WW II Letters: October 15, 1944 in Quebec PART 2
This letter was written during WWII by my grandmother to my grandfather Pat's sister, Mary. It was typewritten on legal-sized paper, with some rushed hand-written notes at the end - it's extremely long so I'm going to post it in two installments. This is Part 2. See Part 1 of this letter here.
My grandparents were married in July of 1944. My grandmother Marion still lived in New Jersey when she ventured up to Quebec to visit my grandfather, her husband of just a few months. There's lots of amazing descriptions of their trip. In this portion of the letter she talks about "colored" folks and how it's "quite a serious problem" - a bit difficult for me to read and re-type, but that's just the way it was back then I suppose...
She also talks about their wedding shower.
"Laundry was a problem, but I got Pat to bring some rope from the ship and I managed to fix up a clothesline in our room. I washed our things in the bathroom and then hung them up to dry in our room. The following day I took them down to the ship to iron them. You should try to iron on a desk! I pressed his pajamas and not being use to men's things I put the crease in the wrong way. Live and learn.
The next Saturday that Pad had off we spent walking around Quebec too. We went into St. Patrick's Church on Grande Allee (which is connected with the one on Mccmahon St. which we had attended the previous Sunday). From the outside it doesn't look very much like a Church. And when you enter you go down steps to the Church proper. The floor is slanted a little so that the people in the back may be able to see. It was very nice. We went into some new churches too which were not yet completed. Our guide had told us on the St. Anne trip that there were 42 churches in Quebec, that the population was 150,000 and of that 90% were French, 95% Roman Catholic and that there was one colored family in the city. I think Pat and I must have seen one member of that colored family. One day in a restaurant a French girl came in with a colored fellow. She seemed quite proud of him but it gave me the shivers just to see them together. Perhaps they wouldn't feel that way towards them if there were as many negroes up there as we have around here. In the city of Philadelphia there are approximately 500,000 of them, and in New York city even more. As a matter of fact I believe it's getting to be quite a serious problem here.
In the afternoon we walked up along the Citadel again and took some more pictures. Sunday evening we went bowling with Leo, his wife Ettie, the 2nd Mate and Ettie's sister, Vera. We had a good time and then we went to Leo's house for tea and sandwiches. We spent a very long time with them.
We had planned to come down to Palmyra and I wrote Mother to that effect. Then orders were changed and I had to write and tell her that we wouldn't be down. On Monday when Pat came back from the ship he said we're leaving Wednesday morning. My heart dropped down to my feet for I thought he meant the ship was leaving. Then he said you and I are leaving for Palmyra. So I sent mother a telegram from the Chateau where we had eaten our dinner, in the Coffee Shop. It's very nice there. You can sit and watch the people walking along the Terrace and the nice view of the St. Lawrence at the same time.
Tuesday night the Haberlins, George, Vera, Pat and I went to dinner at the Chateau. This time we went to the main dining room. We had a nice meal and enjoyed ourselves. Afterwards we went to a Bingo Party and when that was over we went to Haberlins to chat and had tea and sandwiches again. Leo and Ettie are very nice and we liked being with them.
It was thru Leo that we got Pullman reservations to Montreal and he got Pat's ticket for him. I was busy packing all day Tuesday and finished on Wednesday morning with last minute things. We left Quebec at 1:35 and when we reached Montreal had about a three hour lay-over. Forgot to tell you that while on the train from Quebec to Montreal we went in the diner for lunch. We sat opposite a Frenchman who had had too much wine. He asked for a match and Pat gave him one and the Frenchman thought that was an opportunity for conversation. He kept callign me Mlle. and asked Pat when he was going to get married. Pat said, "I am married." The Frenchman said, "How long?" and Pat replied, "Oh, a long time." He was getting rather disgusted by this time. Then the Frenchman said "No, not a long time because you are young." We were both a little embarrassed at that for by this time everyone was turning around and kind of smiling. Finally we stopped talking to him and he got up and went into one of the coaches.
The train from Montreal to Philadelphia was rather crowded but we did get seats. We came by coach and Pat didn't have much room for his long legs so he was pretty tired when he arrived. We finally arrived in Palmyra at noon, tired and hungry. Once we were cleaned up a bit though we didn't feel so bad.
Friday was a busy day. We brought all our gifts down and put them on three card tables which I had put up. We have some very nice things. Pat spent part of the day painting some chairs -- in fact some which I started to paint this summer -- I don't think he thought much of my painting cause he said I had two coats in some places, others three, and still others with none. And here I thought I had done a good job, and didn't know I had missed any places.
After supper on Friday, we pushed the dining room table back near the china closet so that we could serve buffet style. We had a center piece of pink roses which was placed on a mirror and there were four tall white candles. When I came home the first thing I asked was whether Mother had been able to get a wedding cake on such short notice. She told me that she hadn't been able to get one and that a friend of hers was going to make a cake. However, after supper she called Pat and I in the dining-room and there was our wedding cake. It was a lovely one and looked too nice to cut, almost. We took some indoor pictures of the cake and our gifts so I'm hoping they'll turn out well too.
Our guests began to arrive soon after eight. Pat wore his uniform and he looked so handsome in it. There were 25 people here counting our family. We had a nice time though most of the evening was spent in chatting. We served sandwiches, potato chips, olives, pickles, candy, salted nuts, cake and coffee. It was after 12 when our last guest departed. My Dad then announced much to my Mother's surprise that he was going to wash the dishes and Pat said he would dry them. I took a picture of that for history.
We received some nice things and I'll try to tell you what they were. So here goes: three blankets (1 blue, 1 pink, 1 cedar), 5 sets of towels (pink, blue, green and white yellow, and aqua), sterling silver compote, sterling silver cream and sugar, crocheted bedspread, crocheted afghan, 4 tablecloths (3 printed ones, 1 white with napkins to match), 2 luncheon sets, 1 picture, 1 vase, 1 mayonnaise bowl, 1 set of pyrex, sheets and pillow cases, dish towels, pot holders. That's all I can think of at present.
Those few days just flew by and before we knew it it was time for Pat to return. He left Sunday night at 6:30 and was in Quebec the next day at 1:35. I hated to see him go and I surely do miss him. I've had a few letters from him and he has called several times. On the sixth we were married three months and he sent me 15 red roses. Wasn't that sweet of him? He called Friday and said he would call either today or Monday. I guess that will be the last I'll hear from him for a while.
Since I've been home I've been rather busy as I said previously. I've been out to some club meetings and then one night five of we girls had a covered dish dinner at one girls apartment. I've also worked on some of the ceramic jewelry we are making in our Yomez Club. Last night Mother and I went to the movies to see "Bathing Beauty". It was in technicolor and Red Skelton was in it. It was funny and we had a good laugh.
As you know I was refused extra time at work so when I arrived in Quebec we talked it over and decided I would stay anyway. I wrote them a letter telling them I was taking the liberty of staying for two weeks besides my vacation and that when I returned I would like to come back to the Railroad and work. I really thought they would fire me and was much surprised when they wrote and said they would keep my position for me until October 2nd. The men didn't have much to say at first, but now the thing has sort of blown over and everything is more or less back to normal.
While in Quebec we bought several good books. One was "The Lure of Quebec" which is very interesting and the other is "Pageant of Canadian History". We bought another but I can't remember the name of it it's "Maria something or other."
Pat said he got the photographs and had sent some to Victoria. Have you received them yet? I'm rather anxious about them now and am thinking of having a tracer put on them.
We've been busy the past few nights getting some boxes ready for the boys overseas - as usual we waited until nearly the last minute. I sent a package to Bern from Pat and me, hope he gets it alright.
Today is a typical fall day. Crisp and clear with the temperature down to 36 this morning. We just started our furnace yesterday. The leaves are falling fast too and everything seems to be at an end, wish I could say that about the war.
I've just cleaned my engagement ring and you should see how it sparkles! It certainly is pretty.
This is rather a lengthy letter and I hope I haven't bored you with it. I would like you to keep this for me Mary so that when I get around to writing in my "Wedding Book" about our trip I'll have something to refresh my memory on some of the little things that happened. I hope you won't mind doing that for me.
Your mother's note arrived and I'm so glad you received the cake in good condition. You might tell her that the candy she sent has also arrived and I like it lots. I'll be writing to her soon.
I guess this will be all but for now it's almost four o'clock and nearly time for dinner.
P.S. Pat tells me you have a puppy. If it's anything like ours I know you'll have a lot of fun with it for we get many a laugh out of the things Penny does.
P.S. Again..At the reception there was a little girl here named Judy. She is almost two years old and very sweet. She likes men in uniform too so Pat made a big hit with her. She even sat on his lap in preference to one of the girls."