Just keeping you up to date... this has all been very sudden for us too, even though we knew that last month he was actually diagnosed with leukemia and went to the hospital to prepare for bone marrow transplant.
He stopped breathing for a time a week ago. They were able to do a brain scan this past Friday, with bad results.
He was taken off life support Friday and passed from this life Sat. night.
Jerry's memorial service will be held at the Brown-Wynne funeral home, 200 Southeast Maynard Road, Cary at 2 PM on Saturday, Nov 20.
Brenda, Andrea and Jonathan are strengthened by Jerry's love for the Lord and for them.
May 4, 1960 – Wednesday
Had a shower for the newlyweds. It is a nice morning, and we are leaving Venice, Italy, for Klagenfurt, Austria. Odometer reading 799. A little cartload of manure, pulled by two little burros, held up our caravan. One of the most fascinating things that happened as we drove along is trailing along and watching our caravan disappear in little narrow streets, hardly wide enough for the trailer and a bike. And there are just hundreds of bikes. Sometimes the leading trailer, we can see til we are through the town and in the open, then to find that they were over half a block ahead of us. We usually travel around 40 miles, more times under 40 than any faster. This is wonderful, to see people and the countryside which is very green by this time.
A little truck heavily loaded made an unexpected turn in front of us, and I know Leo took off its sideburns. The rugged peaks and steep slopes of the snow-covered Alps loomed up around us. We seem to be hemmed in from all sides. The very ruggedness of the mountains is a beautiful picture any way you look at them.
We arrived safely and it is a lovely old place. The city of Klagenfurt is old, and the capital Corinthia. I went to town with one of the caravaners, and we did a lot of walking. We went to the Post Office and I got cards to send home. I got a big dinner, so I am tired and want to go to bed early. I enjoyed the little trip very much. I feel safe here. You can see a real Austrian type of dress, and they wear a special little hat. They are still wearing heavy, warm, and dark colored clothing.
It is still very cool, and has been cloudy most of the day. I have a bad voice, and it wants to stay with me.
May 5, 1960 – Thursday
A dark, cloudy, cold day. It has rained almost all day.
We were entertained last evening by a wonderful program put on by a professional group of dancers and singers. The men wore leather short pants and were quite different than anything we have seen. There is a decided dress one sees the old men wearing, and today I have noticed a green color that seems to be native. They are serious but very kind and friendly. I watch on the street as I stood for an hour waiting for Leo. Our guidebook says, “A focal point is to tour the Vienna Woods.”
We took a long ride all around the Worther See. We had a high school boy along. The high school was closed for the day, and the boys were allowed to go with us and act as interpreters, so we had quite a visit with him. His English was good, but we sure wasted a lot of time. The Worther See is lined with lovely big hotels and summer homes. There also is a lot of thick woods, flowers, etc. The drive was winding and very lovely. If the sun had been out, it would have been a beautiful drive. I got so cold, and we had our dinner out.
We are connected to water here but no electric, so now we’re using cold water once again. I’m getting used to it, I guess. We have been able to buy groceries so that hasn’t been too bad a handicap. I stayed home all afternoon, and Leo took the bus tour with the gang and Freddie went along.
Leo went to the castle Hochosterwitz. This is sure a thing to see, and I hope we can go back and take pictures of it.
“Hi to all and a lot of kisses. You will note I have the card sets mixed. This was due to a postage deal on postcards. We do have quite a time. Each country must be different, and we have to always go to the P.O to find out about postage and how much to put on. We are almost busy every minute of the day. I am trying to get acquainted with as many of the folks as I can. We do have lots and lots of company all the time, so many of the native people want to visit our trailers, then they will ask us to come see their homes. I always loved to go as they have things we would give a lot to have in our house. This is so much different than Mexico. No one ever peeps in your windows. And their manners are so nice. I am so much at home I am not going to be hard to talk into staying a year. We have been able to deduct some from our fares already, and if we can stay long enough, this trip won’t be too expensive. It is costing us less with all the traveling now than to live at home. Sure hope all goes well at home. Well have had to stop and show two ladies all through the trailer. They love it. Love Leo and Mae.”
May 2, 1960 – Monday
We left camp, trailer and all, in quite a state. But oh it was so worth all this. We went to the glass factory, then that was quite different to watch glass made. All the hand-made blown glass, oh this was something to see. We boarded three big buses, and went to the end of the bus line. Then on by boat, where we rode a long trip before we arrived at the glass factory where we spent a couple hours. This is all very wonderful. But the prices all match the glamour. Boy, what glass! You never saw the loveliness of such. The color they put in glass, oh, I took a lot of pictures and sure hope they are fair.
We came back to the main island. Leo and I got off and took pictures and took pictures. We walked miles, shopping and taking pictures. The little shops are terrific, colorful and gay. They all have an art about their displays that I think will be hard to beat anywhere we go.
I hope we will never forget all the lovely things we have been privileged to see. We had a little lunch in a sidewalk café. It wasn’t much of a lunch, but we agreed it was different. We took a lot of pictures of the famous castle and cathedral. Oh, what buildings, and we saw the bronze horses that are so famous. On the St. Mark’s Cathedral we saw the four bronze horses brought from Constantinople in 1204. They are Greek in origin, fourth or third century B.C. There was so much to see. I was just stupefied and just took pictures. I bought some pictures, as we just couldn’t get the sun and light as we would have liked it. Also the clock that I believe is talked of in history. Leo bought a couple books. I got a lovely set of bead earrings and bracelet. We saw them made. That was wonderful. And what art that is, in all its own glory. I loved it.
And boy, the pigeons, they are truly something. I don’t understand why they won’t take anything from the tables. They don’t even bother anything on the tables. We got home late and were glad. We had a swell day. Anyway, it was a truly exotic day, out of this world.
May 3, 1960 – Tuesday
I got a big wash on the line. I have a lot more to do, so I guess that is what I’d better finish today. I cleaned and changed the beds, put another big washing to soak, and wash. We finished our chicken for our lunch today. I worked all day in the trailer, but took time out for a few chats. And so time flies. We will move in the morning. We will be on our way to Klagenfurt, Austria. So it will be nice to have everything in order. I also remade the beds and put on all clean sheets. The dirty ones are all in the can ready for a good washing en route tomorrow. It was a nice sunny warm day. And everyone had a wash out, or cleaned the car or trailer. We are happy to see it warm up. I still like my new beads. They are lovely out in the light. Sure wish I had gotten a piece of glass off the junk pile like so many others did. I sure will go there the next time we are here. Guess I will go to bed early. I can’t talk out loud. That’s bad.
My letter to Helen and John:
Hello. I sure hope you are not ill, my best pal. When we didn’t get any letter at Trieste, I am wondering about your health. But I will be looking for one at Vienna, Austria. We are leaving as per schedule in the morning. Oh, what a wonderful time we have had here visiting Venice. We had a party for the newlyweds of the African caravan. We had a gondola 2-hour trip all through the canals of Venice by the moonlight. Oh, the guidebooks don’t have words to describe this. There were around 75 gondolas all rowed along by a handsome gondolier and most of them sang along with the (you can’t beat this) grand opera singer who accompanied us all evening. Their voices rang like bells as we floated along between the majestic old buildings. Leo and I took off early the next day (yesterday), saw the famous glass factory and stayed in town til it was too dark to take another picture. I have the 10th 36 exp. film in the camera. I will have some developed at Stuttgart, Germany. Kodak has a place there, and I am very anxious to be sure we are getting good pictures. And we are not too sure about how the mails are yet. So many have lost film. All our love, Leo and Mae.
April 30, 1960 – Saturday
Leaving Triest, Italy. Odometer reading 639.
Copied card to Lowell No. 4: “I sure have a time writing we are so busy all the time. I will have a lot more time when we are alone. We are now 83 trailers. I tell you the African Caravaners are a bunch of worn out, beat up folks. I feel they have earned all the credit they can get. They are a wonderful bunch. It is raining today, and made a cold, damp ride. We left Triest, Italy, about 8:00am, and here we are at Mestre where we will stay 4 days. We will see Venice via gondola in the moonlight with an orchestra and a grand opera star who is supposed to be somebody or other. We have reserved 100 gondolas, and this I wouldn’t miss. So far coming through the Brenner Pass into Italy has been the most exciting. We would like to go that way again. There hasn’t been too much red tape to cut going from one country to another, but an American passport we are told is worth $4000 on the black market. So we watch them. Anyway, that I’d hate to lose. Leo and I have been lucky so far. So many of the folks are sick. It is so damp and cold that we have had only two days of sun. I am starting my Christmas shopping. That is something here. We had a nice easy drive over here to Mestre. We arrived before noon. I went visiting, but it is so miserable, raining, and in the 50’s. There were a lot of bikes and motorbikes on the road. We sure had to drive easy.”
The Park was muddy and cold. I got a few groceries, and Leo went to the Supermart. Didn’t get too much, and I sure am tired of this food. I guess I could go home right now pretty easy. The trailer is always dirty. Beds are dirty, and I haven’t had even warm water for bathing, as well as any kind of laundry. But there is still something different all the time.
May 1, 1960 – Sunday
Just out of Venice, Italy
The sun is out and we can go around with our sweaters. We sure needed sunshine.
The drive over was short, pretty, and pleasant. We can see so much countryside. They have a few horses, but today we saw a few teams of well-matched oxen working in the fields. They are very busy doing spring plowing and seeding. They were also cutting some green hay, which was thick and lush looking.
One of our trailers left for Munich, Germany, to take the wife to the hospital. She is not good. I loaded the camera with film No. 8.
Well, I have another wash to do. It will take time and a good day. By the time that is all finished, the trailer cleaning and cooking. I am all tired out, and can’t enjoy going anyplace. This is a pretty park, trees and roads. I have warm water now for the first time since we started out with our trailer. Also, we have had no refrigeration, but I haven’t needed that so much.
We hurried and went with the bunch to the big wedding party. Oh, that was something out of a storybook. There were about 75 gondolas we had rented, and this was to be in honor of our newlyweds. They had a very special gondola. They had one gondola with the music and an opera singer who had a voice like I’ve never heard. It rang out like bells as we were riding along. There were five to a boat. The gondolas were lighted by candle lanterns, all very colorful. We had a two-hour ride all though the main canals. The buildings towered out of the water as we rode along. This was a real thrill and we shall never forget any part of this evening. We all wore heavy coats.
There seemed to be a lot of canal rules and regulations to be observed by our gondolier. The city was not lit as one might think. In fact, it was quite dark as we rode along. Now and then we had a peek into a courtyard of some family. But there are many apartment dwellers that took a peek from far-up windows to see what was cooking as we passed.
Everyone had a glorious time and really let you know. I told someone that was the best thrill I ever had, next to when Leo sold a load of wheat to buy my diamond. There are a lot of truly pretty gardens behind some of those walls, and the courtyards are truly different with all their romantic art and in so much lovely old architecture. Oh, this is truly out of a dream book.
One of the things I’d most love to see – we are reminded of long, long ago. The old, old architecture and all its glory. I can’t truly picture all that went into the building of this romantic, lovely old city. Our experiences here has surpassed all we have read in the guidebooks. The buildings stand so majestically out of the water.
Oh, there is so much more to say. We want to go see the things that are of interest, then not stay with the big gang. This gets too tiring. We are still awed at all the tall tales the African Caravaners have to tell, and they hardly have words to describe all their experiences. They are having quite a time getting their repairs, and one new refrigerator is installed.
April 28, 1960 – Thursday
This time has slipped away so fast that we just can’t see things. And it has been so cold that you hate to get out. Yesterday it was 55 degrees. We are so anxious to visit with the others. The African Caravaner people, they sure have the stories. They are a rugged bunch. They are beat up and so is their equipment. They did have a good time. But one said he saw USA care packages opened and the contents sold at prices the poor could never afford. These packages are sold in stores by the Commies. They are bitter on communism and don’t even want any part of it.
The African caravan folks are a happy, rugged lot, and that should help take care of our morale somewhat in the group. There is a great deal of talent in this group of people, and I’ll bet from now on there will be some fun. Traveling where we have been and the places we will go will be a snap for this hard, rugged group. Their young folks have a program all worked out that is terrific. To a great number of old songs they have written new words. All are depicting their experiences all through Africa, and they are really wonderful. There were two trailers lost for two days. No one knew where they were. To express this, a very little girl sang Twinkle, Twinkle little star, how I wonder where WE are. Many of their experiences were told in song, and we sure had fun to hear. Because Wally Byam's trailer was painted gold, one place along the way they had to guard it with guns. The natives got the idea it was gold and filled with jewels, and W.B. was afraid to go near his own trailer. This lasted several days.
They say they found some really lovely things along their trails. We have been getting acquainted with these people and visiting. Their stories are so wonderful. I feel that it must have been quite a thrill to have photographed so much wildlife as they did. They have seen hundreds of animals. They were able to go to places where they were in shelter by water holes and watch all day as the animals came to drink. One person told me they saw a herd of elephants coming to drink, and as it was late, the elephants wouldn’t arrive til it was past time for people to be at their place. They got special permission to stay and watch the elephants. They said there were over a hundred in their herd. They were bringing the babies down to drink. Some little fellows were only a few days old. Their guide would explain that people had to be away and in fence enclosures for their safety at night through this particular part of Africa.
I’m going to try to visit with as many of these people as I can. I’d sure love to get a story from each one. Each one has seen things in a little different light and has a different angle. A couple of their teenagers were married while en route. They kept it a secret til last evening, and W.B. made the announcement. It seemed that it was a surprise to all.
Carl Nagel, Leo and I went to Triest, and oh what a pretty drive it is toward the city. Also there are a few things we must do, such as a few pictures along the way and visits to make. I sat in the car almost three hours while the men shopped. Daddy got the radio fixed and a transformer, a couple electric fuses, so we can connect to electricity in places where they have it when we are alone.
April 29, 1960 – Friday
I surely hope there is some mail. This is the last day we will get any for quite a while. Oh, how I do love to get news from home.
I made a cake today and applesauce. We had onions and potatoes and some very good bacon and also good ham. Up til now we have not been able to get too good food.
I just showed the trailer to five of the most gracious persons. The man said, “Would you please mind to give my lady a look.” They were so nice.
Now I should have planned to go to the meeting, but I got to visiting with our photographer’s wife, and she is such a charming good little person from Sweden.
Oh yes, a swell caravaner brought me a clipping from a Newark newspaper of our trailers and cars on the docks just before they were to be loaded: "Europe-bound caravaners of 56 have trailers with family owners aboard today at Port Newark, from where they will be shipped by freight for a tour of Europe. The 135 members of caravan who come from 26 states will sail Thursday on a passenger lines." March 28, 1960, on front page of Newark Evening News. “My what a time. Unquote."
I heard one of the African Caravaners telling about some of the things that he knew to be facts. He said an old man who was in prison was about to die, but these people believed if he could eat the heart of an unborn baby he was to have everlasting life. So there was found a pregnant woman who was killed. The unborn child was taken and eaten by the native. The heart taken to the old man, which he ate. The authorities were looking for the involved natives, but since this was a part of their beliefs, the guilty persons were not easy to find. This was how our caravaners were able to get this story, first hand.
They had a time with their mail. At times all their mail would be censored at the most unexpected times. And they said not too much of the mail got through to them. There were exorbitant prices and hardships enforced upon them by some of the countries – very unbelievable. Also something we will have a hard time to ever understand.
Well I saw a little bird today that was different from any I’ve seen before. It was quite colorful with the blue, blue-green of a peacock, a little bigger than a sparrow with a pretty song. However, the little sparrow is always around, and he is really everyplace. I watched the pigeons in the park a long time yesterday, but what would be a park with no pigeons or sparrows?
The Park Committee will leave today. Leo asked to be relieved, and let someone else do it. I understand we will be on our way to Mestre. Our schedule said Venice, but I guess there was no place to park there. We still are hoping for warmer weather and sun. This is not good. We have to spend so much time inside, and it’s not good to take pictures when it is so windy.
Oh yes, the squat toilet is the topic of the day – quite a subject. We sure don’t think much of what we now have as toilet facilities. The men are especially very unhappy with a woman attendant, which it seems they had at Mestre. Well, anyway that was what I overheard. I wish the men would stay out of the ladies’ restrooms. We are told they like our toilets much better. So I would guess they have the squat ones again. The first night we were here three of us got locked in and had to yell for help.
We have a family, The Millers, who are writers and photographers for the Geographic. I didn’t get to visit or get acquainted with them, but I hope I can yet.
On our way into the park, we drove under one of the biggest and most beautiful wisteria vines I have ever seen. There are so many trees in bloom that I have never seen before. I would like to learn the names thereof. In Haiti every time I tried to get the name of a tree or asked the name of the things I would hear, and I heard some very different noises, I was always told “a lizard.” Well the noise turned out to be peacocks. And anyway, there was a little bird they told me was a swallow, which wasn’t any more of a swallow than I am.
I took pictures of a Prince today. He visited our trailers and signed autograph books. I should have some good pictures. I want to go up to some of the caves.