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-   -   Share your memories of travel in days gone by (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/share-your-memories-of-travel-in-days-gone-by-181081/)

Escritora Aug 26th, 2001 01:06 PM

Share your memories of travel in days gone by
 
While watching old home movies, my brother caught a fit of the giggles when he realized our parents traveled to Bermuda for their honeymoon on an airplane (ie, not a jet) in 1957. Would love to hear your recollections of travel in the 40s, 50s, 60s--earlier, if your memories stretch that far--and what charms we've lost along the way.

s.fowler Aug 26th, 2001 01:15 PM

If images will do -- here's the website where I posted the pictures I took on our family's cross-country [US] car trip in 1958. Since the pics are B&W let me tell you that the Ford station wagon in question was robin's-egg blue:) <BR> <BR>http://www.geocities.com/shrimp56/1958/

Linda Aug 26th, 2001 01:53 PM

The biggest thing I remember from travel in the early-60s is that on both planes and trains people still dressed up. It was an occasion. Women wore heels and a dress or suit; men suits and ties. When I travel today, it still amazes me what some people (not most, thankfully) think are "suitable" travel garments. Not that I think you need to dress up--I certainly don't myself, but sometimes they are wearing things I wouldn't even put on! :-) Times change, don't they?

Rex Aug 26th, 2001 02:28 PM

I remember (I think) - - <BR> <BR>Hitchhiking - - I remember this vividly - - right up to the early 70's - - from Rice (Houston), I hitchhiked off to see Baton Rouge, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas all my freshman year); I also hitchhiked shorter distances in Europe during the summer of 1969. <BR> <BR>Flying through Atlanta before it was Hartsfield - - and it was dominated by Eastern Airlines, not Delta. <BR> <BR>Home movies (what early adopters my parents were!) of the summer we spent at Morehead City, NC while my mother worked on her Master's degree (1959); it was the only time my dad (claims that he) didn't have a job for a few months. She got a great grant from the National Science Foundation and the Marine Biology department of Duke University. Something like $750 for the six weeks we were there! <BR> <BR>A few photographs they have of a delayed honeymoon they took in 1954 (once again, I think) to Havana. They never did anything that exotic for another 30+ years. <BR> <BR>My first look at the inside of St. Peter's Basilica (1969) - - I thought those big gold letters around the inside perimeter were 100 feet high, and 500 feet off the ground - - I had never seen anything so big in all my life. <BR> <BR>Our honeymoon in January 1976 - - in Chicago - - in weather that ranged from 10 below to 10 above - - and we walked EVERYwhere! and I don't remember ever being cold... <BR> <BR>Best wishes, <BR> <BR>Rex <BR>

kimbuys Aug 26th, 2001 02:55 PM

My first flight was on Eastern airlines from Richmond, VA to Tampa, FL. I was eight years old and scared to death. We walked to the plane, which thorugh my child's eyes looked like the most enourmous piece of equipment I had ever seen. I walked up the stairs, and once inside all of my fears floated away. I will always remember a lady asked my mom for a pen, so she could write a sign on a piece of paper. She wrote and pressed it up to the window so her boyfriend/husband/fiancee? could see it. I also remember on another flight while I was still young, a couple came right from teh church - the bride still had rice in her hair and a lovely suit on. To a little girl - this made a memory I will never forget - I remember thinking - I'm going to fly somewhere someday with rice in my hair with my husband. Hasn't happened yet!! Oh - the other thing I remember was all of the people flying back from Tampa carrying big bags of oranges!! I havent seen that in awhile, and I fly out of Tampa at least twice a month now.

xxx Aug 26th, 2001 03:41 PM

My cousin and I were sent to spend a summer in Florence after HS graduation in 1970. I remember boarding the plane in my new linen suit, stockings, heels and - of course - white gloves. We became quite bohemian during our stay and flew back three months later wearing long, flowing gypsy skirts we'd bought ourselves in Forte dei Marmi (of all places) - our parents were totally scandalized when we emerged from customs in Boston to a steamy August day with BARE LEGS under our floor length skirts <BR>and quickly hustled us into the car before anyone could see us!

ger Aug 26th, 2001 03:43 PM

Escritora: Thanks for the thread because I was thinking the same thing watching some old movies (e.g. Three Coins in the Fountain) where there were three cars on the road rather than 3,000! It made me think how nice it must have been to travel in the 50s early 60s - a priveledge reserved for the few. <BR> <BR>Sally: Loved the pictures, thanks! What struck me was, as Linda commented, was how well-dressed you all were. Mum looked like she was ready for afternoon tea at Fortnums. Not a running shoe or pink tracksuit in sight! <BR> <BR>Please keep them coming - they are wonderful. <BR> <BR>Regards .... Ger

Al Aug 26th, 2001 04:09 PM

Europe 50 years or more ago was so different. People still picked up cigaret butts, collected them in a bag, and stripped them down once they got home. The tobacco was sifted to get rid of ash, then rolled by hand with new paper. And not just kids, mind you. Adults did this in order to have a smoke. Some cars -- what few there were -- had things that looked like garbage cans mounted on their rear bumpers. These were filled with charcoal and some sort of fuel was produced. People wore sandals made of old auto tires. Railway stations were gathering places where men and women bartered things like sugar and butter and tobacco and wristwatches and swapped currencies. There was hardly a scrap of paper to be seen on the streets, yet piles of bricks the size of houses stood at crossroads. Trains smelled of cooked cabbage and human sweat. Some trains had wooden benches instead of seats. There was no air-conditioning anywhere. Hotels offered no hot water during certain hours. Electricity would go off and on with no warning, day or night. A dollar bought more than you could eat.

Escritora Aug 26th, 2001 04:13 PM

You know, white gloves and a hat were the least of it. Women--pardon me, LADIES--made those flights with GIRDLES under their dresses back then. Ouch! <BR> <BR>One of the things I remember about car trips in the 60s was the way each region had more of an individual stamp than it does today. Driving from New York to Florida, as we did several times (in a station wagon with "wood paneled" sides, of course!), you could tell that you'd reached Pennsylvania even without roadsigns once you saw the Stuckey's signs. And you'd reached the south when you saw your first Bob's Big Boy.

kimbuys Aug 26th, 2001 04:22 PM

Hey, lets not forget the "South of the Border". As I child making that trip several times from Va to FL in a station wagon with sides - I used to get so excited when we swould stop at South of the Border - that big hat!!!

Surlok Aug 26th, 2001 04:37 PM

Since I didn't travel, or at least made any memorable trip before the eighties, my most vivid memories of travel are my mom's, and how nicely she used to dress for traveling. Of course, she would wear a hat, gloves, a girdle, stockings and heels, and also had a beautiful leather made hand luggage. <BR> <BR>I also remember, when she was back, of sitting on the ground, and having a close look at all those customs stick-on labels and stamps on her leather made suitcase, wondering about the countries where she had been... Also, I remember how good it <BR>smelled, since she used to pack a perfumed handkerchief, and the perfumes, in the early fifties, lasted much longer than they do today... <BR> <BR>Surlok <BR> <BR> <BR>

Carla Aug 26th, 2001 04:44 PM

When I was little in the 50's, I went with my parents on some of the big ocean liners -- Queen Ellizabeth, Queen Mary, and some Dutch and Italian ships, back and forth from New York to Europe. The trip took about a week. <BR> <BR>My favorite part was on departure, when the passengers would stand on the deck and throw rolled-up colored streamers down to the people on the dock who were seeing them off. The passenger on deck would hold one end, their loved ones on the dock would hold the other end, as the ship moved out of port, until the crepe streamers broke one by one. It seemed very romantic to me. <BR> <BR>On a more practical note, I remember flying to Europe in the 60's and 70's, when there were enough empty seats on many flights that you could stake out three in the middle and lie down to sleep! Now those were the days!

Sally Aug 26th, 2001 05:23 PM

Dittos on the "South of the Border". <BR> <BR> I Remember going thru there with my parents on my first trip from Pgh. to Florida in 1953. We had a pea green 1953 Buick(always hated the color) and I had gotten the chicken-pox on our first night. We had gone to visit my brother who was stationed at Norfolk and I started itching all over. My father had no intention of turning around and going home. Well needless to say as an 8yr old with the chicken-pox, you can imagine how I felt in public. Luckily it was in Feb. so I was able to keep covered and luckily had only a couple on my face. Only thing I could not do was swim. Remember Calamine Lotion! <BR> <BR> Of course the sights in Fl then were Marineland(felt sad when they had to close), Bach Tower, Silver Springs, Cypress Gardens, The Alligator Farm at St. Augustine,and the long, long,long, time it took to get to Key West.(no freeways) I also remember the motels with the massaging- finger beds, and how luckily I felt to have a motel with a television (25 cents an hour to watch it) <BR> <BR>Now it is the land of the mouse! <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>

cindy Aug 26th, 2001 06:02 PM

I remember very well my first trip to Europe, in 1971. I was married at the time, and my ex-father-in-law was both affluent and generous, and wanted to treat the whole family to a voyage abroad. There were 7 of us and we flew first-class on a 747. The only other person in the first-class section was a former astronaut (I can't remember his name, but it was very familiar at the time) and he was airsick the entire way, oddly enough. There was a table in the middle of the aisle with fruit and other goodies on it; I took a picture of it. You could go upstairs and sit in the lounge if you wanted to. We flew from Toronto to Paris, but had to stop in Montreal to add fuel so that we could make it all the way across the ocean. (Presumably we also added passengers.) The thing that struck me as most fascinating on that trip was that we arrived in Paris at about 8 AM local time, so about an hour before that they woke us for breakfast. It was only 1 AM Toronto time and I couldn't believe how decadent it was to be served an elaborate breakfast in the middle of the night!

Linda Aug 26th, 2001 06:13 PM

Oh, Escritora--I'd forgotten about girdles!! But then, if I'm going to forget something, I guess a girdle should be at the top of the list. :-0 This is a wonderful thread. Thanks for introducing it.

Leilani Aug 26th, 2001 06:20 PM

I took a plane from the East Coast to Hawaii and back with my mother and siblings, ca. 1959. It was the pre-jet era, and the San Francisco to D.C. segment alone took over 9 hours. We flew Pan Am, and I have a few scattered memories of that trip: a silver-wings pin that the stewardess (that's what flight attendants were called then) gave me, mashed potatoes with too much pepper on them, and scratchy woolen blankets.

xyz Aug 26th, 2001 06:23 PM

My first trip to Europe and North Africa was in 1951 with a group of American Youth Hostelers. Paris hadn't fully recovered from the devastation of the war. We ate one evening in a fairly cheap café at a long table covered with butcher paper. The French people across from us wrote "WELCOME" on the paper. We slept in haystacks, along river banks, in a Portugese farmer's house, hostels, and in cheap hotels, one of which had squares of newspaper hung on a nail for us to use as toilet paper. All of this whetted my appetite for the sixty plus trips I have made since then. I wished then that I could go so many times I would forget the number, but it may be age now that causes me to forget exactly how many. What an interesting life I have had! I have been abroad four times this year, and my next trip is set for October.

elvira Aug 26th, 2001 07:58 PM

Oh, lordie, the wayback in the station wagon, my sister and I with those beach chairs that sit in the sand, facing out the back window on trips to New Jersey, Philadelphia, upper New York State, Maine...and my father really did pull the car over and make us sorry. <BR> <BR>First trip to Europe was '69, and I was dressed up (my grandmother took me on the Thomas Cook Three Week Tour of Europe) not only on the plane, but throughout the trip (no girdle, though Gram made up for it with a full corset). I remember going shopping in Brussels, and no one spoke English, so I had to use my rudimentary French.

SFE Aug 26th, 2001 09:37 PM

In the mid-60's my parents, my six brothers and sisters, myself, and our cat returned to the States from a 2-year posting in Tokyo. We came back on a cruise ship and it took about 2 1/2 weeks to go from Yokohama to San Franciso, with a stop in Honolulu. We were on board courtesy of the US taxpayers since we were returning from a government assignment, but most people on board were on a several-month long tour of the Far East and were very wealthy. (Think Mr. and Mrs. Howell from Gilligan's Island.) It seemed very elegant to us middle-class kids to see all the passengers dressing for dinner every night in fabulous evening gowns, plenty of jewels, etc. And they had a kennel on board ship where the passengers kept the dogs that traveled with them; some of them were the proverbial poodles with diamond collars, fancy outfits, etc. We'd never seen anything like it in real life. <BR> <BR>The ship's staff totally spoiled us since there were very few children on board. My favorite was an elderly steward, Nicolas, who was a White Russian - meaning he had been on the non-Bolshevik side in the Russian Revolution as a young teenager almost 50 years before. He had a big curved scar across his face that he said was from a bayonet wound. He entertained us for all those days sailing across the empty Pacific telling incredible tales of Russia before and during the Revolution. They may have all been tall tales for all we knew (although he produced old newspaper clippings with his picture in them to substantiate some of his more sensational stories). We thought he was the most adventurous, exotic person we had ever met, and would breathlessly race all over the ship every morning to find him and then follow him around all day to listen to his stories. I've always hoped he enjoyed his absolutely enthralled audience as much as we enjoyed him.

Escritora Aug 27th, 2001 05:27 AM

SFE: Wonderful images--how lucky you are to have had a childhood expat experience! But note that White Russia refers not to politics, but to geography; it is the name for Byelorussia (now Belarus). It was independent until its annexation by Catherine the Great; was occupied by the Poles after WWI, recovered by the Russians in 1939 but then occupied by the Germans from 1942 through the end of WWII; and became a Soviet Republic only at the end of the war, in 1945. In fact, my paternal grandfather's family came to the US from there around the turn of the 20th century, and they *were* Bolsheviki--so being one didn't automatically exclude being the other.


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