Who knew there could be so many questions but there were. I’ll try to answer them as best I can….this was a long, long time ago, remember. The good news is that Sue, travelling companion, college roommate and friend, has, I believe, an “eiditic” memory…she forgets very little. She is my resource for these attempts at explanations.
As to the trip itself, Sue’s father was in the shipping business so he made all the arrangements, knowing that we were always in good hands. He also made arrangements for us to have real jobs in London which kept us off the street from 8am until 5pm most days. That was no easy feat! We were actually paid!
We started our life in London at their YWCA, found it a bit confining (understatement) and were fortunate enough to find a small flat in Kensington which was perfect for us….close to fun and inexpensive restaurants, beautiful parks and Harrod’s. Couldn’t afford to buy anything there it but it sure was fun to wander through.
Both of Sue’s parents had dear and good friends in England who knew we were going to be there and had agreed to be our guardian angels should there ever have been a problem. They saw to it that we had good weekends….garden parties, and so forth…to attend and to have, in general, a wonderfully rich and cultural experience while we were there.
The cricket bats were obtained at a cricket match at Lord’s to which we went with a mutual friend whose Rugby classmates were there. Sue later gave her bat to him. He went on to be Ambassador to Egypt during a really tough period. Sue’s bat was signed by Nigel John Frederick Cartwright, who, because of his height, had to serve as a Buckingham Palace guard before he went to University. Apparently he still lives in Sussex and one of Sue’s English friend’s daughter baby sat with his kids years ago! Mine has no signature but I kept it.
The pornography most likely got left on the Steel Fabricator. I expect we kept a book or two as shock value for our college friends but I can’t be sure of that.
We believe that we missed our rendezvous with the Keystone State because it picked up other ports of call and since cargo, not people, was its mandate, we got left behind.
The Steel Fabricator, our return “ride”, was built in 1943 and scrapped in 1974. It participated in the invasion of Okinawa in 1945. If you read its history, it had more than one grounding and on-board fire encounter. Glad we weren’t part of any of that!
It was an extraordinary experience, no doubt about that, and one that could not be had in this day and age, I don’t believe. I am personally grateful to Sue and her family for providing us with the opportunity and the memories.