The Fulbright Year Abroad, Part Two: Nov-Dec 1954

A Note on the Text and Illustrations

For those who have not yet read Part One (Sep-Oct 1954), click here.

Asterisked hyperlinks below lead to biographical notes in the previous segment.  To enhance online clarity I have again amended some punctuation, adjusted some paragraph breaks, and expanded most abbreviations.  A spaced ellipse (" . . . ") indicates one in the original text; closed ones ("...") are my editorial condensations. 

This webpage is best viewed on a device using both fonts I employed: Comic Sans for Mila Jean's entries, and Verdana for my own.

Having shifted from tourist to student mode, Jeanie took (or at any rate saved) no photos during these two months, so I have augmented the illustrations with selections from the 1955 KCU Kangaroo yearbook.  Unfortunately, no equivalent is available for the University of Bristol or Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.


Nov. 2, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

       November 2nd
       Cher parents:
       Aren't you getting sick of all these letters—?  No, well—my pocket book is beginning to suffer from sending them.  Got your letter of Oct. 13th today . . . it is so hilarious to try and reconstruct the events of three weeks past.  So today is election day, eh.  I would be so excited if I were there, always loved them so—must get it all vicariously from Time magazine.
       I got awfully excited today after receiving a long funny letter from John*, ending up by resignedly acknowledging my dominance over him by letting me plan our Xmas vacation.  He said he had planned on spending Xmas relaxing in front of a Yule log in England with a bottle of whiskey, BUT NOT FOR ME!  Claiming that no one cares about him, he gave up and surrendered his fate to me completely.  Chuckling gleefully, I scurried right over to Cook's Travel Service and got brochures on Switzerland and Germany, am of this date considering Geneva, Interlaken, Chamonix, the Bavarian Alps, Salzburg, and Munich . . . will probably change my mind a million times before December.
       John worries me a lot, has lost much too much weight, but seems cheerful enough, so I'll wait for awhile before pouncing on him about proper diet, etc.
       I wrote three letters tonight, interspersing them with three glasses of sherry with the Reades* and some jolly guests . . . yes, Mr. R. is once more among the well.  He is very much up and around these days.  I wrote one of those blue airmail forms to Bonnie*, Jane*, and Morton* and Elizabeth so that should hold them until Xmas.  I sent a package yesterday to you, but you shouldn't be receiving it until around the 1st of December.
       About the Stratford pictures:
       1 — is the first one I took, taken from the Memorial Theatre veranda, looking out over the Avon to the bridge at the other end . . . note the blurry swans at left.
       2 — a closeup of swans.  Jack* said they must be trained to complement the theatre, for they, in perfect formation, do dips and dives and glides with rhythm and precision.
       3 — view of the rose-garden and statue off of the bridge, unbelievably beautiful sight.
       4 — front view of theatre—its least imposing viewpoint . . . the theatre itself is unfortunately in the shade.
       5 — side view, the mostly lovely side . . . as you can see very modern and functional . . . the glassed-in part is the restaurant where we spent a fortune, note swans on right.  The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre was built not too long ago, found to be greatly wanting, and much redone in past years.
       6 — back view . . . where I was standing to take the picture is a marvelously beautiful length of green grass and willow trees flanking the Avon.
       7 — elegant photo of Hamlet statue and Jack both examining Yorick's skull.  In back of them is huge statue of Shakespeare.
       8 — was a mistake . . . after that thirty minute walk I came across this little house and thinking it Anne Hathaway's cottage took a hurried shot of it . . . turned out to be a private home . . . anyhow, nice representative of Tudor type architecture.
       9 — FINALLY? yes, Anne Hathaway's cottage and me looking sleepy . . . that is a REAL thatched roof, I'll have you know (not my hair, that is).
       STILL haven't started on the project, but as long as I'm so busy with the musical (am now designing the costumes also) guess Wickham* will let it go.  Spent a hilarious hour in the reading room of the Senior Library today trying to read Nicoll while Rod Brown* grimaced . . . what a wonderful person he is!
       Wickham continues to amaze me; he is a born teacher, gets things across so well, and clarifies everything so much for me . . . I think he even exceeds John in this respect, probably because I don't argue with Wickham so much.
       Aren't your proud of Mr. Hemingway?
       Until later . . . XXX
       [handwritten postscript:]  What did I say in my letter from the ship that was so outstanding?
       [typewritten addendum:]  AMAZING FACTS OF INTEREST:  Gerry* found out on the q.t. that only 16 out of 144 applicants were awarded Fulbrights in the field of drama—no comment.  Also John tells me that Bristol Drama Department is not only the only one in England but one of the very few in all of Europe!  Marcie* went to London last weekend and talked to two of the Fellows at the Central School of Acting there (considered top notch school).  They were most unhappy there, are kept on a rigid, inflexible schedule, and are quite envious of us in our situation.  Guess things are just about as right as they could be!
       How is Marcia [Nash]* and the cheerleading coming out?
       Mrs. R. just brought in an orange, praise be.  My first in three weeks.  The man downstairs is at it again . . . sawing this time, wonder what he is building?  I should be reading Masks, Mimes, and Miracles at this point, but the books on Winter Sports and Winter Sunshine are much too intriguing.  I keep looking wistfully at the ski resorts and into windows featuring skiing outfits . . . John would simply pass out of the picture if I even suggested it . . . remember his telling me about his one and only encounter with the sport, he ending up rolling down the slope.  Ah, well—

Nov. 10, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Nov. 10th
       Dearest folks:
       Just when I had about decided to give up the ghost, that I would never have time to do anything, let alone write letters, the reversal in fortune which marks the basic action in all drama (and also life) happened: I was so tired all the time I couldn't concentrate, I was upset about the playwriting course since I could only write the damnable play from about 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM (which I either fell asleep over or got disgusted with and always emerged trite and uninteresting); the five hours rehearsal time without a break, leaving no time for my project at all, and just life in general (you KNOW how I can get, or as John said about himself, "You know me well enough to guess what a production I can make out of things").  I was generally throwing fits and making life unpleasant for myself and everyone else in general.  (Of course just the day before I was on top of the world.)  Anyhow, I had a tutorial with Wickham this morning and didn't know what would come about—the whole day started out promising: since none of us ever wake up before 9:00 (and I had to make a phone call at 9:15 and be at the University at 10:00) I decided to set the alarm.  This in itself was a mistake, knowing how I am about anything mechanical.  Thought I would be brave and set it for 8:10 . . . since Mrs. R. had promised some hot chocolate I stayed up reading until about 1:00 AM (finally realized she had forgotten and went to bed) so I too turned in after falling asleep several times over The Burlesque Tradition.  Just in the throes of that first blissful sleep, the alarm went off—yes, at 20 minutes of 2:00 (just the reverse of 8:10).  Gave up on that gimmick!  After a troubled sleep, finally got up about 8:30—Mr. R. up about 9:00, usual hilarity of his getting breakfast for me (spilling EVERYTHING since he's three times more nearsighted than I), me calling Duncan Ross, trying to get my rubber overshoes on (just the thin pullover kind—I've ordered a pair of fur-topped overboots like we wear in the States, that you can wear with any type heel—they aren't so warm as the furlined ones they wear here but more practical for travel; may get the other kind when the really cold weather sets in.  By the way, my black flats are rotting away—the heels are slowly peeling off), running out the door without my umbrella (it has been pouring freezing rain all day), finally arriving at 10:10, but naturally no Wickham.  He arrived about five minutes later, cursing the weather in his RAF raincoat, going through the mail, dictating to his secretary . . . I got so interested in thinking how handsome he was that I forgot about being nervous . . . we had our conference in one of the dressing rooms, with all the jumble of the ballet class in the background, and to put it consciously, it was marvelous.  I now have no troubles, only things to do [that] I am interested in, a wonderful itinerary for all vacations, a stimulating conversation about The Crucible, and many thanks to the Lord and John Douty for getting me to this wonderful place, and to this wonderful man.
       In the short space of half an hour, I was relieved of the playwriting course (which definitely was NOT my cup of tea), I will keep on with the two productions as Gerry's assistant and costumer from 5:00-10:00 as my practical work for the year, while doing some reading and research on the pantomime in the daytime.  After the productions come off (Dec. 6-8) I will probably go to Bath, which is noted for the best pantomime in the country and is only about twenty miles away, to work with them for a week on their Christmas pantomime—sitting in on rehearsals, etc. and then to London on the 16th.  I wrote to John about this, being in London through Xmas, then to Geneva, through Switzerland and southern Germany in a circle to Paris for a week.  Wickham has contacts in all these places, and will give introductions at same, also to sit in on rehearsals at the Comedie Francaise.  The spring term will be composed of going to other pantomimes in the country, and writing down the academic side and the traditional side; spring vacation in Italy and Spain (where he also has contacts—what a man!).  Summer term a twenty-page paper summing up for him.  NOW!  If I can swing it by saving money or getting some from K.C. (do I have any left in the bank?) I hope in June to get to the Scandinavian countries and Berlin (where he ALSO has contacts), then spend a month in Dartington Hall from July 1-17, where the Bristol Drama Department does an intensive practical period—Wickham says "It's probably the best thing we have to offer all year long" so I'd better take advantage of it—then, home, I guess—unless some other opportunity offers itself, at any rate I'll be leaving sometime in August.
       I had made up an outline which was broad and extensive, but which I could do a part of now of the English tradition and use as perhaps a Master's thesis, but could broaden out for a Doctoral if I ever wanted to (but probably won't).  He was very impressed, surprisingly, and everything seems rosy now.  Amazing how my moods change . . .
       Then we had a wonderful discussion of The Crucible, which is going over madly here—will probably go to the West End (THIS is a big step . . . anything that goes from a province to London is really IT) and I couldn't be happier—I have worshipped Miller since the first day I saw Death of a Salesman, and I have never experienced anything that moves me so much as his plays, even Shakespeare I'm ashamed to say.  Wickham says he thinks The Crucible is almost a great play, and could be if Miller prunes it a bit, so it seemed to confirm my thoughts since first reading it . . . the script arrived yesterday, by the way—perfect timing—between the rehearsal I saw and the performance Saturday night.  Thanks so much—you couldn't have sent anything I wanted more.
       The production by the way from what I've seen and heard is quite good—some miscasting, some off timing, but powerful . . . Wickham said they gave it an ovation at last night's opening, so I think we can give the English credit for having very susceptible feelings.  The hero was far from Arthur Kennedy's "tearing flesh off bones" sensitivity, but not bad.  When he gets to the point; "I say God is dead!" you feel like running out in the street and literally screaming in pain—and it's not just me and my emotional nerves either.  It is a painfully powerful play, almost too intense for human consumption.
       I want to thank all for the wonderful letters, also got one from Jane Davis, Durward, another from Joann*, and a copy of the Pygmalion program from (don't faint) Morton.  I honestly don't KNOW about sending things.  Gerry even called the customs office and they seemed a bit vague: still think it's used clothing, food, and books.  I can send you things up to $10.00, provided I put MAY BE OPENED FOR INSPECTION: UNSOLICITED GIFT [on the package], and value and listing of contents.  Gerry gets money all the time in the mail, but that's neither here nor there.  I shall be well-heeled for Xmas, from then on it's more of a problem, especially the summer months.
       After my talk with Glynne I stomped down the street and tried on my dress.  It's almost custom made, since the only one they had in stock was a 12 and had to have one made in my size, then altered, since the waist was too big, the hips too small.  Tried it on and it's a triumph—it now sweeps elegantly in back, and clings the rest of the places.  Is a marvelously made thing with a covered zipper in back, a tab which hooks underneath the dress to make it fit right, and the wool is like nothing I've ever seen: you feel like eating it rather than wearing it.
       Our shows are coming along fine—the kids are so nice and helpful, and very cooperative; the Saroyan play I think we rock Bristol U. off its foundations; they're doing a very moving job even now.
       Mrs. R. is throwing together lunch, and I have to write to Zanni (Johnny [Douty]) imploring him to verify the Xmas plan, so I can tell Wickham.  Much love, Jean

Oct. 31—Nov. 17, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Oct. 31st
       I will get this part of the letter done now, and mail it later on to reinforce a package which, as of tomorrow, will be wending its long, tiresome way to you.  I suppose the contents officially should be considered as Xmas presents; however, please accept them as a small token of my esteem and thanks for the luggage, the packing, the lugging of the steamer trunk around, the sharing of those hectic hours of planning, getting tickets, etc.  I am mailing the package Nov. 1st in hopes that it will get to you sometime around the 1st of Dec.  I'm not sending it any later since packages seem to go so slowly, they might get held up even more during the Xmas rush, and also because after this week I will be going mad on Down in the Valley*, and probably won't even have time to write, let alone pack Xmas parcels—takes me so long, don't you know?  I am sorry that I can't manage Xmas presents for everyone, but it can't be done, unfortunately—so the pretty cards will have to suffice.  Felt that I had to send something to Joann and Pat* after those ten wonderful days of feeding me, bedding me, and sharing in all the excitement, so I got them two light-wool neck scarves.
       Yours (as if you won't see [it] listed on the outside) are: one for Mother, one for Father, one for the house.  This letter will probably get to you before the package, but never mind that.  The box (one of the few in this country . . . they do not give boxes for anything; I haven't even been able to find a shop that sells them—paper shortage, you know) is one in which my evening sandals came.
       The scarf is mohair, Mother, quite the thing around here, probably too warm for K.C., but luscious to look at, no?  The pipe, Father, is French imported, of cherry, probably quite impractical to smoke with, but intriguing looking, don't you think?
       The two little figurines are another buy from the Art Students Guild, hand carved—I go absolutely mad in that shop (where I bought the 55 cards)—the loveliest glassware and china imaginable.
       I hope everything is intact, not too mussed by customs officials, and not too late or early to be applicable for Xmas.

       [continuation:]  Nov. 13th
       By word of explanation with apologies—
       Sorry, know there's nothing more irritating than not understanding enigmatic statements.  The Crucible is being given by the Theatre Royall* here for a three week run (they are a three-week professional repertory company—the Theatre Royal [sic] building is the oldest theatre in England still playing shows) until the end of this month)—then, they go on with a Ustinov until middle of December—I thought I gave you their repertoire but guess it was JTD [John Templeman Douty] or someone else.  We have met their production manager, Nat Brenner, and the director, John Moody—hence, the allowing us to attend rehearsals.  Connected with the Theatre Royal is the Old Vic Acting School (this set up is like the one in London), the head of which is Duncan Ross (whom I've mentioned before).  They train kids in professional acting, allowing them to sometimes take small parts in the big shows.  The town has really gone wild on The CrucibleSam Wanamaker and other London critics were down, it's pretty certain the show will hit the West End after Xmas.
       I am acting as Gerry's assistant and also working on the costumes on two shows (each running about thirty minutes) which is HIS project.  Down in the Valley (surely you've heard of it?) the musical, and Saroyan's Hello Out There,  a one-act play.  We've used mostly University students on the shows, about three or four Old Vic students, and a friend of George Brandt's—formerly with the London Old Vic . . . the whole setup is frankly taking up way too much time but Wickham is pleased that I'm doing something practical (meaning physical) and it only involves the next 3½ weeks so I will be content and enjoy myself.  The kids are all so nice and cooperative that it's pleasant by contrast.
       I'm having a tutorial with George Rowell* Monday morning . . . the project is just the same as it always was—those damnable pantomimes.  I don't really mean the latter—I'm just tired and irritable and looking forward to Xmas, when I don't have to make a constant effort to live up to the conception the English have of the eager, enthusiastic American all the time; it wears one out being eager and enthusiastic.  It will be great fun to be nasty and jaded for a month.
       Aside from rehearsals every morning and night for five days—our weekends are just as bad: parties every Saturday night, we're invited out to dinner Sunday, we're supposed to perform on an international conference; we're supposed to participate in an Anglo-American discussion; and the English are completely bewildered and hurt when we refuse or act unenthusiastic about these things.  So it boils right down to a hard-facts selection of what we can do or should do, and what one is going to do to get anything out of this year.  Obviously you are the public relations end of Anglo-American relations; on the other hand, you came over here under the supposition that you were to study too.  I hate to think it will ever come to a choice of one to the exclusion of the other, but one can't do everything.  I figured generally it would be: 1st term: public relations, practical work, getting to know the students both at the U. and Old Vic, conviviality.  Xmas vacation.  2nd term: more intensive work on project, traveling around to various pantomimes, gathering data.  Easter vacation.  Summer term: really intensive work: writing the stuff down, getting it on paper.  In the midst of all of this the English friends are more or less dropped by the wayside—I also have to write to Dr. Barnett or someone about my status at KCU and "Where do I go from here?"
       Enjoyed the [news]paper so much, Daddy.  I may be stupid about baseball, but I'm not stupid about what prestige this gives good ol' K.C. nationally speaking.  I do, however, think it rather stupid of Mayor Kemp's statement to the effect that this is probably the greatest thing that ever happened to K.C.: rather a case of confused standards or don't you agree?
       I agree with you about Bill Ludeke: time will probably help him grow up as much as anything; after all, he's not very old, but their attitude towards the whole matter is most lamentable.
       A few people have TV here, but a very small segment of the minority: recently the BBC did a two-part version of Peer Gynt with Peter Ustinov in the title role.  Marcie saw it and said it was quite good.
       Mellie* spent nine cents on the letter, and I don't know how she got by with it: the minimum is fifteen, I'm sure.  I'm about to embark on buying postage stamps for my 35 [sic] Xmas cards, you can mail cards here to any part [of] the world for about two cents unsealed, but I want to write things in mine, and I fear they would take two months to get anywhere, so I guess I'll spend the extra four cents on all.  Gerry says I'm being stingy—he is sending 150...
       I am going alone to see The Crucible this afternoon—am cutting rehearsal because I'm sick of them and Gerry, and because I was afraid I'd never get to see it if I waited any longer.
       I got a letter from George*, the man on the ship, yesterday . . . it was very funny and very like him.  He said when he got home (Conway, South Carolina) he got the shock of his life . . . only five out of 375 houses left standing on the beach, with refrigerators, radios, mattresses strewn all over, the result of Hurricane Hazel.  Said it would probably take years, if ever, to get built back up.  Also a hilarious account of the trip back on the United States with his two table mates: one a wife of a saloon keeper from Hannibal, Missouri!
       I have to go clean up this mess; am reading a book of Rod's on script writing for the movies, God knows why.  Saw On the Waterfront the other day: generally very good, in spots marvelously done, in others not so good.  Brando, better than ever.  I thought Lee J. Cobb badly miscast; Karl Malden also a little uncomfortable, but both excellent.  [Handwritten addendum:] —or at least make the most out of a bad deal.  Eva Marie Saint was excellent.

       Nov 14—12 noon
       Where was I?  I enjoy Sunday mornings about the best of all—sleep until 10:00, get breakfast in bed—even if it isn't good, the whole idea of such luxury compensates . . . read the Observer (also in bed).  Cleaned out my dresser drawers, interspersed with Virginia Woolf's diary, which is getting a bit boring after some twenty years and 200 pages—only fifteen years and 150 pages to go!  She had the most amazing personality; every once in a while I feel that we are really vibrating in harmony, and many of her observations and evaluations are acute—yet in a flash she becomes the worst kind of snob.  The last entry (which I had already read in one of John's New Yorkers) is very matter of fact, was going shopping, etc.—and four days later she committed suicide.  I'm supplementing the diary with Mrs. Dalloway—have never ready any of her novels, which is a little silly on my part, since she is considered one of the greatest women novelists; I remember one of the Fulbrights was doing her project on Woolf.  I'm also dabbling in Faulkner's Knight's Gambit which I never got around to last year.  I got these books at the Library yesterday, since I was so sick of plays, theatre history, and analysis.
       Was a trifle disappointed in The Crucible yesterday—rather overplayed, dramatic, no I think theatrical is the word, rather than sincere.  Read the review in one of the London papers this morning, which felt that Miller had ruined a "magnificent play" by being too subjectively convinced of his stand, which is precisely what John has been trying to drum into my head for years.  I can see the point, but the trouble is that I am also subjectively convinced that Miller is right, and hence think the play is great.  Anyhow, the going was worthwhile, since I was blessed by having Sir Cedric Hardwicke sit right in front of me!  His son (about 21 or so) is in the Old Vic Company, here played a minor role in the play.  Either no one recognized Sir Cedric (which I think was the case, since only about two people asked him for his autograph) or they didn't give a damn.  Naturally Old Mila Jean stomped up after the show and asked him what he thought of the play as script—said he thought it "wonderful" etc. etc. usual guff about whether the McCarthyism of it is applicable to English audiences, etc.  Just then his girlfriend came back with his coat; oh, by the way, he was with a broad (as Morton would say) in her 30's, Italian haircut, fur coat, heavily madeup, no wedding ring.  She interjected in my statement that I thought the script needed cutting, exclaiming that it was "ABSOLUTELY PERFECT" the way it was, she knew now why Miller insisted on having the forest scene, it was all wrong in the New York production—which she prefaced by saying that she was American.  I felt like asking her who she was, but didn't: I was exhausted by the whole affair; it was dark and raining out, and my umbrella had fallen apart AGAIN, and I wanted to get home, feeling that they hadn't much more to offer me, so I bade them fond farewell.  No autographs, I detest that sort of thing, haven't asked for one since I was 16—but it only goes to show you what can happen in Bristol.
       Walked home in the rain; did a washing, and read.  Declined to go to a party—hated the thought of getting out in the rain again.  Am going over to some friends tonight for dinner—since they are the ones who always cook exotic food (last time it was some sort of Spanish dish with mushrooms, spaghetti, rice, garlic), serve intoxicants, and are about my favorite people in Bristol, I am going quite willingly.
       Will you please send my Emmy's address, Flo's, Dee Glogau (if you have it) and Bill McGehee*'s?  The latter either the office or home will do.  I have to get the Xmas cards out by Thanksgiving, I think.
       The U.S. Educational Commission probably is quite bitter with me by now.  I haven't made any reservations for the Fulbright Xmas dance, nor have I booked passage home.  Hesitate about the first—can you imagine John at a formal dance?—and I have nothing to wear; but I would like to see all the Fulbrighters again, and they have a bar open until 2:00 AM which is a lure, and also a buffet supper, both of which would help.  I figured we could run in late; I could deposit John at the bar, and circulate around seeing everyone, and then run out.  The only hitch is that it costs about $4.50, and it just isn't worth that kind of money.
       I am fulfilling the Aunt Mellie tradition and bought myself a large straw basket—EVERYONE carries one here, since they very rarely provide paper sacks, to carry packages, groceries in.  I figured it would help while I am in Bristol, and would come in handy on vacations, since I am bound to spill over.
       Went through two more pairs of hose—it's a curse; and they [the British] think it ridiculous for young women to wear anklets, or high wool socks like are the rage in the States.  I don't care, I'm wearing mine anyway, and wish I had some more.
       I must go have the traditional Sunday dinner now: at 1:00 PM, lamb, potatoes, broccoli, cider, and "sweet."  Must finish Woolf before tonight.  Cheerio!

       [continuation:]  Nov. 17th
       Still haven't got this mailed—last night I was sure I had the flu and staggered home from rehearsal early and took to my bed, sure that it would be my last night on earth—Mrs. R. gave me one of her "pills," and I awoke this morn feeling fine except for a bit of dizziness.  Wonder what was in the "pill"—ha.  Please thank Skippy for his note and the pictures; they are so like him—tell him I am sending one to his Uncle John [Douty], who has grappled more than once with him on the front porch in the early hours of the morning.  Uncle John is fine—amazingly calm and philosophical these days—is being very fatherly and clinical psychologist to me, casually pointing out things to me and in a kind sort of way kind of bolstering me up.  I've decided to stop making such laborious plans about everything, and just enjoy myself.  He said he would come over to London on the boat train on the night of the 15th, and I guess we can plan from there; it's much too tedious the other way.
       I mailed 25 [sic] Xmas cards for only three shillings (1½ cents a piece).  Left the cards for Hamilton and Dayton.  Please list who you think I should send to and their addresses—it all takes such a long time to organize.  Everything is getting Xmasy already around here; the store windows and everything.
       People keep telling me that was Sir Cedric's wife I saw, but I don't believe it.  Besides, he is known for "playing around" since he's been so much in Hollywood.
       We had a lovely dinner Sunday night, but ended up around 1:00 AM with our usual animated discussion about aesthetics, art, life in general which is already the natural outcome of any party in England.
       Had my conference with George R. who was as usual very helpful, and am now wading through Planché's autobiography and two other huge volumes.
       Do you think I should send Xmas cards to Dewar and Jonesie?
       Am enclosing description of gifts I wrote back in October—don't know if the package will ever arrive but here's hoping!  Love, Jean

Nov. 23, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Nov. 23rd
       Winnie [Churchill]'s coming! 
       Yes, they're cleaning floors, waxing furniture, etc. for the past few days.  He will be here to confer degrees at the university and to give a big speech at Colston Hall downtown, an auditorium which would put Music Hall to shame.  Of course, the former is a closed ceremony, but I have a ticket to the latter along with about 4,000 other eager enthusiasts.  If you never hear from me again I will have been crushed in the mob, but at least I can tell the younger generation I saw Winston Churchill.
       You and your friends!  Last Friday morning at about twenty minutes after 7:00 I was peacefully snoozing after a late night on the town, when the phone rang.  I my befuddlement I sensed that Mr. R. was yelling outside my door: "It's a call for you from London—"  Wondering who in God's name I knew in London, but sensing it might either be one of the Persian princes, or John on a drunken spree, I staggered out.  First comment in a strange male voice: "You don't know me, and I don't know you—but I know your mudda"—ye Gods and Great butterflies: Daniel!  It was one of the most inane conversations I've ever had and couldn't repeat a word of it to you, but I must have slipped up, muttering something about "I remember you" when he had only mentioned he worked at the store—since the next day I got a letter from him saying that in all the excitement he had forgotten to give me his name!  Oh, well: I tried to sound properly excited, and must have conveyed some of it since he said he wished I could come with him—ha, ha.  Kept repeating over and over, "You write your mudda I called you," so I am.  Pray tell me—what next??
       Got a letter from Connie* this morning, saying that she had received the gift* the day before (the 17th) so you should be getting yours about Dec. 1st.  She sounded like forced enthusiasm as if the thing had come in ten pieces and she was afraid to tell me, or didn't know what it was or something, so maybe I should have gotten something impractical and pretty.  Well, at least the thought behind it was good.
       I'm being sent out on another mission tomorrow, I always get the feeling that I should be in uniform, which sealed papers (we actually did when we went to Stratford) and a secretive expression—I always also have the feeling that I will never get back and so say lasting farewells to all my friends.  This time it's to a little town in Devonshire, which only has one bus which runs only twice a day and one taxi.  I have to go to Dartington Hall, which is three miles from the station, so here's hoping.  It's to look at the costumes that are stored there, which we hope to use for the shows.  Takes three hours to get there, and three or four back (the night train is slower) so it should be quite a day.
       Thanks Mellie and Mother for the excavation for the article.  It was highly applicable since I had just a few days earlier heard all about Mort and the donkey from John's sister, who was in K.C. for the dress rehearsal and wrote him about her experiences.  Ah, children's theatre!
       Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday—I'll never forget last year with the one turkey family dinner and the duck and champagne at Mort's at night.  Rod and June* Brown were planning a cocktail party for before our dinner (to dull the taste, you know), but haven't heard about it lately.  By the way, we went over to their place Saturday night and ate pizzi [sic] until we nearly burst—first I've had in months.  Sunday night went to Marcie's for a birthday party and listened to records.  Also last week a birthday party for Masúd and a beer get-together at Gerry's.  Last night was invited by the local Fran Polek to go on a party with him aboard a Dutch ship in the harbor . . . I declined, and went home for hot cocoa and Faulkner instead.  I guess I'm getting old and domestic.  My spirit of adventure has deserted me forever, I fear.
       Finally bought my boots—they're going to be quite serviceable I think, and are quite pretty.  You and that raincoat deal.  Frankly, I doubt if they are any cheaper, if not more expensive over here, just like cashmere sweaters.  I haven't investigated—won't need one until spring vacation anyhow, since it's the same miserable cold here all year round.
       Intelligence from Paris informs me that [John] is planning to attend at least seven shows in London!!
       Also we may be in Brussels by the 25th, ach!
       We had our first legitimate fog last week—was terribly exciting wandering around, feeling one's way by the walls, hearing locomotives bearing down on one, and not being able to see them.  Everyone had the air of "this is NOTHING," "You should see a REAL fog"—I hope I will never have the opportunity, but by the looks of things outside, we may have another soon.
       Must get my umbrella repaired today: everyone, including Wickham, has so much fun playing with it now—it has such a dejected air with all the spokes hanging out.  Doubt if it can be salvaged this time.
       Am staggering once more to the shoe repairer, this time with three pairs—since he takes at least a week I guess the old loafers will have to be brought out to wear in the interim.
       Had a talk with George Brandt last night, who asked if I would consider producing his children's play with the local group here—I told him I was weak in conceptualizing and declined, but agreed to act as his assistant if he wanted to do it, and would take any rehearsals that were necessary.  Who knows how that will turn out.
       Bought a hideously expensive ticket for the Sadler's Wells* ballet Saturday night—Coppelia which I've never seen.  All the balcony tickets were sold out the first day that they started selling them, so I am downstairs with the upper crust.
       I must try and catch Wickham to see just WHO is paying for my little caper of tomorrow.
       Hope all are well—sorry I can't write Mellie a separate letter, but surely loved hers.  Much love, Jean
       [handwritten addendum:]  Enclosed—Dan's letter

Nov. 30, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Nov. 30th   9:30 AM
       Can you imagine me writing a letter at this hour of the morning?
       Got your letter today with the money—Gosh, thank you so much, I feel guilty about receiving it.  After your letter of before I was about to write and tell you not to send money, since you probably need it worse than I do, but thinking of it in terms of buying something on the Continent—well, it makes the whole prospect more tempting.  Anyway, after all the vacillating I accept it gratefully.  Seemed so wonderful fingering American money after so long—like Fitzgerald, I somehow harbor the feeling that as long as I have some of the U.S. green stuff I can do anything.
       Had an exciting past week.  Anything that I could feebly put down on paper, especially so early, would not do it justice.  I have just been reading Cornelia Otis Skinner's Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, and am convinced that if I have any time to myself at all this summer, I must start a book.  Her experiences and mine seem to parallel each other.
       First things first—the preparation for the Devon trip was naturally as complicated as only I could make them.  Wandering around in the pouring rain, buying train tickets and thoroughly confusing the ticket man at Cook's, paying a trip to the bank, with a hilarious session with the tellers and the assistant manager—then trading alarm clocks with Mr. R., since I can never get mine to work right.  Falling into a troubled sleep, I kept waking up in fitful starts and squinting towards the clock: 2:00 AM, 4:30 A, 6:00 AM, 7:00 AM.  "Well," think I, "at least I'm awake in case the alarm doesn't go off," promptly falling asleep, to be brought up sharp at 7:15 by the scream of the alarm.  Tell me, is it ever possible to find the alarm button?  I kept fumbling around, knocking off the clock, etc.  Finally staggered up, shivering, pulling on the clothes wrongside out, etc.  With bags and trepidation, I opened the front door and got the paper.  Weakly staring at the paper, the headlines defiantly glared "FLOODS IN DEVON—BRING OUT DISASTER CREWS."
       "Well," thought I, "back to bed," wondering if Glynne Wickham cherished some well-hidden desire to see me dead.  Noting, however, that the sun was feebly trying to come out, I began putting my outer clothing on (meaning two sweaters, jacket, scarf).  Timid knock on door with Mr. R. yelling: "Did the alarm go off?"  "Yes!"  He, the lamb, prepared breakfast for me, in his own inimitable manner (milk all over the floor, on cracked cups, suggestive of an Irish tragedy setting).  I ate a solitary breakfast, envisioning what it would be like in a rowboat, trying to remember all you told me about the 1913 Ohio flood, and the 1952 [sic] Missouri one.  Bravely I set out.  Naturally long queues of people waiting for buses downtown, and no buses.  I began walking.  Halfway along I gave up, exhausted, feeling that Providence would take care of me and a bus came along.  It took three people to get me off at the right stop, and three more to head me in the direction of the station.  I boarded what I hoped was the right train (no one ever seems to know, including porters and conductors) at five minutes before scheduled to leave, and breathed a sigh of relief.
       Luckily, it was a through train, and the trip down was lovely.  The view of the sea just out of Exeter was worth the whole trip.  It was all sunny and pretty, and brought back memories of the voyage.  From the time I landed at Totnes (I suddenly decided that this little whistle stop had to be it, since it was about the right time, but no markers, and no one, again, seemed to know, so I swing off just as the train started up again) to the time I got back, it was a frenzied rush.  A liveried chauffeur presented himself with "Miss Smith from Bristol?"  "Yes-s" said I in my best Jack Benny manner, anticipating all sorts of things.  He turned out to be the one taxi driver in town.  After arriving at Dartington and several horrible exchanges with the wardrobe mistress, e.g. "But I told Glynne we didn't have any suitable costumes here," etc.
       I finally managed to salvage about a dozen, packed them after much agony in a big tin trunk, had a lunch there (ugh), a quick tour through Dartington, which is about the most enchanting thing I've seen in ages: old medieval, glossed over in parts by Tudor and Georgian architecture—the castle belonged at one time to both Richard II and Henry VIII, hysterical trip through town ("town" is about the size and length of College Ave.), depositing me and the trunk at the station at the precise moment the train was chugging out.
       The trip back was a nightmare—pouring rain, the sea was ugly and grey and misty, wet people, having to change stations, and ordering my trunk dragged off, arriving late in Bristol after nearly four hours, not being able to find the trunk, big confusion, finding trunk, finding porter, finding taxi cab, taking taxi to U., dragging trunk to U. along with great bouquets of flowers for Winnie's arrival.  Ahh!  Needless to say, I collapsed that night.
       Next night: Thanksgiving dinner.  Started off with a dry sherry, then someone brought a bottle of wine and [I] had about three glasses before dinner.  I sat next to Rod and we were in great shape, feeling warm and cosy: then, darn it, they served the food, and the mood was gone forever.  Two slabs of white meat, cauliflower (WITH EVERY BLASTED MEAL), a tiny spoonful of cranberries (the man across from me got two!), potatoes (natch), pumpkin pie, and after dinner coffee, cheese and crackers, sweets, and peaches.  It wasn't exactly tasty, but the idea was wonderful, so we were happy (at least at first).  Prof. Heffner* gave the acceptance speech of thanks for the Americans and we got hysterical after the first twenty minutes.  Ended up the evening by standing on the street corner for 45 minutes trying to get a cab for Marcie, ending up with Jack walking her home, and me going home alone.
       Best part of the day was going to see Modern Times in the afternoon.  I knew I was going to like it: I always do, but this was overwhelming.  Really perfectly detailed and integrated with the music, savage satire, beautiful mime, and of course, frantically funny.  I never can make up my mind whether to laugh or weep at Chaplin: he is truly one of the greatest geniuses of our day.
       Next day: Churchill.  It poured rain naturally.  I went down early and stood in queue with Rod and June and Jack for 45 minutes, then realized I was in the wrong line, and should be in the balcony queue, but finally got a good seat in the third row of the balcony.  It was all awfully impressive, except that I was terribly shocked at how feeble and old he looked at first.  Somehow one gets the feeling he is ageless.  He seemed bewildered at first, sat down at the wrong time, blew his nose in the microphone, was at a loss for words, and had a hard time navigating, but he gradually drew up, displayed some of that delicious wit, and gave evidence of his former spirit.  The students gave him an ovation, an it was all very emotional.
       June, Rod, and I stood in a mob for about 15 minutes outside the U. thinking he would go in soon, until we learned he was already inside, so we dripped across the street for coffee.  I went home to change clothes and eat.  Wandering back in time to see another crowd gathered outside the U. and joined it (always the joiner).  It was pouring rain with a high wind and my umbrella turned inside out (don't scream, it's all right).  I marched up to the bobby and asked if I could go in, since I had a book in the library (they had closed the U. all day).  Nodding in the affirmative, I went in—big crowd inside.  Mike was up the steps on the second floor so I went up and joined him.  After about a half an hour of jocular talk with me deciding I really should go to the library, the people began to file out of the reception room.  I got terribly excited, kept leaping up and down, and grabbing Mike's sleeve.  Characteristically, I yelled to Mike, "Oh look, there's the Lord Mayor," pointing down the hall, but Mike was looking right next to me, because standing there was Winnie himself.  Everyone kept milling back and forth like at a cocktail party, so I milled with them, rubbing shoulders with Winston Churchill for at least 15 minutes—all terribly impressive—except that it wasn't[,] just then.  It was more just very friendly and homey, and there was Mr. Reade, and other people I know well.  Churchill is bigger than I thought, fairly tall, but very bent over: he looks exactly like his pictures and had a big black cigar clenched in his teeth.  Finally he went down the steps, with me behind him bringing up the rear, so to speak, leaving Michael behind with my umbrella.  The students started cheering, and it was a sight to behold as we got out in the street: people hanging out of windows and lining the streets cheering, the Lord Mayor's coach and horses, and the numerous big black limousines drawing away from the curb, and of course, the rain.  The students presented him with a silver serving tray in commemoration of his 80th birthday and he remarked that he would preserve it—about to say "always," but said instead "as long as I can preserve anything at my age."
       The ballet was rather a disappointment . . . I don't care for Coppelia: I arrived soaking wet and lost an earring during the overture, causing a big turmoil during intermission hunting for it, finally found it had gone down my front.  The Company (minus Fonteyn) is not particularly outstanding, but I had a fairly good time anyway.  Went to a dirty Turkish restaurant for coffee afterwards, which was fun.
       Next day I went over to a girl's digs for supper and to sew on sashes for Down in the Valley.  The English hospitality is overwhelming.  This girl is a counterpart of Joann, very sweet and unselfish.
       Yesterday had my hair washed, set, and a light perm for the equivalent of about $6.00—couldn't stand the straight hair one more minute.  It is a good permanent, but right now is too curly for my taste, although everyone pronounces it wonderful.  At least I don't have to worry so much about it now.
       Rehearsals are going well—I think the shows will be good, although it takes up a lot of time, but I still enjoy it.  No more letters until after they get on (6th, 7th, 8th).
       Heard from Sue Dinges yesterday, from San Francisco (on vacation) and Joann (who evidently had another fight with Patricia and is with Diane for this week—poor kid).  No word from [John Douty in] Paris in two weeks, which always scares the pants off me (usually for no good reason) ever since that awful day in the costume room with Richard Diesko looking on—remember?  I am sure I am more worried about ulcer attacks than he is.
       I loved the picture: very good I thought except for Madam's sunglasses—ha!
       Eileen, the girl who is like Joann, is doing some knitting for me, since she needs money badly.  She is a student at the Old Vic school, and they are really hard up.  Since I have three new sweaters I am having her do an oatmeal tweedy kind of yarn, long-sleeved sweater for John for Xmas in place of those other things.  Guess I will save the big book for Morton.  Guess that Morton and [name struck through with typed dashes:] Elizabeth Martha are still together, since Sue said she had them over along with the theatre staff and Barnett for buffet supper.
       Was happy to hear Thanksgiving dinner turned out so well.  If all goes well, I shall be leaving here the 15th—that is, unless Monsieur Douty is sick, or unless Bristol is washed away in the meantime.  Last night it rained and blew so hard it was frightening.  Old timers claim they've never seen the like.
       For now then I shall say goodbye, and tread my weary way to school to see if Glynne has my money yet (the Devon trip cost me nearly £3).  Love, Jean

Dec. 7-9, 1954

[typewritten, to her parents]

       December 7, 1954
       Hello, Out There!
       Honestly (sorry I keep disregarding the same questions) I don't know, nor have any idea what the initials* mean on the toilet paper, and it isn't exactly a table conversation topic.  All the Americans use another kind—Rod and June use the kind put out by the Kleenex company.
       Here we are halfway through the shows—they are going very well; most people are quite impressed at least with Hello Out There—the other had its moments.  Enclosed please find review and program.  I have worked fairly hard on it, but nothing to compare with last year's grueling schedule—a couple of nights until 12:30.  The costumes turned out well, and after a frantic search down in the basement of the U. late Saturday night, the four of us with beer bottles in hand, we managed to locate an old Victorian type dress of a lovely turquoise plaid, and renovated it for our leading lady.  We, with relief, went to a local American type pub last night in Lav*'s "hand-made" car and forgot our troubles.  Tonight we're invited to Wickham's for a party, and tomorrow night the cast party at George Brandt's.  Then planning the schedule and packing for Xmas.
       Finally heard from John, who had been writing [a letter] in installments, interspersed with sending packages home, writing to the Moores* (Beauregard and Miss Sheba have a new set of pups, eight this time, but I promise I won't obligate you) etc.  He seemed quite cheerful and verbose.  After much agony of writing to eight hotels and receiving confirmation from seven of them, I finally managed to select one, recommended by a friend here and which is cheap for London, so if all goes well Dr. D[outy] and I should be, from Dec. 16-23 or 24, at: St. George Hotel / 46, Norfolk Square / Hyde Park, London, W.2.
       From then on, God only knows, but I promise to keep you informed when and if we make up our
       [page ends; sentence not completed on next page]
       Haven't been doing much since last writing but the shows.  Mrs. R. was greatly interested with the card, which I felt was nice, but the message awfully "parentish."  As Mrs. R. said, "I don't recall doing anything for you in particular."  Appreciated both your cards—I have no calendar and have to keep running in[to] the W.C. where there is one to check dates, etc., so now I won't have to so much (at least to check dates).  The alumni mag was so funny and typically gushy for such types of publication.  Keep running around showing everyone Old Paint [Dr. Barnett]'s picture . . . must take it with me to show Zanni; I thought it awfully uncanny of you to enclose those clippings between the pages; kept expecting to see a letter too.
       Among my thirteen letters of yesterday, heard from Bill [McGehee], who swears he will get together with you during Xmas vacation.  It was very long and typically Bill, being very funny and expletive (?) [sic].  Enclosed a description of local KCU life he experienced during one day of Thanksgiving vacation—was very depressing and it took me hours to choke it off.  God, how I hate the thought of going back to that same little niche.  The trouble is that I love all the people dearly, but they never change, merely get worse instead of better, including poor old Hyatt, who is evidently taking to drink again.  Wonder what the Founding Fathers of the Church think about this?
       Sunday, Eileen (the girl who reminds me of Joann) and I went downtown for lunch as a break from sewing or costumes.  Went to the restaurant across from the Theatre Royal and had (get this) hamburgers and onions, baked beans, French fries, and Coca-Cola!  How American can one get?  That night I had my first spinach for years—I normally hate the nasty green stuff, but felt that I needed the iron badly so lapped up every bit.  Also every week Jack and I get liver—also for the iron.  I have never been so calorie conscious in my life.  Just wait until vacation, I'll bet I won't be able to roll back to Bristol!
       Finally broke down and bought two more pairs of hose after shivering without any for a week . . . feels so luxurious.  My hair is coming along marvelously and looks fine—curls in the rain, and I can't have to put it up very much.
       Got a card and $2.00 from Connie—made me feel about two cents worth of nothing . . . her with a new baby and me running around Europe.  Well, if she wanted to do it, I am grateful, but still ashamed.
       Took time off for as party at Rod and June's Saturday night—they also had the Brandts and George Rowell—had a very nice time, complete with cold chicken sandwiches.  (Chicken is sky-high here.)
       I think I am going up to London next Wednesday since there is a special rate on Wednesdays cheaper on the train . . . Rod and June and the kids are going on it, and now Gerry, Jack, and Marcie say they are going too, so it should be a riotous trip.
       I told John to please bring and not forget his passport, traveler's checks, specs, and good humor.  He got involved with a bunch of Greeks on a conducted tour of Chartres on the coldest day of the year, and the account beats Cornelia Otis Skinner for laughs.  I unfortunately read it in the library and kept punctuating the pristine air with hearty American guffaws.
       Mrs. R. is throwing together a couple of sausage rolls for my supper (the first one here in two weeks) so I should be getting ready.  Mr. R. is going to the show tonight.  More later.

       Dec. 8th
       What a life: the rain has begun again, nasty as ever.  Dragged up this morning since Mr. R. had two tickets for a children's concert of the Birmingham Symphony, and he and I went down about 10:00 where we met Jack.  It was very nice, with a good selection of pieces, and the children proved to be much more attentive than those of K.C.  Found out that Mr. R. had organized the whole affair, being the head of the Education Committee here.  George Brandt told me that Mr. R. sat next to him last night, and was telling him all about the days many years ago when he was the tutor for the grandchildren of J. Pierpont Morgan.  He has told me he spent more time in the States, but never this!  Such company I keep, and for that matter, live with.
       ll went well last night, but we had to take pictures and it was almost as much of a hassle when McGehee performs—dragged out after a couple of hours and a couple of beers (with Lav in the sound booth) and six of us piled into the car again and drove away to Glynne's.  Quite a place he has: complete with mother-of-pearl inlaid desks etc.  He has turned out to be Gladstone's great-grandson!  Served a lot of exotic food: crabmeat in aspic, hot ham-rolls, red wine served hot with cherries . . . I almost got sick I ate so much and after the excitement.
       Helped Gerry and Jack repaint the ground cloth an scenery pieces for tonight—thank the Lord it's the last—and Jack took me to lunch at the Berkeley*: had marvelous roast beef and met Rudy Shelley (have I ever told you about him? the crazy Austrian who teaches movement classes at the Old Vic) which occupied us for another couple of hours.
       Back to the library where I finished a book on the pantomimes, and had to talk awhile with Dr. Joseph* (the crazy prof who teaches Elizabethan Acting . . . he is actually a trifle insane, but intelligent . . . runs the Mermaid Theatre in London in off hours . . . no, not that kind of "off").  He has gotten in the habit of running over to my place in the library with books and stuff . . . this time it was a series of photographs.
       Then back home to change (am wearing new dress to the cast party—yes, with shields in the proper places) and a small supper.  Tomorrow we have to give a talk on the U.S. electoral system at a meeting of the Socialist Club . . . I'm going to let Rod do all the talking, and I'm sure Gerry won't let an opportunity to gab get by him, so I hope I am reasonably safe.  From past experience, I probably will have to answer some deep, involved question and behave quite stupidly.  We're doing it mostly for the lunch which is being included.
       I can't resist including this for your benefit from John's letter:

I was trotting down Blvd. St. Germain last midnight in search of a small snack when, peering myopically in the terrasse of the Flore (I wasn't wearing my glasses at the time, of course) I saw Bunker.  It was not a simple "Oh, that looks like Bunker," or "Could that be Bunker?"—there were no questions asked—I just automatically fled into the night.  When I could run no longer, and after my heart had resumed its normal beat, the thought occurred to me that if it had been Bunker he would have been in hot pursuit.  So perhaps it wasn't—perhaps I'm cracking up.  But his name has not appeared on the UKC programs or in the publicity your mother has sent.

       Can you imagine anything more horrible than Bunker in Paris?  Sort of like a nemesis-complex.
       Sorry for all the mistakes . . . I am tired and in a hurry, and my fingers are a trifle frozen tonight.  I purchased a hot water bottle today, much against my will, but my feet were so cold last night I had to wear those wool sock things after awhile.
       Yesterday at tea Mrs. R. asked me how my twin brother was!  It seems she gets her PG's (paying guests) mixed up—that's not all she gets mixed up!
       I must go once more—unless I add more to this, I should be able to mail it in the morning.  Luv, J
       [handwritten postscript:]
       Dec. 9   11:30
       Typical mad cast party.  They gave me a bouquet of mums with stems three feet long but very lovely—finally got home at 2:00 AM.  Slept, or tried to with Mrs. R. coming in every five minutes until 10:30 this morn.  Off to visit Woolworth's now (yes—there is one everywhere!).

Dec. 17, 1954

[handwritten, to her parents]

       December 17th, 1:30 AM
       Dearest folks,
       Just a line or two to let you know that all is well and promising to be even better.
       I drove up yesterday with Masúd, Gerry & about five others of the Persian princes (all in different cars).  Exhausting trip in a way, but helpful in that it was free!  (M. gave up trying to find Norfolk Square, however, and I had to take a cab but wasn't much from the Princes' flat in S.W. London).  Got to the St. George around 7:00 PM and John arrived around 1:20 from the boat train.  The St. George is a dream—we are (until after tomorrow) situated in two double rooms in the top floor since she didn't have any singles available but is only charging us the price of singles.  The place is scrupulously clean (the owners are French) and neat.  John still can't get used to having to eat eggs at 9:00 in the morning, thrown at him in bed by the little French maid, but we are trying to work this out by eliminating the eggs & ordering more coffee (French).
       Ate dinner last night at a Turkish restaurant near here (good) and walked all the way to and from Piccadilly—getting lost, but loving it—finally arriving at Regent Street with all the gorgeous Fifth Avenue type shops, the elegant architecture, & the Xmas trees & lights which was well worth the walk.  Staggered back with a bottle around 12:30 & drank & talked until nearly 3:00.
       Finally managed to get him out around 11:00 this morn, went (by bus) to the Fulbright office for my check, to Piccadilly branch of my bank to deposit it & get money, booked my passage home on the Cunard line (the Mauretania—Aug. 20th), booked our entire transportation through to Paris at Cook's, got theatre tickets, ate (toasted cheese sandwiches), WALKED, got lost & hysterical at the same time.  Went home to change & a quick drink.  Then a truly hysterical trip by the tube (subway) to Sadler's Wells (it took hours).  Saw The Consul (Menotti).  Absolutely a beautiful performance—slick production, gorgeous singing all beyond belief.  Ate beforehand at the restaurant enclosed (Greek) sort of theatrical.  Went back to Piccadilly & in wandering around hunting cigarettes found a gorgeous bar underground in the tube—very swish with sweeping staircase, three different parts, mirrors, luxurious decor—drank martinis & ate cold turkey sandwiches until midnight when we took the tube home.  I have just taken a bath & washed out some things & am planning on turning in soon.
       Weather has been okay for England—been spitting today but no nasty weather per se.
       THE TRIP may kill us both, but should be something.  We leave here the 26th at 9:00 AM for Amsterdam via the Hague, then Cologne, Frankfurt, other German towns, Munich, Zurich, Salzburg & Paris.  There are a lot more towns, but John took them down & I got confused, especially at this pace.  I will naturally keep you posted on route.
       No fights yet, all is rosy & giggly.  J. is thinner, but in good spirits, so thank God for that.
       We both wish you a wonderful Christmas and please thank Mellie for the money & card, will you?  It was so sweet & thoughtful of them.  Love to all—Jean



[click on the > at the end of each Note to return to its source above]

  The only 1954-55 Bristol U. publication found online in 2016 was a pamphlet titled Some Technical & Economic Aspects of the Combine Harvester, produced by the "Department of Economics (Agricultural Economics)" and available on eBay for $13.31.  >
  Mila Jean turned twenty-one (then the legal voting age) in 1953, but made no mention of casting an absentee ballot in the Nov. 1954 midterm election, where the Republicans lost their majorities in both houses of Congress.  >
  Cook's travel service was founded in 1841, originally to transport temperance supporters by railway; later arranging personal tours to Europe and America.  In the 1950s Cook's began promoting "foreign holiday" travel from Britain to the Continent.  >
  John Ramsay Allardyce Nicoll (1894-1976), a professor of English and theater and founding director of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute, wrote a six-volume History of English Drama, 1660-1900 that was published in 1923 and reissued as a set in the 1950s.  >
  Ernest Hemingway received the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature.  Recuperating from injuries suffered in Africa (two plane crashes and a bushfire) he was unable to accept the award in person.  John Douty enclosed a Punch cartoon of "The Old Man and the Prize" in his Nov. 15th letter to Mila Jean.  >
  Allardyce Nicoll's Masks, Mimes and Miracles: Studies in the Popular Theatre was originally published in 1931.  >
  The Burlesque Tradition in the English Theatre after 1660 was published in 1952.  Its author, V.C. Clinton-Baddeley (1900-1970), was an actor, playwright, owner-manager of Jupiter Records, writer of detective fiction, and cousin of Angela and Hermione Baddeley.  >
  Duncan Ross (1918-1987) was director of the Bristol Old Vic School from 1954 to 1961, discovering Harold Pinter's first play The Room "by accident."  He then taught at the University of Washington in Seattle, served as artistic director of the Seattle Repertory Theater and National School of Canada, and succeeded John Houseman as chair of the University of Southern California's Drama Division in 1979.  Houseman called Ross "probably the most outstanding acting teacher in America today."  >
  Vintage Royal Air Force raincoats are available on eBay.  >
  Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a depiction of the Salem witch trials and allegory of McCarthyism, debuted on Broadway in 1953 and won that year's Tony for Best Play.  >
  Dartington Hall in south Devon was built in the late 14th Century for the Earl of Huntingdon, half-brother of Richard II.  Beginning in 1925, the hall was renovated as a site for progressive education, including Bristol Drama's summer school program.  >
  Durward Alan Redd attended the University of Kansas City with Mila Jean and took part in many of the Playhouse productions noted in Arrived Safely 1949-1954.  An art major, Kangaroo yearbook editor, graduate theater fellow, and instructor of speech at KCU, Redd would become Director of Theatre at Northeastern Illinois University.  >
  Pygmalion, directed by Patricia McIlrath* and designed by J. Morton Walker*, ran at the KCU Playhouse Oct. 25-30, 1954.  >
  The University of Bristol's Green Room Society presented "Two American Plays" in the Drama Studio on Dec. 6-8, 1954.  These were produced by Gerald Leider* (assisted by Mila Jean) and directed by John Lavender*, with settings by Jack Sommers* (who played the Young Man in Hello Out There) and lighting by Rod Brown* (who played the Father in Down in the Valley).  >
  William Saroyan's Hello Out There, a one-act play set in a small Texas jail, was first performed in 1941, recorded as a short film (directed by Frankenstein's James Whale) in 1950, and adapted as a chamber opera in 1953.  >
  "Just what is a Zanni?" John Douty began his Nov. 11th letter to Mila Jean.  "I think I'm insulted but, not having a copy of MM&M [Masks, Mimes and Miracles] at hand, will have to forgo that pleasure."

Your SCHEDULE (you will forgive me if I do not use caps from this point? shifting is such a strain) sounds reasonable enough.  I, of course, am completely placide about any activity other than London so must simply tag along behind—although you know I am no sport, winter or otherwise.  The various towns you mention are completely unknown to me.  I suspect them of being little fishing villages with nothing to break the monotony except the monotonous pounding of the surf...  As for your other plans, may I inject a word of elderly advice?  Why not assume that this is not your only trip to Europe and save something for later?...  How come you have no plans for Dublin?  What about Joyce—and the Paycock?...  As for your not understanding French, there are two solutions for theatre-going in Paris.  First, there are enough familiar plays running so that you can get your fill from plays your already know...  And then it is very easy to do as I do—go to the theatres and pretend you understand what is being said.  French stage diction is far too rapid for me to understand more than a sentence here and there but I have discovered what I have long suspected—in a well mounted show, the exact words are not very important.

Enjoyed your flight of homely philosophy although I did not exactly understand the occasion.  I should never have tagged you as lacking independence or have accused you of "tagging after people and their philosophies like I did you and Mort last year."  I do remember when Mort and I were trying to coerce you into applying for a fellowship at Arkansas we were agreed that the thing you needed most was to get out of KC but this is a slightly different matter.  And you wouldn't have missed spending last year in the Playhouse for worlds, would you, now?  But I assume your orgy of maudlin self-flagellation was the passing fancy of a sober moment and forgotten by now...  >

  "The Drama Studio as its name implies is not a public theatre," remarked Glynne Wickham* in the Two American Plays program.  "It was designed as a laboratory for academic teaching and experiment...  This is the first essay in production organized and executed by Green Room, the drama department Society...  It provides an opportunity, rare in this country, of seeing American plays produced by Americans."  >
  Mila Jean's father Francis See "Frank" Smith (1896-1973) was partial to Dutch Masters cigars; this is the only reference I've found to him as a smoker of pipes (impractical or otherwise).  >
  The Bristol Guild of Applied Art, inspired by William Morris, was founded in 1908 as a place for artists and craftsmen to learn from each other and sell their wares.  >
  Nat Brenner was General Manager of the Bristol Old Vic from 1951 to 1963, then Principal of its Theatre School until 1980.  Among his students was Jeremy Irons, whom Brenner dubbed "Cut It Fine" for never being on time.  >
  Following stints with the Guildford Repertory Company, Old Vic Dramatic School, and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, John Moody served as Director of the Bristol Old Vic from 1954 to 1959.  >
  American actor-director Sam Wanamaker (1919-1993) moved to England after being put on the Hollywood blacklist in 1952.  He led the campaign to rebuild the Globe Theatre in London and make it as exact a replica of the original as possible.  >
  The Crucible's premiere British production at the Bristol Old Vic in 1954 starred Rosemary Harris.  In a 2015 interview with The Telegraph she recalled:

All the London critics, including Kenneth Tynan and Harold Hobson, came down to Bristol to see The Crucible.  It was a profoundly moving production and I felt it affected people a lot, but it didn't go to London because it was considered too strong meat.  Arthur Miller wasn't that accepted at the time, and people hadn't liked Death of a Salesman all that much.  This was before the Angry Young Men, and British audiences were more staid in their tastes.  They still wore dinner jackets to the theatre and preferred drawing room comedies.  The critics were blown away by our production.  Apparently, they talked about it on the train all the way back to Paddington...  They all say how brave of Bristol it was to take The Crucible on, and shame on the West End for not doing it.

The Crucible would not be produced in London until 1965.  >
  George Brandt (1921-2007) was born in Germany; his family fled to England after Hitler took power, but Brandt was interned as an alien in 1940.  Moving to Canada, he earned his master's degree at the University of Winnipeg and created documentaries for the National Film Board.  Returning to England after World War II, he joined the University of Bristol's Drama Department in 1951 as one of its "four musketeers," the others being Glynne Wickham, George Rowell, and John Lavender.  In 1971 he was named Bristol U.'s first director of film studies.  For his funeral music, Brandt chose themes from his two favorite movies: Citizen Kane's overture and Pinocchio's "Give a Little Whistle."  >

  John Egger Barnett (1906-1978) was a Harvard man, receiving his bachelor's in 1928, master's in 1932, and PhD in 1938.  He joined the KCU English Department in 1946, serving as Registrar and Assistant Dean until resigning his post in 1953 as part of the successful "Revolution" against President Clarence Decker.  From 1954 to 1960 he was Dean of KCU's College of Liberal Arts, in which capacity he hired George Ehrlich as an Instructor in Art History (after an interview delayed by Barnett's having injured his eye on an shrub while putting out the trash that morning).  How universally he was known as "Old Paint" is a matter for conjecture.  >
  On Nov. 8, 1954, baseball's Philadelphia Athletics moved to Kansas City MO, replacing the minor-league Blues who had been the Yankees's top farm club.  Unfortunately, thanks to owner collusion the Kansas City A's served much the same function: any promising young player like Roger Maris or Clete Boyer invariably got traded to New York.  Regardless, Frank Smith always rooted for the home team.  >
  William Ewing Kemp (1889-1968) was Mayor of Kansas City MO from 1946 to 1955.  >
  William D. Ludeke, four years younger than Mila Jean, was the adopted son of her estranged grandfather.  Bill spent several years in the Marine Corps, first appearing on its muster rolls in July 1954, three months before his eighteenth birthday.  >
  Excerpts from George Laycock's Nov. 8th letter to Mila Jean:

I'm sure you have England by its dignified ears by this time, and although the bland food one can become used to, how about trying the inside of a corrugated paper box instead of the toilet paper?  I think it would be an improvement!...  In Hamburg I communed with the animals in the Hagenbeck Zoo for one afternoon (so many resemble friends of mine that it is disturbing) and in Amsterdam I went to see an Edam cheese factory where they gave away samples, and a diamond cutting factory where they didn't!...  My friends in Paris had gotten orchestra seats for "Les Indes Galantes" at the Opera, the most lavish and magnificent production I've ever seen, complete to a volcano spewing lava and hurling rocks about the stage.  Of course prices in Paris are shocking, but the regime seems to take the Marie Antoinette course of "let 'em eat cake" and no wonder the workers are turning Communist...

The ship [home] . . . how I yearned for the Fulbrighters!...  My [table] companions were: 1. The chignoned wife of a saloon-keeper from Hannibal, Mo., who admitted high prices for whiskey during the war had sent her abroad, where "she had done seen a lot and was glad she had took the time to go"...  [2.] an ex-Austrian beauty parlor operator from Kearney, N.J., imported by a G.I., and she lost one set of eyelashes in the soup one night...  Thanks a million for the letter and the pictures . . . and if you three [Fulbrighters] could have known how I missed you on the trip back, and wished I could have had my gay and witty table mates, you would know how much I enjoyed your company.  Have yourself a wonderful year in England . . . gaining and losing POUNDS.

While George Laycock was visiting Paris, Mila Jean tried to arrange his meeting John Douty, but the latter chose not to participate.  >
  Hurricane Hazel was the deadliest of the 1954 Atlantic season, devastating Haiti and the Carolina coast before traveling up the eastern seaboard and impacting Canada.  George Laycock's hospital in Conway SC escaped damage, but "at Long Beach only five of 357 houses are left—the others washed out to sea...  You cannot imagine the destruction."  >
  On the Waterfront was released on July 28, 1954.  Arthur Miller wrote the first version of the script, but refused requests by studio head Harry Cohn and director Elia Kazan to change the antagonists from corrupt union officials to Communists.  Miller was then replaced by Budd Schulberg, who (like Kazan) had cooperated with the House Un-American Activities Committee; he would be awarded the Oscar for his screenplay.  >
  George Bernard Shaw said that Cedric Hardwicke was his fifth favorite actor (after the four Marx Brothers).  Hardwicke himself claimed he could not act: "What I can do is suspend my audience's power of judgment till I've finished."  >
  Edward Hardwicke (1932-2011), son of Cedric and his first wife Helena Pickard, had a long career on stage and screen; from 1986 to 1994 he played Dr. Watson in the televised Return of Sherlock Holmes >
  Despite Mila Jean's doubts, Cedric Hardwicke's companion at The Crucible most likely was his second wife: pixie-coif'd Mary Scott (1921-2009).  Born in Los Angeles, she was signed to a 20th Century-Fox contract in 1940 after Darryl Zanuck admired her legs.  In Hollywood Mary hooked up with Hardwicke, following him to Broadway where (according to her obituary) "he contrived to have her replace Lilli Palmer [as] his co-star in Caesar and Cleopatra."  They got married in 1950 after Mary became pregnant with their son Michael.  "More socialite than serious actress," she made several appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, most notably in the Hitch-directed "Mr. Blanchard's Secret."  She and Hardwicke divorced in 1961; son Michael committed suicide in 1983; and Mary published a vanity-press memoir, Nobody Ever Accused Me of Being a 'Lady,' in 2000.  > 
  "Emmy" was Mila Jean's name for her Great-Aunt Irma Ludeke Charles (1878-1964).  "Flo" was Flora Belle Dixon (1865-1955), cousin of Mila Jean's namesake grandmother.  Emmy and Flo were both lifelong residents of Hamilton OH.  >
  Dolores Ann "Dee" Glogau (born 1932) was Mila Jean's best friend at Central High School.  Jeanie, just before leaving KCMO for her Fulbright year abroad, was a bridesmaid at Dee's Sep. 5, 1954 wedding to clinical psychologist Eugene Dale Chambers (1928-2009) at Linwood Methodist Church.  Dee and Dr. Eugene had a couple of children and lived in Dayton OH, as did Mila Jean's middle sister
  Aunt Mellie Morris Smith (1885-1950), Frank's older half-sister, was known for toting around oversized bags and baskets.  >
  James Planché (1796-1880), an antiquarian as well as a prolific dramatist, introduced historical accuracy to British theatrical costuming.  >
  Winston Churchill was Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1929 until his death in 1965.  As such, his most memorable moment came after a heavy German air raid devastated the city in April 1941.  The next day, amid smoldering rubble, Churchill insisted that a ceremony conveying honorary degrees proceed as planned; there he delivered an impromptu speech in praise of Bristol's courageous fortitude, likening it to ancient Rome's.  >
  Colston Hall ("Bristol's home of music") first opened as a concert venue in 1867; it was twice rebuilt after being gutted by fires in 1898 and 1945—the latter one caused not by the Luftwaffe, but a discarded cigarette.  >
  Kansas City MO's Music Hall is part of Municipal Auditorium, built in 1934 in the Streamline Moderne architectural style (a late version of Art Deco).  >
  "Dan" was Isaac Danemann (1892-1987), a Latvian-born Kansas City grocer who lived at 3717 Indiana, three blocks away from the Smiths at 3908 College.  In Nov. 1954 he passed through London en route to Johannesburg, South Africa (for undisclosed reasons), returning home in Apr. 1955 and eventually winding up in Albuquerque, where he and two wives—Sarah (1895-1974) and Mabel (1902-1993)—are buried in Fairview Memorial Park.  >
  Mr. Danemann's conversational style may be sampled in his follow-up letter to "Dear Miss Smith: Just to let you know that it was nice talking to you, but in the excitement I believe I failed to tell you my name.  My name is I. Danemann and your Mother knows me as 'Dan' for short...  So once more I want to say good bye to you.  If you care to drop me a line to where I am going my address is as follows...  Sincerely yours, I. Danemann.  P.S.  This paper I am writing on is from Kansas City Mo. and so is this envelope.  Good luck to you.  I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirit."  He then sent a card to Mila Jean's mother: "Dear Mrs. Smith, I contacted your daughter Mila.  I conveyed your regard to her, and must say she was plenty surprised.  I am sure you'll hear from her.  Am having a wonderful time.  Give my regards to your husband, and if you happen to be in the [illegible] tell them hello for me.  Dan."  A few weeks later, he mailed a picture postcard from Johannesburg to Mila Jean: "This is from the party who called you long distance from London.  Dear Miss Mila: Just to let you know that I arrived safely in South Africa.  This is Mr. Danemann known as 'Dan' to your mother in K.C.Mo.  Yours respectfully...  A Merry Christmas."   >
  Sandalwood Box, a three-act children's play written by Geraldine Siks, staged by J. Morton Walker*, and featuring Durward Redd as Sanchez and Mary Jane Davis* as Sanchica, played at the KCU Playhouse Nov. 5-20, 1954.  One of its photos in the 1955 Kangaroo yearbook includes a donkey (apparently live).  >
  Dr. Mary Alice Douty Edwards (1913-2014) was John Douty's older sister.  Earning her bachelor's degree from Goucher College, her master's from Union Theological Seminary and her Ed.D. from Columbia, she taught Christian education at Wesley Theological Seminary from 1957 to 1983, serving as Interim Dean her final year.  After retirement, Mary Alice developed programs for ministering to the elderly.  She married the Rev. Philip Edwards (1903-2000) in 1960 and had two stepdaughters.  >
  Forwarded to Mila Jean in John Douty's Nov. 15th letter, "FROM OUR SPECIAL OVERSEAS CORRESPONDENT":

There was a little matter of a donkey not showing up for rehearsal.  So the performance got under way about a half hour late, and minus the donkey.  The water carrier brought him on in pantomime and then the wife proceeded to walk all over the spot where the poor donkey stood in absentia...  After rehearsal Mort showed me around the theatre and asked me to stay to supper, but as he was still having donkey trouble and I was having a meeting I had to go.  The donkey finally arrived, and acted just like a donkey.  It refused to be budged on stage at all.  Just before I left Mort got it there by force—he being bigger than the donkey.  I think they decided it was the ramp that the donkey didn't like.  Anyway, I enjoyed seeing your last hang out.

"Makes one sort of homesick," John Douty remarked to Jeanie, "—not for KC, but to be in production."  >
Regrettably, nothing has been found that sheds further light on the identity of "Masúd" or the "Persian princes."  >
  Fran James Polek (1929-2002) was a KCU student who, like Mila Jean, was selected for Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges in 1953.  He went on to teach at Gonzaga for thirty years, specializing in American literature of the 20th Century.  In 1984-85 he was a Fulbright senior professor in Romania.  >
  The next day (Nov. 24th) Glynne Wickham wrote:

Dear Mila, I enclose three circulars, two of which may, I think, be of especial interest to you.  The Youth Drama Festival at Cheltenham and the Bristol Grammar School play.  The W.E.A. [Workers' Educational Association] players are one of the best amateur groups in Bristol and a pretty near equivalent to a good Community Theatre in the States.  I know you are busy on the Studio plays and find it difficult to be free of an evening to attend performances.  Even so, I would strongly recommend you to attempt to attend these three performances if you want to get a true perspective of what goes on outside the professional theatre and the University.  May I also remind you of the performances of Tschaikovsky's opera, Eugene Onegin, details of which are on the notice board.  I would be very grateful if you could ensure that the details of all four performances reach the other Fulbright students.  >

  Cornelia Otis Skinner, who wrote and acted in many monologue-dramas, described her post-college European tour in the comic bestseller Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (co-written with Emily Kimbrough in 1942), which was adapted for the screen in 1944 and the stage in 1946.  >
  Heavy rains in July 1951 caused a disastrous flood in eastern Kansas and western Missouri; 15,000 people had to be evacuated from Kansas City, and its stockyards never fully recovered from the destruction.  >
  Totnes is a market town on the River Dart in Devon.  According to legend, this was where Brutus of Troy (descendant of Aeneas and founder of Britain) first set foot on the Sceptred Isle.  >
  Frank Nelson, a longtime foil for Jack Benny, typically announced himself with a longdrawn rising "eeeYessssssss?"  Tribute characters using the same catchphrase occasionally appear in Gasoline Alley and on The Simpsons.  >
  Kansas City MO's College Avenue was home to the Smith family from shortly after Jeanie's birth in 1932 until 1971—first at #3908, then four miles south at #6611.  >
  Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, first released in 1936, marked the final appearance of his Little Tramp character.  >
  Mike/Michael may have been either Michael Pearce, who portrayed "Other Men" in Hello Out There and was among Down in the Valley's Chorus; or Mike McStay, who played Tom Bouché in the latter production.  >
  The Autumn 2015 issue of Nonesuch, Bristol University's magazine, recalled:

In 1954, in typically controversial Churchill fashion, and despite a full programme of 50th [sic] birthday celebrations having been planned for him in London, he exasperated government colleagues by choosing to spend time in Bristol, coinciding with the completion of the Queen's Building.  It was during this last visit to Bristol that students showed their lasting affection for the Chancellor, presenting him with a surprise silver salver after his final address at Colston Hall...  From 1945 onwards, degree ceremonies over which he presided were always oversubscribed, and he received so many individual representations that the University eventually had to put measures in place to prevent students from contacting him directly.

Which did not prevent Mila Jean (as she would later recall) from witnessing his "waddling off to (or in search of) the gent's, in no good humor."  >
  Coppélia, a comic ballet about a life-size dancing doll, premiered in France in 1870.  Act One of The Tales of Hoffman is a variation of the same story.  >
  Sue Dinges became a theater instructor at KCU in 1953, founded the Ivory Tower Players in 1960, and achieved national prominence in her field before retiring in 1990.  She also taught creative dramatics to grade schoolers for many years (including myself, to a certain extent, in 1967-68).   >
  Richard Lee Diesko was in Mila Jean's KCU Class of 1953; he majored in English language and literature.  >
  Eileen Varley, a student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, was a production assistant on "Two American Plays." shows her appearing in a 1954-55 Bristol Old Vic production of Getting Married.  >
  "Experimental and enterprising," headlined the review of "Two American Plays" (clipped without date given; written by Peter Rodford and probably published in the Western Daily Press):

To see a production in Bristol University's Drama Studio is to watch acting through a magnifying glass.  So close is the actor to the audience that not a twitch of a muscle escapes notice—a situation that has obvious advantages and disadvantages, for while such intimacy can be used to heighten dramatic experience, it can also serve to expose brutally dramatic ineptitude.  It was, therefore, both refreshing and rewarding to find the specialised properties of this studio put to such successful use in this "first essay in production" by the University Drama Department's Green Room Society, particularly in view of the unusual and enterprising nature of the bill.

The evening was experimental in several respects—students from the Drama department and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School working together under the leadership of American colleagues in the presentation of two American plays rarely seen in this country.  And the result might well be applauded as a worthwhile venture in Anglo-American co-operation.  In spite of the emotional naïvety of both plays, the casts acted with thought and feeling and showed good judgment in their control and volume while the producer Gerald Leider[,] a Fulbright research scholar, and his scenic designers were not lacking in ingenuity in their utilization of an apron stage although lighting was sometimes open to criticism.

In both plays which had thoughts in common, the central character was a prisoner due to meet his death either for a crime he did not commit or for a crime committed in exonerating circumstances.  Their different reactions to their plight, set against romantic situations, provided a very interesting contrast.  As the prisoner in Saroyan's "Hello Out There[,]" John Sommers acted with sincerity and conviction to the last convulsions of death while Sonia Fraser brought a touching innocence to the part of the young girl so suddenly and cruelly entrapped in the tragedy.  In some of her softer passages she showed a voice of uncommon gentleness and beauty.  Tom Kneebone as the prisoner in "Down in the Valley" had the difficult task of expressing his feelings in song and although supple of movement and zestful of spirit he lacked the voice to compel.  Sonia Beesley, as his girl friend, had the finer voice, but was less expressive while other soloists and chorus although making much of a small stage, were not always comfortable with the mountain music of Kurt Weill played here on a piano which was not always in complete co-ordination with the singers.

Nevertheless, in this musical play, also there was much to enjoy.  >

  Sonia Fraser (1937-2013), according to obituaries in The Guardian and The Stage, "'ran away' from home to join the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School... 'I went off at 15 with a copy of Shakespeare and a pair of tights and thought, 'This is what I want to do.'"  Her parents, "although they were horrified at the idea, they let her go, to 'get it out of her system.'"  She went on to play Katherine to Albert Finney's Henry V at the Birmingham Rep in 1957; Mrs. Sowerberry (the undertaker's wife) in 1960's original production of Oliver!; Elizabeth Vernon in BBC-TV's miniseries Elizabeth R; and Arwen in BBC Radio 4's 1981 dramatization of The Lord of the Rings.  In the 1980s she became an award-winning director and, in her later years, a psychotherapist.  >
  Tom Kneebone (1932-2003) was born in New Zealand, went to England to study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, then moved to Canada and became a "multi-talented performer who has had a long and eclectic career" (as recognized by the Order of Canada) in cabaret revues and with the Shaw and Stratford Festivals.  >
  Sonia Beesley appeared in Bristol U.'s Children in Uniform, Measure for Measure, and Enemy during the next few years, serving as Lady President of Bristol University Court in 1956-57.  In the 1980s she was a presenter on BBC Radio 4.  >
  Mila Jean's mother Ada Louise seldom mailed a letter without including several newspaper and/or magazine clippings—some so minuscule that opening the envelope was like popping a confetti cracker.  >
  Hyatt Waggoner (1913-1988), a prominent Hawthorne scholar, taught at KCU from 1942 to 1956 and chaired its English department starting in 1952; he then taught at Brown until retirement in 1979.  As a nature lover, Waggoner devoted much attention to the conflict between science and theology.  >
  John Douty began his Nov. 27-29 letter with the "COMMUNIQUE" re: the Moores's dog's puppies, then described taking part in a group expedition to Chartres Cathedral, where the guide "forced us up a narrow circular stairway onto the roof where I stood embracing a gargoyle and screaming in terror until some kind souls picked me up and carried me down to safety.  (This may be a capsule summary of my life)."  >
  William Ewart Gladstone and Catherine Glynne's eldest daughter Agnes (1842-1931) married Edward Wickham.  Their grandson Glynne Wickham's middle names were William Gladstone.  >
  Rafael/Raphael Shelly/Shelley (known as "Rudi"/"Rudy") joined the Bristol Old Vic faculty two weeks after its Theatre School opened in 1946; half a century later he was still teaching master classes.  Among his thousands of students were Anthony Hopkins, Stephanie Cole, Jeremy Irons, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Greta Scacchi.  >
  "As for running into people," John Douty wrote on Nov. 27th, "I am reconciled to the fact that no matter how remote the fishing village you coerce me into visiting, we shall meet someone you know.  The only moment I really dread is the moment of colliding with Norman Royall*'s baby-blue Cadillac."  Two days later John Douty added the "Speaking of meeting peopl
e—" postscript about Art Bunker.  >
  Arthur S. Bunker Jr. (born 1928) attended KCU with Mila Jean.  He appeared as Sebastian in the Playhouse's 1952 production of Twelfth Night (with Mary Jane Davis as Olivia and Morton Walker as Malvolio) and the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz (featuring Durward Redd in the title role), as well as Collin Talbo in 1953's The Grass Harp (costumed by Mila Jean).  He got married in Apr. 1955 and became a car dealer, selling Volkswagens and Subarus (including at least a couple to the Ehrlich family) at Art Bunker Motors.  >
  The St. George Hotel, a converted townhouse near Paddington Station, continues to operate (and receive middling reviews) at 46 Norfolk Square.  On Dec. 6th Mila Jean had received a note from the St. George:

Dear Miss Smith, I shall be pleased to accommodate you and friend for period required with two single rooms, or if you are two girls wouldn't you prefer a large room with twin beds?  My terms are 15/- each per night including breakfast and bath.  If satisfactory would you kindly send just a small deposit to confirm booking.  >

In a handwritten list of the hotels she'd stayed at, Mila Jean said the St. George was "run by French women, clean, cheap, [tenants] have own key and breakfast in bed."
  In his Dec. 12th letter, John Douty gave his itinerary for traveling from Paris to meet Mila Jean in London on the 15th:

After the usual confusion with customs and immigration, will make my way to the St. George, where I will explain to them in my halting, schoolboy British that they have obviously misunderstood your letter and that they must put me up for the night.  Then I shall hide out there until sometime the 16th when you will appear and begin the guided tour.  The only thing I am concerned about with the St. George, incidentally, is this breakfast in bed deal.  I warn you in advance that there will be some unpleasantness if a cheery, red-faced, buxom mother-type bustles into my room at 7:30 with a nice hot cup of tea.  >

  RMS Mauretania launched in 1938, the first ship built for the newly merged Cunard White Star Line.  Used as a troopship during World War II, it was overhauled and became a transAtlantic cruise ship till 1965.  >
  The Consul, Gian Carlo Menotti's first full-length opera, premiered in 1950 and won that year's Pulitzer Prize for Music and New York Drama Critics's Circle award for Best Musical.  >
  Mila Jean quit smoking a couple of years later while pregnant with the present author (which may account for why I was seventeen days overdue at birth).  >
  "[John] came over at Xmas time," Mila Jean would recall in the
undated reminiscence found tucked inside her Fulbright Year scrapbook.  "I got him a room in London & I got another one in the same B&B.  We were in London for a week & then went over to the Continent & toured various countries—very innocent, very 1950's.  My parents sort of thought of him (& he too) as 'looking out for me,' as my protector, prof (ex) & friend.  He was much older."  >
  On Dec. 25th, John Douty wrote "Madame Smith and Husband" in Kansas City MO a "Report on Jean":

She is a little fatter and a little less focused than before but otherwise appears well.  Being in Britain is still exciting for her and—between ourselves—I find the enthusiasm a little tiring at times.  But then I don't like London.  It is filthy dirty—all that coal smoke, you know—and after Paris, it seems like another American city.  But Paris—that's a different story—everybody on the night cycle—none of this British business of leaping out of bed at the first light of dawn to down a hearty breakfast.  And the French simply do not care about anybody else—you do what you jolly well please as long as you do not bother them.  My type people.  Theatre all over the place—all kinds of plays—all kinds of productions.  There is no such thing as a bad meal and prices are roughly comparable to KC—at least, I can live well on my KC budget in spite of what the guide books say.  So I am very eager to get back and into my quiet routine after the strenuous round of touristing.  But first Holland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  According to the papers—floods and avalanches.  I can just see myself now digging my way out of an Alp!  But such is life...  >

List of Illustrations

●  Invitation to Thanksgiving at Bristol's English-Speaking Union
●  Invitation to see Chancellor Winston Churchill at Colston Hall
●  Two American Plays: program cover
●  Two American Plays: program contents 
  Sonia Fraser and Jack Sommers in Hello Out There
●  Appreciative cast note (that came with a dozen giant bronze mums)
●  Isaac Danemann's Christmas postcard from South Africa
●  The donkey onstage in KCU Playhouse's production of Sandalwood Box
●  John Douty (at Peabody College for Teachers, 1961-62)
●  Patricia McIlrath (1955 KCU Kangaroo)
●  J. Morton Walker (1955 KCU Kangaroo)
●  Sue Dinges (1955 KCU Kangaroo)
●  Dean John Barnett (1955 KCU Kangaroo)
●  Alban F. "Al" Varnado (John Douty's successor as Associate Director of the KCU Playhouse: 1955 KCU Kangaroo)
●  George Ehrlich (close friend of fellow faculty/KCMO newcomer Al Varnado: 1955 KCU Kangaroo)
●  Marcia Nash (1955 Blue Springs High School yearbook)
●  Christmas 1954 at Blue Springs MO: Ada Louise Smith, Mellie Nash, Frank Smith
●  Christmas 1954 at Blue Springs MO: Frank Smith, bottle of refreshment, Pete Nash

Return to The Fulbright Year Abroad: Part One       Proceed to The Fulbright Year Abroad: Part Three

A Split Infinitive Production
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