Goldie’s 1939 Trip Across America



When she was twenty-one years old, Goldie Heath and her aunt Grace Catmull travelled by Grehound bus from Idaho to the 1939 World’s Fair. They continued on to Washington D.C. and down through New Orleans to Pecos, Texas. There Grace continued on to Anaheim to visit her sister and brother-in-law, Dollie and Chick Hokanson.  Goldie took a side trip to see the Carlesbad Caverns and then continued on to Anaheim. This is her journal of that trip–

Let your imagination go as we don the winged feet of the Greyhound and take an imaginary journey across our country and back.  Listen as those who have seen, reproduce in word pictures what impressed them most.

           All aboard for points north and south–Canadian Temple, Minneapolis Mission, Library of Congress, Washington Monument, White House, Capitol Hill, Botanical Gardens, Dirigible Field, Charity Hospital, largest Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, Canal Street, Drums used in the Battle of New Orleans, Death Mask of Napoleon, University of Maryland Stadium, rolling fields of grain in shock…


Wednesday, June 5th (1939):  Burley, Idaho:  The bus was nearly an hour late.  We started our journey at 1:10 p.m.  After a few stops we arrived in Ogden, Utah at 5:10.  Left at 5:30.  I managed to get a seat over the bus wheel, but it is the largest seat.  We arrived in Evanston, Wyoming, at 1:00 a.m.  Rest stop.  Laramie presented my first daylight peek of Wyoming.  We entered at 4:00–just as the day was beginning to break.

           The first thing I saw was “While a Wee Cafe.”  Then came a large crooked poplar tree silhouetted against the morning sky–beautiful.  Then a gorgeous ride before sunrise between Laramie and Cheyenne.  Midway the sun–just a ball of fire through a smokey haze–appeared.  At Cheyenne we had no breakfast.  Arrived there at 5:05 a.m. and left at 6:50.  Then came rolling green prairie of

grazing land; ranches with few or no trees in sight.  A section of the fields which had been cultivated were blowing clouds of dust.  A good example of the dust bowl type modified. Not enough water I am told.  Wise farmers are allowing the land to go back to grazing.

           Short stop at Pine Bluff.  Such a dry, dusty land.  All soil that is not anchored with grass blows.  It is said this is a palace compared to the real dust bowl.  Where the wise farmers have grazing land, fat herefords are roaming the broad expanse of prairie.  (A fat fellow from California–foolish type–spouts a steady stream about a host of California things.)


Thursday, June 6th:  We crossed the Nebraska line about 7:20 a.m. on Thursday June 6.  Creeks which once ran full are shallow this early.  Corn rows have not come through and are blowing full.  There are marshy rivers–yet there is a sure sign of much rain water having been here.  In the distance are about four equal size knolls covered with trees; then come rows and rows of trees.

           We entered Kimball County at ten to seven.  I hear heated arguments by a group of men about their own respectful home section–one from Chicago, another from San Francisco, California.  One skated five miles up a river and thought it great sport. The other said it was too hard–much better to go out to a tropical ice garden.  There is varied climate in California, said he.  He’ll not go to the San Francisco Fair–jealousy of San Francisco because he is from Los Angeles. It’s a better example of east with west.

           The bus from Cheyenne to Omaha was loaded with only twelve people–fun.  They have magpies in Nebraska.  College graduates also have jobs for two years.  Two very scholastic men talking shop about Physics.  Big Springs, Nebraska was a drinking place.

           My general impression of this country is bad.  The landscape is rolling and with spots of what I think is subbing.  Hay is up but corn, I guess, has not even started up.  The stubble is all that shows.  There are few signs–saw one of used cars.  In the distance no mountains are seen, only rolling hills covered with a misty haze.  Trees were few between Cheyenne and Sid., but increased thereafter somewhat.

           We crossed famed Platte River–which was a thin, muddy stream.  Free coffee with gas service.  The bus stopped in North Platte for lunch and I sent Mother and Dorothy a card.  We’re now heading toward Omaha, Nebraska.  Everything is a grassy meadow this side of North Platte.


June 7:  We left Omaha at 8:05 on Wednesday June 7 and crossed the muddy Missouri River a few minutes later and thus entered the start of Iowa.  Strangely enough, we travelled for ten minutes in residential districts and then came a surprise–Stores!  Kress, etc. began to appear and we learned we were in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where the Saints had their winter quarters.  It is a treeful little town–beautiful terraced homes–bluffs.  We passed at least an acre of greenhouses. 

           We left Council Bluffs at 8:30, one half hour after we left the depot.  Grapes are grown out in Council Bluffs some.  Farm homes are rather large and ramshackle and decidedly old.  Iowa is a rolling state.  As far as one can see in this section, we see rolling hills of crops, varied green tones, with trees silhouetting against the sky.  Mostly corn is raised here; but still more grapes and lots of mustard.

           We arrived in Des Moines, Iowa, at 11:50 a.m.  Lunch was at a cafe for 20 cents–delicious and so cheap.  The air conditioning is marvelous.  We left at 12:35 p.m.  It’s a large town with much the same as Omaha but not as hot. (Good salad dressing.)  I didn’t see any points of interest.  The population of Des Moines is 145,000.  Omaha is 255,000.  Missed the arrival at Rock Island.  I saw dawn, the capitol, the Iowa State Health Building of History and more corn and rolling hills.  The territory seems rather dry. Omaha was more attractive than Des Moines.  We saw the transmitters of WHO, Des Moines; and we imagined the Indians roaming these prairies.  No wonder they fought the intrusion of white man who took the land away.  No irrigation–almost entirely corn.

           We arrived in Newton, Iowa, at 1:30 on Wednesday June 7.  No rocks–just black soil.  There was a sign just out of Newton–“Townsend and Cors–Prosperity for All”.  I saw some pig houses.

           We arrived at Kellogg at 1:40, Wednesday and stopped at Grinnell, where we took some pictures of the large Colonial style bus stop and hotels–white frame.  We were here at 2:00 Wednesday, June 7.


June 8, Friday:  We arrived in Cleveland at 12:45 a.m. Thursday evening was spent at the Greyhound terminal and we also spent a lovely night at a hotel.  At 10:30 we left for a walk and souvenirs.  It’s a large city, but I saw little of it.  It seemed smokey.  There are seventeen churches in east Cleveland.  I love trees.  There is so much foliage back here.  We were in Paynesville by 11:40–a lovely city 29 miles from Cleveland.  There are grapes in northern Ohio.


           We passed through a part of Pennsylvania.  It has such lovely winding roads and shady hills with grapes and old-fashioned homes.  A couple were a one-time mansion turned into a tourist home and one into an antique shop.  It is very beautiful, picturesque country.  Wild flowers of a purple, white, orange, etc. color tones grow against the green.  We passed through “Darling” country.  Acres and acres of grapes, tomatoes and potatoes.  I love Pennsylvania.  It was such a beautiful section we passed.  Acres of green delicately splattered with color.  The most beautiful piece of country between Cleveland and Erie, Pennsylvania.  It is a very busy manufacturing town–with a foundry.  There are lovely streets, old-fashioned spinning wheel in a yard, antique houses, sea food cannery, oodles of geraniums in windows of businesses.  Yes, Erie is a beautiful place.  Lake Erie at 2:20 p.m. standard time.

           At Erie I saw at least a solid city block of short tie logs.  On the outskirts of Erie we passed the huge General Electric plant.  It was mammoth.  The cherries are plentiful; and there are so many peonies.


Friday, June 7th:  We crossed the New York state line at 2:48 p.m.

Ripley, New York–Westfield at 3:07.  A ten-minute stop.  It’s lovely and cool, even though the bus is not air conditioned and it is 3:20 in the afternoon.  We saw Canada across Lake Erie at 4:45 p.m. on Friday and entered Buffalo at about the same time.  We see the mills on Lake Erie in the distance.  What seemed fantastic and of extremely big nature at one time, is becoming a reality.


           In two or three minutes I can’t begin to summarize all of the fair, for it was much too wonderful and large to tell about in even a much longer time.  Therefore, I’ll just have to strike a few of the high points which interested me most and which I think might interest you.

           To begin with, the fair commemorates the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington.  Instead of looking to the past and reproducing historical phases, the fair does just the opposite by striking into the future with its slogan:  “Building the World of Tomorrow.”  In following this theme, they succeeded in presenting exhibits which show the most promising fields of development in our country.  These fields make up the different zones of the fair, and consist of Communication, Community Interests, Food, Government, Amusement, Production and Distribution, and Transportation. 

           First came the theme center which consisted of the famous Trylon and Perisphere.  We entered the Perisphere and found two revolving platforms within.  Below us in the bottom of the globe was a miniature country side, in the center of which was the Model city of the future–appropriately named “Democra-city”.  A narrator from some place above told us the story of a day in the city.  His voice began as the day was beginning to break.  The sun arose and the activity of the day began.  Then as night began to fall, lights in the tiny buildings appeared, they too going slowly out, leaving the city bathed in moonlight as the narrator’s voice died away.  It was really a fascinating experience.

           But on now, for time will not allow us to dwell too long on one subject no matter how interesting.  I might say here that the cost of preparing the boggy marsh land and making it suitable for building cost $12 million–besides the purchase price of $7 million.  The purchased land belongs to the city and was leased to the Fair Corporation, which in turn leased ground for private commercial exhibits.

           The Fair Corp. constructed what were called Focal Exhibits in each of the fields which I mentioned.  These were purely non-commercial.  They summarized in a marvelous manner the progress and development in that field.  I mentioned that the Theme Center was in the center of the grounds.  At points around the Theme Center these Focal points were situated and branching out from there were the private exhibits in that field.  That arrangement helped to produce another thing which I greatly admired–the perfect unity of planning, which was so obvious wherever one went at the Fair.

           The color was another interesting feature.  The Theme Center was white, buildings next to it were off-white, and then the three main avenues took a primary color and the buildings along that particular avenue carried that particular color from its lightest to its brightest hue.  The edge or end of these avenues were connected with a curved Rainbow Avenue, consisting of buildings of every rainbow color.  There was perfect blending–no sharp and unpleasant contrasts.

           We rush on now to the Gayway Amusement Park–which covered 210 acres.  Billie Rose’s Aquacade starring Eleanor Holm and Johnny Weismuller was the outstanding attraction to be found there.  It was really outstanding.  Perhaps you saw a preview of it in a movie short last spring.

           Although each of the seven zones held countless wonderful and interesting things, one of the most popular exhibits was General Motor’s “Highways and Horizons” building, in the Transportation Zone.  Lines two blocks long could be seen at almost any time of the day out at the fair, waiting to enter the building.  I had to wait about two hours in line, but that was well worthwhile–worth twice that time, even.  The visitors were seated in over-stuffed chairs on a moving rail.  Each chair was equipped with a sound device which told the story of the panorama directly in front of the chair.  A very interesting narrator told us the routine of life in the miniature country of 1960.  As our chairs moved along we experienced the sensation of travelling hundreds of miles and viewing the scenes from a low flying airplane.

           As we travelled along there was a continuously changing panorama of towns, cities, rivers, lakes, country, and farms, industrial plants in operation, forests and valleys and snow capped mountains.  There were about 500,000 individually designed miniature houses, and 50,000 scale model autos, 10,000 of which were actually moving along, drawn electrically on the 14-lane highways.

           The exhibit showed how the auto and its uses can and will elevate the standard of living for all, more so in the future than is now thought possible.  The journey took us about 15 minutes to complete, at the end of which we found ourselves in the 1960 actual sized intersection–right in the center of the 7-acre building.

           The whole exhibit is too massive to completely discuss for I have just reached the half-way mark.  If you would care to see some pictures and read a discussion of it, see June 1939 Life Magazine.

           I could go on for hours and still have things untold, which I saw.  But I mustn’t do that for you must see the fair for yourself to truly appreciate it.  If at all possible for you to make the trip, I heartily suggest that you do so.  It was an experience I shall never forget.

Friday, June 28th:  Such a full day this has been–beginning really when Eric and I took my bags down to the 34th Street bus on the subway.  This morning at 5:00 a.m. I awakened and made hurried preparations and barely made my 7:45 a.m. bus–but did!  Rather a tiring ride to Philadelphia, but well worth it.

           I decided not to wait an hour for a paid tour but took a street car to Independence Square where I found Independence Hall, where so much of the U.S. early history was made.  In the Congressional Building I found the famous Liberty Bell.  It was so very thrilling to see that ringer of our liberty.  Then over to the curious little Betsy Ross House where the first flag was made–so very interesting.  I got souvenirs and pictures.  Next over to famous Christ’s Church where George Washington and many other famous men of history worshipped.  I saw and sat in the pew which was his and John Adam’s, second president of the U.S.  It was at the base of the pulpit.  Under the floor of the church were buried some people–up in the isles!

           I caught the bus at 2:30 into Washington and arrived here at Ennis’ room at 9:00 p.m.–it’s raining.  Ennis is not here and as I sit in her room I hear the bell for the beginning of the champion fight–Joe Louis and Lou Nova.  I have listened to Louis fight and win as I wrote this.  Heigh ho!  Now it is time for the bath and bed for I must go to the city tomorrow.

Saturday, June 29th:  It’s 6:30 a.m. and I am in Washington D.C., capitol of our great and glorious nation.  I awakened in strange surroundings this morning to the melodious tune of warbling birds twittering from the tall slender trees which surround this lovely place.  A milk wagon draws up in front and farther in the distance I hear the street car and other traffic–very faintly, though.  It rained last night and is rather forbidding today.  I leave at 7:45 for places unknown–what will today bring?  Ennis must adore this place.

           Yes, this is indeed an eventful day.  Just after I finished writing the above, I stood up, gave a “glad-to-be-alive stretch, and “Pop”–something snapped and I went down–just as quick as that!  Seems I strained a ligament and now I can’t turn my head left–have to keep it poised gracefully on the rightly turns.  The doctor came in and told me to just relax and let it heal.  Oh, of all the luck!  (Late note:  The doctor came yes, but in the afternoon I disobeyed his orders and got up because my neck felt better when I sat upright.)


Sunday, June 30th:  In spite of my neck, I went uptown with Mrs. Kinyan in their car.  We ate breakfast in a coffee shop with Betty–another girl who stays at this house.  Then I took a street car to the capitol grounds.  It was such a thrill.  The grounds are so spacious and lovely–a perfect background for the stately Capitol Building.  I entered the main entrance and was promptly met by guide service.  My nickname throughout the tour was “Idaho Potato.” 

           We started in the Main Dome entrance and the guide proceeded to name the statues of the figures which stood for each state.  There were 48 of them around the main entrance room.  On we went to the House of Representatives section.  At the base of the stairs leading up we stopped and were told from where the marble (beautiful it was!) of the steps and banister came from as well as information about a huge painting at the landing of the stairs.

           The official eye opener began when we stepped into the gallery of the House!  The guide called down and asked of a group of young fellows sitting down below (two had their feet cocked up) if there was going to be a House session today.  “Yeah!” one roughly called out.  We in the tour group were astounded.  Up to that point, the tour had been dignified and pleasing, but that brought our feelings below zero with a terrific thud.

           We went on to the Senate section.  It was, of course, smaller than the House, but the same plan.  It was only about 10:00 a.m. when we finished the interesting tour so I climbed 365 steps up to the top of the dome.  When we came to the first railing, we were able to look down below at the people on the floor of the dome–oh, ever so far down!  Marvelous craftsmanship in that building.  (Note:  Saw LDS missionary card on the stair path.  Wish now I had stopped to pick it up.)  On up the tedious way to the top where we had a perfect view of the city.  That was a marvelous experience.  Then down I went just in time for the 11:00 a.m. House session.

           At 11:00 a.m. the chaplain prayed and there was perfect quiet.  But the moment his voice ceased, the greatest hubbub imaginable began, while (if you can imagine) a man read the proceedings of the previous day.  Not one person–not even at his elbow–could have heard him.  I suppose it was just usual procedure.  When he finished, the roll was called and each member (how he heard his name called, I can’t imagine) shouted his “Here”.  Then order was pounded by Speaker Bankhead and a discussion of the Conference Relief Bill began.  The attached news article will explain it better than I could.  Strange, but a lot that was said and done seemed unplanned and haphazard to me.  Few, if any, people seemed to be interested.

On I went to the senate where there was more dignity.  A discussion of the radio address by Senator Swineberg was of chief interest.  Mr. Hoover is not highly thought of there.  I spent about an hour in each department then caught a street car to the Washington Monument.  I met a nice music student on the bus.  He spent three years at the Conservatory of Music in Philadelphia. 

           We began the walk up the hill to the monument and it began raining–oh such rain!  Luckily he had a newspaper and I saved my hat, but I was drenched and dripping, and such a sight–oh, dear!  We made the Monument–oh, that I’d never seen him looking as I did!

           The view was very poor in the rain, but twice it cleared off and I could see out–a beautiful view.  We rode a bus down and together walked in front of the Corcoran Gallery and the White House–and I was to call and go to the Gallery today, but decided against it–and met him there–I don’t believe he saw me; maybe, so embarrassing.

           Ate and caught a bus.  Then it began raining again.  I rode the bus ages–hoping it would stop raining, but no.  Got off at Connecticut Avenue and a very gorgeous gentleman and a little boy proffered me half of their umbrella home.  I sang while Gloria played last night, then to bed.

Saturday, July 1st:  Uptown with Mrs. Kinyan.  It was only 8:30 so I spent some time on orange juice and then browsed through a second-hand book store until the house in which Lincoln died was opened.  I was the first visitor.  Words can’t express the feeling that came over me as I entered.  Patriotism, I guess.  The furniture is not original, but is copied after the tailor whose house it was.  They sold all the original to curio hunters.  The house is only about 12 feet across.  The room in which he died is strangely the same size as the log cabin in which he lived as a boy.  At great expense the barred wallpaper was reproduced.  I enjoyed so much talking about the historical facts behind all of this.

           Then over to the famous Ford’s Theatre straight across the street where he was shot.  There were picture slides showing very graphically by means of newspapers of the day etc. and pictures, the assassination and the story of Booth–his escape, his capture and sentencing and his hanging.  The stove on which Lincoln’s food for his last meal, a life mask of his face and many busts–documents in his handwriting, were all there.

           It seems I have a weakness for guards, for I always get in a conversation with them.  He told me the Ford Theatre building was bought some time after the tragedy by a man and turned into an office building.  Later, work was being done on some basement rooms, I believe, and the support was weakened.  The center collapsed and twenty-three men were killed.  So now just the four walls are all that remain of the original building.

           A flag which hung over Lincoln’s theatre booth was supposed to have been snagged by Booth’s spur and torn as he jumped from the booth to the stage, causing him to break his leg.

           After the Ford episode I hopped over to the magnificent Department of Justice Building.  It is splendid.  The guide took us through and showed us John Dillinger’s life mask and guns as well as glasses, straw hat and other personal effects he wore when killed.  The different fields of crime worked in by the Federal Department of Justice were discussed and we found that they do about three times as much work in fields of petty or non-sensational crime that doesn’t make exciting reading material as they do in kidnappings, etc.

           Then came the Urchel kidnapping example which proved a need for sections (or units) which were scattered thither and there throughout the country.  More were in the east because of thickly populated areas.  This disproved the “chase after them” theory of Dick Tracy stories.  It was possible to wire 1,100 miles ahead of the escaping kidnappers of Urchel and as a result $100,000 of the $200,000 were recovered.

           The fingerprinting department is immense!  It reaches for a city block and a half of filing cabinets.  A system of classification of the whirls on the fingerprints makes a finer classification possible for the prints to be found much sooner. (Note:  Find names of the three classifications.) The “Printfinder” works on cards and a system similar to a player piano, with the exception that it runs by electricity and not air.  It is rather a complex system but very effective.  He picked up a card of a negro who had been arrested in Philadelphia for larceny.  The Philadelphia authorities had sent to the FBI to see if Sam Jones had a previous record.  In a minute the machine had singled out two cards which were possibilities and these were handed to a fingerprint expert who within another minute had located the facts regarding a man by the name of Henry Sims whose fingerprints and picture were the same–a man who was a fifth offender, according to the records.  He would be dealt with accordingly in Philadelphia.  They have what is called a nick-names gallery in which criminals who use alias names are classified by way of nick names which will stick.

           Then there is the morgue where criminals who are either known dead or are so old they are marked obsolete are classified.  He showed John Dill, Ma Barker, Hauptman,etc.  Then there is the bureau for personal identification–prints for emergency identification such as the service and insurance–free and available.

           Now to the White House and its thronged halls.  First floor rooms were exhibiting Presidents of earlier days’ furniture and dishes, hobbies, ships, pictures, etc.  On the second floor was the East room.  There were three beautiful chandeliers, mirrors (gold), a view of the spacious lawns and formal garden.  Letters from the Senators were necessary to enter the State Dining Room so I did not enter.  However, I secured a good picture of it.

           Over to the Treasury Building next.  Disappointing and time wasting.  The mint or engraving was closed on Saturday, and was in another building anyway.  The Corcoran Art Gallery was next, where I saw the originals of “The Helping Hand”, “George Washington on His Horse”, and Gilbert’s “Washington”.  Willy was there but I wasn’t long.

           I caught connections to the Smithsonion Building where I saw the famous Spirit of St. Louis used by Col. Lindberg in his famous flight as well as the personal effects he took with him. 

           Then on to the Winne Mae in which Wiley Post flew around the world twice.  All stages of the automobile progressive age were represented.  There were displays of all types of material and its source or making.  The silk industry was stressed.  Beautiful old China wear–one piece I saw, a small vase, had a $850 price marked on the bottom.

           On over to the National Museum where again I had to check in my camera–why, I do not know.  The thing which interested me most on floor one was the miniature in precious pearl of the Mt. Vernon.  It was beautiful beyond words.  The walls were made of Mother of Pearl blocks–windows were trimmed with perfect pearls.  There is a lawn of thousands of pearls surrounding the house.  Then the flag flying has 185 pearls.  A man sits on guard by this exhibit all the time.

           On the second floor is a wonderful collection of precious and semi-precious jewels collected by some gentleman.  The room was otherwise filled with beautiful rocks and quartz, etc. displays.  Also, the largest perfect polished crystal in the world was there.  It was beautiful.  I saw animals which Teddy Roosevelt brought from his expedition as well as pre-historic animals.  Also, I sat on the magnificent front porch of the Supreme Court Building.  It was closed on weekends, as was the Congressional Library.


Wednesday, July 5th:  After riding all night through the Shennendoah Valley, we arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee,at 7:30 a.m.  Had barely time to freshen up before our bus was ready to leave.  Oh, these southern buses.  I can certainly appreciate the Union Pacific cars.  Chattanooga is a smoky city of 123,000 inhabitants.  By the way, we rode from Roanoke, Virginia, to Bristol in the most terrible bus.  It rattled our teeth.  We were out of Bristol at 12:45 a.m. after an hour stop.  Met a very interesting southern lady who had been to Miami for a while.

           A man stopped our bus before we arrived in Bristol.  He had just run his car off into a deep gully and he wanted us to take his Grandmother to a doctor.  She had had her legs cut badly–made me sick.


           We have seen so much delightful country.  We haven’t definitely recognized any tobacco or cotton fields yet.  Our next stop and change is Birmingham, Alabama, which is 165 miles from Chattanooga.  We saw famous Lookout Mt. from the city.  It is so famous for civil wars and Indian days.

           Just entered Georgia at 8:15 a.m.–20 minutes out of Chattanooga.  Everything is so beautiful–wooded, red soil, no dusty roadside–all covered with foliage, trees, bushes, or vines.  We are in mountainous territory now and it is beautiful.  Not too high, but green.  We struck a bad stretch of road as soon as we entered Georgia!  It’s getting cloudy again for more rain.

           Oh such red soil, streaked.  It’s oh so warm when we stopped.  Some of the people boxed a tobacco plant for a house plant.  Passing through–I raved about the Provo Alpine summer school.  Oh, but this is rare.  I notice much erosion-preventive work.  Streaked corn growth indicates the variety of soil.  Great was my surprise when I first saw cotton growing.  I saw it next to fields of corn in open spots surrounded by meadows and trees and apparently waste land–saw it planted in lines, which helped when watering it.  Saw quaint hand plows being drawn by a mule, going very slowly through the field with a white man guiding it–such a lack of speediness was well-founded for it was so terribly hot.  The cotton and corn in some of the steep knolls–one person said–must have been shot up with a shot gun, else how could it be planted.

           A fellow in a lunch stand said,”It rains so hard here at times I’ve seen all roads made practically impassable without much discomfort.”  It must rain indeed, for there is considerable sign of erosion.  I see the quaint little trash shacks setting back off the road in the timber growth.  My imagination of Alabama was entirely different from actuality.  It is practically all that we passed–rolling with much waste and run-down land, fir and spruce as well as leaf trees are everywhere–as well as many wild flowers.  Such little old mountaineer shacks.

           Birmingham was very hot and uninteresting to us, but is the nation’s largest steel center.  It is unusual in that it has lime, ore and coal, the three ingredients needed to make steel, in and around the mill center.  Tuscaloosa was very hot.  It is the home of the University of Alabama, which is classed as one of the leading educational centers of the south.

           Some counties in this state are dry (no alcoholic drink).  One man in a dry county was convicted of helping to haul 65,000 gallons of illegal whiskey into a wet county from his dry one.

           We passed some lovely homes we can see off the road–some old colonial homes.  Lots of fir trees, beautiful driving always, so green–meadows, etc. and few fences.  Chopped tree stumps are being worked around in spots instead of pulled out.  Most of the houses I note are built on brick or wooden stilts in so much corn.


           We saw a river with vast limestone walls for miles around that produced vegetation growing on it.  Crossed the Mississippi state line at 6:25 p.m July 5th.  The smell of cedar and pine permeates the evening air and is intoxicating.

           We spent two days in New Orleans where we stayed at Hotel New Orleans–at the advice of some “bus companions”.  We arrived at about 12:20.  With the aid of a Red Cap, we traipsed two blocks from the depot to the hotel–a $3.50/night room which proved to be very comfortable–fair bath, unworkable radio and all.

           The next morning we readied ourselves and set out to find a suitable tour (guided).  The Yellow Cab recommended their own, but when we set foot on the street an independent tour man approached us with a list just a little longer of things they would show us.  We decided to go to the Greyhound depot for advice, but found they were definitely in cahoots, despite their denial they were not.  As we left, we were approached by still another guide.  We distrusted even our own better judgment in a strange city so we asked a supposedly neutral drug counter girl nearby and she said, “Yes, I know Joe over there and I’m sure he is fine.”  Later we learned he and she were helping each other.

           The tip proved to be worthwhile just the same.  Since there were only two of us and no other passengers could be secured, we went with the understanding that it would cost us $3.00 for a three-hour trip.  First we were shown the new Charity Hospital which is being completed and is to accommodate all charity sick of the state.  Fine undertaking. 

           Into the legendary old French Quarters we went, down narrow cobble streets lined with aged, unreconditioned buildings–so old one wondered what kept them from falling down.  Past a park where we stopped our limousine and sauntered in style through it–a beautiful little old park which was well kept despite its “antiquated” age.  Here we saw our first banana tree and palm tree–quite a thrill.

           Well, on to more interesting things.  I can’t possibly touch every interesting thing we saw.  That would take too much space.  Let it suffice then, for me to hit the high spots.  After the park, we entered the oldest building in New Orleans, in which a museum of History is maintained.  In this building Thomas Jefferson signed or purchased the Louisiana Territory.  That was indeed the highlight of New Orleans.  We were shown a number of guns used in war before or during the Revolutionary War.

           One of the guns in particular caused an interesting disclosure.  In moving the large cannon, the end of it bumped against the wall, breaking the plaster and revealing an aged dungeon (in its original state) in which had been confined five men–skeletons were the only remnants–including shoulder uniform.  Wrist bands indicated they had been soldiers.  Gruesome!

           Saw house which was built for Napoleon–should he escape from St. Helena and come to America.  He died, however, before that hope was realized.  (“They Shall Have Music” was good!)  The one thing which I also found interesting was the indescribably beautiful iron–hand wrought grill work.  It was gorgeous and so very plentiful.  The houses all had balconies edged by it.

           Another thing I found of interest was the “Court of the Two Sisters”.  Upon entering, we found a street scene–sidewalk cafe depicted, tables on raised sidewalk and lampposts–with path, street.  Walls were stars and clouds–blue.  Walking on back we found first a bar and on beyond, the typical French type home–walled in garden surrounded by iron grilled balconies overlooking a delightful outdoor cafe.  Cobblestone floor, shrubs, trees, etc. with colorfully spread tables scattered around all greeted our eyes.  We took some pictures.  That evening Auntie and I came back to this spot and found it lighted–each table by candlelight.  It was 60 cents and up for a light lunch.  Very picturesque.

           Oh yes, the perfume shop where we got some Magnolia perfume for 30 cents–the open fruit market (oh, so dirty) where trucks loaded with produce came and retailers bought.  We boarded a circle street car and went to the end of the line and back.  This way we were able to see much of the residential district.  The guide showed us the many boys and girls schools.  Told us the high school-aged boys and girls are completely separated.  A man had set aside money for a school and only the interest on the money was used to build with.  There was a canal under the center of Canal Street.

           New Orleans is one foot below sea level and is continuously being drained.  Most of the buildings are based on piles.  Many of the original ones sank and settled crookedly before they learned how to build.  At Birmingham a kid in a hot dog stand asked me if the Negro was hated as much in the north as in the south.

           We went through Huey Long’s home–old one in which he lived at the time of his death.  The family cook was there.  Saw children’s pictures, etc.  Very interesting.  Visited cemetery in which all bodies were placed above ground because of the subbing. 

           Checked out of La Salle Hotel and caught a street car four blocks down to the depot.  We had to cross the Mississippi River on a rather quaint ferry–large trucks and buses were carried.  Just while we were waiting for our turn on the ferry I began talking with the girl sitting next to me.  I found she was a teacher from up state.  She was so interested to speak to and eventually promised her class might like to exchange with me.  We passed through a terrible dusty stretch going into Lake Charles, but we also traveled down a breathtakingly beautiful long, long stretch of marsh and tree bordered highway.  The sun was low and oh how beautiful it was.


Saturday, July 8th:  We arrived in Lake Charles and the depot clerk suggested we wait until 1:10 for a “through and better air conditioned bus” to Fort Worth.  It was so hot.  Texas was so hot.  I shall never forget Fort Worth.  It was 103 degrees in the shade all day–even into the evening.  I went shopping and to a show for relief while waiting for an evening bus out.  Left Fort Worth at 8:20 p.m. heading for Pecos and Carlsbad Caverns.  We travelled all night and reached Pecos where I left Aunt Grace and took a side trip out to Carlsbad Caverns while she continued on to El Paso and eventually to Anaheim, California.


Sunday, July 9th:  Today was truly an eventful one.  A bus was taken out of Carlsbad to the Caverns–14 miles beyond.  The Caverns were simply gorgeous and awe inspiring–especially the throne room–1,300 people could be in there at the same time.  Rock of ages music was playing.

           A Miss Winnifred Moore (1001 Kensington Blvd., Ft. Wayne, Indiana) and I became acquainted and eventually rode together in from Carlsbad to El Paso and spent a delightful night at the Knox Hotel there.  I had been so tired.  We had so hoped to visit Juarez, Mexico, but found a labor blockade at the bridge due to a rising of the toll and the feelings of objections.  We ate a lovely meal at the coffee shop and before we started, we were able to walk around to some Mexican curio shops.  I purchased some Mexican mats.  We did see Old Mexico from the bus as we left El Paso–barren hills–not at all picturesque from our view.  There was a huge cement plant on the edge of the road.  They use the white rock so prevalent in this section.  One has to adjust one’s values of landscape beauty here.  We are travelling in desert already.  Just passed some Mexicans herding some sheep–typical of the Mexico border area.  Leaving us in the distance are high mountains.  Still in Texas, there are little adobe houses with not a tree.  Then comes little groups of houses. 

Monday, July 10th:  Entering New Mexico at 2:05 p.m.  Cotton is very prevalent in this section–hauled hay–baled straw.  Out of El Paso until we reached the New Mexico border.  Then, or soon after, came promising fields of cotton, corn, etc. which were watered by way of irrigation.  Rodeo grounds were surrounded by adobe bricks.  We ate dinner at Lordsburn, N.M., at 5:30.  I began with a chicken sandwich but ended up with pot roast nd noodles–40 cents–really good.  It seems good to get a lot of food for your money again.  Crossed from New Mexico into Arizona at 6:30 p.m. towards El Centro and then transfer to San Diego.  We changed our watches back while crossing the Colorado River.


          Oh, so much desert we have seen.  All through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona  we saw little but arid or semi-arid land.  Then came the glorious morning after a not-too-glorious night of non-sleep–down the coast of California–my first view.  So very gradually it worked itself out of the desert as we progressed.  With the suburbs began miriads of gorgeous flowers which only memory of seeing can do justice.

           Winnifred was so sweet to talk to!  I am finding the drive to Los Angeles from San Diego very arid but touched with spots of color–rolling hills–houses of adobe perched on pinnacles of hills–vast patches of white and multi-color hills and valleys.

           Oh joy!  My first view of the Pacific Ocean–at 10:15 on Monday, July 10th.  The breakers actually come in–frothy white in the sun.  We passed beach houses sitting in the sun.  The ocean really is blue and is most thrilling. I see flowers that just take your breath away–crimson, yellow, etc.  (Note:  The bus drivers here are still remarkably more friendly than in the east.)

           The air is actually cold–sea gulls–white caps and spacious blue–gorgeous.  Actual red spots in the water must be sea weed.  Some boys are digging in the water for something.  We saw small craft on the water which is at the road side.  Avocados are 5 cents.  Gorgeous hydrangeas.  I miss Grandma so.  If only she could be here with me now.  I’d dreamed of riding down here with her some day, but that became impossible.  There are date palms and grape vineyards.  There is oil–veritable forests of oil derricks standing over yonder.  Some look deserted.  They are made of wood.  Also, there are forests of trailer houses camped on the ocean’s edge–and miles and miles of oil derricks–some are metal.  The new ones have new motors.

           Long Beach is absolutely gorgeous.  We had a lovely trip up the coast and arrived at 2:00.  After some difficulty locating my large suit case I had to traipse back to the baggage room myself for it.  When I did find it, it had a $1.00 charge on it.  Because I was tired, I exploded–and found it was much fun!  As a result, I did not have to pay the charge.  I am taking on the only bus to Tustin and will get off in Anaheim–at Aunt Doll and Uncle Chick’s home.  Everything has worked O.K. so far.  If only it continues.  I look a total wreck, but shouldn’t worry, I guess.  Hope Aunt Grace made the grade.  I should have my shoes shined, but will wait.

           After we rode from El Centro, New Mexico and through arid country into San Diego, California, we went up the coast to Los Angeles and then on to Anaheim.  The coast drive was thrilling.  Uncle Chick and Aunt Doll have a lovely place.  Aunt Grace was here and we drove the second day out to Los Angeles, Hollywood and vicinity.

July 12th:  Chick is taking us out to see the country.  Pasadena is beautiful with the famous Rose Bowl of which I took a picture that attracted my eye.  Homes are simply gorgeous.  We saw the Sycamore Grove where so many people and groups come for pictures.  We saw so many lots of old tires which I was told were sent to Japan and remelted into war supply.  We are on our way now to the New Union Pacific Depot in Los Angeles.  It was built by Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, etc. and is marvelous.

           Went through Amiee McPherson’s Temple.  It was a revelation to me–really worthwhile–healings, good giving.  Then we drove through Hollywood and up through the beautiful residential district to the Observatory.  It was so beautiful, with the surrounding view of Hollywood and points here and there.  Then as if that weren’t enough for one day, we got a hamburger and then drove into the lovely CBS Broadcasting studios where we were fortunate enough to get free tickets to the 27th (million) Ford Program at 6:00-6:30 p.m. at KNX and then met John Burnett and his wife.  We then went out to the Sho-boat (gambling boat).  What an experience.

           We are now in NBC studios trying to see what can be done about tickets to one of their shows.  Hope we have some luck.  (Note:  I am surely one of the luckiest persons alive to have someone take us around this place.)

July 15th:  In the evening we went down to San Diego to the Carnival of Lights.  It is thrilling to see the hundreds of people crowding the banks waiting for the parade of boats lighted as uniquely as is possible.  One went by strung with Japanese lanterns and filled with entertainers.  That was a fine sample of what is to come.  One boat came in the fore with broadcast speakers of instructions.  This carnival is backed by the Balboa Chamber of Commerce.  (Note:  There is quite a heavy fog settling down.  But as yet it is very pleasant.)  Flashes of light in the sky void of stars make us think of lightening.  But we are told it is only fireworks.  It is a quarter after eight and the parade is beginning–almost an hour late.  It is gorgeous to behold.  Roses large and illuminated with a girl in the center–tiny with a Japanese look–Moonlight and Roses is the theme of the Tournament of Lights–U.S. flag is illuminated–“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”, “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Santa Claus, Marimba girls, balloons, pyramids of lights, Japanese lanterns, Indian headgear, “God Bless America”.


Sunday, July 16th:  Left Anaheim at 6:30 and drove to San Diego where we saw the waterfront and then drove down to Tijuana, Mexico,

taking more of an inland route.  We were asked if we were Mexicans and drove on in.  All was so very dusty and ill kept.  Mexico is a decided contrast to San Diego, which is well kept and beautiful.  During prohibition it was a dangerous and wild place to go, but now is rather quiet.  On every corner were boys and people offering souvenirs for sale.  However, it was so “Americanized” or commercialized it was not very interesting from the quaintness view.  Before we left I was able to jew a basket priced at $1.50 down to 45 cents.

           We had one rather amusing experience.  We stopped the car for a stop sign and immediately the fenders were surrounded with boys with hats and straw horses to sell.  Chick bought the dandy hat for a quarter and then the fun began from no place hands clutching straw horses were thrust into our faces and the chatter of their voices saying, “I sell you this for quarter”–“By from me”–greeted us.  I bought a little horse and then innocently decided I’d like a picture.  I stepped out of the car with my camera.  In a flash the hands were jerked out of the car and the boys called to each other in Mexican as they darted as fast as their legs could carry them away–before I could get their picture.  They were very much fearful of my little camera.  Probably because the regulations forbade such annoyances of tourists.

           We drove over to the famous old gambling resort Caliente Agua.  It was a one-time gambling resort operated by American interests and frequented by rich Americans before the repeal of Prohibition.  At one time it was palatial, it is said.  But now it is rather (very much so, in fact) run down.  Chick had worked on the track there and said that once it was a dream land.  With that in mind, we strolled about along the rather over-grown paths.  The brilliant Bougain Ville hedges were simply breathtaking in their beauty.  The date palms bordered the walks and upon peering through the windows of the deserted buildings we saw the remains of the one-time palatially decorated rooms.  The Mexican government has taken control now and will not permit gambling–openly.

           We went back up to San Diego where we drove to see the sights and had a chicken pie dinner.  Then over to the site of the San Diego Exposition where a few of the buildings still stand.  Spent some time in the museum.  Went to H.C. in San Diego and walked around.  Saw “Daughters Courageous”. 


Monday, July 17th:  At 10:30 p.m. we came out of L.A. Harbor.  It cost $14 million to build the breakwater there.  Los Angeles is the largest harbor in the world.  (Catalina Island has some of the greatest rock quarries.)  We were on the starboard ride and saw the draw bridge lift for a tiny boat to go under.  It went way up–looked funny.  The Steward is broadcasting instructions to passengers.  We saw destroyers in the harbor.  Such a large harbor–all man-made.  It is really wonderful.  Out on the blue Pacific, out of the harbor, it is a little rough.  I think I understand the possibility of sea sickness.  There are three sea planes flying directly overhead in perfect formation.

           We are leaving Signal Hill and the beautiful harbor behind us as we head out into the open ocean–toward Santa Catalina Island.  Just as one might head toward China or Japan (those sore spots of the Far East) so do we head toward a pleasant spot.  The sky overhead is slightly cloudy but the day is perfect.  On the far away horizon I see ships appearing–arriving from ports unknown.  Smoke, then the smoke stacks appear, and then the rest of the ship.  All headed for the great L.A. harbor.  Up we go and then down.  We’ve been out in the ocean nearly an hour and it seems so short.  People wear anything on board a boat.  However, they are well-dressed.  It is cool even with the sun for the ocean breeze is always blowing.

           Melba missed us at the boat so we waited around.  Finally I called Don at the country club and learned Melba was looking for us.  We finally found each other in the waiting room.  I am so happy here!  The island is a little dry this time of year but that just cannot keep one from loving it for it is literally splashed with brilliant colors.  There were many boats in the Catalina harbor–Avalon Bay–barges, sail boats, motor boats, launches, cruisers, etc.

           Well, our delightful stay on a delightful island is over–finished.  Kissed Melba goodby and after a hurried picture we got aboard the Catalina.  She is such a beautiful boat!  Ticket takers were attired in immaculate flannel uniforms–everything is spotless.  Couriers were in Spanish brown skirts with red belts and flat topped hats lined up at attention on the pier.  A Spanish-dressed orchestra situated themselves on the pier and played farewell to us, whereupon they were answered by an orchestra from the top deck of our boat with “Avalon”.

           Of course some people have to rush to the boat at the last minute, so we were able to be amused at their expense.  It was interesting to watch people come on board and to wonder who they were–whether a worker or filthy rich–for it is difficult to tell.  Some were on short vacations and others were over as a matter of course.  Some fellows close to me were voicing opinions that tears would be shed for them by two comely lasses they were leaving on the Isle.  Egotistical!  Another girl wept.  All were sad at leaving this marvelous pleasure spot where truly carefree hours had been spent.

           We have been out of Catalina about 45 minutes now and are enjoying the return trip better than the first because the boat is larger and the sea less bouncy.  We are sitting in leather seats on “B” deck.  At the rear of us the orchestra is playing  and there is dancing.  People move freely around.  Couriers are getting a consensus of the opinions of passengers–criticism and otherwise.  There is generally a very high type of people on board as well as at the island.

           I just spotted a battle ship and an aircraft carrier as well as some destroyers–such a thrill.  Catalina was such a friendly place.  I was sorry not to have gotten to take a dip, but the beach was too crowded to be appealing. I just saw a huge fish out in the ocean drawing in and out.  It was similar to a whale.  Catalina was wonderful.  The harbor breakwater is coming in view.  Boys were selling a number written by Ted Weems called “On This Island of Catalina” which is becoming fast popular.  The ocean is especially beautiful when the sun is shining on the water.  It is 6:00 p.m. now and therefore a little dark and also quite cool.  Blue and white are the sky’s colors and match the water and white caps very much.

           We are getting within view of land and everyone is getting a little restless–all good things must of necessity end sometime.  A pasty-faced woman is decidedly out of place amid the lovely suntans.  We are approaching the huge breakwater which makes the harbor so safe–6:10 p.m.  Signal Hill is in the distance.  “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” is heard in the background.  In the foreground we see the mainland.  An air ship passed overhead–it makes two trips to our one, easily.  It took 20 minutes to come in from the beginning of the breakwater.      When we returned, we went out on the Tango Gambling boat.  I was so glad we were able to go out because some time later the State Attorney clamped down and now they are all closed.  Quite an experience.  Went down on the Pike and got a shell lamp.  Caught the bus out to Chick’s working place and rode home with him.  Perfect connections.

Sunday, August 6th:  Chick and all of us drove over to the Pomona Valley and searched for peaches.  Too early for good ones.  Fun to pick off the trees, though.  Got some for 15 cents and 25 cents a lug–cheap.

Monday, August 7th:  We canned peaches and plums all day–such a task.  Tuesday we put up crab apples and went out in the country after eggs and lemons and I got some interesting leaves.  Wednesday we did the wash.

This is the end of Goldie’s trip notes. In a month she will begin teaching her third year at Osgood school in Idaho Falls. She will spend the next summer (1940) with her good friend Mary Brown attending Greeley State Teacher’s College in Colorado. Although Goldie will sign a contract to teach a fourth year at Osgood, she will change her mind and instead accept a position at Washington School in Jerome, Idaho, to begin September 1940. She will meet Delmont Newman the following month, in October. She will teach at Washington School 1940-41 and 1941-42. Goldie and Monty will be married when school is out on 3 June 1942.