the bath once luckily only washing her teeth when a foot descended, then a body, then a face (the windows, remember, were always open . . . if we closed them, they miraculously opened again) and he said, "Do you mind?"  She said she didn't but left rather hurriedly and ran giggling into my room to report the news.  During that venture we had our own rooms, consisting of said bed, a table and chair, another chair and towel rack.  Next day commenced meetings and receptions, interspersed with sight-seeings: so hilarious to arrive at the reception and have the liveried butler stomp a staff several times and announce in golden-throated tones: "Miss Mila Jean Smith"—I never got over the notion that everyone would suddenly kneel at my feet the way they do in movies; first reception I got rather high on sherry, not having had any dinner.  It rained that night, we tried to call George and didn't succeed, and walked rather lost in the rain for some minutes before finding a ghastly hotel restaurant in which to eat: what I mean to say is it was plush in their standards, but served horrible food and was rather nasty.  Next reception (at the American ambassador's) I got rather high on OldFashions [sic], the one and only time I've had my precious Bourbon in England, and got cornered by a funny little professor of Cambridge—that night we went to see the lousy production of Pal Joey and wandered around Piccadilly Circus.  Had several hilarious experiences on buses, never knowing exactly where we wanted to get off, running after one speeding away with Charles leaping on at the last minute and Muriel and myself standing on the street corner yelling for him to get off.  Also as I said the understandable problems with money (which I have more or less down now).  Then, every morning the everlasting frog's blast and up we'd be for another round of activities . . . the food there was pretty much the way it is here at [the] Reades: hard, hard, toast, lukewarm milk-coffee, one dish at dinner.  The food at Grantley Hall was a dream in comparison.  London is a fascinating place and held much too much to see for only five days, most of which time was utilized in getting acclimated into the ways and means of British school system, political parties, Fulbright procedure, etc.  So I'm quite eager to get back for more oggling [sic].
       Told you about my trip (first trip) to Bristol and meeting the Reades, who continue to remind me more and more of John and myself: he so very neat and clean and correct, very intelligent and rather quiet but precise in what he says, and dignified; she rather casually dressed (to say the least), inclined to be more than rather vague, absent-minded but laughingly so, sort of shuffling around and muttering to herself . . . yet she is really quite dictatorial with him in her own way and it's terribly funny.  Getting the steamer trunk over here was a riot: having the midget of a taxi-driver and a painter who happened to be working at the hotel at the time staggering out with the trunk and roping it on the back, then the driver and myself literally dragging it up the dirt path to the Reades' and heaving it up the steps, just us two . . . what an ordeal!  The things were surprisingly unmussed seeing how I packed that awful morning of the sailing in [the] Stegmans' apartment at 7:00 AM after 3½ hours sleep, really a mess.
       Now I'm through with the meal (lamb with a lot of fat, undercooked potatoes, peas, orange jello and cider) and have a half an hour before I'm off to an Overseas Student Meeting.  Had a date with a man who's a dead ringer for Leslie Howard last night . . . he is representative of the "manly British" type, the other being the "carefree, boyish" type, not that he's not carefree, but older, member of the rowing team, President of Will's Hall, the men's dorm, and more dignified, where the others are always cutting up (really puts American male colleagues to shame in the energy department), mugging, laughing, and yelling most of the time.  We were supposed to go to the annual Coming Up Dance, which isn't really a dance but an occasion where everybody goes and stands in a cocktail party like stance while the crowds mill around you . . . instead we went to the digs of another girl in drama and sat around and talked for some four hours . . . they're really quite pleasant and entertaining (I haven't laughed so hard in weeks . . . one little boy is named Gus and could be a double for Howard Morris, he's such a comic) and also well-informed.  Walked home in the rain at 12:30 to be confronted by Alderman Reade preparing his bath.  Preparing for the bath is a great feat in this home . . . you turn on the hot water tap and leave for some twenty minutes while it runs . . . of course Mrs. R. is always forgetting it's on, and I have to run in right at the crucial moment and turn off the taps before it runs over the top.  Oi, yoi!  After the reception today Margaret (the girl who came up to Grantley) is having us Americans over for eats.  So far the only thing I've left out telling you is the meeting and schedule outlined by Wickham which is much too overwhelming to go into right now, when I have to get dressed . . . I'll finish it tonight when I get back . . . also have to drop a line to George in Paris to get in touch with John.  John is already supposed to have written George, but I don't trust him.  He'll do most everything I ask him to, but not gracefully.  Have also written to Joann and Bill, suppose I should to Jane Davis and maybe Bonnie, but it's really impossible, so apologize if you should run into any of them.
       Your letter was waiting for me in the Drama Department when I got there Wednesday morning (the 6th); got such a kick out of it . . . read it in a snack shop and kept whooping with laughter until I had to apologize to the staring girl across from me . . . what about Connie by now?  And sorry about Virg . . . there was an elevator operator on the ship who reminded me exactly of dear Mr. LeBeau; I'm also eager for news about KCU and especially the theatre.  Know anything?
       To make matters worse, my electric heater and lamp have blown a fuse or something and it's very cold in here in today . . . probably much warmer outside, which is often the case in England.  They're right when they say it is the dampness which is penetrating and not the actual temperature.
       Enclosed pictures, numbered in chronological order (I hope):
        1 — That's (l. to r.) Charles Niehaus, Muriel Tetreault, and George Laycock, my dearly beloved table partners and constant companions, on deck the noon of the 22nd of Sept.
        2 — Muriel, myself, and George
        3 — view of English coast and a fishing boat
        4 — tugboat and gunwhales [sic] of [the United States]
        5 — a Norwegian ship in English waters, near shore
        6 — first view of Bedford College from across stream in Regent's Park
        7 — bridge over Regent's Park, over stream where sailboats and swans sail
        8 — long view of Bedford College
        9 — view of entrance of where we stayed
       10 — long view of Canterbury Cathedral the way you first see it, looming up against the dark houses and narrow street
       11 — long view of Cathedral and grounds
       12 — side view of front in detail, shown in relation to dark, small houses
       13 — part of Tudor architecture in Canterbury . . . the Boots are drugstores (chemists)
       14 — long view of entrance to an old monastery in Canterbury
       15 — long view of Grantley Hall (good, huh?)
       16 — view of the York Minster from the top of the Roman Walls
       17 — The Shambles, an old representative street of York, famous for its butchers
       18 — Bolton Abbey ruins—gorgeous waterfall (not shown) on right of them
       19 — this is Jerry standing on the moors near the Brontë home
       20 — the Brontë home and the moors
       21 — Fountains Abbey ruins, very near Grantley Hall
       22 — an old castle fortress, in Richmond
       23 — darned if I know . . . think it's part of the architecture of York, one of the many tremendous gates, but which one I've forgotten.
       One I didn't have enlarged of a little boat we saw in English waters called the "Calshot Spit" . . . took the pic for the heck of it, for the funny name, and to amuse George.  He'd been over before and got a big kick out of me and our initial excitement over our first voyage, first view of land, etc.
       I find it very difficult to get a nice enough day here in Bristol to take any pictures, the sun is out today, but is sporadic and I hate lugging the camera around to a reception.  It was so funny when I declared it at customs and they asked how much it had cost . . . it gave everyone a big laugh when my little $3.98 was put down next to all the $50-$100 [ones] before it . . . it would have given them even a bigger laugh if I'd told them I'd gotten it on sale for $2.98!  It is almost 3:00 now, so I must be organizing myself to go to one more special function.  They're having two more receptions during the next two weeks and a Thanksgiving dinner for us—also Sir Winston (Churchill, that is, who is our Chancellor) will be here the next day (after Thanksgiving).  Such excitement.  To be continued later . . .
       Oct. 11 . . . 9:00 PM
       Ah, yes . . . didn't finish it last night did I?  Didn't get it till rather late, and was cold and tired, so read some and went to bed . . . Honestly, it's really elegant getting a different letter every day . . . I got the one from Mellie this morning, and enjoyed it so . . . what, in heaven's name, did Joann write?  Frankly, I can't remember how and where we took all the pictures . . . seems like every time I looked up, there she was with the camera.  Yesterday's reception was rather grim, I'm afraid . . . all the foreign students just sort of standing around staring at each other.  I trapped a poor little Fresher from Rhodesia and yakked the whole time . . . also the session at Margaret's would not take first prize in hilarious social events, but I met a few new people.  Once I got outside of the house, it was perfectly charming weather, all sunny and mild . . . was lovely walking down the boulevard watching all the strolling Sunday couples and the mothers pushing prams . . . by the way, all the English babies should provide ready stimulus for painters: they're so chubby and rosy and healthy-looking.  Also the cats, which are constantly in evidence, are all fat and complacent, and superior.  (Pause, Mrs. R. just came in with a pear: at least I'm getting plenty of fruit now).
       Ah, let me see: oh yes, Wickham.  Went for a meeting last Wednesday morning and met the good Doctor . . . he's actually not as attractive as I thought (at least not at first, he grows on you), fairly small or middle-sized, fair, and English looking.  I'm told that all the little Fresher girls fall madly in love with him, you know, like Charlie Moore . . . he has a maddening habit of addressing most of his remarks to the ceiling over your head and a nervous one of "uhhhhh"-ing between sentences, which nearly drove me mad at first until I got used to it.  However, I like his attitude towards things: very practical and down to earth while being intelligent.  He outlined a schedule for us to follow at least through the month of October and possibly November until we get acclimated and interested enough in one particular field to follow it through on our own . . . involves one course in Elizabethan drama (which I went to today . . . Prof. Joseph, very elementary remarks, but pleasant fellow).  Greek drama from the head of the Greek department . . . Prof. Kitto, very charming, fairly elementary, doing The Antigone this week, a play-writing course from Heffner (from U.S., the friend of McIlrath), two in acting at the University (elementary voice and movement) and one at the professional Old Vic school, seminars on the Theatre Royall [sic] performances and talks on English professional, educational, children's theatre, a course in Shakespeare, and later a course [or] rather seminar in Elizabethan drama from Heffner, which I'll probably like better.  Supplementing these are attending all possible performances here: like all the Theatre Royall shows (going to one tomorrow night called Marching Song, I've heard it's a kind of Chekhovian thing, then in chronological order until Xmas; Much Ado About Nothing, The Crucible, and a new Ustinov thing called No Time for the Dove or something); also the popular junk running at the Hippodrome (the boys and I went [to the] Saturday matinee to see Sinbad the Sailor on Ice and laughed hysterically through all of it—really lousy), going to performances at the London Old Vic, The Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford, the Birmingham rep, the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, and touring with the local amateur societies (there are 150, so not all) through the "mud and slime" of the provinces, as Wickham says.  Actually it sounds much more exacting than it will actually be . . . it's just to give it a working idea of all phases of theatrical activity here: academic, professional, educational, and amateur . . . we don't have to follow through on all or any of them if we don't want to, but we're all keeping a notebook of the things we observe for future reference.  I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed over doing so many things, while being terribly elated at actually getting to see so much, when I had pictured myself stuck in a moldy old library all year . . . actually, it's going to a class for some 45 or 50 minutes, then over to the Berkeley Cafe for an hour of whoop-de-do, then a class or talk or discussion, then an hour's lunch, and so forth.  Almost every hour over here is broken for coffee break or tea break of something . . . life really goes at a leisurely pace . . . how they ever manage to get a production going is beyond me.  Jerry already has the proverbial "ants" in his pants, and every once in a while my thyroid begins to itch and I wish I could "Get going" as it were, but actually it's rather pleasant taking it so God-awful easy.  Wickham says he will give us introductions to theatres in France and Germany during holidays so that should be fascinating—I trust J.D. [John Douty] will have some money left to tour . . . I don't fancy the idea of stomping around all alone on the Continent.  Haven't heard from him and it's been a week—have terrible visions of him on a park bench or something, probably fearfully busy.
       Have gotten in with a nice crowd, all pleasant and hilarious, most of them to be found in the Berkeley 90 per cent of the time, or in the bar of the Student Union, sound familiar?
       Have I told you about my shopping, aside from the typewriter, that is?  Bought John a lovely thick woolly oatmeal colored wool scarf for Xmas (thought I'd better buy a little at a time), thought if I could get my way clear I'd indulge in a sleeveless pullover sweater also; bought myself some imported cheese and crackers for munching at midnight and a pair of evening sandals, don't ask me why, but they were so cheap, also a couple of things I can't mention since I'm bringing them home as belated Xmas presents, and a straw basket for the dresser.
       Was elated to hear about Marcia [Nash]'s new achievement . . . will experience her [cheerleading] adventures with her vicariously.  Reminds me of a comment of John's over a suggested game at a party called "Pinchey-winchey"; said he: "Sounds too physical for me"—similarly, the aforementioned cheerleading.
       I would like to throttle the ill-informed person who assured us and kept reminding me of the famous "reserve" of the English people.  My God, they would put Americans to shame.  I'm exhausted after every social function.
       The Austrian Ambassador's exhibition was interesting but not especially inspiring; I loved meeting all the dignitaries and was impressed with some of the artists' works, but most of it was rather conventional, and I kept thinking of how much better some of Morton's work is.  We were shown around the Lab theatre today by the tech director, a little pudgy nice man named Mr. Lavender; they actually have a wonderful set-up and easily convertible.
       Jerry now has acquired a flat, actually quite nice, a big sitting room with large fireplace, bedroom, small kitchenette and bath.  We've already got it planned that I will come over once or twice a week for a bath (since every extra one over here costs me 6d [sixpence]) with my typewriter so he can type letters, papers, etc.  He and I get along alright with a kind of grudging respect—he's probably the most talented among our group, but drives me mad with his [pushy?] drive and outspokenness.  I anticipate a few "flareups" between us.  Jack had turned out to be a lamb, and everything is fine in that department.  Marcie has acquired a very handsome chap of the "manly" variety, who squires her around everywhere.  (Mrs. R. is now "listening" to a loud version of "I Love Paris" . . . wonder if I will?).
       The sun was out this morning, a lovely day really . . . so I ran out with my camera and took a picture of 3, Oakland Road . . . left the door ajar, knowing that Mrs. R. would take it that I had left for good and lock it.  She showed me a very nice series of photos of her family when all of them were young . . . I remarked (rather shouted) on what a handsome group they made.  Said she, "Oh, do you think so?  I think he (pointing to one brother) looks rather like an ape!"  They got the heater and lamp fixed, by the way, so I washed my hair tonight for a treat, and read my Time which I still buy faithfully every week to see how the Democrats are progressing.
       The English pronounce aluminum "al-yew-mín-i-um," controversy "con-trá-va-sy," schedule "shed-ual," issue "iss-ue," laboratory "lab-ór-a-try," etc.
       What with the photos and all, this letter is going to cost a fabulous postal price, so I will stop for now.  What do you want to bet there will be another letter tomorrow for me to answer?  Stop, I'm not complaining!
       Love and Kisses, Jean
       Oct. 13, 9:30 AM
       Sorry I had to hold this for so long, but they kept putting me off about the pictures and also I forgot to turn one of the negatives in (No. 18) so will send that later.  Went to my first Theatre Royall production last night and ate spaghetti afterwards at an Italian cafe, spaghetti tasteless, but at least it was a wonderful change!  The play (script) was incredibly bad, had nothing to work with at all, so I won't condemn the production so much.  Also bought a winter coat yesterday—all I do is spend money—the color is grey (EVERYTHING HERE is short on me) fleecy stuff, nothing exciting, but heavy and plenty large, but the style and cut of the thing is much better than most English things, a huge, intricate collar, straight lines but with a cut which allows some swing, and a double row of buttons down the front.  All the pretty tweeds were nothing more than skimpy on me in styles that do not allow for suits underneath, etc.  I like this one much better and the color will be good for years . . . Will send this in a couple of hours.  Ta ta.

Oct. 17-18, 1954

[handwritten on an Air Letter aerogramme, to her parents]

       Sunday, Oct. 17th, 9:15 PM
       Simply can't concentrate since Mrs. R. has the radio on so loud—am actually interested in a book for the first time in five weeks (haven't been able to concentrate)—it's the sociological report I bought in K.C.—The Lonely Crowd.  The reason I am writing is to point out a lamentable fact which will probably cost you more money, but will be more helpful in the long run.  I think it would be best if henceforth you send all letters air mail—the prints, of course, would naturally be too much.  Still, after much complaining & stewing around about how three of your letters were obviously lost in the mail, a little girl of my acquaintance informed me that letters going regular mail take anywhere from two to six weeks to get here!  I received your first big letter to the drama department, the thin one to Mrs. Reade's (both sent air mail) & Mellie's letter within four or five days of the date sent from K.C.  I have not as yet received anything else.  I cannot conceive of why they take so long otherwise, but it's a known fact over here that you'd might as well not send them than send anything regular.  I think they strap carriers on the backs of donkeys or oxcarts & go that way.
       I slept until 10:45 this morn, had breakfast, did a washing, ate lunch & went back to bed until 6:00—I was completely exhausted after my first week—especially since we (Jerry, Jack & another American: Rod Brown, who is older, married with two kids, & has an English driver's license) rented a car yesterday & drove first to Bath (went through the Roman baths, through the Theatre Royall & ate at a quaint old Georgian-type inn), then to Salisbury for a local rep production of Richard II (which wasn't worth the fifty minute drive).  It was a completely hilarious day, ending up at Prof. Kitto's (the local Greek prof who is a world-known scholar) for beer & eats—dragged home about 1:30 AM & collapsed.  This coming week is going to be almost as bad.  I want to talk to Wickham tomorrow about going to Birmingham to see a local man doing work in Creative Dramatics.  By the way I've found a place within walking distance which serves perfectly marvelous rare steaks!  Got a letter from Joann yesterday—hurrah—still no word from JTD—hope that park bench is hard!  It rained all day yesterday but I took my camera anyway—this will be the final test!  Have you ever taken pictures in a steam bath?  That's the way it was in the Roman baths yesterday.  What about Connie??!  These voice & movement classes are riotous—the movement teacher is like a Billy De Wolfe take-off on a ballet teacher—
       Oct. 18, 9:00 AM
       Got two letters from you today—mailed [on Oct.] 4th (exactly two weeks so that's not bad).  How many more are loose?  Did my letter from the boat ever get there?  Must run & get my shoes repaired.  Love, MJS

Oct. 26-28, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Tuesday—the 26th
       Hurrah, Huzzah, and Felicitades!
       The prints arrived this morning, can you imagine such a thing?  They are now up, pinned, but none the less up, reinforced by a Van Gogh reproduction of the Montparnasse restaurant and an Utrillo postcard print of another street in Mont Parnesse [sic], so's the room really has that Parisian atmosphere, veddy Bohemian, don't you know?  There is one nail in the wall over the fireplace so I hope to buy some incredibly loud Picasso in a frame to hang there . . . it just isn't worth it to buy frames and nails for the other eight.  Also have that horrible thing of JTD and friend pinned up in a dark corner to glance at occasionally and chuckle at . . . by the way, don't be silly, of course he'd love to hear from you.  He always liked you better than me, anyway.  Our letters are taking on the same argumentative tinge as our conversations do, as for example they never open in a conventional sense, but rather: "Don't blame me!  You got yourself into it."  Answer: "I did not!  I distinctly remember one spring day—"  Answer: "Your memory fails you on that point," etc. etc.  I'm looking forward to fighting my way through Christmas vacation.  His latest included an incredibly funny account of how he takes a bath in the local "middleclassed" hotel where he is residing (permanently) to which I shrieked so loudly that even Mrs. Reade heard me.
       On that point I thought I had told you about the Reades and their children, but guess that was John I told.  They had two, the boy Bob was killed in the war, only 21, had been in less than six months, the other is a girl named Nell, I think, is married with children.  We live in a five room flat which is part of a large old Victorian building, with about three or four other flats, we are on the street level, with one above, one next sort of down under, and another above that.
       Upstairs is a nice family except that the youngest child, a boy, has his room above mine, and begins every morning at 7, clump, bang, boom overhead . . . it just brings back fond memories of Central Park West and the little boy next door with his ball, running back and forth, so I go back to sleep.  Since Mr. R. is ill with bladder trouble the Mrs. and I oversleep every morning, this morn it was 9:30, luckily I'm not going in due to the fact that ONCE MORE INTO BREACH?  DEAR FRIENDS—six of us are going to Stratford-on-Avon this afternoon on the train, spend the night, see Troilus and Cressida, and go through the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Wednesday . . . marvelous? but expensive . . . So I stayed at home, wrapped a gift for little Kathleen (am I glad the ordeal is over—bet Corinne is too) . . . I resisted the desire to buy extravagant little stuffed rabbits dressed in velvet suits, knowing that Connie would stash them away somewhere and never use them—and was hideously practical and bought a long, bright wooden rattle with a suction cup end, which you can plunk anywhere and it will stay, and a tiny rubber toy, a little bear, that she can teeth on, play with in a bath, or sleep with . . . you know, practical?  Well, after much agony I got these wrapped and am going to the PO to mail them . . . Also had to pack my overnite bag.  Gerry [i.e. Jerry], Jack, Marcie, Glynne and Mrs. Wickham are going, by the way.
       The clippings are so wonderful, makes me feel closer to the tide of KC life, as it were.  I immediately mailed some applicable ones to John, but left out the one on the tortoises—I am going to mail it separately sometime when he gets depressed, because for some reason to me that was one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.
       Hope Daddy is feeling alright by now . . . of course it sounded like virus, but it's amazing what nerves can do . . . I had a bad case last week and went around snapping people's heads off, but all is rosy this week.  By the way, I got a very belated letter from Dr. Frank Loos.  Mailed from Illinois at the end of September, and I just got it from Joann last night.
       I've been buying things again—eight books this time, seven of them were very cheap, the eighth was an enormous gorgeous thing on stage machinery which George Rowell referred us to—by Richard Southern, one of the leading technicians and designers here, who designed our studio theatre, result of twenty years research . . . I had originally intended that I would buy this one (its cover was slightly soiled since it had been on the shelf for ages, since no one could afford to buy it undoubtedly) and buy another for John for Xmas, since his PhD thesis was on stage machinery & lighting, but after glancing quickly through the book, I erased the thumb prints and encased it in a plastic bag (they are God-sends) to save for him . . . it (most of it) is way over my head, replete with 300 plates of grooving Georgian shutter-flats and stage traps, etc.  I'm sure he will love it, but Ooh, la, la! for me, no.
       The rest of the books were either applicable to my project or things which Wickham recommended on the British theatre today and educational system (the latter book centering around Bristol U.).
       ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
       Yes, the prints arrived . . . No, no duty.
       Yes, all my cabin mates were Fulbrights, all nice . . . one in social work—forgot where she went.  Two in English Lit, one to Liverpool, good friend of mine, one to Southhampton.
       Meals (ugh) consist mostly of breakfast: cold cereal & milk, two pieces hard toast (my gums have started bleeding), tepid milk/coffee (called coffee), egg occasionally (boiled always, usually undercooked which makes me sick, so I've eliminated it), and dinner when I'm home: one dish, two pieces toast and coffee.  They are really awful—if I can get home for tea time (4:15-5:30) it is nice: tea and cookies or cake.  Lunch out (I can't manage to get all the way home and back in time).  The English do not know how to cook: that is all there is to it.  Had Sunday dinner at a couple of boys' flat, and theirs was not bad at all—especially a sherry-cake with strawberries dessert which was lovely.  They, by the way, have the most luxurious flat I've seen in all of England, all modern and slick with a clean, white WC (an unheard of phenomenon here), elegant bath with shower and tub, enormous sitting room with couches that convert and fireplace with gorgeous blue thick rug covering all the floor, a dining room with a kitchen running along the back which can be closed off by a lovely curtain , , , oh, luxury!  I go over when things get too bad here (like Sunday nite when the apartment above leaked down into our hall and we had to swim out the front door) and just drool.
       John's address is: M. (you know for Monsieur) John Douty, Hotel Lindberg (oi!), 5, Rue Chomel, Paris, VII, France.
       Among my adventures last week was a lovely production of Much Ado About Nothing from the Theatre Royall (the set was out of this world . . . arches constructed of rope with tremendous costuming), and a performance of the London Philharmonic . . . I was so starved for music I thought it was wonderful, but in retrospect I think it was probably wanting in many respects . . .trumpets blaring . . . flamboyant, etc.   By the way, Mr. R. gave me the tickets for the latter.  He is on many committees which send him free tickets.  Did I tell you the Theatre Royall was doing The Crucible?  I'm going to get tickets for every night if it's good, although I don't see how it can be, it's so difficult to do even in America.
       I am going to hold this until Wednesday when and if I get back—I have some photos being developed, some of Bristol, some in the Roman Baths.  I'm also going to take my camera today although per usual it's cloudy.  With the exception of TWO days, it has rained all the time I've been here.
       Mrs. R. is presently crashing our lunch together—I'm having it in, since I won't be going out until 2:00 or so.  Why don't you call Morton about tickets for Pygmalion?  I am going to have to write someone in order to find out what goes on in the theatre department.  Guess Jane D[avis] would be the best, since she is probably the only one who would write back.
       Cheerio for now.

       Thursday 28th 2:30
       Upon arriving home, found three of the prints had fallen, straight pins being what they are; will try thumb tacks next, then resort to frames when all else fails.  Before embarking on the telling of our "adventures" will make some usual description of photos:
       No. 18 was the one I left out before, and should be put in [the] scrapbook in that order.  It is, as I said earlier, Bolton's Abbey, 12th Century (near Haworth, where the Brontës lived).
       No. 1 of second set is my humble abode, Number 3 Oakland Road (yes, Redland—rather, no, Redland is not a suburb, but sort of another type of zoning system, I take it).  X marks the spot; immediately to the right, the Victorian set of three windows is the "drawing room."  The building is rather a yellow color, and as you can see, quite large.  Our doorway is to the left of my window, up some hellish steps.  (Notice all the windows [are] open.)
       No. 2 is top view of the art gallery on the left, and the University Tower where most of the classrooms, including the theatre department, are—this building is halfway between Reades' and the Centre (the main part of town).  The art gallery appears to be leaning in towards the Tower . . . the fault is mind, not the architect's.
       No. 3 is the Victoria Rooms, our Student Union building far cry from the Roost, eh?).  Those are fountains in front with a statue of Edward II . . . inside are all sorts of rooms for meetings, an auditorium, about three floors or so, and a bar . . . all antiquated and rather morbid.
       No. 4 [is]  a hideous misty (I think it was raining at the time) view of the Cathedral, part of it dates to the 12th Century, but most of it has been redone during the 19th.
       No. 5 [begins] the shots done in Bath.  5 itself is a view as you come in[to the] Roman baths (it was raining, so pardon).  This is the main bathing room, the pool, which is fed from natural warm springs, is twenty feet deep, open air.  The structure surrounding it is the original Roman, the building in back [is] provincial English (ha).
       No. 6 is the opposite view from 5, with the added attraction of Jack reading his guide book.  The pillars, I believe, were originally twice the height of these . . . evidently the cornices were added to the remains of them.
       No. 7 is a tantalizing view of my three angels, who accompanied me that fateful day: Gerry, Jack, and

 Brown in his motoring cap—so British, don't you know.  By the way, Rod's wife is a girl he met in England during the war.
       No. 8 is a shot of the Theatre Royall in Bath—which we were shown through . . . only dates back (the inside) to the 19th Century.
       So-o-o, there we are until next week when then Stratford pictures will be done.
       When I rolled out of bed this morning, my feet refused to hold me and I sat back down . . . they are blistered and pulpy messes or masses.  How can I in words express the inexpressible?  For sheer heaven and hell I will never experience the like of the past few days, so I won't burden you with too many details.  POURED Tuesday when we left—I went to the drama department to find out when the train left, who was going when—Wickham is usual uncommunicative mood.  (I'm glad I've had experience with John or I could learn to hate Wickham, but [I] like him for some strange reason).  So, I calmly went to class at 3:00, Jack finally ambled in, class started fifteen minutes late; at 3:45 I muttered, "Don't you think we'd better leave?"  Out we went (it was seminar style in a circle with only about eight, nine people present) with suitcase, stole, Minerva, umbrella, two overcoats, scarf.  Down dropped stole, Minerva, glasses case, umbrella.  "Excuse us," etc.  Outside the office we said to Wickham, having found out the train was to leave at 4:08, "How do we get to the station from here?"  "Oh, ummmuhhh, well, you just take a bus, outside."  "Which one?"  "Oh, ummuhh, any one—let me see, either No. 1, or 20, or 22 or 18."  "Where do we get it?"  "Oh, well—right outside somewhere."
       AHHHHH!
       Out Jack & I charged in the COLDEST, WETTEST rain I've ever felt . . . stood in the rain and piled on the bus.  Even the collector (i.e. the one who collects the tickets) forgot to yell out Temple Meads station, so we got off a stop late, RAN (in the wet, cold rain), grabbed tickets, RAN to the train, and got on, only to meet Marcie (God knows where she came from) getting on.
       Where were Wickham, Mrs. Wickham, and Gerry?
       THEY were driving up that night in the car!
       This will give you a good indication of how the whole trip went: arrived in Stratford in the cold, wet rain in the darkness, knowing not where to go.  And only had thirty minutes to get accommodations for the night and to get to the theatre.  Needless to say, we got to a hotel (very nice, but expensive) right across from the Theatre, through the help of the one taxi driver in town, whom we got to know quite well, after engaging him three times in 24 hours.  Went to see Troilus and Cressida that night—I do not care for the play—it is cynical, jaded, long (three hours fifteen minutes) and unpoetic, and the production did nothing to improve on the script of Shakespeare at his most bitter, shall we say.  The singing was absolutely incredible, beautifully executed, the set out of this world; the acting on the other hand was very inadequate for Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, but nevertheless it was so much better than anything I had ever seen that I was impressed.  One thing dimmed the evening's glamour: we had had nothing to eat for something like ten hours, and I had a sherry to warm me up and got awfully dizzy.  We realized we HAD to eat (at 11:00) so spent too much at the Theatre Restaurant that night.  It was very elegant, however, dining in that wonderful place.  To fill in, the Wickhams and Gerry arrived a half an hour late after running into a lorry and a stream (neither serious, I am sure both were exaggerated) and left after the performance, leaving Jack, Marcie and me to fend for ourselves.  We collapsed that night . . . it was cold, wet, and rainy, and [we] slept until almost 9:00.  Next day, lo, the sun was out, the birds chirping, and one could see why Stratford is considered so beautiful.  Marcie's and my room overlooked a lovely garden . . . [we] had a good breakfast, and after much mess over paying the bill, trying to figure out time tables back we went out to examine the Theatre and get shown around. The Avon is one of the loveliest sights I've ever seen with swans soaring over it.  Watching a flock of them swimming the water is really something.  Surrounding it are walks with green grass and rose gardens flanking it.  The theatre is ultra-modern, second only to the U.N.—inside a circular staircase to the dress circle with a green marble railing.  Below a huge fountain . . . well, you can see better when the photos come back.  We took pictures like mad, then started the trek to Anne Hathaway's cottage (by the way, Stratford is, as you can imagine, very much commercialized . . . everything is Will's Coffee House, Shakespeare's Men store, and that sort of thing).  Told by two little old ladies that it was only a five minute walk through the fields, we set out.  A half an hour later we were still trekking through the fields . . . FINALLY got there, only to glance at it (I was the only one who could afford to go through and then for only five minutes) because the cab we called arrived and we had to go back to meet an actor friend of Wickham's.  He turned out to be very nice, bought us a drink, and showed us around the theatre—what facilities the place has!  It is enormous and beautifully built—he had to go and get ready for the matinee.  We had lunch, sent a telegram to the Cannons saying we would be an hour late to a reception in Bristol that night, and woefully decided that in order to make the 5:05 train we would have to leave without seeing the last act of the play.  By this time (oh yes—we had accidentally gotten tickets for the night's performance and had to have them changed for that afternoon at the last minute) my nerves were in shreds.  We saw Taming of the Shrew.  If Shakespeare didn't plan the play that way, which I'm sure he did, he should have.  It was undoubtedly the best performance of Shrew, and probably of any Shakespeare I have ever seen, or ever hope to see.  I never conceived of that much being made out of one small play—the funniest, liveliest, prettiest show imaginable!  Every line, every gesture was sidesplitting . . . the set was indescribable, the acting so good that you didn't think of it at all except that these were real people and you were living it with them.  It was one of those rare experiences which transcended even saying, "This couldn't be" because you were so wrapped up in it, you didn't think of anything but what was happening.  To conclude the rhapsodizing—it was so good that you never in your wildest dreams could imagine anything like it being possible.  Of course we missed something like twenty minutes of it, and we were sick, but what could we do?  Arriving five minutes before the train was to leave, after RUNNING from the theatre to the hotel where our trusty taxi was waiting and throwing the bags in, we found to our horror that the tickets were 4s [four shillings] more than we had, and they wouldn't accept a check.  THIS WAS A TENSE MOMENT.
       (pause for effect)
       We paid off the rest in postage stamps!
       The trip back was marked by three changes of trains, having to walk over a bridge and ¾ of a mile on a footpath over railroad yards to get to another station, a twenty minute conversation with two switchmen (very nice), and walking all the way from the Bristol station to the place where the reception was, a 45 minute walk . . . we arrived, looking like three bums, two hours late, and ate everything they put before us like hungry dogs.  Ended up at Gerry's flat for coffee at 11:00 and Jack and I walked home from there at midnight.
       ! ! !  It was quite a day ! ! !
       Today I was awakened at 8:45 by Mrs. R. with a cup of hot tea, your Halloween card, and a letter from Jo, so all is right with the world now.  Today I bought one of the most gorgeous skirts I've ever seen (about £16), incredibly heavy wool (about five times the thickness of ordinary skirts), heavier than felt, kind of black and white design giving the effect of grey . . . very full with huge patch pockets.  It is strictly for Switzerland (if and when I get there in December) for evening wear.  Also ordered a dress, fleecy wool in luscious plum shade with high neck, very straight skirt, empire waist.  Also for holidays.  It is so beautiful while still being practical that I feel lucky to have found it.  That is all the buying I will do, with the exception of fur-lined boots and a heavy turtlenecked [sic] sweater, until spring.
       We're invited to Norman's and John's (the fellows with the lovely apartment) for an apple-dunking party for Halloween Saturday night and out to listen to records Sunday night—the rest of the time are Down in the Valley rehearsals from now until the second week in December.
       Yes, please save the Theatre Arts, and if it wouldn't be too much trouble could you look up the one with The Crucible in it (last October or November) and send it?  I want to look at the script before I go, we're invited to a rehearsal for such advice as we could give from the American viewpoint.  I don't think it will cost much to send, will it?  If so, don't.
       Guy Fawkes Day is coming November 4th [sic]—their 4th of July and you should hear it already, Daddy.  Be glad you are far away.
       I have no idea where Dr. Adams is—I though he was travelling around; he did mention Germany once to John, but nothing definite.
       Sorry about Morton and the tickets but you can expect that sort of thing from him—I hope you went anyway so you can tell me about it.
       I think I've said about everything that can be said in one letter—so will close for now.  Hope all are well.  Much love, Jean
       P.S.  Did I tell you that I went through every pair of hose I owned (bar one, which I am saving).  I am presently wearing a darling schoolteacherish pair of "heavyweights," very sexy, I assure you, sort of like those Mrs. Roberts wears when she is out weeding the yard.

 


Notes

[click on the > at the end of each Note to return to its source above]
 

  The Fulbright Program, created in 1946, was proposed by Senator J. William Fulbright to forgo the war debts of foreign countries by funding an international educational exchange with government grants.  Mila Jean received an "Information from Great Britain" Fulbright brochure predicting that "you will, perhaps, be overly conscious of yourself at first as an American abroad, but will soon come to feel a proprietary interest in the British community, be it academic or otherwise....  Ultimately you will return to America understanding Anglo-American relations at an immediate and personal level and, one might guess, surprised to have discovered that the peoples of two countries could be at the same time so alike and yet so different....  Much of this can only be learned as all other Americans who have come to this country have learned it—by trial and error."  >
  John Templeman Douty was born in Baltimore MD on Mar. 27, 1920, the son of James Frederick and Mary Furlong Douty.  He graduated from Forest Park High School in 1938 and earned his bachelor's degree from Western Maryland College in 1942.  The Aloha yearbook described him as "Aesthetic, breezy, sophisticated and full of casual disdain.  A devotee of the stage, as spectator or actor.  Is now in the service of Uncle Sam, Inc."—having enlisted as a warrant officer.  For "a brief time in the early 1940s" John was married to Mary Elinor Moore, a chemist at Johns Hopkins and ardent Baltimore Orioles fan (as per her 2006 obituary; she retained his surname post-divorce).  John himself attended Johns Hopkins at one point, but earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Denver; his 1950 master's thesis was "A Study of the Factors Governing Scenic Design in Fifty-two Community Theaters," and his 1953 doctoral thesis was titled Scenic Styles in the Modern American Theatre.  He succeeded Charles Moore as Assistant Director of the KCU Playhouse, with Mila Jean as his assistant.  In 1953-54 he staged The Taming of the Shrew, Daniel Boone (with Mary Jane Davis as Mrs. Appleby), and Arthur and His Magic Sword.  >
  The Nashes were Mila Jean's older sister Mellie Agnes aka Mildred Aileen (1918-2017), her husband William Henry "Pete" (1918-1985) and their daughter Marcia Ann (who, being less than ten years younger than Jeanie, was both her niece and surrogate kid sister).  In Oct. 1953 they moved twenty miles east of KCMO to Blue Springs, then still a fairly rural community; sixty years later it would be the tenth largest city in Missouri.  >
  Horseshoe Curve is a five-mile railway bend west of Altoona PA; in 1942 it was unsuccessfully targeted by German saboteurs.  During 1954 it celebrated the centennial of its opening.  >
  Mila Jean began a lifelong friendship with Joann Stegman (later Soulier) in 1951 when both were members of the A Cappella Choir at KCU.  Patricia was Joann's older sister; like their father Ignace, she was a professional artist.  >
  In his New York Evening Sun column, Don Marquis wrote of a cockroach named Archy who typewrote poetry (all in lowercase, being unable to operate the shift key) when no humans were in the newspaper office.  >
  Tallulah Bankhead, who worked long and hard to be the most flamboyant libertine of her generation, starred as Dolores in Dear Charles, which opened at Broadway's Morosco Theatre on Sep. 15, 1954, the night before Mila Jean saw it.  The production ran for 155 performances, closing on Jan. 29, 1955.
  Robert Anderson's Tea and Sympathy ("Years from now, when you speak of this, and you will, be kind") had opened on Broadway in Oct. 1953, starring Deborah Kerr and John Kerr; they were succeeded in their roles by Joan Fontaine and Anthony Perkins.  >
  On Sep. 11, 1954, Hurricane Edna caused the heaviest day of rainfall in New York City since 1909.  >
  Like Tea and Sympathy, John Patrick's The Teahouse of the August Moon opened on Broadway in Oct. 1953 and had an even longer run, starring John Forsythe, David Wayne, and Paul Ford.  >
  Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton lived from 1757 to 1854; after husband Alexander's death in the duel with Aaron Burr, she co-founded New York's first Orphan Asylum Society, and in her nineties helped Dolley Madison raise funds to build the Washington Monument.  >
  Mila Jean's parents at 3908 College in KCMO were
Francis See "Frank" Smith (1896-1973) and Ada Louise Ludeke Smith (1907-2011)—herself a famous pen pal, so it's regrettable we don't have her letters to Jeanie in Europe.  >
  The S.S. United States was built in 1952, the largest ocean liner constructed in its namesake nation, and the fastest to cross the Atlantic.  It provided passenger service till 1969, then followed the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth into retirement.  A bird's eye view of the ship can be seen during the opening sequence of West Side Story.  >
  George Wallace Laycock (1909-1992), a Virginia native, was business manager of the Conway Hospital in eastern South Carolina.  A snapshot of him with Mila Jean on the S.S. United States can be seen here.  >
  Les Belles de nuit (Beauties of the Night) was a 1952 René Clair film starring Gérard Philipe and Marline Carol as well as Gina Lollobrigida.  It received a Golden Lion nomination at the Venice Film Festival.  >
  Hobson's Choice, directed by David Lean and starring John Mills along with Charles Laughton, had been released in June in the United States; it would win the British Academy Film Award for Best British Film of 1954.  >
  The "Information from Great Britain" Fulbright brochure suggested that "it is wise to keep your baggage to a minimum; shortages of general commodities are no longer acute in the United Kingdom.  Normal consumer goods and food are not so short as is generally believed in America and it is certainly a handicap to have too large a quantity of luggage to fit into your rooms when you arrive."  (Postwar rationing in Great Britain had in some ways been stricter than during the war; it did not formally end until July 1954, less than three months before Mila Jean's arrival.)  >
  Mary Jane Davis (later Dodds, eventually Carter) was another lifelong friend found by Mila Jean during college days at the KCU Playhouse.  >
  The inflatable life preserver, invented in 1928, took its nickname from Mae West's hourglass shape.  >
  In the 1930s William (Bill) McGehee (1924-2013) starred with his brother Dick in WHB radio's KC Kiddies Review.  Following naval duty in World War II he attended KCU, graduating in 1950 with a degree in botany but also serving as photographer for the Playhouse and Kangaroo yearbook, writing skits for the Bounders fraternity, and directing a Fall Frolic and Burly-Q-Ball.  Bill later founded and was CEO of the stage-outfitting Allied Theater Crafts.  (Mila Jean tended to spell his surname "McGeehee.")  >
  Sadler's Wells derives its name from the mineral water springs on property owned by Richard Sadler, who in 1683 opened a "musick house" in Islington.  A series of theatres (some notorious for drunkenness and debauchery) were built on the same site during the 18th and 19th Centuries.  The fifth Sadler's Wells opened in 1931, including a repertory ballet company and school.  >
  Billy Wilder's Sabrina, starring Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, and Audrey Hepburn in the title role, was a brand-new release in Sep. 1954.  >
  The "Egyptian excavation" was Valley of the Kings, a 1954 adventure film starring Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker.  >
  "The question remains of course of your residence in Bristol," the University of Bristol's Assistant Registrar had written Mila Jean on June 25th.  "I am actually glad to hear that you are not anxious to live in one of our women's Halls of Residence as I had already approached the wardens on your behalf and they have not a vacancy for next year which they can offer you....  Some Fulbright students in the past have asked [the University Accommodation Officer] to fix them up with a room in a small hotel for a couple of weeks until they themselves have had time to look around Bristol and choose their own accommodation for the year."  >
  As Geoffrey Watt, Deputy Secretary of the United States Educational Commission (telegraphic address "USEDCOM") wrote Mila Jean on Aug. 26th, the Fulbright Scholars would be given a special five-day introduction to life at British universities:

The purpose of this program is two-fold.  Firstly, it is to give you an understanding of and an interest in the part of Britain and type of institution to which you are going, and an appreciation of the special advantages and privileges available to you there.  Secondly, because you will be located some distance from London you will find it more difficult than the students at Oxford, Cambridge and London, to share in some of the activities planned by the Commission throughout the year in London.  This special program is designed, therefore, to compensate you in some measure for this loss....  The Commission urges you most strongly to take advantage of the program at Grantley Hall[,] believing it will contribute immensely to the success of your year in Britain.  We will expect you to attend, in fact, unless you have some pressing reason for not doing so.

Geoffrey Watt informed "Dear Miss Smith" that "if you are married, your wife is welcome to attend and the Commission will pay her maintenance too"—which was either an unusually broadminded offer for 1954, or evidence of insufficient proofreading.  >
  Bedford College, founded in 1849, was the first institution for women's higher education in the United Kingdom.  In 1900 it became one of the University of London's constituent schools.  >
  "You are coming to a country where the climate never becomes extremely hot or extremely cold, but where a chilly dampness is usual during the autumn and winter months," predicted the "Information from Great Britain" Fulbright brochure.  "Most Americans find that woollen underwear, warm socks, warm pyjamas, woollen sweaters, etc., are essential.  Equally essential is rainwear—raincoats and heavy shoes—and women having [i.e. who have] lined snowboots should bring them."  >
  Muriel Therese Tetreault (1926-1981) was born in Providence RI, graduated from Brown University in 1953, and lived in Pawtucket in 1954.  A year later she married fellow Brown alumnus Philip Mercier PhD, with whom she had five children.  After Muriel's death, her sister Dr. Alice Teatreault married Philip and they moved to South Carolina.  A snapshot of Muriel with Mila Jean on the S.S. United States can be seen here.  >
  Pal Joey, a 1940 Rodgers & Hart musical with book by John O'Hara, had its first West End production in 1954.  Its cast included Lou Jacobi, Arthur Lowe (later Captain Mainwaring on Dad's Army) and Carol Bruce (later Mr. Carlson's mother on WKRP in Cincinnati.)  >
  Bristol is in southwest England, a port city at the confluence of the Rivers Frome and Avon, originally called Brycgstow or Brigstowe—"the place at the bridge" spanning the Avon.  It gained prominence as an embarkation point for voyages to the New World, becoming a major shipping and manufacturing center; but as such, it was frequently targeted during World War II and heavily damaged by the Luftwaffe.  >
  Robert Francis St. John Reade, born in Middlesex in 1889, was a teacher at Bristol's Clifton College in 1936 when he set up the Bristol and District Labour Association of Consituency Parties, despite disapproval from Labour Party HQ at Transport House.  His bitterness against party leadership's obstructionism "made him at times an embarrassing ally" (as per Ben Pimlott's Labour and the Left in the 1930s, viewable at Google Books).  Even so, St. John would be a prominent member of the Provisional Committee of Consituency Parties chaired by Stafford Cripps, then MP for Bristol East, later Ambassador to the Soviet Union and member of Clement Attlee's Cabinet.  In the 1950s, St. John served as a Bristol alderman and chair of a committee advocating comprehensive education.  He married Helen Gourlay Harvey (1887-1962) and they had two children, Nell and Robert.  St. John died in 1965 and a hostel built in 1968 for students of the Redland Teaching College and Bristol Polytechnic was named in his honor.  (Mila Jean would demonstrate the British pronunciation of "St. John" by imitating Mr. Reade answering the telephone: "Sinn-Jinn Reade here!")  >
  In the days before air conditioning, houses often included a screened-in sleeping porch for summer use.  This was true for the Smith family house at 3908 College in KCMO; also for the Ehrlichs's at 5505 Holmes when we moved there in 1962, though ours would be enclosed a few years later.  >
  Grantley Hall, described by USEDCOM's Geoffrey Watt as "a lovely 18th Century country house near Ripon in the West Riding of Yorkshire," belonged to Fletcher Norton the 1st Baron Grantley, Speaker of the House of Commons from 1770 to 1780 and known to satirists as "Sir Bullface Doublefee."  Grantley Hall was used as a convalescent home during World War II, then by the West Riding County Council as an adult residential college.  >
  Haworth Parsonage in the West Riding of Yorkshire was the Brontë sisters's home after their father Patrick became parson of St. Michael and All Angels's Church.  Most of the Brontë novels were written there, and the Brontë Society turned the parsonage into a museum in 1928.  >
  Bolton Abbey was founded in the 12th Century as an Augustinian monastery, and though left in ruins after Henry VIII's Dissolution, it remains a working priory.  >
  The "incidental expense allowance" from Mila Jean's Fulbright grant was to cover essential books, library subscription fees, charges for typing and photostating, and travel expenses incurred within the United Kingdom in connection with her project.  Items not covered were insurance, newspapers, periodicals, personal stationery (as opposed to notepaper), postages, and "purchase of typewriters, cameras, fountain pens and items of a personal nature such as academic gowns."  The incidental expense allowance was f
or £36, to be paid in two lump sums; "when you have exhausted [the first] £18 you should submit a claim for the second instalment."  >
  Glynne William Gladstone Wickham (1922-2004), great-grandson of William Ewart Gladstone, was appointed in 1948 to the University of Bristol's Drama Department, first of its kind in the United Kingdom, and innovative in treating drama as a laboratory subject (using a converted squash court as studio space; Harold Pinter's first play would premiere there in 1957).  An eminent scholar in his field, Wickham published several works on theater history, presided for many years over the American Society for Theater Research, and was consulted about the modern recreation of Shakespeare's Globe.  >
  After seeing Mila Jean off on Sep. 17th, John Douty embarked a day later for Le Havre on the S.S. Ile de France; its passenger manifest shows a Baltimore address and "Indefinite" for "Length of time passenger intends to remain abroad."  Planning to enroll at the Sorbonne, he wrote Mila Jean on Oct. 1st from Paris's Hotel des Saints Pères:

World traveler, raconteuse, and bon vivant—Salud! or whatever the appropriate greeting may be—Good to know that you have weathered the first part of your adventure and are settled with people who deserve you....  It sounds like you are having fun—but my diagnosis of your convulsion at Henry IV's tomb is that you had your kings mixed up and confused him with Laurence the Olivier....  [The Ile de France was] much less pretentious than the United States—like me, a little worn and old-timey—but quite pleasant and comfortable.  My inside cabin gave me a sheltered in the womb feeling to which I surrendered, going out only for such absolute necessities as going to the dining room or the bar....  Since I early resolved to speak to no one on the ship, my two table mates—a vivacious Swiss young lady returning after two years in the USA, and a stiff necked young lady from New Orleans—must have thought me rude, but I rationalized that they had to entertain the French Air Force between meals and should be happy for an hour's respite twice a day....  Since being in Paris, have done nothing but walk—down boulevards and up narrow twisting streets.  I daresay I have seen more of Paris than most Parisians see in a lifetime.  Have been in nothing but by everything—national monuments, tawdry nightclubs, respectable middle class houses and shops of all descriptions.  And, of course, the history of Paris (and, by implication, the world) is written on placards on the walls.  These—and the menus posted in every restaurant window—are my reading material.  I have been dining in small restaurants on side streets and have yet to hit a blooper....  These Parisiennes—unaccustomed to the tourist trade—have been friendly, considerate and helpful when I have trouble with the language—and when I am tired it leaves me completely—they patiently mime their impression of what I am trying to say—miming again and again, until we manage to establish communication....  The only real difficulty is that I have not yet found permanent quarters.  Partly this is because Paris is terribly overcrowded and one does not just pick a room out of the classified section of the paper.  And partly it is because the return to the womb experienced on the ship (the fact that we were in fog the whole way across helped) has not yet left me and I find it more than usually difficult to be decisive.  Have set a deadline for Monday to get out of this hotel and into something cheaper—and counting on finances to take control....  >

  On Oct. 5th (the same day that Mila Jean asked "Oh, Wickham, where art thou!") Professor Wickham wrote:

Dear Miss Smith, I am sorry I was not in the department this morning to welcome you.  Would it be convenient for you to come & see me at 10 a.m. on Thursday?  I am asking Mr. Sommers (from Minnesota) & Mr. Leider (from Syracuse) to come in then, so that I may discuss your programmes with you.  I can appreciate your anxiety to get to grips with a schedule as soon as possible.  If you would care to come around on the off-chance of finding me unoccupied tomorrow, please do so; but I cannot promise to give you much exclusive attention.  I look forward greatly to making your acquaintance & hope that the programme we are arranging for you will meet your wishes.  Yours sincerely, Glynne Wickham  >

  Gerald J. Leider (called both Jerry and Gerry by Mila Jean; "Jerry" in his online biographies) was born in Camden NJ in 1931 and graduated from Syracuse University.  IMDB.com acknowledges he "was a Fulbright Scholar in Drama at Bristol University."  Afterward Leider went on to a stellar career as a television, film and stage producer; program executive at CBS; senior partner in a New York talent agency; president of Warner Bros. Television; and CEO of ITC Entertainment.  >
  Marcelline (Marcie) Krafchick graduated from Beaver College (now called Arcadia University) in Glenside PA in 1954.  Following her Fulbright year abroad, she earned her MA in Comparative Literature and Drama from the University of North Carolina; taught at San Francisco State and Santa Clara University; then spent over thirty years in the English Department at California State University, Hayward (now East Bay), receiving her PhD in 1985.  >
  John J. (Jack) Sommers was born in Duluth MN in 1933.  Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Carleton College in 1954, he later earned his master's degree from Amherst and his PhD from Iowa State.  While teaching English at Brandeis he became involved in public television, producing at Boston's WGBH-TV and winning seven local Emmys at WTTW-TV in Chicago.  In 1973 he became manager of Pittsburgh's new NPR station, WQED-FM, producing and narrating Pittsburgh Symphony broadcasts.  He died of a heart attack in 1977, aged only 44, and was succeeded three years later as WQED manager by his widow Ceci O'Riley Sommers.  >
  Charles R. Niehaus, an Indiana native, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Butler University in 1949, then earned his MA in History from Harvard and went on to teach humanities at MIT.  His 1954 Fulbright scholarship was to study the history of English at the University of London.  Receiving his PhD from Harvard in 1958, Dr. Niehaus became director of cultural heritage at Maine's Bates College in 1962.  >
  The "golden-throated" reception to welcome the newly-arrived Fulbrighters was held at Dartmouth House in Berkeley Square, and was hosted by the Countess Alexander of Tunis (born Lady Margaret Bingham; her nephew Lord Lucan disappeared in 1974 after allegedly bludgeoning his children's nanny to death, a case that fascinated Mila Jean).  >
  Howard Morris was a classically trained Shakespearean actor who co-starred on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows and is best remembered for his portrayal of Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show.  >
  Bonnie may have been Bonnie Jean Royer (born 1931) who played Mrs. Tancred in Juno and the Paycock and was stage manager of Lysistrata; she and Mila Jean were members of the KCU Cap and Gown honor society in 1951-52.  Her family lived in the Smiths's old neighborhood near Northeast High School (the Royers at 412 North Lawn; the Smiths had lived at 412 South Lawn).  Bonnie earned her master's at the University of Kansas, where John Newfield directed her in a 1952 production of The Morning Star (penned by Henry C. Haskell, editor of the Kansas City Star), and where she herself directed three one-act plays in 1953.  She was associate director of the Monticello College preparatory school in Alton IL when she married J. Robert Madden in 1958.  >
  Connie was Mila Jean's middle sister Corinne Doris Frisby (1924-2016), who at this time was approaching her due date to deliver her fourth child.  >
  Bertram L. Joseph (1915-1981) was an authority on Elizabethan Acting (as he titled a scholarly book published in 1951 and revised in 1964).  A native of Wales, he went from the University of Bristol to the University of Washington in Seattle, and then founded the Queens College drama and theater department in 1970, becoming an American citizen in 1979.  An "Award for Achievement in Shakespeare Production in America" was named in his honor.  >
  H.D.F. Kitto (1897-1982), a classical scholar, taught Greek at the University of Glasgow from 1920 to 1944, then at the University of Bristol until retirement.  In 1954 he was Chairman of the Consultative Committee for the Drama Department, which Mila Jean remarked made him the department's "titular head."   Dr. Kitto's 1952 survey of Greek culture (titled simply The Greeks) became a standard textbook.  >
  Hubert C. Heffner (1901-1985), born in North Carolina, was Professor of Dramatic Literature at Northwestern from 1930 to 1939, then head of the Department of Speech and Drama at Stanford from 1939 to 1954.  He served as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Bristol in 1954-55, then went on to Indiana University where he remained till retirement in 1971.  >
  Patricia McIlrath (1917-1999) took over the KCU Playhouse in 1954.  During Mila Jean's Fulbright Year abroad, correspondence was exchanged (some startlingly signed "Patty McIlrath"); upon Jeanie's return, Doctor Mac became a beloved mentor throughout her tenure at KCU/UMKC and the Missouri Repertory Theatre, of which Doctor Mac was artistic director from its founding in 1964 till her retirement in 1985.  >
  Bristol's Theatre Royal was built in the 1760s; new management after World War II created the Bristol Old Vic company to staff it.  Mila Jean's references to the "Theatre Royall" may have been in tribute (conscious or sub-) to Dr. Norman N. Royall Jr. (1908-1983), mathematics professor at KCU/UMKC and dean of its College of Arts & Sciences from 1947 till the 1953 "Revolution."  (I myself took Dr. Royall's introductory physical science class in my first semester of college, which was his next-to-last semester before retirement. >
  Marching Song was a 1953 play by John Whiting; the Encyclopedia Britannica found it "too literary for audiences."  >
  No Sign of the Dove was Peter Ustinov's 1953 reworking of the Noah story; it did not succeed with critics or at the box office.  >
  A Skating Corps de Ballet production of Sinbad the Sailor on Ice was broadcast by BBC Television on Feb. 7, 1954.  >
  The Berkeley, according to Google, is a "large pub with a stained-glass dome and a small whispering gallery in a former shopping arcade."  >
  Texas-born J. Morton Walker (1920-2002) was Technical Director at the KCU Playhouse, and with John Douty had encouraged ("forced!") Mila Jean to apply for her Fulbright Scholarship; he later co-founded the Kansas City Lyric Opera and Missouri Repertory Theatre.  >
  John Lavender was one of the "four musketeers" assembled by Glynne Wickham to staff the University of Bristol's pioneering Drama Department; the other two were George Brandt and George Rowell.  An obituary Brandt wrote for Wickham in the Guardian called Lavender an "omnicompetent technician," and an award was established in Lavender's name for the Bristol drama graduate with "significant off-stage and off-screen [i.e. technical] contributions."  In Dec. 1954 he produced Hello Out There and Down in the Valley for the department's Green Room Society, with Mila Jean as his assistant.  >
  By inserting a coin, "bathroom geysers" provided hot water for bathing.  >
  The Lonely Crowd, an analysis of three different cultural types (inner-directed, other-directed, tradition-directed), was published in 1950.  >
  Ronald Martin ("Rod") Brown was born in Kansas in 1920, the son of a Methodist minister.  He attended Southwestern College in Winfield KS, where he was president of the Campus Players and member of a trumpet quartet.  Graduating in 1942, he promptly enlisted and flew as a bombadier-navigator during World War II, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and a Presidential Citation.  Rod also met and married June E. Laws (born 1925 in Ipswich, daughter of Frederick G. and Evelyn Barker Laws), who with many other war brides (and infant daughter Erica, born in England in Mar. 1946) sailed to the United States on the USAT Henry Gibbins, arriving in May 1946.  Rod returned to Winfield KS, where daughter Diane was born in 1947, and then took his family to Colorado, where he received his first master's degree from Denver University.  The Browns were living in Denver in Apr. 1949 when June, Erica and Diane embarked for a five-month visit to England on the Queen Mary.  Before earning his second master's degree from Bristol University, Rod joined the speech and dramatic art faculty at Alfred University in western New York in 1949, serving as department chairman and theater director in the 1970s; "his research interests have included an analysis of conflict in the plays of Strindberg and O'Neill, and a study of dialects in Western New York" (as per the Dec. 19, 1974 Wellsville Daily Reporter).  June, who'd received her bachelor's degree from Leicester College of the Arts and her master's from State University of New York, worked as an Alfred University librarian and was active with theater productions and the Wee Playhouse.  Rod Brown died in 1980, just short of his 60th birthday, and was buried at Alfred Rural Cemetery; June joined him there in 2009; their daughters both married and were living in Brooklyn and Queens respectively.
     (The Browns resisted my detection for many months, due to "Rod" actually being Ronald.  It was not until I found Erica and Diane on the 1949 Queen Mary
manifest—listed as if traveling alone at ages three and two, due to being American citizens while their "alien" mother June was entered separately—that I gained the Winfield KS key.  Thanks to the scanner[s] of the 1940s Southwestern Moundbuilder yearbooks for revealing Rod's full name.)  >
  On Oct. 13th, Professor Kitto wrote Mila Jean to say, "My wife and I should be very glad if you could help us drink beer (or something equivalent) on Saturday evening next, any time between 8:30 and midnight.  It will be more or less an American party."  >
  John Douty had in fact written from Paris's Hotel Lindberg on Oct. 16th:

Écoutez, poupée [Listen, doll]—Don't blame me!  The children's theatre gimmick was your idea.  I distinctly remember coming into the [KCU Playhouse] office early one afternoon to find you furiously attacking the typewriter and muttering obscenities to the effect that no one would help you and that you no longer cared what happened.  But I suppose you have this straightened out by now.  The obligatory scene with Mr. Wyecliff [sic] has taken place and the poor man has retreated, shattered, to his bottle....  I am probably settled for the rest of my days in Paris (inertia being what it is) but not exactly as I planned....  I went to the University [of Paris, i.e. the Sorbonne] to try to find out what I have gotten myself into.  I knew in advance that I would get no real information (I learned on the Ile de France that the French believe in guarding their secrets and this trait asserted itself even more strongly as I wandered around town trying to find out where an alien goes to register) but as a confirmed head-banger-against-the-wall, I tried.  The Secretariat seemed pleased that my papers were in order.  Beyond that we did not get.  When did one register?  Between October 30 and November 30.  What courses were being offered?  One would discover this when one registered.  Was there someone who advised foreign students?  One would discover this when one registered.  Was there, perhaps, a calendar of the University?  One would discover this when one registered.  And so far into the afternoon....  It leaves me in a peculiar legal position.  The French government is willing to admit that I am here (I finally found where an alien goes to register) and that I am probably here to stay, but it won't make it legal until I produce a student ID card.  So I am running around with a piece of tissue paper with a horrid picture of myself attached.  No policeman will admit ever having seen such a paper before and every time I go to register my change of address (and this always involves at least two trips after I have found the proper place) there is a committee meeting while the police decide whether my paper is in order, whether I should go someplace else to get it in order, whether I should be here at all (this involves a lengthy autobiography on my part) and finally a reluctant acceptance of the fact that I am here and it is better to have my name on the books than for me to be going around unregistered...  >

  Billy de Wolfe was a character actor who specialized in playing pencil-mustached fussbudgets on stage, screen, and television.  >
  John Douty's account of bathing at the Hotel Lindberg:

Each bath is a supplement, as you know, but this does not worry me nearly so much as the production involved.  I must go all the way down to the desk ... and tell Madame that the time has come for a bath.  She presses a button and a bell rings, audible throughout the building.  In a few minutes, the femme de chambre calls down from whichever floor she is working.  Madame then instructs her—in a voice also audible throughout the building—"Un bain pour numéro onze."  Then I race up to my room, grab my towel, washcloths and soap and make my way down to the 2nd (3rd) floor where I find the femme de chambre in the bathroom, running the water and offering additional towels.  After a short conversation, it is possible to proceed normally, but it is somehow unnerving to have ones state of cleanliness a matter for public proclamation.  >

  Kathleen Ann, fourth child of Connie and Carl Frisby and Mila Jean's third niece, was born on Oct. 16th.  >
  While serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Frank M. Loos of KCMO met and married his wife Mary in England, where they returned for several years after he earned his postwar bachelor's degree at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Loos was later dean of students at Lincoln College in Illinois, and then professor of psychology at Northeastern Illinois University.  >
  George Rignall Rowell (1923-2001) taught at Bristol University from 1951 to 1987, and was one of the "four musketeers" who developed its Drama Department.  An expert on Victorian theater and melodrama, he wrote and edited many books on these subjects.  >
  Besides extensive work as a stage designer, Richard Southern devoted himself to research into historical theater construction.  In 1951 he designed the Studio Theatre for the University of Bristol, where he lectured for many years.  >
  Usually spelled "Lindbergh" by Mila Jean (which I have silently corrected, since John Douty who lived there usually left off the final H), the Hotel Lindberg at 5 Rue Chomel in Paris is today the Hôtel Signature Saint Germain des Près.  "In a traditional Haussmann-era building ... this family-run boutique hotel is a 2-minute walk from Sèvres-Babylone metro station and 14 minutes from the Musée d'Orsay (art museum)."  >
  "Minerva" was Mila Jean's shoulder bag, though not positively identified as such until June 1955.  >
  Temple Meads is the largest railway station in Bristol and also the oldest, opening in 1840 as the terminus of the Great Western Railway from London.  >
  The Arden Hotel, still in highly-rated business across the street from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, has been leased to the Royal Shakespeare Company since 1965.  Its main house dates from the 17th Century.  >
  The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opened in 1932, replacing a previous one of that name that had burned down in 1926.  It was renamed the Royal Shakespeare in 1961.  >
  Glynne Wickham had provided "Miss M.C. Smith — University of Kansas" [sic] and "Mr. J. Summers" [also sic] with a letter of introduction to the Theatre manager, Mr. D. [actually George] Hume.  "I am sending them to see the performance of Troilus and Cressida, and am hoping that it will be possible for them to see the stage and its machinery during the course of tomorrow morning.  If you could kindly arrange for them to be shown around it, I should be very grateful."  >
  Down in the Valley, a one-act folk opera with music by Kurt Weill and libretto by Arnold Sungaard, was conceived as a radio production in 1945 and revised for the Indiana University School of Music stage in 1948.  Tony Randall directed a Provincetown Playhouse version in 1952.  >
  Frank Smith's ears were unusually sensitive to explosive noises, which made it extra fortunate that he was not called up to serve in World War I (as had seemed likely in Fall 1918, despite his having a wife and baby daughter and a severe bout with influenza earlier that year).  >

  On Oct. 30th John Douty wrote to the "Face on the Barroom Floor":

Your faculty does sound good ... perhaps better in contrast to the UKC faculty.  Is your little Mr. Joseph the author of a slight book with the imaginative title, Elizabethan Acting, published about three or four years ago?  I remember being impressed with it as an excellent example of "leave-no-stone-unturned" scholarship—both in its erudition and its aridity.  It is quite good that you should have contact with Mr. Heffner ... he is one of the better men in the second generation of educational theatre.  He claims to be quite good at dramatic criticism but is best known at Stanford (on the few occasions when he is there) as a raconteur....  I still had your earlier letter stuffed in an old duffle bag and was able—using standard scholarly procedures—to identify the persons mentioned in your latest.  That is, I have succeeded in identifying them all if Jerry and Gerry are (is) the same person.  Albeit, you seem to have integrated into the group very well...

I went to THE opera to see Gounod's Faust.  It was opera in the grand fashion.  Full symphony orchestra in the pit, augmented with pipe organ backstage and brass band onstage for the Soldier's Chorus.  The sets were composed of acres of realistically painted, flabby flats which, judging from their style and condition, had been painted just before impressionism came in.  Musically, the performance was not up to the Met, Faust and the Devil being good, Marguerite sounding like Jane Davis, and the chorus being ragged.  And stage direction!—"how the ghost of John Newfield haunts this Playhouse"...  apparently the only direction given the supers was to stay out of the way of the singers and dancers.  So—they alternately huddled in the upstage corners or wandered aimlessly about the stage, flirting, quarreling and discussing their chances in the national lottery....  The shifts were incredibly noisy—including hammering.  All in all, it was an amazingly sloppy performance and, in a collegiate set-up, would have started all the old biddies muttering about amateurism.  But this was THE opera so we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the ride....

The police refused to recognize my visa and issue a carte de sejour [residence permit] until I would present a student ID card providing that  was actually registered in a school.  (They've met my type before!)  So one day I walked over to the University to register.  In a matter of hours, I had gathered my registration materials and discovered that one registered first and then decided for which examinations one would prepare.  I bravely went with the mob to a desk which seemed to be the proper one and presented my credentials.  The grande-dame behind the desk brushed me aside muttering something to the effect that she was registering masters candidates and I had doctors credentials.  I pushed my way back to the desk and demanded that she tell me where to go.  She stifled her first reaction and directed me to another office which was in charge of the doctors.  I went there and found it closed on the flimsy excuse that the secretary was presiding at an examination.  I returned to the grand-dame.  She repeated that she would have nothing to do with me and pushed me aside again.

In my wanderings around the University I had several times passed an open door behind which sat a seedy little man with apparently nothing to do.  He was aloof from the activity of the University but interested so I made my way back to that office, forced my way [in] and explained my problem to him.  He was sympathetic but felt it had nothing to do with him....  I collapsed completely.  The little man panicked and took me into an inner office to speak to his boss.  His boss—obviously faculty—spoke fluent English and I repeated my story to him.  He felt that my problem was primar[il]y language and assigned little man to get me registered.  Little man took me back to grande-dame (after rudely pushing the other would-be registrants out of the way) and once again we heard her story.  Then he took me to the doctor's office and, using his boss's official position, found out where the secretary was.  He took me through several "Public Keep Out" doors to talk to her.  She told us we should register with grande-dame.  Back we went and, this time, little man had two sets of authority behind him and refused to give in.  Grande-dame finally capitulated and confessed that she was the last stop in the procedure.  We then went to another office where little man turned me over to a Rabelaisian giant who made up for the lack of hair on his head with what he had on his chin.  Little man and I parted with many courtly bows, and giant gathered me up in his arms and practically carried me past the other would-be registrants to the head of the line.  He turned my credentials over to the first clerk and left me with repeated assurances that all would be well.  I moved quickly from one rubber stamp to the next until I again faced grande-dame.  This time she accepted me and I scrawled my signature in a great book, thereby becoming another cog in the great Faculty of Letters of the University of Paris.  If nothing else, I am now legally an alien in Paris and have access to the University Library....  >


List of Illustrations

●  Three portrait photos of "The Woman Involved"
●  Mila Jean and Patricia Stegman
●  Joann Stegman
●  Mila Jean and Papa Ignace Stegman
●  Mila Jean in New York's Central Park
●  Mila Jean at the Museum of Modern Art
●  Mila Jean windowshopping in New York City
●  Mila Jean about to go out on the town

●  Bon Voyage telegram from Mary Jane Davis
●  The S.S. United States
●  Mila Jean onboard 
●  Mila Jean with Muriel Tetreault and George Laycock
●  "There's the English coast!  Hurrah!"
●  Instructions for disembarking at Southampton
●  Ship's Log and Arrival Telegram
●  Bedford College
●  Orientation Program in London 
●  Invitation to a reception for the newly-arrived
●  Orientation Program at Grantley Hall in Yorkshire
●  Mila Jean's lodgings at the home of St. John and Helen Reade in Bristol
●  Program from the University of Bristol Pre-Sessional Conference
●  Victoria Rooms, the University of Bristol Student Union
●  Mila Jean's membership card at the University Union Club
●  The University of Bristol Art Gallery and University Tower
●  Invitation to the Pre-Sessional Conference Dance
●  Jerry Leider, Jack Sommers, and Rod Brown: Mila Jean's "three angels" in Bath
●  Bath's Theatre Royal
●  Rod and June Brown in Bath
●  Mila Jean at Anne Hathaway's Cottage
●  Hamlet and Jack Sommers in Stratford
●  The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford
●  Swans upon the River Avon 
●  Stratford's Arden Hotel ("with compliments")


Return to College and the Lively Arts, 1949-1954       Proceed to The Fulbright Year Abroad: Part Two
 


A Split Infinitive Production
Copyright © 2016-2017 by P. S. Ehrlich


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