The Fulbright Year Abroad, Part Three: Jan-Feb 1955

A Note on the Text and Illustrations

For those who have not yet read Parts One (Sep-Oct 1954) and Two (Nov-Dec 1954), click on the links.

Asterisked hyperlinks below (* and **) lead to biographical notes in those previous segments.  To enhance online clarity I have again amended some punctuation, adjusted some paragraph breaks, and expanded most abbreviations along with correcting some hasty typos.  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.

Mila Jean and John Douty* arrived in London on Dec. 17, 1954 and began their Continental tour on Dec. 26th.  For thematic convenience, the last two weeks of 1954 (and their snapshots, described a month after they were taken) have been lumped in with this Jan-Feb 1955 segment.


Late Dec. 1954 (undated, postmark illegible)

[picture postcard of Amsterdam's Montelbaanstoren: handwritten, to her parents]

       Intriguing place—we're living above a cosy [sic] bar where libation & merriment reign until all hours of the morning.  People so friendly & gay.  On to Cologne tomorrow aft[ernoon]!  Luv MJS

Jan. 1-2, 1955

[handwritten, to her parents]

       Munich (or München)
       Jan. 1, 1955
       Dear all—
       Whilst waiting for John (God knows where he is—two hours ago he said he would be ready in half an hour and he's not yet appeared) who is probably basking in the four feet of water in the elegant tub in this luxurious hotel, I shall dash off a few lines.
       I suddenly realized that you might have got the wrong idea from my last card—we weren't living over a bar in the American sense of the term, more in the old beer garden type sense, the kind one takes one's children to.  However this one in Amsterdam was the greatest, peopled with hilarious friendly folks of Ludeke proportions.  It is true that I keep recognizing my relations throughout Germany—facial and body structure, don't you know?  I've seen Ed Ludeke many times.  Actually it is strange to realize the fact that we fought these happy, "aware" people twice, and the last time only ten years ago.
       Arrived here last night around 6:45 and spent two hours hunting for a hotel (interspersed with my picking up two 6'6" American soldiers and Indian businessmen, and a German youth with skis in the attempt to use a phone).  Ended up in this one right across the street from the station.  We have done that three times now.  John feels that we have a "getaway" complex—necessitating our living near the train station.
       Spent the night before last in Frankfurt (by the way—both Munich and Frankfurt are bases for American Army, so you can imagine the results—everywhere one looks, Americans).  Didn't see too much of Frankfurt but liked what I saw, although awfully international air about it: big modern buildings, etc.
       Cologne—we spent two days [here—]frightfully bombed—still half in ruins—the people seemed more belligerent.  John says perhaps because it was British occupation territory—hard to tell what caused their antagonism; more people seeming to refuse to learn any semblance of English.  We went to a performance of Mathis der Maler there.  Saw Charlie Chaplin film in Frankfurt.
       Last night we ate goose, turtle soup, white wine and parfaits until it came out of our ears.  This (from what I've seen of it) is a marvelous city—sort of what one thinks of in Vienna—strolling violinists, etc.
       (I just found John—more later)

       5:00 PM
       Lord, what a crazy, mixed-up mess that last page was.
       Awfully hard to pick out highlights of any one place on this trip so far—everything is rather hurried, rushing for trains, eating, drinking, walking miles, theatres, reading and sleeping on trains.
       John slept all the way to Munich last night—claimed he was "just resting his eyes" (where, oh where have I heard that before?) but I asserted that most people don't make such a production of resting their eyes (with reference to an occasional snore).  Said he: "I've never snored in my life."  And so life goes on———
       After our 45 mark dinner of last night we are reduced to the frankfurters and beer stage, I fear.  We have tickets for A Midsummer Night's Dream tonight, and are trying to figure out how we can afford to eat beforehand.
       Off tomorrow for Zurich—a six hour train ride, which goes through Austria, Germany and Switzerland, which means a hell of a lot of custom proceedings at each border.  My passport is getting terribly attractive with all of the stamps in the back.  So far no actual searching through baggage—just a lot of questions.  The German officials were the worst, and immediately took offense to me after finding out, as John said, "that I wasn't responsible for you."  I assume that the man asked John if I was traveling on his passport—since the answer was a terse "God, no!" from John, or something to that effect, the official immediately became suspicious of me, kept asking me if I was sure I had no "prasants" (presents), but so far so good.
       We found that everyone in Amsterdam spoke English.  Our entrance in the hotel there (the one with the bar) was so dramatic.  We've been getting hotel names from the tourist offices in the railway stations, so upon arrival at this place there was the sounds of a piano, laughing, and general community singing.  In we went smashing into the glassware, dodging the waiter, etc.  The entrance to the hotel was through the bar.  In fact everything in the hotel was through the bar, including our rooms.  We got terribly chummy with the clientele there—they were buying us drinks, John struck up an acquaintance with the French poodle, the proprietor was always shaking hands, and I've never seen people eat like that in my whole life!  Anything is an excuse to gorge—and such huge helpings!  We spent most of our two days there just walking up and down the old winding streets [by] all the canals.  Finally an hour before we left we found Rembrandt's house.  We missed one train by two minutes; consequently had a few more hours to stomp around.  A lovely, intimate town if one needs a rest—but definitely not the type place of inexhaustible possibilities.
       Cologne was old, German—the cathedral turned out to be my nemesis—it is quite the most enormous thing imaginable which looms over everything: high Gothic, black, indomitable.  Inside, gorgeous mosaic floor, but cold—also huge.  We got lost one night in the fog, but managed to trace back to the hotel through following those towering steeples.  John's big theory about traveling is: get lost in walking and you'll get the feel of a city—which is quite true.  We've gotten lost in every city we've been in, and have probably seen more than most tourists on their guided tours.
       We went out for a walk today in the snow (which has stopped now) but it was so cold that after an hour or two we staggered in to a little espresso shop for coffee and pastries, then back to the hotel.  This city was also shockingly bombed—so much of the city is done in Byzantine architecture, I can't understand it.  One moment it looks like a reasonable facsimile of the U.N. building plan, the next an Italian colonnade, the next Oriental.
       I hear John stirring around next door, so will close once again.  I found him this morning when I last terminated this letter, washing socks and humming contentedly—like I always say—utilize every minute of worthwhile time!

       1:30 AM  [Jan. 2]
       I must finish this now to get it posted by the time we leave tomorrow.  We're down to our last ten marks, so must cash more traveler's checks.  Our plan is to buy a mess of salami sandwiches, cheese etc. and a small bottle of wine for the train trip tomorrow.  Lunch and dinner on the diners are expensive as you know (including service charge), however I doubt if the other people in the car will appreciate the stink.  We're going second class all the way, which is quite elegant.  The trains in Europe are very fast, efficient, and generally very clean and modern.
       The Shakespeare tonight was quite good—didn't notice the German dialogue as an obstacle at all—the low comedy scenes were just as funny as ever, although the main plot was overdone.  Afterwards we stomped through the streets window-shopping and ended up drinking beer at a wonderful restaurant which caters to the U.S. soldiers (which we found out too late).
       From now on: Zurich tomorrow night (arrive 7:30), Monday, Tuesday, then Freiburg and Strasbourg, Wednesday, Thursday—getting in Paris Friday before the banks close, so John can get his check cashed.  He incidentally has been the epitome of kindness.  I would have been completely lost without him.  He humors me to the point of indulgence, and no fights at all to speak of—only one or two minor tiffs—one unfortunately on Xmas Eve which ended up with his slamming out to the local bar—so by the time I got there he was sufficiently subdued.
       [In] London we saw The Consul, the Sadler's Wells* ballet, Bea Lillie, Time Remembered with Margaret Rutherford—completely charming.  Hedda Gabler with Peggy Ashcroft, The Boyfriend on Xmas Eve, you would have loved it—the '20's you know.  Taming of the Shrew—Old Vic, the new Thornton Wilder show Teahouse of the August Moon, I Am a Camera, The Little Glass Clock (matinées).
       Went through the British Museum and Tower of London.  Walked through the old streets of Bloomsbury and old London—in fact all over London, since we got lost several times.
       Had an enormous five course meal Xmas Day—even the turkey seemed good after all the preliminaries and the fixings.  Next day up at (ugh!) 7:30—a hasty trip to the station and on the Dutch ship for Amsterdam.  My one Xmas gift (from John) was a disgracefully large pair of aqua and gold ceramic earrings from Paris (actually made in Italy).  They are as large as silver dollars, but suit me to a T, and I love them.
       We get the New York Herald Tribune every day (European edition) and I see you've been having snow and sleet—is it very bad?
       I hear the old boy next door finally turning in so guess I will too.  We left a call for 9:00 which means an earlier getting up.  We're reading Grapes of Wrath, which is slowly driving us nuts (at least me).  I will try to get something lighter next time.
       You would die laughing at the straw basket loaded with magazines, newspapers, food, John's pipe tobacco, my red hat, travel literature and various lumps of paper-wrapped sugar, old coins, cigarette butts thrown in by mistake, and anything else we happen to collect.
       Hope all are well and that you had a wonderful Xmas.  More later.  With much love, Jean
       P.S.   Forgot to tell you—one lunch in Holland we had onion soup, six kinds of cheese, and milk.  Aren't you envious?

Jan. 10, 1955

[handwritten, to her parents]

       Jan. 10th '55   2:00 PM
       Dear Folks
       This being the morning (or one of the mornings) that John apparently refuses to get up, I will dash off a few lines to you in hopes that I can eventually get it off to a post office.
       By the time we hit Paris we were both staggering around from pure fatigue!  We got the express train from Strasbourg to Paris Friday morning [Jan. 7th] (boarded it at 7:00 AM after arising at 6:30).  Both slept all the trip.  The "arising" was hilarious and I must tell you about it in detail sometime, but for an appetizer suffice it to say that in his meticulous care to pack everything John locked away all of his money, all of his handkerchiefs, and said later he was lucky to have come through the ordeal with his "removable" [dental bridge] intact!
       After I last wrote we spent a couple of days in Zurich—rather expensive but the most picturesque place I have ever seen—tiny winding streets, Swiss type little houses in pastel shades—marvelous food.  We ate a whole meal of a dish called fondue—a boiling mixture of cheese cooked with garlic and onions.  You eat it by swishing bits of bread on a fork into it.  Sound good?  I never got to see the Alps, let alone mountains—there was some gorgeous scenery just before we left Germany—snow capped hills and lakes.
       It was almost unbearably cold in Switzerland—we no sooner got out than we wanted to get back to the hotel.  The latter was a riot.  John called it the "Ladies Aid Society"—practically the only non-alcoholic hotel in Zurich, therefore cheaper and not filled up (Zurich is a big tourist town)—with little old women frequenting the lobby all the time.
       We went to a performance of Giraudoux's Electra there, which was completely unfathomable—I slept through most of it.
       Oh, by the way—we did take along our salami sandwiches (being about ten slices of salami, two hard rolls), two apples, and a huge chocolate bar and ate them on the train to Zurich, crowded amongst all the skiers gazing on hungrily.  We passed through Austria that day and all of us not getting off were moved to a locked car—God knows why—poor John and I never got back to our comfortable coach, but spent the rest of the journey in a passageway outside the WC between two cars with our three bags, the straw basket, the umbrella and a pair of unidentified skis.
       After Zurich we went through Basel, Freiburg (Germany again!) and on to Strasbourg.  Stayed there three nights at the Bristol Hotel!  The next morning John had that unmistakable "you go on out and play" attitude he gets with me every once in awhile, so I went off to hunt up M. St. Denis, director of the theatre school there.  En route I met Jack* of all people, who was leaving that night, so we went sightseeing together—went through the lovely cathedral and the theatre school.  He ate with us that night and hurried back to catch his train while we went to the theatre (a lousy musical which had nothing to recommend it but one hit tune of many years back, "Yours is My Heart Alone").  When we got back at midnight, the night clerk at our hotel explained in broken English that the "gentleman had missed his train" and was taking a later one at 12:15, so off we went running over to the station (right across the street, of course) and sure enough there was poor Jack calmly reading.  We saw the train go off finally so he should be safely in Berlin by now.
       We saw a static comedy called Helene—the French love long harangues of dialogue—and ate and ate, per usual.  Then on to Paris—so far I have been here three and a half days and seen very little of what all the other tourists see—like Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe—but have seen much of the Left Bank, Boulevard St. Germain, the Seine, the book sellers, the Louvre (from the outside).  This is a fascinating place (how redundant can one be?).  Have seen Barrault in Hamlet, Tales of Hoffman, The Magic Flute and L'Alouette—the French adore stage machinery, are great ones for huge transformation scenes—like the Queen of the Night being let down on an enormous swing while mountains disappear in the background and clouds ascend.  The only trouble is that the machinery rarely works without a hitch—and the results are hilarious.  Reminds me of so many of my past experiences—the feeling that life (at least on the stage) is collapsing around you.  Barrault was magnificent in a tight controlled graceful intellectual way.
      I hear John stirring, so with luck we should be out and about at least by 3:30.  What a life!  We eat hot dogs (a great French delicacy) at 3:00 AM at a darling joint reeking with atmosphere (if that could be termed the right word at this point) called Le Royal on the Left Bank, or sipping Coca-Cola (typical French drink) at one of the sidewalk cafés (they have them glassed in with heat during the winter).  Love the shops and the hysterical people.  We're off to Cook's** to make a reservation to Bristol Sunday.  Love, J.

Jan. 18, 1955

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Jan. 18th
       Dear all—
       Hope you won't be too angry with me for not writing sooner, but I trust you assume by now that all is well unless you hear otherwise—this will be a short one unfortunately, since I have no more paper, and am almost completely broke until the next check comes in Friday.  I should have eaten enough in the past month to hold me for a lifetime.
       Arrived in Bristol 1:30 AM yesterday morning, dead tired.  Spent yesterday in seminars, yakking with everyone, taking a bath, seeing a movie since I was still so terribly jumpy, unpacking, getting my thoughts collected, and few shreds of money together.
       In an hour I'm due at Heffner's* class in playwriting—yes, still!  This next term is really going to be a humdinger—even busier, with two essays due, two productions, even slicing off a week of our spring vacation.  Therefore, my problem.  I had thirty letters waiting for me when I got in: all wonderful.  I have received money from Mellie*, Connie*, Emmy**, your dad, and Aunt Mame—the picture from Mrs. Glogau, letter[s] from Dee**, Mary Jo, two from Jo, Hazel Bain, Pat Minnier, Jane Davis, Bonnie*, and others.  I lived off of John for four days, so naturally have to write to him: I am an investment.  What in the name of God can I do about it?  I am so busy now with a proposed article for a magazine due the 1st of Feb., I barely have time to write you the mere essentials, and each week will be a little bit worse.  Therefore I guess everyone is going to have to think me ungrateful and nasty, because I simply cannot write.
       Loved your letters and laughed myself sick at 2:00 AM over some passages and dear Lillian's picture enclosed.
       We had (in colloquial language) one hell of a good time on the holiday, and after hearing about other people's fights and complainings, got along amazingly well.  I don't know why you felt required to keep up the secrecy about my being with John, but it was thoughtful anyhow.  Bill* certainly knew about it, since I wrote him.  After I wrote you from Paris, we tramped all over the city: messy weather, rain every day, wet snow one day when I dragged John to a puppet show.  He was bitter and I nagged him.  Went to a wonderful production of Lorca's Yerma, [the] Comédie-Française, the Opéra, Opéra-Comique, Barrault's Hamlet and The Cherry Orchard, The Crucible, Molière's Don Juan, Molière's Les Amants Magnifiques, and the Folies Bergère.  The latter was a riot: John had already seen it before (as a matter of fact, he had seen everything before except The Crucible and Don Juan) but faithfully went anyway.  We screamed with laughter, it was so horrible, and the women were such cows, the singing so awful, the scenery so garish.  By the time it was over, the tears were running down our cheeks, then we got into a fight [over] who had had the opera glasses last, I lost my program, and we awakened with our chatter a gentleman (?) in back of us who had peacefully slept through the whole affair.  Outside we were tagged for a block by a little man selling dirty pictures, us giggling in a silly unsophisticated fashion, and I almost ran down a streetwalker in running to show John a pair of shoes I wanted in a window.  By this time, we were emitting great whoops of laughter.
       We ate like pigs: tournedos (filet mignons), endives (like green celery cooked), crêpes (pancakes with jelly) for dessert, and WINE.  One meal I had ravioli as an hors d'oeuvre, two lamb chops, green beans, cheese, salad, pastry, coffee and a carafe of red wine for $1.00.  We did not throw the money away on food: one big meal a day—separate breakfasts (we hate each other in the morning) and hot chocolate or aperitif in late afternoon.
       Walked all around: got to the Louvre, the Opera Museum, got my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in semi-dusk in a gentle rain with all the buildings in back when I rounded a corner and there it was right in front of me—saw the Arc de Triomphe from a distance in late afternoon down the Champs-Elysees—a beautiful, wonderful city.
       Every day: up at noon, leisurely breakfasted alone, reading yesterday's Herald Tribune (John always got today's first), back to hotel to dress (usually wore slacks and boots in the daytime), John up by 1:30 (he always read until 4:00 AM), out by 2:00 or 2:15—walking or subway to Cook's or getting theatre tickets or just walking.  The puppet theatre day was awful—we nearly got into a bad argument, but he succumbed since that day I had the money and threatened that he wouldn't get any dinner—so off we trudged to Luxembourg Garden and got mashed in with about a hundred wet children—John complaining, me also feeling cold and wet, but loath to admit it.
       We were usually home by 5:00 or 6:00—an hour to rest and dress, then off for dinner from 7:00 to 8:30.  Most theatres don't start until 9:30.  Out between 11:45 and 12:15—always walked home, no matter how far away we were from St. Germain.  Then a sandwich, beer, cognac, or Dubonnet until 2:00—one night I had a headache and we went right home.
       The night before I left we drank Dubonnet until 2:30, had a "planning-out" session, as we term it, till the next day and went home.  I got up at 10:00, had breakfast, packed, periodically pounding on his door, he was up by 11:00, breakfast—I paid my bill—Madam was charging me as permanent guest at John's rate and I only paid 5,000 francs for nine nights (approximately $15), and John will pay for the maid and my bath on his monthly rate.  Off in a cab—we got my reserved seat on the train found (reserved a week before due to John's prodding and was I glad)—he bought me a chocolate bar, two magazines and finally got off and stood outside.  Very painful for me to leave, though I'm sure he was relieved.  Even more I hated leaving Paris—all the noise, hysteria, confusion.  (The French people and I are soul-mates), the food, the good wine, the theatres, the Dutch soldiers in the Lindberg* hotel, the cat who loves John and kept trying to get in my room at 2:00 in the morning, the late hours morning and night, and of course J.D., with his snide comments and giggles, his innumerable stinking cheap cigarettes and constant companionship.  I felt like I had lost an arm or something.
       The channel crossing was rough, many people sick, but actually not too rough . . . no trouble in customs or anywhere, but train to London was almost two hours late, very crowded, had to wait for late train to Bristol—also very slow . . . everything slow, antiquated, mannerly, and dull after the Continent, especially after Paris, which was balmy and gay when I left.  The food [here is] as wretched as ever.
       One nice thing: a new electric heater which is bigger and warmer, but which to date has gone out twice due to the fact that when other electric fixtures are on, the juice or current is overworked . . . right now it's off, and I doubt if I ever shall be warm again.
       Everyone fine here, albeit with colds—Wickham*, as I said before, has a mad schedule set up, and I doubt if [I'll] live through it, but like to be busy, so will probably enjoy it.  Everything I own is filthy, my shoes are in shreds, I have four rolls of film to develop, I have about fifty thousand programs lying around and I'm going mad.  It's nice to be back somewhere where I can at least unpack, but I do so miss the drunks in Le Snack and the tramps sleeping on the subway gratings at night, and the arguments in the middle of the street, and all of the crazy, wonderful things that can only happen in Paris.  Well, being away for several months will only make it more fun next time, and what is nicer than April in Paris?
       Yes, I was there when John received Morton's wedding invitation and also when he got your card—much laughter.  We were both surprised, and I must say noncommittal.  John has his own opinion on marriage, no matter who is involved, so we didn't discuss it at great length—although we allowed as how we were happy if he is.
       I will be late to class so must run and mail this.  More later . . . hope all is well, and apologize to everyone for me, will you?
       Much love from your exhausted Jean

Jan. 20-21, 1955

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Jan. 20, 1955
       To continue:
       I have a few minutes to kill before Gerry*, Marcie*, Jack and I go to Bath tonight to see the pantomime there—it has been quite cold here but dry, which I vastly appreciated—however, as I type I hear the inevitable sound of pounding rain, and think, My God, here we go again!  [handwritten:] It's stopped.
       Wish I could remember all the funny things I had to tell you—we did so many silly things which we laughed ourselves sick about at the time, which would probably appeal more to you than a resume of the theatrical activities which comprised so much of our time.  Besides, I have to include that in my essay, and hate to be repetitive.
       Amsterdam—mostly I remember the food—huge gobs of it, always about five courses and plenty of it—the drinking always at night in our hotel with the laughing, singing, friendly people toasting us, singing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," buying us John's beloved whiskey, telling (clean) jokes first in Dutch then in English for our benefit—the piano player who knew all "the old songs" and banged them away in a semi-barroom, semi-cocktail lounge style at all hours of the day or night.  In the morning whilst we had breakfast the wireless was on playing anything from bebop to Schoenberg.  I remember all of the bicycles, the eternal lovely canals, the water, the happy workers laying a length of pipeline by hand down in all of the wet mud.  That with all of the food and unexpected drink, I slept peacefully during nearly all of the one show we saw, so couldn't relate a thing about it.  John got terribly excited when they let a drawbridge up to let a boat get through, since he is mad for boats and water, just as I am.
       Cologne—the somewhat veiled antagonism at first—the violent change from everyone speaking English (Amsterdam) to no-one speaking it (Cologne); the nasty dayclerk at the hotel who got quite bitter at me for carrying (unwittingly) my key out of the building; the nice man at Cook's who got theatre tickets for us at the opera; the incredible wreckage, and slow building up of nearly every building; the good food and wonderful beer; the group of crazy Germans who bought us beers with gin chasers or vice-versa; the everlasting, indomitable Cathedral which haunted the entire town; the night we got lost in [a] ratty section of town surrounded by a bunch of young toughs and only found our way back by the distant sight of the Cathedral spires

       [switch from a clear dark typewriter ribbon to a faint light one]
       (to continue at home at 10:30 AM Friday morning [Jan. 21]—the check didn't come today so I'm really broke, including [i.e. as are] all of the Fulbrights)
       We were always drinking beer (in Germany and Switzerland) or wine (in France) along with the meals, which necessitated the necessary calls during the intermissions of everything we saw—there was always a hurried conference of "Where is the men's?"  "I saw one down three flights of stairs to your right"  "Can you lend me 10 francs for the tip?" etc.  At the Folies it was a riot, since everything is sky-high and we didn't know how much to tip, so I was sent into the ladies' room with 20 francs (all we had but 15) to see how much they were tipping the lav attendants there—since John figured the Gentleman's would be cheaper because as he said "we utilize less machinery than you."  Unfortunately, it took the whole 20, so we had to pool all of the small change both of us had for him—I think it included Swiss francs and German marks to boot.
       I hinted vaguely in another letter about the time we got in the locked car in Austria.  We luckily had finished our salami and rolls when the usual "Ach tung!" procedure occurred—all of the moving was rather casual.  We had settled back to enjoy the scenery, etc. when a little man across the aisle from me finally screamed something in French, started gathering everything together and leaving.  We had expected that somewhere along the line we would be moved, but no one told us—the little man by this time was indicating that we should come along too.  John said he would go along ahead to see if there was any room (at this time people were hanging out of the baggage rack, complete with skis, but I guess he meant to be helpful).  He was carrying one big bag, leaving me with my big one, his coat, my coat, my overnight case, and the straw basket and umbrella.  Luckily the little man across the aisle was helpful—got down the bag, helped me with my coat, and down we started after John, lurching back and forth with him screaming something about "coat"—two cars later I realized he meant John's coat, so back he plunged for it.  By this time John was back saying it was even worse up ahead—that is when we got settled between the cars outside the WC (which door was stuck and John had to keep yanking it open for people).  I kept worrying about when to get off but John said "Why worry, when 6:40 comes, we'll get off the train"—(the time it was due in Zurich).  So I went on reading "The Life of Liberace" in Coronet, and he went on examining a pair of skis which were propped up over my legs.  At 6:35 up we went with four bags, pushing people, struggling, forcing our way out.  Finally, with a breath of relief we were out of the train in a station small and unpretentious for Zurich.  I immediately felt apprehension, but at that moment I lost the crystal in my watch, bent down to get it, and the straw basket upset, spilling all the contents, plus pipe tobacco hither and yon.  As a native bent down to help me I yelled: "Zurich?"  "Nein" says he, and pointed up the way the train was heading.  At the same time John had asked another native, unfortunately pointing to a sign which said Zurich with an arrow on it.  The native evidently thought he asked if Zurich was in that direction and nodded and beamed.  "Yah" says he, which began an argument between us whether or not it was Zurich.  I got mad and couldn't think of anything nasty enough to say so sufficed with "And the crystal fell out of my watch!"  His remark was untranslatable, but nevertheless we screamed in mangled German "Let us back on!" and with the combined efforts of natives, conductor and unwilling passengers we squeezed back on and rode the remaining thirty minutes to Zurich.
       Getting out of Zurich was equally as eventful—since it was one of those days when John was supposed to be up early, cashing traveler's checks, paying our bill, buying two Swiss handkerchiefs, getting a cab, etc.  Naturally he overslept, and to compensate accomplished all of this in a mere fifteen minutes or so.  I had unfortunately taken this opportunity to take a bath (which we never paid for, since I was taking it while he was paying our bill) . . . I had just gotten out, got clothes on and was shuffling around in the pretence of packing when the door was pounded on—John stomped in, said "The taxi's here" and variations on a theme of "Why aren't you ready?"  I allowed as how it was because he was some 10-15 minutes earlier than the agreed time, but he said my watch was wrong—I said it couldn't be, since St. Peter's Church's watch-dial [i.e. clock face] was right outside my window and I couldn't help but know what time it was—all the while frantically throwing clothes [in]—couldn't get the bag shut and screamed, "You do it, you with all your hurrying, etc."  With a mighty scrunch the bag was shut, and not until that night did I know what had been broken—the strap on the tag on the grip—and off [John] went with the bags leaving me makeupless, hatless, and temperless.  The trip in the cab was cool and silent.  I made up my face in the station, put on my boots on the platform, and recovered my temper on the train.  He said that the dear little old ladies of our WCTU hotel [had] called the cab long before he'd asked them to, and that this hurried treatment was the only way he could think of to get me out quick enough.
       The morning we left Strasbourg for Paris—getting up at 6:30 AM was the worst, for even the "best laid plans go awry."  I was to pack the night before, leaving out only my PJ's, up at 6:30 call, PJ's in, bag placed outside door, John to run by, pick up bag, down in elevator (we had paid the night before), over [switch to scrap of thin paper] to eating place for coffee, on to train by 7:15.  Well, the getting up and getting bag out in hall was OK . . . I heard this stumbling coming down the hall, a terrific bang, more unidentified bangs getting the two sets of elevator doors open, then silence.  "Well," I thought with a sigh of relief, "at least he's got that far" . . . I got dressed, dropping things all over the place, when a feeble knock occurred on the door, and there was John with hand outstretched, muttering "Money, money."  I gave him a thousand francs and off he went.
       After he had slept five hours on the train, he managed to tell me that he, in his excitement the night before, had packed all of his money—and in stumbling down the hall with the two huge bags [had] slammed one of them plumb into the door next to mine—the door was opened tentatively by a frightened little man in his underwear, but John hurried on.
       There were other varied occurrences like us blissfully going down a flight of steps in London, thinking it the subway, and coming right up on the other side, it being [the] passageway for public conveniences.  Also my putting a number "1" under Number of Passport—thinking it meant how many I had ever had.  Our yelling at each other in the middle of a tiny movie house in Paris where we were seeing Yerma—Him: "I'd hate to be as helpless as you are" and Me: "I'd hate to be as mean as you are."  And New Year's Eve in Munich with the two American soldiers.  And the time I couldn't cut my tournado in Paris, and John did it for me, which fractured the patrons with laughing.  And that Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in which every board creaks with a vengeance punctuated by the French hushing everyone, "shush" and "assi" being "down in front" type exclamation—quite a dynamic audience.
       I only bought that one enamel ashtray [in] Amsterdam and John got two Swiss handkerchiefs (small white with black lace), one for his sister**—the rest of the money I fear was utilized as living expenses.  Cologne had lovely things, but I never actually had much time to look at anything, all of it being used to hunt for the University (we finally got a taxi), seeing [the] Cathedral, looking down the Rhine from the bridge (the bridge being a bit unsteady when huge buses passed over), hunting for some Roman mosaic we could never find, getting lost in the rubble, and attending the opera.  We were in Frankfurt during the night, so couldn't buy much then—next day walked around, but once more got lost, almost missing the train after finally locating Goethe's house—in Munich we were there on holidays, so nothing was open—Strasbourg had nothing I could see that I would have wanted to buy.  Of course, Paris was the greatest temptation of all, but by that time I had run out of money, so I was never confronted by the dilemma of what to buy—maybe next time?
       Horrible experience at the [Paris] Opera—we had gone our separate ways to the WC and supposedly I guess he meant to meet downstairs (five flights) in the incredibly gorgeous promenade with twisting, winding halls mirror-laden all in gold—well, I went down gaping at all the beautiful gowns and people, but gradually there must have been a thousand milling around, I got claustrophobia, couldn't find John and staggered back upstairs to my little jump seat (we must have sat on at least five jump seats in Paris—very uncomfortable but cheap).  After the intermission was over, John came up with "Where have you been?"s etc., "I was going to buy you a glass of champagne" etc., but seeing me looking tearful he dropped the subject.  Such a neurotic child I am!
       The baths I had (when we could afford them) were wonderful—deep, hot, with huge bath towels.  The tub at the Lindberg has a "corrugated bottom" as John puts it, which gradually does the same to one's own bottom, but the 200 francs they charge there is cheaper than most.  And bidet washing isn't exactly satisfactory.  And frankly, if I were coming to Europe again, I doubt if I would carry any advanced supply of cosmetics, medicine, soap, or anything: they have nearly everything American you could ever hope to have all over Europe.  England is almost behind them in this respect.  Everyone is terribly American-conscious.
       The chocolates were Danish—sort of chocolate covered cherries with a flair—I'm taking them easy, since they are rich, but nice to come home to.  [switch to even smaller scrap of thin paper]  (I promise I'll buy some paper today.)
       Back in Bristol we are currently revising a script to go into production Feb. 5th—I as the go-between between the people who are revising it (including, alas, myself) and the Old Vic School who is producing it—have to answer all questions and complaints, etc.  Also this article on European theatre—went to the pantomime in Bath last night (ugh, but I suppose good for pantomime) and one Saturday.  All in all a pretty busy schedule.
       Forgot to tell you about the cat at the Lindberg.  Siamese with blue eyes and determined expression . . . John adored her.  He's been trying to appease her ever since one night when he stepped on her coming up the stairs in the dark.  One night we pressed the buzzer, Madam released door magnet or whatever it is that lets the door open, and in we went to be confronted by the cat . . . John cooing and ahhing . . . naturally the cat followed us up the stairs . . . not to be daunted by "I told you about coming up here" etc.  Well, she got to scraping against my legs and John ran on up to his room . . . leaving me stuck with the cat . . . I tried to outrace her to the room, threatening and all—after fifteen minutes of this I got in the room with plaintive little meows outside for awhile, until she gave up for the radiator downstairs.  Yes, every place we were in had central heating, of course excepting bonny old England.  John made a perfect ass out of himself screaming "Oh, my feet, my feet!" shivering, etc. all over Europe, even in Paris [handwritten:] but we were never actually uncomfortable.
       I'm trying vainly to figure out what to do about next year, but it's not coming easily, so I won't burden you with nasty details.  For now, I hope this suffices.  I bought some air mail forms and am trying to write people on them late at night, but keep falling asleep.
       Thanks once more for the money (Mellie and Pete* included) and try to notify others who have been as nice also.  It isn't that I didn't appreciate the thoughts and contributions you understand—in fact, the sum total will probably help me to live later on in the year.  Must run.  Much love, J
       [handwritten postscript:]  Photos to be developed Monday—hope some turned out, and that I can afford them!

Jan. 24-25, 1955

[handwritten—in very light pencil—to her parents]

       Jan. 24th
       Got your funny letter this morning.  Here are the photos for all they are worth.  Most of them are mediocre since I took them either at dusk, in cloudy weather, or—as it is my wont to do—with my thumb over the shutter.  Also, I have trouble remembering just which is which and where chronologically—
       1st batch in London, 1 through 7
        1.  Big Ben and my thumb
        2 & 3.  views of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre: very old and charming—we saw Margaret Rutherford in Time Remembered  here—my favorite theatre here, junky neighborhood
        4.  view of Tower of London from an observation place
        5 & 6.  London Bridge, 6 with thumb and part of waterfront.  Both taken from grounds of Tower of London
        7.  docks, ships on Thames around Tower
       2nd batch—Amsterdam, 8 through 15
        8.  municipal building in center of town, typical of all the architecture in Amsterdam.  The post office was just like it
        9 & 10.  across a canal and buildings
       11.  (things that struck me during our six hour walk) newspaper seller in wooden shoes
       12.  usual excavation work—notice old machinery, two children with parked bicycles, newspaper seller, box and unidentified observer [John Douty]
       13.  view down a typical street—notice bridge in distance
       14.  John's favorite horse—he had the look of utter dejection (the horse, not John—at least this time)
       15.  another square—look at all the bicycles lined up all down the street
       16Frankfurt—war damage and some more old rubble, [John] who was just turning around to say "What on earth are you doing?"
       3rd batch—Zurich, 17 through 23
       17.  typical long flight of stone steps up one of the many hills for walking
       18.  the elevated going right through a house—people live above it and there is a store beneath—notice trolley just coming up
       19.  typical example of painting the sides of houses—these buildings were shades of pink, green, yellow, etc.
       20.  dark view of a street.  I love the crowding and feeling of their being built on top of each other
       21.  view of St. Peter's church and watch-dial [clock face]—we lived in back of it
       22.  overlooking Zurich sea—absolutely gorgeous view of other side, but misty and dusk when I took this—notice birds on rail
       23.  closer view of same
       24.  Paris—I had one left on roll so just took a shot out of top of Lindberg window—gives a sort of top of building effect one might get living in an artist's garret or something.  Across from us (down below this) there was a school and the children would really raise hell every day about 11:30, leaving for lunch—which always was my signal for awaking.
       Sorry, these could have been better, but we never actually had terrifically bright sunshine and most of these were done on the run—as it were—since J.D. walked ahead for a couple of blocks from me.  Sound familiar?  However, the one in Zurich of the elevated—we waited patiently in the freezing cold until the train came through.
       Your [Christmas] pictures were fairly good, I thought—got a big laugh out of some of them, especially the one of Lady.  Thought Marcia* looked so pretty and all the folks here were shocked on finding out she was only thirteen—thought she was at least fifteen or sixteen.  You did well with your first experience at flash cameras.
       I've been eating well since back—over at Marcie's new place most of the time, cooking over a small gas ring—hilarious!  We have to cook one dish at a time—have had steak, lamb chops, all kinds of vegetables, sherry and no potatoes!
       Took two huge baskets of laundry to the cleaner—laundry today and bought two new pairs of hose.  Thank God I can get rid of those miserable shreds I wore for five weeks.
       I just realized it wasn't my thumb that got in the way of the shutter—it was the two middle fingers.  John caught me at it one day and I was careful after that.
       I started this in the library [at] midnight but had to stop since we had a seminar with George Rowell* [today, Jan. 25].
       Marcie and I were planning on having liver and onions tonight but it seems that all the butcher shops are closed on Mondays, so we had chicken soup and crackers, an omelet, green beans and oranges.  No—I repeat—[no] potatoes.  Also I got so brainwashed in Paris that I can't stand tea in any form anymore, so I've eliminated that from our early morning ritual—Mrs. R.* still brings in breakfast though between 9:15 and 9:30.  Which helps since I get a sudden burst of energy about 1:00 AM and take baths, wash lingerie, clean and sort things—then settle down to read.  I was still absorbed in Molière's Don Juan at 2:30 this morning.
       Tomorrow begins the "agonizing reappraisal" of the play—script we have to rewrite by Feb. 5th—then three weeks of rehearsal on it, then performances—oh!
       If you have any questions to ask me, fire away!  I have quite a time remembering all the details.
       The Seine was way over its banks when I left Paris and I hear it's flooding now.
       I couldn't have cared less about the "little booths" [public lavatories] in Paris—I had got so used to them by that time.  I do remember my first experience with seeing them, though, in Amsterdam.  We were lounging around a bridge looking at the river and boats (just for a change) when a small fishing boat motored up and a little man had a terrifically hard time getting the rope thrown around the post [to] anchor it, then lifting a big board from the bottom of the boat and securing it against land to walk on.  I soon lost interest but after awhile heard John let out a roar and he said, "All that trouble just to use the public convenience!"  Of course the little fisherman was going onshore anyhow, but it was the first time I realized what the little huts were.  I called them "lazy susans" for some reason—heaven knows why—except they were round and used casually.
       We did pick a spot practically on top of the house in Paris to have an argument about where we were going to eat—but one soon loses any sense of modesty in Europe.
       The Coca-Cola is just like home—yes—like the Lux and Palmolive and Tide and Surf and hot dogs and hamburgers and all the lounging Americans and the Lucky Strikes, Chesterfields, Kents, Camels, Pall Mall and Philip Morris—and Marlon Brando!
       I had mixed feelings upon hearing about Flo—but mostly that she is finally out of the pain, dear little soul—what will Lillian do now?
       It is (finally) quite mild here, so I have renewed energy and wander about opening windows, etc.!  Am now eating a banana.
       Have spent half of my last check already and only got it two days ago.  Well—c'est la vie!  You should see the things I have accumulated.  John said I would be a perfect curator of a museum with my passion for saving things—he's a thrower-outer himself—sound familiar?
       Am supposed to go over to Rudy Shelley's** tomorrow night—wonder if I have the strength?  He's a combination John Newfield and Chico Marx type.
       Two more choice ones from Paris:
       We were walking down the Rue de la Paix one afternoon, when a little man walked up and said in English, "Need any dollars changed, buddy?"  John asked me, "Is it that noticeable?"  I guess Americans are unmistakable and suckers for that type of thing.  Also, upstairs in the Lindberg two little boys were building something.  Every morning and every night they would mount the steps with enormous planks, saws, etc. and pound, pound, pound!  John said he suspected they were constructing another ark for use when the Seine overflows.
       I have two shots of the Seine in another roll of film but have six more to take before developing.  Also, it's d——d [sic] expensive!  Love, MJS

Feb. 7, 1955

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Feb. 7—11:00 PM
       Was so glad to get your letter today—had had an especially depressing last few days and today began the trend back up fortunately.  For over two weeks (except for two lines from the Cunard Line saying—after a nasty letter from me—that I do have a reservation on the Aug. 20th sailing of the Mauretania**—and a note and Gauloise cigarette from John) I had received NO MAIL, and felt, after awhile, positively desolate . . . added to this was the terrific pace I was going at, entering into writing my essay, editing scripts, and generally feeling [so] sorry for myself and persecuted that it was nauseous.  After emerging with twelve pages (ten of which I revised after a tutorial with George Rowell) [I] discovered that the magazine Glynne was proposing to send it to was a scant 6" by 5" running only articles of some two pages . . . that was the last straw.  After five nights of the Amateur Drama Festival and one horrible night of running for a local performance of an operetta downtown to the ADF, I about gave up and thought to hell with all of it, nothing is worth worrying this much about, so I spent yesterday over at Marcie's, cooking myself ham and eggs, smoking and eating cheese and reading Tom Wolfe.  Glynne is now an expectant father which adds to the general confusion and hysteria which continues to reign in the drama department.  Also today John Lavender* was building one of his everlasting autos and something exploded or hit him in the face, and he is bedfast—someone told me he is lucky to have kept from being decapitated—charming thought, eh?  So, this morning after making breakfast (oh yes, Mrs. R.* fell and strained her back Saturday), being buoyant over your letter, I calmly drifted out of the house, deliberately skipping rehearsal for the new play, and bought myself a Valentine present: a pink (don't scream, it's not pale pink) cotton (again don't scream, it's not for England) dress, very plain, with a low neck and elegant lines.  The saleslady said "It suits you—artistic, you know."  Ha!  But it fit perfectly and was so much more stylish than most English options (all the Lane Bryant types) that I got it, since I have so few here.  Maybe later I'll have to ask you to send some more of my cotton clothes, if, after June, I live away from England, but we'll tend to that later.  And yes!  Of late I've been getting that "let-down" feeling, if you know what I mean . . . the bras are just not doing what they should at all; a few of them are frayed and falling apart—if you could buy a couple and wash them or swush them around in some mud and send as "used clothing" I would greatly appreciate it.
       Send[ing] Father** three English newspapers: one the left Socialist paper leaning towards Communism, saying just what they think of Americans in no uncertain terms (4" caps), the other two of the better variety—liberal, plain spoken prose.  They weren't wrapped much, so may be there at any time in any condition!
       What do you want me to do with the old green coat?  If anyone there needs it, I'll drag it home with me, if not I'll donate it to someone here.
       Minerva* collapsed last week in the midst of the usual rain—she just gave up the struggle and lay there on the wet pavement, looking helpless.  Actually the strap just broke, so I'm wearing her literally tied together until I can get her to the shoepatcher.  John and I used to call her "That thing"!  Also the heels I bought in New York developed two holes in the sole and the one heel collapsed.  My shoepatcher fixed them up like new—but for $1.50!
       Also could you please send the rest of the traveler's checks no later than the first few days of the second week in March?  We go down to Dartington Hall** the 13th until Apr. 1st, and I want to leave for the Continent on the latter date.  Will be a ticklish job balancing the budget from now on, but I'll manage.  Last check from the government in May—!
       Hope to stay with Jo [in New York] for about the same length of time as last summer before coming home, provided of course she's there and I have money.
       Sorry I missed and forgot about the Silver Anniversary—my, my—how many times it's been, eh?
       Thanks for Jackie's card—voice out of the past, eh—she asked if I were still working for the radio station!
       I did write a letter to Old Paint**, but know he is so busy I doubt if I ever hear back, at least in the next month.  My work here counts for absolutely nothing in the States—and [I] really haven't a clue what to do [regarding the next school year], but hate to stew about it; besides I haven't time: have to write another article on "The Aims and Standards of English Amateur Drama in Contrast to Continuity and Educational Theatre in the States," ach, gott.
       Went to dress rehearsal of a new play the Old Vic is currently doing—I hated it, very slow paced and dreary, with them missing lines and business all over the place—besides, the English are so damned well-mannered . . . I miss the volatile French, except for the fact that I'm bitter with them right now for defeating my beloved Mendès France
       One thing I forgot to tell you is that all over Paris they have large marble plaques on the various walls and buildings with something like "Here lies Henri Blanchard who died in the defense of Paris, August 25, 1945" with flowers still periodically laid there—there are not just a few, but literally thousands . . . we guessed it was the resistance movement rather than any major battle, but God, are the French bitter—they hate Germans like poison.
       That picture of Bobby Wakefield and crew is hilarious—I can't wait for John to see it.
       The thing that George (my boat companion)* predicted is coming true . . . he said that once one gets traveling in one's blood, you're never satisfied sticking to one place again . . . I guess I'm Aunt Mellie** all over again . . . I've really got the itch to go again—and I'm also getting so aggressively independent (John would disprove this with a nasty laugh) so you may hate to have me around after this year.
       It's midnight and I have a play to read and a bed to change before turning in . . . Luv, J

Feb. 20, 1955

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Feb. 20, 1955
       around noon
       'Tis snowing:
       First real snow I've seen in England—there was some on the ground when I got back from vacation, and [it] snowed a little down at Somerset last week, but this is the first protracted snowfall I've seen since Munich on New Year's Day.  Has been very cold here, but luckily with the sun shining, so I haven't minded it . . . it's just that everlasting rain I cannot stand.  Right now am toasty warm in front of my electric fire, sitting in my falling-apart slacks and buttonless sweater (three buttons fell off of it in the past few weeks).  My poor umbrella (after lugging it unused through five countries!) my first week back in Bristol, my black wool scarf the next week, my black cotton gloves the next, and yesterday one of my fur-lined ones—Careless Hanna, they call me.  Also have thoroughly scorched my housecoat all along the bottom and sides from this damned fire—if the English had as much sense as 90 percent of the world's population they would get central heating and eliminate all of this nonsense.  All of us Americans have had similar occurrences, most of them worse—Marcie scorched her pantie girdle she was drying so badly she had to throw it out, and Jack nearly burnt up a pair of shorts—seems like you're either freezing or burning up, depending upon how you're facing the fire—ha!
       Yes, fortunately I am feeling much better now, except for the fact that John is going through one of his "pets" which I detest (remember last year when it happened he hibernated to the TV set and bourbon bottle?).  He punctuates the long silences [with] lots of interesting clippings, a letter from Bonnie, the valentine you sent him, and a few choice words, the sarcasm of which is unrivaled since the days of Swift.  I try to disregard the latter, knowing he doesn't mean half of it—wish he would limit the mailings to the clippings.  The prospect of next year is too much for all of us, it seems.  Says he is going to start a society for the Salvation of the Hag-Ridden Male—don't know if he means his sister, Edythe, me—or all three.
       Loved and appreciated all of your long letters—got two from Joann and one from Patricia, and yesterday one from Jane Davis, so things are looking up in the mail department.  Jo told me the sad tale of Orlando and the ringworm infested cats, got hysterical about my coming in August and is beginning preparations already, which is comforting.  Jane D.'s usual informative letter, being bitter about not getting Juliet in Mort's production (but I knew she wouldn't).  I loved the photo [penciled arrow pointing to "Mort" on the line above] by the way and sent it on to John . . . if that doesn't make him laugh nothing will!  Jane said Mort had told her Old Paint was nosing around the Theatre Department, asking for recommendations for me.  That's all she said.  What he is up to is slightly ambiguous at this point, since I didn't actually apply for a fellowship, just asked him what the general situation was to date—ah, well: people always misunderstand me.  I wanted him to answer right away, so's I could make up my mind whether or not I could stand it there another year.  Naturally John thinks it's a complete mistake to go back and says with Heffner's help and Wickham's recommendation I could get a scholarship in any of the good drama departments in the country, which is probably true—but I'm just too lazy at this point to start from scratch again on my Master's.  Guess Barnett** figured he would go ahead with the deal—who knows, maybe the board won't pass it, after that confusion of last year . . . one thing in my favor: Hyatt** is on sabbatical and would probably voice the only dissenting vote in the matter—not that he would actually object, but I have no doubt he would bring up last year's mess and my part in it.  Having the Dean behind me is always helpful, of course, if it came to a test of strength.
       About the bras—it just occurred to me that if you put "Unsolicited gift—contents worth less than $10.00," it goes through duty-free, if you had any trouble with the used clothing end of it.  I shall write later concerning the cotton clothing—right now it seems silly to even talk about it—yes, I probably will have need of the striped dress for theatre-going in Paree, if nothing else . . . that is, if John and I are still speaking by summer.
       I have been wearing the green coat most of the time since [I got] back, because it is heavier and Bristol is hardly worth the effort of the grey one's newness.  Still don't know what to do with it, but will think of something.  Had my cashmere set washed last time, since English cleaners do not live up to their title, and they came out gorgeous—which brings up your problem.  Actually, I had anticipated your earlier requests about buying a sweater, since I knew how much you wanted one, and just hesitated answering because of the gloomy results.  In Bristol the only powder blue cashmere cardigan is seven guineas (approximately $22.00) [and] is an ugly greyish color and rather shapeless—IT IS THE ONLY ONE—talked to one buyer who laughed and said that it was much easier to get cashmere in the States since their entire output is exported—and the few that were sold were slanted toward foreigners (hence the most of them are in London), since local folks can't afford them with so much tax.  However, there is a much brighter side: I know in London at Selfridges or where I bought mine they are cheaper, prettier, and in August I can get one tax-free, which will eliminate the staggering total.  And don't worry about the money—as long as it's England I can afford it . . . if you'd asked for a lace mantilla from Spain it would be a different matter.
       The china I will have to look up in London also—once, during Xmas when John was buying something, I loafed around a china department, and saw some lovely stuff, so it shouldn't be too hard a task.
       One more point of clarification about Bristol U. and KCU: English Universities are run on an entirely different system: there are no credits or hourly basis, so it would hardly be transferable.
       Was awfully sorry to hear about the Elizabeth Walker deal (Bonnie did not mention it in either of [her] letters).  Once, when I was being aggressively morose about my own situation, Mort told me a little of her past experiences which, added to this latest occurrence, is enough to fell anyone . . . was too bad it had to happen just before Morton's marriage to boot.  Do you know—is she still at the apartment on Main Street or if she has a job yet?
       Was glad to hear everything with you and the Nashes is proceeding on an even keel.  Am going to attempt, now that I have the time, to give you a brief account of what we are doing and are likely to do up to May, in case I make future hasty reference to things you have no idea about.  Told you about revising the American script submitted by the American Educational annual playwriting project.  The poor author originally titled it "Crown of Choice"—and [it] is a kind of Charles Holtish type of sophisticated takeoff on the Alcestis legend . . . it was awfully diffuse and erratic so we transposed some scenes, rewrote some dialogue and cut some pages, also decided to retitle it "God in the Garden" with reference to the fact that it begins with Apollo disguised as a gardener in the home of Alcestis.  To date, the programs are being printed with the title "God on the Roof" for some unknown reason, probably some doings of crazy Glynne (or the Great White Father to be), and Gerry is up at arms.  G.W. [Glynne Wickham] is leaving for Glasgow tomorrow, so it will be a miracle if the programs can be changed by next Monday when the play opens.  Even at that, all the invitations read with the latter title, which should make the confusion complete.  We've had many hilarious sessions of rewriting the thing (the author would never recognize it) over at Heffner's—yesterday was especially nice, since I had been drinking cider with some Germans beforehand, and Heffner served numerous glasses of sherry, and what with the roaring open fire and good company, I was torn between giggling and sleep.  Ended up with Heffner reminiscing about his undergraduate days with "Tom" Wolfe, "Shep" Strudwick, "Paul" Green and others.  He is a namedropper of the worst sort, but I loved hearing about all of Wolfe's activities, especially about some details of his death, which I never realized before.
       The play is directed by Gerry, performed by the Old Vic School in the University Drama Studio next Monday, Tuesday, [and] Wednesday nights—should be very good, although things are a trifle frantic at present.
       Baby-sat for Rod and June* last week, while they dined with [the] Wickhams—had a lovely time, eating cold chicken sandwiches, drinking cider and listening to the radio (even got the U.S. disc jockeys).  Took a cab home à la Noralee Benedict about 1:00 AM after giggling with the Browns for an hour or so.  Tuesday we are celebrating (don't know what) with some already prepared dry-martini mix and supper . . . June and I are planning to take the kids to the zoo to celebrate their liberation from the measles (which, praise God, I never got) and lunch downtown, big thrill for the kiddies.  June asked me to stay with them during June or July sometime after my term of office is up—almost feel like taking them up on it, since we get along so well, and I'll be wanting to get away from the Reades by then.
       Had a tutorial with Glynne (also with George R.), more of a "gab-fest" than anything.  Seems that I have no obligation except for the pantomime paper, after March 1st—even to go down to Dartington in March, but after much to-do, decided the following: "Crown of Choice—God in the Garden—God on the Roof" plays Feb. 28th, Mar. 1st and 2nd.  Three days in Glasgow to see the Citizen's Theatre there sometime after the 4th—probably March 7-10.  Dartington from Mar. 14th to Apr. 2nd—don't know what I'll be doing, maybe will be in the crowd scenes of the play they (the Old Vic students) are doing: Anouilh's Point of Departure.  Apr. 4th to May 2nd—spring vacation, Heaven knows where; I want very much to go to Italy, but do not want to go alone.  I am the type of person who needs someone else to travel with—fear that John will be inflexible, since he's planning on leaving from Naples, thus covering Italy in August, and besides [he] was there during the wartime occupation.  He doesn't want to go to Spain, so that kills that.  I refuse to spend the entire three weeks with Marcie, since we drive each other nuts during any long period of time . . . more later on this question.  May 2-31 includes Stratford (Olivier's doing Twelfth Night, directed by Gielgud) and Birmingham stints, and writing [the] pantomime paper.
       All of the preceding: definite.  The following is arbitrary: June perhaps still in Bristol with the Browns . . . John was hoping to come over sometime then for Stratford, so shall probably go up again.  Might do a weekend in Dublin with Marcie; and clear up last details in Bristol, packing trunk, etc.  Would like to get it out of my way as soon as possible . . . July: whatever my purse allows, hope either Spain or Italy depending upon what I missed before, or Scandinavian countries, and a few weeks in Paris.  August—trying to live on no money until the ship sails.  Aug. 26th to Sep. 10th—New York and home.
       Well, that's it generally—am writing it down now since from March 1st on, it will be rather a rat-race until May 1st.
       Finally finished the essay on English and American Amateur Drama, and George R. thinks I should submit it to Heffner (he's the editor) for the American Educational Journal . . . I hesitate, since it is not comprehensive and [I] would rather people in KC would not read it, even if it were good enough (which it isn't) to make the Journal.
       Some more mundane matters: you, I trust, are taking care of the traveler's checks matter—also, how much have I in the bank account?  Want to save it, if possible, for New York and getting back to KC, but may need it if things get tough here.  Found out I only have $37 in cash, when I thought I had more.  If I get a fellowship 'twill take care of itself, since the money will be coming in—if not: well—
       Also, your views, please, on my typewriter at home . . . I would prefer, if possible, to keep this one, but could probably sell it if I needed to.  Would it be possible to run an ad in the paper in KC for my old one, or don't you think it's good enough?  Seems silly to have two.
       Had a hilarious evening last week with the Somerset Rotary Club—[we] were driven down in individual cars.  I pulled "Rotarian Rodway" whom I pictured as large and hearty . . . turned out to be his son who drove us down from Bristol, but "Dad" took over in Winscombe getting us to the hotel where the dinner was to be, and I feared for my life.  "Dad" turned out to be exactly what I had pictured, being large, hearty, incomprehensible since he roared in Somerset dialect, and completely incompetent in the car-driving sense.  Kept grinding gears, backing into parked cars, and laughing in a Mr. Magoo manner which left me gasping for breath from laughter.  When we got there the Rotarians were scraping knives and forks together in the most menacing manner, signifying they were ready to eat.  What June and I wanted was a drink.  Got sherry and the giggles and a Rotarian on both sides of me . . . all went well (especially since the[ir] wives weren't along), being noisy for Englishmen and rather prehistoric.  I made the error of the evening by sticking a cigarette in my mouth, to be greeted by gasps of "don't" enough to frighten Marlon Brando.  I tremblingly removed said cigarette, to be informed that no one smokes before the toast to our lady, the Queen.  Was terribly funny, all arising, solemnly raising glasses after an ear-shattering bong of the bell, and boomed "To the QUEEN!" and crashed back to our seats, punctuated by a smothered squeal from me, who had just been goosed by Rod who was sitting in back of me.
       After numerous sherries and ciders, all the Americans were asked to give five minute speeches—all hilarious . . . the evening was just getting to the point of a free-for-all when the chairman bonged the bell—several Rotarians rose, bundled us Americans out at a pace to rival the long-distance runners in order that we could make the last bus (get this: 9:00 o'clock!).  As we giggled our way out of Somerset county we all agreed it had been one of the quickest, rowdiest, short-lived evenings of our lives, and who said the English were reserved?  Ended the evening at an espresso-coffee place à la Greenwich Villageish (only place in Bristol open after 10:00 PM) where all the young intellectuals hang out—almost stepped in a pail of whitewash, since they work at all hours here.
       Yes, the employment in England is shocking . . . saw little children working in the chocolate factory in York anywhere from twelve years [old] upwards . . . you'll find them that young working at almost any task.
       One more thing: my old red flannel pj's literally fell to pieces, so I threw them out: what is it with me that everything collapses around me?
       On that happy note, I think I shall close . . . believe I have covered everything sufficiently.  Shall of course inform you if anything turns up concerning Barnett . . . also wrote Patty McIlrath* last week to speed things up . . . I have so much of my father in me, you know.
       Saw Anouilh's Antigone last night in French, presented by the University French department , , , never realized how much like Donald Duck the French sound . . . so much throat grinding.  Also saw a performance of a Kaiser play in German presented by a group of German players in our studio . . . was terribly intense, except that I got there too late to get a program and hadn't a clue of what was going on—reminded me of my vacation Xmas theatre-going.
       Have met up (ugh, what an expression) with a group of Germans.  The most interest-ed, not interest-ing if you know what I mean, whose name is Bernard, is in the manufacturing business and consequently has something to do with the Bristol shipping concerns . . . (haven't been down to the docks myself in several weeks).  They are fairly jolly and enjoy drinking more than the English, but I am just as happy Bernard is leaving for Stuttgart this week.  There seem to be two general physical types in German men: the one is sort of like Granddad, with beautiful eyes with dark brows and lashes and nice dynamic facial bones, etc., usually well built with brown or dark hair; the other is more the type one associates with the Germans: blond, pale, Siegfried or Nazi type.  The former type is also what so many of the handsome Dutch men resemble . . . that was the most pleasant surprise of all.  I had thought they would all have round chubby faces, straight blond hair, with pale blue eyes, but not so!  If the Italian and Greek men are the most beautiful, the Dutch are the most handsome.
       So much for that little digression . . . Keep well, and write more of those lovely letters . . . Much love, J

Feb. 26—Mar. 2, 1955

[typewritten, to her parents]

       Feb. 26—5:30 PM
       Such busy little bees you have been!
       Was so grateful for all the trouble you've been going to on my account . . . the traveler's checks arrived plus dollar—on envelolpe was written "no merchandise included"—guess they thought all sorts of things were tucked inside—I feel so secure having U.S. currency around . . . will remember the Derby (pronounced Darby over here) come May, Daddy.
       I was going to begin this letter now, since the play opens Monday, and I'll probably just have time to put down some finishing touches before mailing.  An hour from now Jack and I are off for a cocktail party (each for moral support and easy-get-away, since he wants to leave early to go to a movie and I to get home to do some work . . . shall probably end up at the movie also) so your daughter is encased in her jersey off-the-shoulder blouse and wool skirt in the attempt to be halfway glamorous, but with a heavy cardigan on top of it which I probably won't get off in the course of the evening . . . it is bloody cold here, has been for a week, since I last wrote, but today seems even more so.
       It has been a fairly nice week, except for my internal dilemma about what to do with myself over the next few months . . . Rod and I went to a news theatre movie Monday—saw all sorts of weird things, like a film on the Miss Universe contest, a film on the African Bushmen, a documentary, a film on doll-making, etc.[—]"Tweety" cartoon too.  It was just crazy enough to suit our mood, since neither of us were in the mood for work or for serious philosophizing . . . next day I worked on pantomime research, bought three books on sale (one on Emily Dickinson, one on Thoreau, one by Lifar on Classical Ballet) and a fairytale book for the children (Rod's and June's, not mine)—one of the new kind that are constructed like settings, sort of 3-D, consisting of six scenes with the written narrative underneath (this one was Sleeping Beauty).  That night I went over to Rod's and June's for dinner, bearing my offering of a shakerful of prepared dry martinis, and Rod went down to the main library to study and us "ladies" turned on the shortwave, and giggled through the different stations (getting NYC and Russian stations—and Spain!), and I staggered home.  By the way, I have now added to my list of correspondence Connie and family and Don and Harriet Davis (since I got a letter from Bill this week, saying that the latter wanted so badly to hear from me) so I am gradually getting all answered.
       Last night June and I got tickets for the film society to see Buster Keaton in The Great [sic] Navigator, but after waiting for thirty minutes the poor little president came running in, saying that the film hadn't arrived, so there we were.  Instead we wended our way downtown, and got in an involved conversation with a friendly bobby (whom we had originally asked directions from) who kept us for hours freezing in the cold, pointing out the various landmarks of Bristol, for instance: "Right where we're standing now, this same spot is about where Cabot sailed to the New World."  Appropriate squeal of admiration from us.  "Yes, sir—this is all water underneath us here."  Cold squeal from us, etc. etc.  We stomped on frozen feet to Marco's, the local Majestic, and got red wine and something called caneolli (even better than ravioli)—and two more wines and giggled—at closing hour (10!) up to the espresso place for coffee and home.  June was ecstatic since it was the first time she'd got away from the children in something like three weeks, adding flirting with a bobby to boot!
       Sat through three hours of rehearsal this morning, and went home with Eileen** for lunch—what a bohemian place they have, reminds me of [the] Stegmans!  Litter and garbage all over the floor, stuff stacked in the corners Langley Collyer fashion, and is so cold even with the gas fire on you can see your breath!  Tomorrow is our premiere performance for Old Vic staff—it is going very well and Glynne is impressed—I even was told on the QT they are hoping to take it to Parma, Italy in April, won't that be sonething?  I am currently madly in love with a character (in the play) called Chremes—couldn't care less about the fellow offstage, but on he is terrific, completely despicable (that type always appeals to me), all full of sarcasm and pride, kind of a Greek Communist type . . . I sit through nights and nights of rehearsal just for that one part.
       Bought another cotton dress (have more money now than ever will again), you will love it.  Underneath it is a sundress, very full skirt, almost backless and low in front with string ties over the shoulders in yellow and white tiny stripes (more an acid yellow than yellow-yellow).  Instead of a bolero it has a kind of little vest of plain gold material which is reversible, the other side being striped.  Also it has a plain yellow little scarf for the neck, or to use on the skirt as added motif.  Fits perfectly, but in this weather [I] keep wondering when I will ever get to wear it . . . I tell people majestically that it's for the Riviera, then laugh sorrowfully to myself . . . oh, well—there's always New York in September.
       In going over in my mind all of my cottons I made a list of things I hope I can use, which I hope you can save up the money to send by the end of April: the remaining cotton skirt and the two low-necked blouses I wore with them (the black might be too scroungy, no?), the black sheath dress and jacket with the wooden peg buttons (I must have something to lounge about in), the least horrible looking pair of shorts (just in case, and they won't take up much room), my beige straw hat with the flowers, and FOOTLETS, if you can pick up a pair.  I thought of that black and white striped dress, but it would just be added bulk, and is about three inches too long anyway, so dispensed with the idea.  Perhaps I am anticipating more warmth than I will get, but doubt it, especially if I go to Spain in the summer, I would die in English clothes.  Poor John only has one summer suit with him since the "white linen suit" got thrown out after Summer and Smoke, so he doesn't know what to do . . . men don't have nearly as much trouble as women in this respect, however.  Actually I don't think those things will take up much space, do you? or do you?—thought if you mailed it around late middle or end of April I would be home by the time it arrived—c'est la vie!
       In answer to your questions—yes, Bristol had a Western Daily Press morning paper, and Bristol Evening Post evening, terribly small-townish, so I will send one for an example.  [I] see by Time that finally [the] KC Star is getting an anti-trust suit thrown at them after all this time by the government, about time says I . . . I would know next to nothing about happenings in America if it weren't for that sometimes irritating Republican magazine . . . seems like I knew more about U.S. affairs while in Europe (especially Paris) from the Herald Tribune than here in England, where I get most of it from the Sunday Observer.
       Gauloises are the cheapest cigarettes in Paris, so naturally everyone except the very rich smokes them, including John's forty a day.  They are the most godawful things you have ever smelled, like some unholy combination of cheap cigars and dung, are very thick, and have a tendency to suddenly go out for no apparent reason . . . John is terribly funny about them, especially around me (I insist upon calling them "Goldblatz"), he says there is another brand of Gauloises, White Label or something which are more expensive, and are distinguished from the others by having tobacco in them.  I had written John that I was so lonesome for Paree I even missed the Goldblatz so he sent me one . . . I even smoked it one night in desperation, having run out of my own brand.  It was awful, and I swore never again.
       Dartington Hall is that adult-education college I went down to in November to get costumes for our plays—remember the place in South Devon during the floods: now they are snowbound, so it should be some jaunt, especially after Scotland.  I am still debating whether or not to stay down there the whole three weeks, since there are so many pressing things to do in Bristol at the end of March.

       Sunday [Feb. 27]
       Was never so cold in my life [as] last night . . . the evening was undistinguished otherwise except for the fact that the host mixed the most divine dry martinis I have ever had since John's hotel in New York, and I had about four, being so happy with them, and trying to combat the cold . . . Jack picked up some little babe and excused himself early, since they decided to go out to a dance, so old spinster Smith was stuck with the local crowd, who frankly bore me stiff . . . I got a ride home and sat shivering on top of the fire for an hour or so, did a washing, sewing, finished Emily Dickinson and read Time . . . sounds dull?  Not nearly so much as those English coeds.  Do I begin to sound like Evelyn Roberts, tell me frankly?  I don't feel like her whilst in Paris, just in Bristol.  Maybe I'll begin looking up those interesting points of interest the bobby enumerated someday, and get a new slant on this town.  But it is so damnably small-townish for a big city, and you know how I hate small towns.
       Am now all dressed up in my grey jumper and pink blouse and black petticoat with the pink ruffles . . . I don't know why all the fuss just to go to dress rehearsal, but the sun is out for once, and it seemed appropriate . . . also the prospect of seeing Chremes again is exciting.  Life is so simple at times.
       So, I have heard nothing more (or even anything except what you told me) about Elizabeth . . . if Bonn calls again, would you kind of suggest that she write me, and especially about Elizabeth . . . don't know why any of us have a right to pry into her private affairs, but the whole mess rather worried me, so naturally I would like to hear how it all turned out.
       I did tell you I heard from Bill?  Usual uninhibited letter, punctuated by all sorts of doleful news about the gang at home, how the Dragon Inn is a morgue, how no one exciting is around anymore, how dull everything and everyone is . . . well, as far as I am concerned I don't want it ever to be the same again.  I wouldn't have gone back to the Dragon anyway, and I'm glad most of the old gang is elsewhere—there would be too many memories lurking around every corner—the Playhouse itself is going to be uncomfortable for awhile in itself.  No word, by the way, from Barnett.  The alumni magazine and clippings were a riot—it's interesting to hear that I am doing research on my Master's!—heaven knows that is the only thing I'm not doing.  Must get myself collected and off to the U.  More later—

       Almost March 2nd
       (meaning sometime around midnight)
       Suddenly realized that I should finish this, and it off to you, before it gets too big to mail.  Things are going mad—Glynne gave us next week's itinerary which should keep us on the frantic move almost constantly . . . leave here Saturday [Mar. 5], go to Oxford, to Glasgow Monday [Mar. 7], attend courses at College of Dramatic Art and performances of Citizen's Theatre, on to Dundee or somewhere like that, back to Glasgow, back to Bristol next Saturday [Mar. 12], leave for Dartington next Sunday [Mar. 13] . . . of course, now there is the new development that they are not taking God in the Garden to Italy in April, but instead a performance of Hello Out There** and A Phoenix Too Frequent, which means Gerry and Jack may have to stay here to rehearse instead of going to Dartington.  What I shall do is also a mystery, so don't be surprised when you get a postcard from some unexpected place in the next month or so.  The show has been going quite well, no press notices since the Old Vic opened tonight and they naturally had to cover that.  I sat out front for our show both dress rehearsal and opening night, so stayed backstage tonight, generally making a nuisance out of myself in trying to help . . . was standing on Bob's robe (Chremes) just as he was about to make a sweeping entrance, got greasepaint in his hair in [an] attempt to arrange it, etc. but it was wonderful fun being in the thick of things again . . . I do so hate to sit out in front during a show.  Went over to Patsey's house for supper Sunday (she is an Old Vic student), listened to all sorts of wonderful records of U.S. musical comedies for hours, and we walked home around midnight, looking at the boats in the harbor . . . actually the main attraction of Bristol for me.
       Tomorrow night Rod and June are coming to the show which should give it added zest. Thursday I'm going to see Merchant of Venice at the Old Vic, Friday [I will] pack, and leave Saturday . . . please don't worry about all the reports about Scotland's weather . . . the English make so much out of a little snow, which is actually not much worse than our average winter snow and weather.  I don't mind it nearly as much as I do the rain.
       My usual 5-6 hours a day on the pantomimes . . . am just finishing up notes on two more books, which I must return before I leave.  Don't stop writing . . . if I go to Dartington, I'll have my mail forwarded.  This seems to be the off week, since I have yet got no mail at all . . . tomorrow John's every-other-week letter is due, but I'm not banking on it, considering his present mood.  Wish I knew what the h—— [sic] he was planning on doing.  Still no word from KCU . . . it is getting to the point where I'm going to ask you to phone Mrs. Reinhardt and get the dope . . . it is getting late and I must finish my chapter on grand jete by Lifar . . . really don't understand choreography, but the sketches help my feeble brain.
       Lots Luv, J

[Enclosure: "The world's worst looking program!" for A God in the Garden.  "What?" is handwritten beside "Script Supervisor — Mila Jean Smith," with three exclamation points plus an underscore for "! Chremes, the Spartan ambassador — ! Robert Lang !"—but no commentary or extra punctuation for the bottommost member of the Cast in Order of Appearance: "Death — Bernard Behrens."]



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

  The Montelbaanstoren, a tower on the Oudeschans canal, was built in 1516 as part of the defensive Walls of Amsterdam, and extended to its current height in 1606.  >
  In Munich, Mila Jean and John Douty stayed on Arnulfstraße at Stengel's Hotel Wolff, which opened in 1890 "exactly opposite" the central train station.  Its Art Nouveau structure was badly damaged during World War II, but the Wolff reopened in 1950 and by 1955 was combined with the rebuilt Eden Hotel next door.  In her handwritten list of stayed-at hotels, Mila Jean called it "clean, well-run, pleasant."  As the Eden Hotel Wolff, it remains in operation as a "traditional First Class Hotel."  >
  In Frankfurt they stayed at the Hotel Stadt München on Ottostraße.  Mila Jean noted this was "am linken Ausgang des Hauptbahnhofes" (i.e., at the left exit of the main station).  >
  In Cologne they stayed at the Hotel Neunzig at Johannisstraße 30-34.  Today this is the Günnewig Kommerz Hotel.  >
  Cologne was almost destroyed by British RAF air raids in World War II, with nearly the entire population evacuated.  >
  Mathis der Maler was composed by Paul Hindemith in 1934-35 as both a symphony and opera; the Berlin Philharmonic's performance of the symphony was denounced by the Nazi government, which prevented the opera from being staged in Germany.  >
  In Amsterdam Mila Jean and John Douty stayed at the Hotel De Gerstekorrel (Barley Grain), which is still in business: "a 5-minute walk from Centraal train station, this simple, polished hotel in a traditional townhouse is 7-minutes' walk from the Rembrandt House Museum and 13-minutes' walk from the Anne Frank House."  Mila Jean called it "not very elegant, but have piano player (over bar) and marvelous clientele."  >
  The building of Cologne Cathedral, Germany's most visited landmark, began in 1248 but was not completed until 1880.  Badly damaged in World War II, its repair was finished in 1956.  >
  The Consul, Gian Carlo Menotti's first full-length opera, debuted in 1950.  >
  Léocadia or Time Remembered, a 1940 romantic comedy by Jean Anouilh (translated into English in 1954), starred Margaret Rutherford as the Duchess of Pont-au-Bronc and Paul Scofield as Prince Albert Troubiscol.  >
  Mila Jean's mother Ada Louise Ludeke Smith (1907-2011) was a front-line flapper in the 1920s.  >
  The Little Glass Clock, a comedy by Hugh Mills, opened at London's Aldwych Theatre on Dec. 3, 1954.  >
  The New York Herald, which began publishing a Paris edition in 1887, merged with the New York Tribune in 1924 to become the Herald Tribune; its European edition was the principal newspaper for American expatriates.  After the New York edition ceased publication in 1966, the International Herald Tribune continued until 2013, when it was submerged into the New York Times.  >
  In Zurich, Mila Jean and John Douty stayed at the Hotel Augustinerhof Hospiz on St. Peterstraße.  The poet Else Lasker-Schüler gave this as her address after fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933.  >
  Jean Giradoux called his 1937 adaptation of the Electra legend (previously dramatized by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides) a "bourgeois tragedy."  >
  Strasbourg's Hotel Bristol at 4 Place de la Gare is still in business as Inter-Hôtel Le Bristol: "across the road from Gare de Strasbourg train station, this unfussy hotel is a 10-minute walk from Place des Halles shopping center."  Mila Jean called it "accommodating, clean and pleasant."  >
  Michel Saint-Denis (1897-1971) was an actor, director, and drama theorist.  In 1947 he founded a new theater school at London's Old Vic; in 1953, the Ecole Supérieure d'Art Dramatique at Strasbourg's Théâtre National; and, with John Houseman, the Drama Division at Juilliard in 1968.  On Dec. 17, 1954, Kenneth Rae (secretary of the British Centre of the International Theatre Institute) wrote "My dear Michel":

This is to introduce to you MISS M.J. SMITH, who is an American Fulbright scholar studying in the Drama Department of Bristol University.  She will be staying in Strasbourg for some little while, during her Christmas vacation, and I would be most grateful for any facilities you can offer her, in order that she may see as much of your theatre school as possible during her short visit.  >

  Das Land des Lächelns or The Land of Smiles, a 1929 operetta by Franz Lehár, featured the aria "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz."  Translated into English as "Yours Is My Heart Alone" (aka "You Are My Heart's Delight"), it became a popular standard.  >
  Jean-Louis Barrault (1910-1994) was a French actor, director, producer, and mime who helped revive French theater after World War II, introducing the works of Beckett, Genet and Ionesco to France.  >
  Mila Jean had enough paper to produce the twelve-page "Some Observations of European Theatrical Productions: Xmas, 1954-55."
  Though Mila Jean could only recall a single encounter with her estranged grandfather William Michael Ludeke (1882-1975), she said "he was always good at sending a dollar at birthday time."  >
  Presumably Mary Jo Brock (born 1930 in Texas) who in KCMO's 1940 census lived at 3433 College, five blocks north of the Smiths at 3908.  Mary Jo was listed with Central High's seniors in 1946, but with KCU's sophomores in 1950.  Two years later she and Mila Jean were pictured side by side in the KCU Cap and Gown Society photo.  "Mary Joe Brock" (signing herself "Mary Jo") married radio producer Ernest Walter Richter in 1956 and moved to Lafayette IN; "Mary Jo & Walt Richter drop by for a visit while in K.C." states a 1959 photo in the Ehrlich family album.
    Another "Mary Jo" on the scene at this time was Mary Jo Randall of St. Teresa's College (soon to be renamed Avila), who appeared in several KCU Playhouse productions during the mid-1950s, including Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and Ph
èdre.  She and Mila Jean would play "Friends of Don Giovanni" in the Feb. 1956 bicentennial salute to Mozart, for which George Ehrlich would be Set and Artistic Designer.  Mary Jo Randall went on to Catholic University in Washington DC, toured South America with its company, and played the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  >
  Hazel Bain (1928-1991) was president of Mila Jean's Sigma Alpha Iota sorority in 1951-52.  In Sep. 1955 she would marry KCU music professor Hardin Van Deursen (1908-1964).  >
  Like Mila Jean, Patricia Ruth Minnier (born 1933) was an alto in KCU's A Capella Choir in 1952-53.  On Mar. 27, 1956 she would appear as Adele in La Parisienne (The Woman of Paris or The Parisian Woman), directed by Mila Jean for the KCU Studio Theatre; it was the subject of Mila Jean's master's thesis.  Pat later moved to Colorado and married Walter Kuckes.  >
  "Amateur Drama in the United States and England," which would be submitted to Act, the Drama Magazine and Drama: a British Drama League Publication.  >
  Mila Jean, a single woman aged 22, was traveling around western Europe in the unchaperoned company of her "much older" divorced ex-boss.  >
  Yerma was Federico Garcia Lorca's 1934 play (or as he put it, "tragic poem") about a childless woman obsessed with fertility.  >
  The Comédie-Française (aka Théâtre-Français and "House of Molière") was founded by Louis XIV in 1680.  It is the only state theater in France to have its own troupe of actors.  >
  The Palais Garnier is home to the Paris Opera and Opera Ballet companies (and their Phantom).  The Opéra-Comique company performs at the nearby Place Boïeldieu.  >
  Molière's Les Amants Magnifiques (The Magnificent Lovers) debuted in 1670, a few months before Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.  >
  The Folies Bergère opened in 1869, began featuring cabaret revues in 1886, and focused on what Paul Derval called "small nude women" (e.g. Missouri-born Josephine Baker) after World War I.  >
  Le Jardin du Luxembourg was created in 1612 by Marie de' Medici, widow of Henri IV, for her Luxembourg Palace.  It includes a théâtre des marionnettes, gazebo for musical performances, and ca
fé restaurant.  >
  Zurich's St. Peter dates back to an early Romanesque church of c.1000; the current building was consecrated in 1706.  Its clock face (called a "watch-dial" by Mila Jean) is the largest in Europe.  >
  The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was organized in 1873-74 and expanded internationally a decade later.  >
  Paris's Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt opened in 1862 as the the Théâtre Lyrique Impérial and, after several intervening titles, was named after Bernhardt in 1899.  Since 1968 it has been the Théâtre de la Ville.  >
  "Assi" = asseyez-vous or assieds-toi: "sit down, take a seat."  >
  The Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, built in 1895, would be slated for demolition in 1966, but instead was dismantled and rebuilt piece by piece down the street, reopening in 1979.  >
  Lady was the Nashes's dog.  One of the 1954 holiday photos taken in Blue Springs shows her eyeing a Christmas stocking held by Pete Nash.  >
  Flora Belle "Flo" Dixon, first cousin of Mila Jean's namesake grandmother, died aged 89 on Jan. 17, 1955 and (like the First Mila and many other ancestors/connections) was buried at Urbana OH's Oak Dale Cemetery.  >
  On Jan. 23, John Douty wrote Mila Jean "Just a note":

I am slowly regaining my strength—although it is difficult: a new typewriter down the hall keeps me awake all day.  Fortunately we have gotten rid of the officious femme de chambre.  Her final day was quite maddening: she told me that it would be quite impossible for me to have a bath because the water was not hot.  When I took her into my closet and showed her that a steady stream of steam was coming out of the faucet she changed her argument to an attempt to win my sympathy by whining that she was tired of running up and down stairs all day.  You know how difficult it is to win my sympathy and I had my bath and—although there is no clear connection—we had a new f. de c. the next day....

Neither the Dutch soldiers nor the Biard [a bistro?] seem to have missed you—at least they have said nothing to me.  The other night, at the little restaurant down the street, after our English lesson (in which we tried to establish the difference between cake and pastry), the waitress stayed at the table in obvious mental turmoil.  Finally she said, "Comment dit-on 'ou'?"  I supplied "where" and she continued, "Pwere     iss     da     laid-ee?"  I sensed that this rather oblique reference was to you and replied in my impeccable French that you had returned to Bristol where you were a student.  This brought forth a torrent of disconnected vowel sounds from which I gathered that Bristol must be an important place since she had heard of it.

Actually it has been a very exciting and busy week, watching the rising of the Seine.  You can imagine the hysteria with which the French have reacted.  Today they were busy building walls around the doors and basement windows.  And they are piled three deep all along the river watching....

Had a very charming letter from Thomas Cook (or Son) offering me a beautiful inside cabin overlooking the boiler room on the Andrea Doria sailing from Naples on August 31 for New York, September 6.  Since the price was less than we had discussed at the office, I paid a deposit and now have only to raise the rest of the money, have my dinner jacket cleaned, and live until the end of August.  I really hate to think about going back and all the hell to follow, but suppose fate is fate.  Also, in preparation for the maddening round of job-hunting, I got out my file on the subject and discovered to my amazement that I had applied for the TD [Technical Director] job at UKC.  My God!  With that administration I might have gotten it!...

(The Andrea Doria, pride of the Italian Line, would sink off the coast of Nantucket in July 1956.)  >
  Gauloise cigarettes, associated with French infantrymen during the First World War and resistance fighters during the Second, were renowned for their strong taste and heavy aroma.  >
  Mila Jean's parents got married (following a cross-country elopement) on Jan. 25, 1930.  >
  Mila Jean worked as a research assistant at Kansas City's WHB radio station in the summers of 1953 and 1954.  >
  Pierre Mendès France (1907-1982) served as President of the Council of Ministers from June 1954 to Feb. 1955, during which he negotiated French withdrawal from Indochina.  >
  On Feb. 10, John Douty wrote from "Somewhere in darkest Psyche:"

I have been suffering an unusually prolonged and virulent attack of melancholia but ... have just completed an excellent lobster Newburg with an unpretentious but satisfying wine at a new-to-me restaurant around the corner ... so am beginning to take a little more interest in life.

I am extremely interested to know what "Old Paint" whinnies back at you—although I still think it is a mistake for you to return [to KCU]....  I have been distracting myself by writing job application letters.  After many tries, I think I have hit just the right tone of snide coudn't-care-less, so-who-needs-it.  The only way I can get through the chore is to convince myself that nothing will come of it—but I have to be able to tell my sister I tried.  I think I shall organize a Society for the Salvation of the Hag-ridden Male....

Read all through your comments on script revision on the assumption that this was the children's play, then later found that the children's play had "fallen through."  Well, I just can't expect to keep up with you young people.  Your additional dialogue, incidentally, sounds like Charles Holt.  Enjoyed what I could see in [your] photos, but Frankfurt remains a complete blank for some reason.  As for the central heating, all you have to do is convince the Britishers that they would be more uncomfortable with central heating than without it and they would all go into debt to get it.  Never heard of Michel St. Denis before—now everything I read has something about him.  Enjoy your measles [above a swarm of ballpoint-pen specks]

(Rod and June Brown's children Erica and Diane, whom Mila Jean occasionally babysat, had suffered from the measles.)  >
  Signing herself "Madame S.," Mila Jean's mother sent John Douty a valentine with a cartoon ballerina at the barre, saying "C'est la vie!  C'est la vie! / Say you're valentines with me," and inscribed "Why don't you scribble a few lines—or did you float away during the recent flood?"  >
  The KCU Playhouse performed Romeo and Juliet from Feb. 28 to Mar. 5, 1955.  Mort Walker staged the production and also portrayed Mercutio; Juliet was played by Mary Jo Randall.  >
  "Last year's mess" might have to do with Mila Jean's having received a graduate fellowship from the KCU English Department (chaired by Hyatt Waggoner) in July 1953, only to spend the subsequent two semesters as the Playhouse Costuming Assistant.  (John Douty, in a May 4th letter, mentioned an enclosure that said, "Waggoner was so sympathetic with her until she started in on theatre work—then he dropped her.")  >
  Mildred Christophe (M.C.) Kuner was a professor of English and Comparative Drama at Hunter College.  In June 1951 she was awarded the Charles H. Sergei Drama Contest's $1,000 prize (offered biennially by the University of Chicago) for her play The New Alcestis, which apparently evolved into A God in the Garden.  In the latter version's program, Glynne Wickham remarked that Bristol Drama had decided "an original script, as yet not produced, should be worked over and prepared for production....  Considerable changes have been made in the dialogue, but the plot remains virtually unaltered."  M.C. Kuner would go on to write Thornton Wilder: The Bright and the Dark (1972).  >
  In Greek mythology, Alcestis declared she would marry the first man to yoke a lion and boar (or bear).  Admetus performed this task with the help of Apollo (serving as his shepherd during a banishment from Olympus), but failed to make the required wedding sacrifice to Artemis.  Alcestis volunteered to die in her husband's place, and was rescued from Hades by Heracles.  This legend was variously adapted for the stage by Euripides, Gluck, Handel, Martha Graham, and Thornton Wilder (as A Life in the Sun and The Alcestiad).  >
  Hubert C. Heffner* earned his bachelor and master's degrees at the University of North Carolina in 1921-22.  Thomas Wolfe received his bachelor's from UNC in 1920, having starred in the Carolina Playmakers production of his own one-act play The Return of Buck GavinShepperd Strudwick and Paul Green were two other UNC alumni and Carolina Playmakers: Strudwick had a long career on stage, screen and television (among his many roles was Dr. Adam Stanton in All the King's Men) while Green became a playwright who depicted North Carolina life in the early 20th Century (he won the Pulitzer Prize for In Abraham's Bosom).  >
  Like Mila Jean, Noralee Benedict (1930-2010) attended KCMO's Central High School and took part in KCU Playhouse productions, including Lysistrata in 1951.  She performed with several stock companies, founded and directed the Accent Theatre, and also pursued a career in journalism; her obituary stated she was the first woman on the Kansas City Star's city desk.  Onscreen, Noralee portrayed ex-hog caller Lillian Gravelguard in Corn's-a-Poppin' (1955), Kansas City's entry for the Most Bizarre Movie Ever Made; though disowned by co-writer Robert Altman, it would nevertheless be meticulously restored and exhibited by the Northwest Chicago Film Society.  >
  The Citizens Theatre, founded in 1943 and based in Glasgow, is the principal producing theater in western Scotland.  >
  Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) was a prolific and wide-ranging French dramatist, whose 1941 version of Eurydice (set among a second-rate troupe of traveling performers) was translated a decade later as Point of Departure.  >
  A Jan. 22nd letter was addressed to Mila Jean by the Rotary Club of Mendip (Bird's Hotel, Winscombe, Somerset):

Dear Miss Smith:  Ours is, I believe, the only Rotary club in District 10 which meets in the evenings for dinner, an arrangement which gives easy leisure for happy social intercourse between its members and their guests.  As a club with a strong tradition of international service, it is our custom to devote an evening to making the acquaintance of our American friends resident in Bristol, and I am writing to ask if we may have the pleasure of your company for the evening of Thursday the 17th February next....  We are hoping that this little gathering will be the precursor of other visits by yourself to the Mendips when it will be possible to meet some of us in our homes.  In the event of your accepting this invitation, would you care to speak for five minutes (not longer) on any subject in which you think we should be interested—on your life at home, on your first impressions of England etc.?  This suggestion comes quite gratuitously and though we shall listen gladly, we hope you will speak only if it gives you real pleasure to do so.  Should you accept this invitation, please say whether you are able to arrange your own transport.  If not, we shall endeavor to arrange for one of our members to meet you in Bristol and bring you over.  For the return journey a bus leaves Winscombe at 9-8 p.m., but it should be possible to find one of our guests who will have a place for you in his car....  >

  Winscombe is a village on the western edge of the Mendip Hills, about fifteen miles southwest of Bristol.  >
  Quincy Magoo made his cartoon debut in 1949.  Created by Millard Kaufman (who'd been blacklisted) and John Hubley (a former Communist), Mr. Magoo was initially a mumble-ranting caricature of reactionary McCarthyism.  >
  Georg Kaiser (1878-1945) was a "classic Expressionist" playwright whose works were frequently performed during Germany's Weimar years.  >
  Mila Jean's sister Mellie* once remarked that their father Frank "would have been a very good rich man, for he did enjoy the good life, i.e. going to a good horse race and placing a two-dollar bet (so did I!)."  >
  Serge Lifar (1905-1986) was ballet master of the Paris Opera from 1930 to 1944 and again from 1947 to 1958.  >
  Buster Keaton's The Navigator (1924) was his highest-grossing commercial success.  >
  In 1947 the brothers Homer and Langley Collyer were found dead in their Harlem home, surrounded by tons of compulsively-hoarded items (and booby traps to ensnare any intruders).  >
  "Chremes, the Spartan ambassador" was portrayed by Robert Lang (1934-2004), who'd planned to become a meteorologist before enrolling in the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.  In 1962 Laurence Olivier recruited him for the new National Theatre Company at London's Old Vic, and Lang went on a celebrated career on stage, in films and on television; among his many roles were Roderigo in Othello, Sharp in The Great Train Robbery, and Lord Hibbott in Four Weddings and a Funeral. calls his trademark a "rich fruity voice, full of disdain, exasperation or boredom."  >
  On Feb. 23, 1955, a federal court jury convicted the Kansas City Star of violating anti-trust laws by attempting to monopolize local dissemination of news and advertising.  After judicial appeals failed, the Star was forced to sell its WDAF radio and television stations.  >
  Henry Luce, publisher of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, was a powerfully influential figure in the Republican party.  >
  Evelyn Roberts (born c.1911) was the Smiths's next-door neighbor in Kansas City, living at 3910 College.  >
  Glasgow's Royal Scottish Academy of Music established a drama department in 1950; the Glasgow College of Dramatic Art would be the first in Great Britain to have its own television studio.  Renamed the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 1968, it is now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  >
  A Phoenix Too Frequent was a 1946 comedy by Christopher Fry, who went on to adapt several translated plays by Jean Anouilh.  >
  On Feb. 27 John Douty wrote:

that you've worked out your spleen on me, perhaps you can get back to your scholarly pursuits.  I, for one, am completely exhausted.  Typing, typing, typing on those damned job-application letters.  Actually, it's the sort of job I do well—just copying, with an air of spontaneity (or so I call the erasures and type-overs) a form letter—something like sewing sequins.  Anyway, I have only about 25 more to go—am almost finished....  Judging by the typing I should not have had that whole bottle of wine with my dinner—but it was cold.  Which reminds me, I find hilarious the picture of you and Marcie boiling your own beef and whipping up your own custard....

Sent your photographs—reserving those which had little intrinsique(?) [sic] merit, like the Amsterdam horse—to my sister.  She is mad about them and is forcing them on all the other members of the family....  Enjoy your mother's "little cards"—just wish she didn't expect me to answer them.  It is all I can do to keep my sister satisfied.

I had sworn that never again would I go vagabonding about—at my age [John was about 35] the business of readjusting each day, keeping up with trains, etc. is but too exhausting.  The temptation for Italy is strong however and a little swing around Geneva, Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan, [and] Cannes sounds mildly exciting....

Have you talked to Mr. Heffner about your future?  Surely there must be openings at Indiana—and they are supposed to do big things with musical theatre—and you should get away from KC—and whatever became of dear little old Lee Norvelle?  Incidentally, I sent a letter to Indiana [University]—as I did to all schools in Indiana—wouldn't it be dreadful if H.H. asked to see me?...

Do let me know when you plan to come through Paris again—Madame would be bitterly disappointed if you didn't stay with her....

(Lee Norvelle [1892-1984] chaired Indiana University's Speech and Theatre Department from 1945 to 1958, and served as president of the National Theatre Conference.  Hubert Heffner, after his 1954-55 stint as Fulbright Lecturer at Bristol, joined the Indiana University faculty and remained there until retirement, twice acting as director of the IU Theatre.)  >
  Maurine Reinhardt was Dr. John E. Barnett's secretary.  >
  Mila Jean would call Bernard "Bunny" Behrens (1926-2012) "later one of my best friends."  As a child in poverty-stricken London he'd sneak into cinemas and dream of becoming a Hollywood actor. indicates that A God in the Garden was his first production with the Bristol Old Vic company.  He would go on to London's Old Vic and then Canada, where he and wife Debor
ah Cass (née Bernice Katz: 1930-2004) spent the greater part of their careers; they were founding members of the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, and often took part in the Stratford and Shaw Festivals.  Bunny received frequent Gemini nominations for his performances on Canadian television, winning in 1992 and 1995; he also had a long run on American TV, appearing in everything from Little House on the Prairie to Bosom Buddies, and provided Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice in NPR radio dramatizations of the first Star Wars trilogyMila Jean and Bunny would correspond for half a century, the final years by phone ("Bunny Behrens called four times last week and we laughed a lot about the old days," Jeanie informed me in 2006).  According to his obituary, when recognized shortly before his death and asked if he used to be an actor, "Bunny responded, with his trademark tongue and attitude, 'I still AM an actor!'"  >

List of Illustrations

●  "Big Ben and my thumb"
●  "View of Tower of London from an observation place"
●  The Lyric Hammersmith, "very old and charming"
●  Another view of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre
●  View of London Bridge from the Tower
●  Another view of London Bridge (with thumb) from the Tower
●  "Docks, ships on Thames around Tower"
●  Postcard of Amsterdam's Montelbaanstoren
●  Amsterdam's "municipal building in the center of town"
●  View across a canal in Amsterdam
●  Another view across a canal in Amsterdam
●  "Newspaper seller in wooden shoes"
●  John Douty observing excavation work in Amsterdam
●  "View down a typical street" in Amsterdam
●  "John's favorite horse—he had the look of utter dejection"
●  A square in Amsterdam
●  John Douty observing rubble in Frankfurt
●  "Typical long flight of stone steps" in Zurich
●  "The elevated going right through a house" in Zurich
●  Example of painted house-sides in Zurich
●  "Overlooking Zurich sea"
●  A view of the high-rising Seine in Paris
●  Another view of the high-rising Seine in Paris
●  A shot from the Hotel Lindberg of Paris rooftops
●  The Fulbright "Provision Programme" for Winter 1955
●  Mila Jean's Mother's Valentine to John Douty: exterior
●  Mila Jean's Mother's Valentine to John Douty: interior

Return to The Fulbright Year Abroad: Part Two       Proceed to The Fulbright Year Abroad: Part Four

A Split Infinitive Production
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