On to Switzerland (summer of ’64) …

MountainsThis slide was labeled just “Mountains,” so it seems that it may coincide with the letter about arriving in Switzerland, selections of which follow:

Here I am in Switzerland. Oh you mountain lovers are sure to love it. Sorry I didn’t write from Agape. We were pretty busy. When the children came they were the snobby ratted hair type. since they were more trouble than help, we all turned out with lots of the work campers work. It was lots of fun though anyway….

Some last warnings on Italy
When you see caffe expresso on the menu. Don’t ask for it black because it is awful strong (I’ve had it.) Ask for it corn lotti, then you’ll get milk with it. Now you’ll think that I don’t have a good taste for coffee so you will have to learn the hard way.

Well now, back to Swiss. It is such a good feeling to know that the chalets aren’t tourist traps, they are people’s homes, and that the feather beds aren’t fake, but real feather, The pensione we are staying in is a chalet.


Town in mountains, June 1964

Town in mountains, June 1964

This may be a photo taken in Switzerland, but I remember a view like this on the way to Agape too, from when I went back when I was 19 … what’s Agape? It’s an ecumenical center with a protestant (Waldensian) leaning high on the hill above one of the Waldensian valleys near Torino. The Rust kids’ aunt Carol helped build it in the early post-WWII years, and our grandmother Beah took all of her grandchildren there as part of the “grand tour” she led us on, group by group. My letters from my trip include one about Agape from after our stay there, but for the approach, I have the photo above and the one below: it’s taken from Prali, the town below Agape — the that tower on the hill is Agape’s bell tower.

View of Agape from Prali, June 1964

View of Agape from Prali, June 1964

Find more information about Agape here, and lots more photos here.

One last souvenir: the envelope that had the letter about Torino, which is postmarked from Prali!

Letter from Prali, June 1964

Letter from Prali, June 1964

Turin > Matterhorn (Summer of ’64 continued … )

"Near Matterhorn," June, 1964

“Near Matterhorn,” June, 1964

… this photo really looks more like Agape (more on that later!) but the slide is labeled “near Matterhorn,” so perhaps it is … and in any case, Agape is near the Matterhorn! Here’s the letter for the day of our trip to the Matterhorn, together with a forecast of our trip to Agape:

In Torino now, what a city! We have a beautiful 1893 railroad station across the street also a park with a fountain and a clock of flowers that has moving hands.

Today we went up to see the Matterhorn. It is really just a fabulous mountain. We took a $20.00 chairlift for all of us. We got up there and it was all misty and we couldn’t see a thing. Kater had lots of fun snowballing us anyway.

Today we tried getting a laundry but it was a holiday so we did almost everything we have as tomorrow we are off to Agape.

Below find a picture of the mountain itself. Production note: both these photos have been color corrected and otherwise meddled with … original 1964 tints and compositions available upon request!

Matterhorn, June 1964

Matterhorn, June 1964

Milan Cathedral (1964) ~

Milano, 1964

Click on the photo to enlarge it, and check out the three heads in front of the big brown door: Beah and Sarah and Kater!

There’s no letter from Milano … and a letter and no photos from Venice! So here’s that quite newsy letter (dated June 16):

We are in Venice now. We got here yesterday. The train was wonderful. The pensione we are staying in used to be a private home. How extravagant! Our room looks down on a canal. You can hear the water lapping and kitties meowing when you’re trying to sleep!

Today we tried to go to the three Islands Murano, Burano, Torcello. But the boat sailed from San Marco, at 9:30, and we slightly had problems finding San Marco and missed it. Instead we saw San Marco Cathedral, went up the clock and bell towers, and fed pigeons from our hands.

It continues with a report on June 17:

Got up early and went to the fruit market before breakfast. There they were selling fruit for wholesale to the shop owners. Everyone was shouting their wares, bartering etc.

We went back and had breakfast, and afterwards got our boat to the three other islands. First was Murano. Real neato! We saw them working the glass by hand. At Burano we saw a very very old church, Christian, but it reminds me of Pompeii!! At Torcello we saw the lace school. Girls our own age! It was really delicate too!

The letter ends with “Congratulations mom!” Thereon hangs a tale! Also: a little googling confirms the suspicion that I had Torcello and Burano mixed up: Burano, lace; Torcello, very old church. Very old indeed: founded in 639! Read all about it here.

Pisa, discovered to be not in a desert ~

Leaning tower of Pisa, June 1964

Leaning tower of Pisa, June 1964

Classic shot of the leaning tower of Pisa (in which the photographer tries to make the tower straight)! And here’s the report from that day:

Pisa Hurrah! Went up to the good old leaning tower of Pisa. It does have a lean. There are 202 steps. I was pleased to find that it is not in the remote part of a desert but has green grass around it and it is next to the Duomo and Baptistry. While in the Baptistry we watched a Roman Catholic Baptism.

Not sure how I had the impression that the leaning tower of Pisa was in a desert!?

Catching up with the summer of ’64 ~

Ponte Vechio, Firenze, June 1964

Ponte Vecchio, Firenze, June 1964

What a beautiful picture (if I do say so myself!)! Doesn’t it just exude Florence? Here’s an eleven-year old’s report of the day (and possibly the day before and after):

In Florence now. We went to alot of the big churches yesterday. Today we went up to Fiesole and walked to Settignano. It was like starting a short cut and deciding to take a detour. Our feet were aching when we got there. Our good old motto serves the facts — 10 miles aday keeps the doctor away.

Below find a photo from along the shortcut-turned-detour (according to this site here the walk is two and a half to three hours, so if we walked both ways, I bet our feet were aching! Maybe we took a bus back to Firenze?):

View from Fiesole, June 1964

View from Fiesole, June 1964

Hohenschwangau, July 15-17 1964 (part 2)

View from Hohenshwangau, July 17 (?), 1964

View from Hohenshwangau, July 17 (?), 1964

The third installment in the July 15-17 letter runs as follows:

We really had a ball today. At 10:00 us kids went next door and played my first game of miniature golf. I did 18 holes in 66 points, Sarah 60 and Kater 55. Afterwards we had a gay time boating. It was Sarah’s and Kater’s first experience at the oars. Oh Brother! Afterwards we went swimming wow! did if feel good!

A p.s. reads “Beah is just thrilled (cough! cough!) to become a democrat. I’m sure you are too!” Let us recall that this was the summer Barry Goldwater was the Republican candidate for president (running against Lyndon Johnson) and that before that Republicans were a different breed altogether than what they’ve become since then! A huge memory of mine from that summer was how VERY upset Beah was about Goldwater. Thankfully her fears were not to be realized since Johnson won in one of the biggest landslides of US history; behold the sea of blue here. I also remember playing miniature golf; as reported in my letter, that was my first game of it … as it’s come to pass, it was also my last!