December 9, 1961 – Turkey

Istanbul Hilton Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey – Cloudy, rain

     After we got up this morning we had breakfast before we caught our flight to Athens.    

     During our meal I particularly enjoyed drinking the coffee I was served.  I’d found it to be particularly good here.  When it came time to pay the bill I noticed that the amount didn’t jive with what I thought it should be.  When I reviewed the charges closer I found they had billed me for a croissant even though I hadn’t ordered one.  I had only had a taste of Opal’s that she’d given me.  When I questioned the waiter he pointed to the remnant of jelly on my plate as if to say, “See you had a croissant”.  I explained to him what had happened but he wouldn’t remove the charge.  I finally gave up, left the amount of money I knew I owed and left the table.  I was disappointed my time in Istanbul had ended this way.

     We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and found out that our flight would take off at 10am, on time.  We flew to Greece on a Lufthansa Airlines which was the same kind airplane that we’d been on a couple of days earlier.  Our flight was a pleasant one and I was looking forward to seeing Greece.

     We made it to the Grande Bretagne Hotel for our stay in Athens and were checked in by 1pm.  I was excited when the clerk handed me two letters – one from Bob and one from Ramona.  We’d been told that we would have the afternoon to do what we wanted and I was glad because I really needed a break from traveling, airports, lines, touring and waiting, waiting, waiting.  Also it was raining hard so I didn’t feel like going outside anyway. 

     Edith and I cleaned up and then joined the others from our group to get lunch in the dining room.  During our meal Edith B and her son joined us so we could talk while we ate before they departed for the airport.  Edith’s son had joined her here in Athens so they could travel around together over the next few weeks alone to various other cities.  After eating we said farewell and I reminded her of the promise she’d made to write once she got home. 

     Yesterday Ethyl had left, today Edith and over the next few days others in our group would be breaking down into smaller and smaller groups.  Some were going home and some were going off to other countries like Edith and I would be. 

     After lunch Edith and I returned to our room. Neither of us wanted to go out – not even to shop.  Our room was quite comfortable and had a nice view which made it appealing to spend our afternoon quietly.  Edith and I both took a long nap.  When I woke up I decided catch up on my correspondence since Edith was still asleep.  I wanted to write Bob and his family first:

Dec 9, 1961 – Athens, Greece

Dear Pat, Bob, Patrick, Penny, Liz Ann, Sammy;

     Well I was so happy to receive two letters – one in Istanbul and one in Athens – and I’m really glad and relieved to hear that the packages are coming through. 

     When I bought the things I wasn’t sure what I would get.  Everyone was so sure that letters would be mailed and we didn’t know what to believe.  I’m so happy you like the jacket.  You look so nice in blue and you can wear it either way for evening parties.  I am doing a lot of wishful thinking about Bob’s suit.  He had his arm measurements as 25 inches and I knew his arm was longer so I had it changed to 27 inches.  Now if his suit does not fit maybe he can have it altered.  The material was so nice I couldn’t resist having it made but if he can’t wear it I’ll just chalk it up to profit and loss.  Maybe we can make Patrick a suit.  

     Just think it is Dec 9th and 9 from 30 is 21.  In 21 days I’ll be home.  I am a little home sick but they say from now on this will be the most exciting part of the trip.  From our balcony we have a nice view of the city.  We have nice rooms.  It is raining today and as we have a free afternoon I’m writing letters. 

     We did not cash any money in Istanbul but we went to a wonderful bazaar – 5000 stores in one area.  You never saw so much gold.  However unless one had a certain thing to buy and you knew how much it should be it would be too risky.  If I had Turkey money left over I would be stuck with it.  So I played it safe.  However I managed to get 3 Turkish coins.  I’ve only missed one country so far and that was Nepal. 

     Istanbul was fascinating and our rooms were lovely.  I had a fight at breakfast though.  On tour we are each allowed a certain amount for food.  Breakfast is $13.50.  Well I ordered an omelet $7, coffee $2, grapefruit juice $3 and my bill came marked $15.  I called the head waiter.  It seems I had eaten a small piece of Opals croissant and a tray full of jelly.  I said, “I did not order that.”  He said “You ate it.”  I had no answer.  The trace of it was on my plate.  However I did not pay the extra charge, so who won? 

     Edith B.  met her son today and they are leaving the tour to do a little traveling together.  She was so happy today at lunch.  He is a very handsome boy and will go back to UCLA soon. 

     This is our last stop with the tour.  When we arrive in Rome Edith and I will be on our own.  Most everyone is heading for home.  I almost wish we were but I really think it is best for me to see Italy, Spain and England first.  I don’t know if I will ever take another trip.  It’s much too strenuous and right now I’m completely fed up with Buddha’s temples and ruins.  However the next temple or ruin I see I’ll probably stand with my mouth open in wonder.  I think they are magnificent. 

     Edith and I have noticed that we didn’t see any beggars in Egypt, Turkey and now none in Greece. 

     On the plane today I thought of Bob and I wondered if maybe he was flying at the same time.  I hope he enjoyed his trip and I’m glad Helva is with you.  Tell her hello for me.  Maybe I’ll see her after I get back if I can come up. 

     Lots and lots of love to you all, Mother

     I noticed that Edith had gotten up as I finished my letter to Bob and come up behind me.  I wondered if she was reading my letter but I’d given up on saying anything to her about copying my correspondence home.  As I pulled out some more paper to write to Ramona, Edith made herself comfortable in another chair and also started writing a letter.

Dec 9, 1961 – Athens, Greece

Dear Ramona, Ray, Anna, Janice, David, Mike and Binky;

     I received letter #18 in Turkey and letter #19 here in Athens – only this one wasn’t marked. 

     I’m so happy you confirmed my $500.  I sure was scared you didn’t get my letters so you can ignore that frantic one from where was it, I can’t remember. 

     It was very nice in Istanbul and the market bazaar with 5000 stores in one area was all a sparkle with gold.  I never saw so much.  I didn’t have any money to spend which was just as well, so I didn’t cash any there.  However, I managed to get 3 Turkish coins.  I have only missed one country so far and that was Nepal – that’s a pretty good record considering the difficulties. 

     I’m so glad the packages are coming through without difficulty and if Rays suit doesn’t fit he can have it altered I hope.  If they turn out to be a flop I will add it to the cost of the trip. 

     Thanks for the check that I’ll get in Rome.  Thanks for paying the taxes, I knew you would and thanks for making me get the shoes.  They’ve been wonderful.  I think they will last till I get home.  My legs have hurt but my feet haven’t and we must have walked a thousand miles and thanks for taking care of Binky.  (No thanks for spanking Mike.) 

     I still can’t find anything for him or Liz Ann except a few toys.  Maybe I can get them sweaters in Italy.  I’ve carried pecking chickens for them all the way from Agra. 

      It is raining here today and we have a free afternoon.  Tomorrow we start our all day tour then tour on Monday.  Monday nite we have our farewell dinner and when we board the plane for Rome everyone will be heading for home.  Edith and I will be on our own from then on.  I’ll admit I’m a little homesick but my better judgment tells me it is better to see it all now – Italy, Spain and England.  I doubt very much I’ll ever go again.  For one thing I’m going to sleep for a month.  Our plane trips all have been wonderful.  Oh Yes. 

     When you check on meeting me call Spring 625-61 about 4pm M on Dec 30 to find out our exact arrival time.  It will be late so if you can’t come, leave a message for me there so I can make other arrangements.  (Right now we will arrive at 8:25pm Dec 30th.) 

Love Mother

     My letter done I sealed it up so that I could mail it.  I noticed the time and alerted Edith that it was 7pm and time to join the remainder of our group for dinner.

     At dinner we all discussed what would see on our tour the next day.  We all hoped that it wouldn’t rain while we were walking around looking at the ruins.  After dinner Flo, Curt and I played cards for awhile before turning in for the night.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Patrick S Poplin
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 12:41:46

    What with Edith copying Grandma’s letters without asking, I have to wonder if that soured the relationship between these two. Did it? Also, I see that she mentions Opal here. I seem to remember that she had a friend named Opal. Am I correct? And if she did, is this the same person?


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