The 1957-58 ESU year was particularly memorable.


We were given a send off at the New York English-Speaking Union Headquarters.And then we went to board the Queen Elizabeth, then the largest passenger liner afloat.  One reason I like to visit the Queen Mary in Long Beach is that it truly is a “sister ship” to the QE.


“Cunard Line

R. M. S. Queen Elizabeth

[Monday] September 16, 1957

Dear Mum and Dad,


At this point we’re about 2 ½ hours from the dock at Southampton and the voyage is almost over. Strangely enough [!!!], this is just about the first chance I have had since Wednesday to sit down and write [!!!].


After you left we arranged for a table, second sitting for 9 of us plus one English boy. That evening we spent most of the time in tourist class, though I did go up to first when I was told that I could use the name of one of Bill Tingue’s friends.


The next day Chris Gray from Winston-Salem N. C.  and I got together and went up to first.  He had traveled the QE in ’53 with RET Hunter (Choate!) and his father and grandparents had also traveled this ship often so a steward who knew the family well lent us a pass . . . for any time when we might need it.  That evening we went up again and got together with several nice girls through Betsy Ross, a friend of Bill Tingue.  We had seen The Prince and the Showgirl first class that afternoon.


Friday I again saw the first class movie Man of 1,000 Faces (Lon Chaney) and a whole group of us again went up to first in our tuxes.  Among the girls that I met was Betsy Ross and her mother Mrs. George Drake (the late Mr. Ross, I believe, was a Choate graduate), and Leonie Work, daughter of Mrs. Laurence Johnson (Mr. Work died as well) from Locust Valley, L.I. . . . There were also several other nice people, but these were the ones you might possibly know (Mr. Johnson went to Harvard.)  


Saturday I saw Love in the Afternoon (first of course) and again we went dancing into the early hours of the morning, correctly attired for “first” in our dinner jackets.


I had trouble getting up Sunday a.m, for breakfast, but made it, went through immigration and attended church for the first time in many weeks. Again saw the first class movie Carry on Admiral and went dancing upstairs again . . .


Mr, Johnson Talked to the Staff Captain [John Maxtone-Graham’s book The Only Way to Cross describes this position as having been created to relieve the nautical captain of social duties.]  several nights ago. . . who said in regard to our going up to first class, that it was OK so long as we acted normally.  In other words, it’s OK if you are careful to 1) dress as a conservative first class passenger would and 2) act as a conservative first class passenger would, everything would be all right.  All the staff doesn’t want is for us to upset or annoy the first class passengers in any way, shape, or form, and I think I’ve kept from doing that quite well.  And Betsy and Leonie (as well as the other girls) I’m sure would not have had as much fun if we weren’t there – there are very few (2 or 3 boys at the most, probably only 1) young men our age up in first.  Everyone seems to be happy, so all is well.  Some other friends of Chris’ also were nice to us both . . . (Had dinner last night with the Johnsons: foie gras, steak – mmmmmmm – it is really a luxury!! (They, too, have been very kind to me.) I am very much hoping to do both the Johnsons and Chris a favor – a special one – perhaps in London. . . Hope everything is well – you really must decide to come over in the Spring. Everything is fine.  It’s going to be a wonderful year.”


There were scholarship holders and what was known as “fee payers”.  One of the fee payers was a guy named Chris Gray.  His dad was Chairman of the Board of R. J. Reynolds, the tobacco company.  As his parents had traveled back and forth across the Atlantic on the QE, he knew one of the stewards in first class, “Stammers,” and, post-Titanic, the gates between the classes were not locked, so we spent a lot of time in First Class.  I distinctly remember ordering my first daiquiri in the first class lounge.


Also on the QE were a Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, who were taking her daughter, Leonie Work, to finishing school in Switzerland.  As we were properly dressed (sports jackets and ties) and had black tie as well for evenings we were able to fit in.  In fact the Johnsons invited me to join them for dinner in the Veranda Grill (a special “extra” first class dining room on the fantail),  with band and dance floor.) A lot of us, all in black tie, joined the party and we soon had a conga line going. A first class passenger had one of the first Polaroid cameras – you needed to treat the surface of the picture with a chemical on a brush.  I have Henry and me in first class, in black tie, in the picture, though the picture is somewhat the worse for wear after 63 years!


After arriving in London we all went to the ESU headquarters in Berkeley Square to stay.  Felsted School had hired a lady to meet me and get the clothes I needed.  


“Next a.m. [the 17th] we were up at 10 of 9 and had breakfast before being welcomed by a Mr. Fairbanks whom I took to be  Douglas Jr., though he did not appear quite as I had seen him in the movies . . . After the welcome we were given our instructions – I was to be met at 11 by a lady from the Social and Secretarial Services . . . who was to look after me until the 2:27 train to Chelmsford, where I would be met by Christopher Ward, who is a student at Felsted. . . . 


 Chris was the son  of Gerald Ward, M.D.of  Chelmsford.  Dr. Ward and his wife had three children of whom the son, Chris, the eldest, would share a study with me at school.  I received a warm welcome.  And shortly the Wards took me on an outing to Greenwich, the site of the meridian.  We went up to London a day or two later, but by the second day I had come down with an upper respiratory infection, but not the Hong Kong flu, and I was very well cared for, especially as Dr. Ward’s “surgery” (office) was attached to his house


“I arrived at school yesterday [8/24] about 5, met the Headmaster, took a look around the school, and began to get settled in.  We had High Tea (supper) at 7. . . 


“We sleep in a dorm of about 20 on the 3rd floor.  The required cold shower . . .  is just a small turning on and off of the water, which generally gets the head and shoulders wet. . . The food here leaves some to be desired, but I’ll survive..


“We do most of our living  in a 3-man study on the first [i.e. ground] floor and are there during study halls (after dinner). . . . Anyway, life is really not too bad, so far.  “Tuck”, or food in the study is really one’s staff of life.  . . .


At Felsted School, which was founded in 1564 by Richard, Lord Riche, who broke up the monasteries for Henry VIII, I recall the very first history class, which began in 1714 with the Hanoverians!


A Latin grace was said at every meal. The Headmaster, Mr. Reekie, was a kindly older man, and very much in favor of the special Anglo-American relationship.   Felsted, and in particular, Mr. Reekie, was very considerate of my stay there. There was a double-decker bus that ran from the village, and I was able to take trips up to London, forty miles away.  


I was assigned to Montgomery House, called Monts, and all my clothing had to be labeled for laundry purposes  with  “S.H.D. 41 Higgins J. S., “ D standing for the fourth house, Monts.  Monts was an older house without much central heating so the study that I shared with Chris Ward and Rob Friend was cold.  Fingerless gloves helped, but Chris and Rob Friend installed what the Brits called an “electric fire”, hidden behind a door in a bookcase.  One time I left the fire on and the door closed to return to find the door sort of steaming.  Fortunately no real fire was started, but the door was warped.


[10/5] I I had tea with the Headmaster and Mrs. Reekie this afternoon; they are both very pleasant though he is generally regarded as being shy, which I suppose is true.  I saw my first game of rugger this afternoon; we were beaten 15-6 --  I hope to have gotten some good pictures.  We are studying Hamlet with Mr. Craze in English –he is very competent and an awfully interesting person – most of my classes with him (6) are on Hamlet. . . I have 9 periods with Mt. Macrae,, a good teacher, tho scuttlebutt says he is not as intellectual as Mr. Craze, I think he is awfully competent, and I will probably learn a great deal from him. At the moment we are doing Napoleon in the early days (the A level spec. subject), and have been discussing Walpole and the Hanoverians (Eng. Hist.)  I will spend spare periods (some of them) in going over Am. Hist. We have one period with Mr. Ronaldson, another very good man, in a general discussion of historical topics, to broaden our horizons, plus two of divinity with Mr. Last the chaplain. . . .And then 1 period of physical training, which proved quite strenuous. . . but by dint of sore muscles I hope to get in their [the English boys’] state of good health by the end of the year. . . “Swat”, or classroom PT, though, is where I am far excelled by the British.


“I am enjoying Corps, and have begun to learn the elementaries of marching, etc.  . . . .” This was another aspect of life at Felsted: the Combined Cadet Corps.  My predecessors had said that as U.S. citizens they could not serve in a “foreign army,” but I gave it a try.  I did not have to swear allegiance to the Queen!!  This experience served a useful purpose when I joined the Army Reserve in 1964 after law school: the sergeant in charge of us at basic training asked if anyone had prior military experience – thus I became a squad leader in basic training.  I also lucked out and avoided typing school because a friend from Providence was a clerk at base HQ, and got me an assignment processing applications for the National Security Agency.  I “hunt and peck” to this day, which is fine if you are doing your own writing! 


“St. John’s Hospital


[Sunday] October 13, 1957

‘Dear Mum and Dad,


“You will wonder why I am writing this letter from the hospital – it’s just that I have had my appendix out.

“ Friday [I took a bike ride to Braintree, seven miles away, and] after supper I developed a stomach ache and went to the San [Sanitarium – infirmary] where they gave me a milk of magnesia as well as aspirin.  I went to bed early that night.


“Early the next morning I went to the San and was admitted.  The sister (nurse) . . . kept me comfortable with a hot water bottle until the doctor came at 11 a.m. and diagnosed it as appendicitis.  I was then taken to Chelmsford Hospital and operated on at 3 p.m, courtesy of the National Health Service.  After waking up was reasonably comfortable and had a good sleep last night.


     “Late this morning I was moved over here to St. John’s Hospital because they needed more room at the Chelmsford hospital for Hong Kong flu epidemic . . . cases.


     “This afternoon Dr. Ward and Chris came over and brought some magazines.  Chris said that Mr. Payne [my housemaster] would be over tomorrow, and Dr. Ward said that I would be going back to the San in a few days. [I had a lot of visitors while I was in the hospital.]


     “Everything is going well . . . and I am certain of a quick recovery . . . .


     [10/19]  . . . I am now in the school San and expect to be here for several days more.  I arrived on Thursday the 17th. 

     “. . .Monday I was feeling pretty well and did a little walking around.  It was wonderful to get your cablegram.


My parents were informed, of course, and sent me a cable at St. John’s Hospital, Chelmsford. A cable was charged by the word, and so it read “EXCAVATION CONGRATULATIONS GESUNDHEIT DADMUM. 


    “Tuesday I had more exercise and did a little walking around and Wednesday as well. . . The exercise, of course, has helped to keep down the stiffness.


     Yesterday [Friday] I had some more exercise, going over to my study and to the dorm to . . . partially restore order.  I also walked into the village. . ,. which didn’t bother me too much, though it will be some time before I am up and around all the time. . . 


     “I am going to London around my birthday [November 9] to register with the U.S, Consulate [for the draft]. . . (As I will probably get the entire day off, I am going to try to get a matinee ticket to one of the London plays.)   Mr. Reekie mentioned something about an E.S.U. party around November 26 given for all of us by Lord Furness (of the shipping line) in London. (All the ESU students were invited to the English-Speaking Union for a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. 


     “Things continue to go well – I shall find out about my progress – I imagine my rugger and P.T. for the term is pretty well canned. . . .


Tuesday 10/22] . . . Things have been going well – I have been walking around more and more – probably will go back to school this weekend to begin classes on Monday, I think . . . .


[responding to their questions about Christmas presents] . . . For heaven’s sake don’t bother about presents – I am lucky enough to be over here at all.  Spend all your energies getting ready for your trip [to England in April]. . . . 


[11/1] Yesterday 17 of us went to Golders Green a north London suburb to see D’Oyly Carte produce “Iolanthe” – magnificent. It is a delightful inspiration for next month.( I had tried out and been accepted for the chorus in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe, a spoof on the peerage system.)


     “on Sunday I am going to London for most of the day to visit my other study mate, Alister Neil, who is in the hospital with ileitis. . . I also hope to see a bit of the city as well, and have purchased a Baedeker guide to the city for that purpose.


     “. . . Next Thursday I go to debate at the City of London school on the topic “ An Englishman’s home is his castle.”  I say it isn’t because of TV, radio, newspapers and ads etc. etc home means more than the legal “house.”


     “I am much recovered from my operation and am feeling better every day . . . Just the same, I am being careful not to overtax myself.”


[11/18] . . . All is well here – my trip to London was a great success, and I had a very good time at the theatre.. . .


     “Today I am going out to get some pictures of the Gordon Cooke race, 6 miles or so—the main cross-country event of the term, and will be making good use of the [fingerless] gloves with my camera. . . .


. . .  As you may know, Betty sent me a picture of Scott, which I like quite a lot…I can tell that Daddy is a proud grandfather in spite of how he sometimes tries to hide it…quite a lot to be proud of in the 3rd generation.. . . 


[12/8] LONDON was great fun.  Arrived at Dartmouth House, and they said would I prefer a single or to share a room with Hank Truslow..I chose the latter…another ESU acquaintance shopping for a motorcycle appeared, so we went to help him shop for it..The DINNER was good fun. . sumptuous.  . . I had some very good chats with Br-Amer Alumni, some of whom were present,


     “Afterwards, Hank, George Gurney (from Bishop’s Stortford College, 15 miles from here) and I went out, had a couple of beers, then walked all over the place, arriving at Dartmouth House rather weary.. . . next  I went to get some Parker 51 ink, had lunch at the ESU, and then sat thru a film, being too weary to do 

anything else. But it was a relaxing change from school. 


Chris Gray contacted me during the fall and asked if I would like to join a group of four other students for a trip to the Continent during Christmas Break, which was a month long.  As we could not rent a car, we bought an Austin Sheerline, big enough for all of us.  In addition to Chris Gray, who had gone to Woodberry Forest, from Choate Art Trotman and Bill Tingue were in the group.  One of the things Bill remembers is that Chris brought along 200 plus Christmas cards; there were cards all over the inside of the car, that never were addressed/mailed.


In mid-December we headed to the Austrian Alps via Zurich:


“Hotel Tirolerhof

Igls bei Innsbruck

December 31, 1957

Dear Mum and Dad,


‘ ‘ ‘ Now to keep you up to date. We left for Zurich in the 21st a.m. – Basle 7:00 or 7:30 (supper) the on to Zurich, arriving about 12.  Next A. M. very late start (meeting some friends of Bill Tingue’s – girls at school in Switzerland) - - one I had met on the QE. Had lunch at Buchs, about 4 or so - arrived Innsbruck (Igls) about 12. The next day we had the lights fixed on the car, plus one flat tire (we had that in the outskirts of Zurich and were helped out by a bunch of Swiss students.) The snow looked so poor that we decided to move to St. Anton if possible, but the manager here would not let us out of our reservation . . . However, all was not that bad – the hotel has very good food and service, and there was some snow.  We got up to Patscherhof on the afternoon of the 24th for a bit of warm-up skiing.  The next day Bill Tingue and I went off to St. Christof . . . for skiing – flat tire on the way, but had good fun and met an old camp friend of Bill’s who offered us a free bed and breakfast any time we wanted it.  Next day rested and had ½ a day up on the Patscherhofl. On the 27th Bill and I took a train to St Anton for more skiing and spent the night at a pension courtesy of Bill’s friend.  It cost us next to nothing – only the price of dinner – 80 cents – it seems reservations had been made and paid for and whoever was going to stay had decided not to.  On the 28th we met Art, John and Tom who had driven over from Igls and skied with them all day, going back to Igls that p. m. On Sunday I relaxed – quite necessary I found.  Yesterday Tom, Bill, John and I went off to the Brenner Pass (25 mi.) for skiing – good fun – today we had the car exhaust fixed and discovered how to work the automatic jack.  It is just as well that we have been near Innsbruck – skiing is nowhere terrific in Austria – so I am told, but St. St. Christof, St. Anton and Brenner were certainly good fun, and provided much variety.  We have seen something of the Mirmagens[?] – good fun – all in all it has been very relaxing.  Bill and I, being the best skiers, were somewhat disappointed at snow but there is none in sight, and so the Felsted group at Lech would probably have been not much better – we have a great advantage in mobility.


Perhaps most fun of all has been to get together and relax with five other Americans – frankly I found much of Felsted rather juvenile . . . it is so nice to be back with people of relatively the same maturity. . . I am tremendously pleased at this aspect of the trip – it has certainly been UNLAXing [sic] for me. Our first few days have . . . let me see that we 6 are all different and work at different speeds. . . Occasionally – when it has been very important – i.e. getting gas coupons in Calais before the banks closed (we just made it) and getting the exhaust fixed today before things closed down – I have made it clear that there was little time to spare. . . So we have kept going quite well  and have had wonderful fun. . .


. . . On to Salzburg tomorrow!”




We then headed to Vienna. In Vienna we went to the State Opera to see Tristan und Isolde. We were all so tired that we all fell asleep after 15 minutes!! Also in Vienna, one of our tires needed to be replaced. As it was an unusual size and I was the only one who could speak any German, I was sent out in Vienna to find a spare, and thus missed St. Stephen’s Cathedral.  I was able to partake of that Viennese treat, Sachertorte.


We then headed to Venice (there was water in the streets in front of St. Mark’s back then too), Florence and Rome for the usual sights. We also had dinner at Alfredo’s (of fettuccine alfredo).  After being blessed by Pope Pius XII (with many others), we thought we had started the year right.  But in Genoa on the Italian Riviera on our way back to England, the trip came to a sudden stop when we rear-ended a truck.  Much excitement and gesticulating!  (We had – unwisely in retrospect – cancelled the property damage insurance on the car)


Art and Tom Newton (the fifth member of the group) had a few more days of Christmas break than the rest of us, so they drove the car after repair – Bill, Chris Gray and I caught an overnight train to Paris. 


“Hotel Duminy

3 & 5 Rue du Mont-Thabor

(Place Vendome)

Paris 1er Arr.

January 15, 1958

Dear Mum and Dad, 


Thought I ought to keep you posted on the latest happenings here.  Arrived 9 a.m. on time in Paris – came over here . . . and proceeded to figure out what to do. . . Called Hubert Guilpin [a friend of my Uncle Dick]. . .  – invited us all to dinner. . . 

Then off to Arc de Triomphe – lunch – Sacre Coeur – Notre Dame (Saint Chappelle) all of which I had seen before but Bill had not – back to the hotel. 


Jan 16 A.M.  must add this in a hurry as we are off to London today – Bill had a sore throat and so had to decline Guilpin invitation . .  – Chris and I had a wonderful time – I had snails - 5 different kinds of wine. 


Will write again from London or Felsted . . . . 


[1/22/58] . . . Our trip back from Paris on the 16th was quite good fun – we met Peter Sipple on his way back from Spain . . . On the 17th . . . took the 4:36 train back [to Felsted]. . . In the afternoon I had seen Miss Moore – she was glad to say that Mr. Reekie had said he would be glad to have another American next year without having to be asked. . . Also she gave me an invitation to the “Tiger Party” - given by the British-American Alumni on April 2. . . Miss M. also said that she hoped to have a tea for the exchange students and whatever parents could come, with Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (but “keep this under your hat” she said. . . The [end of term] weekend at Felsted is always very good fun – so you might consider coming to Felsted then – you can stay at the Swan in the village . . . . 


[2/15] . . . Of course I admired the Bishop Dun sermon [Angus Dun, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, was a friend of my grandfather from divinity school days, and spoke at the dedication of the window in his memory at the church in Winchester, MA] – it was very beautifully expressed.  I only wish I had been born a few years earlier so that I could have known both Granddad and Grandmother Higgins.  It was certainly a fine tribute, and very much deserved..”


3/16 . . . Mr. Macrae has been disappointed in his hopes of having me get a state scholarship. . . its honorary value for the school (and for me) would have been quite great. . . 


     “The past few days have been a madhouse for me—I have “The American Way of Life” to talk on tomorrow night, And exams Wednesday, Friday, and Monday 


     “. . . Yesterday . . . I went to the ESU [in London], waited for Chris [Gray] , and got you tickets for the 2nd to “Dear Delinquent--4th row center, less than $3 each. . . –the ballet was wonderful, and I much enjoyed it-- . . . afterwards. . . went for supper with Tom Newton and Jim Evans --. . . –I decided to relax and so went to a movie with Tom and Jim , and caught an 11:30 bus back. Chris [Ward] highly approves – he thinks I should enjoy my stay [arrived back] at 1:45. . . 


For my Easter vacation from Felsted, my mother and father came over to England for a visit.  They came on the QE.  We spent some time in London and some time touring in the west of England, particularly Devon and Cornwall. They arrived on March 25 at Southampton and took a 9:30 a.m. boat train to London. They first stayed at Dartmouth House, the headquarters of the English-Speaking Union. 


At Dartmouth House, Dad noted, they saw Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret Rose “come down the main staircase, a few feet away. Quite a thrill.”  On Thursday the 27th they drove to Felsted to stay at the Swan (a pub with a few rooms “without incident.” [Note that the Brits drive on the left side of the road, so Dad had adapted well.]  I met them and took Dad for a tour of the school.


On the 29th they saw the field hockey game between the Old Felstedians [alumni] and the school team: “O.F. 2, F. 1” and a school play “Noah. ” “Play very well done indeed,” was Dad’s assessment. On Sunday the 30th they took Alister Neil, Rob Friend, Chris Ward and me to lunch at the “Spread Eagle” in Witham.  They also went to visit my housemaster, A.U. Payne – “most pleasant.”


On Monday the 31st they took Dr. and Mrs. Ward to dinner at the George Hotel in Colchester. “Made good time – car is behaving well indeed.” [It was probably at this dinner that Dad asked Dr. Ward for his advice about French wines, which were “Nuits St. George” for Red and “Pouilly Fuisse” for white.  [Pouilly Fuisse is still one of my favorites.]


On Tuesday they went to Cambridge “saw King’s College Chapel- one of the best,” then parts of Queens College. It was ”too cold for punting.” Leaving Felsted the next day “good byes all around,” coffee with Mrs. Ward in Chelmsford, and on to London to check in at Brown’s Hotel. Term had ended by then.  Chris Gray joined us for dinner the next day.


On Friday April 4th (Good Friday) we had lunch with Bill Tingue and his parents who were also visiting. That afternoon we went to the Royal Albert Hall, for the Messiah “wonderful” (2:30 p.m. to 6:40 p.m., “oratorio in full.”) [We usually think of The Messiah as a Christmas oratorio, but it is equally appropriate for Good Friday or Easter.]


On Sunday (Easter) we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral for services.  In the afternoon, Dad and I went to “Madame Tussaud’s Wax Works – jammed – but interesting.” The next day we visited the Tower of London “boat back to Westminster Bridge, walked through Westminster Abbey.” Tuesday we headed out on the A-30 “slow and congested” at first, then saw Salisbury Cathedral, Old Sarum (a Roman Ruin) and Stonehenge, staying at Chagford. We saw the Fingle Bridge, among other sights.


By the following Sunday, the 13th we had visited Glastonbury, Wells, which has a beautiful cathedral, and then Bath (where there are still remnants of the Roman baths.). We spent time also in Oxford. By the 16th we were in Stratford-upon-Avon, saw Harvard House (a house built in 1596 by Thomas Rogers, maternal grandfather of John Harvard), Ann Hathaway’s “cottage,” and a performance of “Romeo and Juliet.”

We had lunch the next day at a ‘Wimpy” after the church in Warwick and Warwick Castle.  We then headed to Cambridge.  At Cambridge I took in a class with Bob Scrivner, the Lionel De Jersey Harvard Scholar. They had lunch at Emmanuel College with Master and Mrs. Welbourne. Dad: “delicious!” Then we all had dinner at Emmanuel high table.

Back in London by Sunday the 20th, we took a train to Canterbury and back.  On the 23rd, Dad and I took in the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and then Westminster Abbey.  On the 24th we all took the boat train to Southampton and I had lunch on the QE before waving my parents off on an afternoon departure to New York.

5/3 Dear Mum and Dad,

     It was wonderful to have a chance to see you off—hope the voyage from Cherbourg was pleasant.

     My stay with the Friends [parents of a schoolmate Rob Friend] was very good fun – on Friday night we saw some films of the Indianapolis “500” and the Le Mans races. . .

     “Saturday was the Enfield point-to-point steeplechase - enjoyable, and my introduction to English horseracing.

     “On Sunday we went to church (Rob and I) and in the afternoon Mrs. F. took us to see St. Alban’s. . .

     “Monday Rob and I went into London and to Harrod’s [a famous department store] where the Sales Manager (who lives across the street from the Friends) took us around and then to lunch—most interesting.  Afterwards Rob and I went to Parliament (saw “Rab” Butler and Aneurin Bevan) and afterwards I took Rob to tea at the ESU. . . .

     “On my way to Chelmsford late Tuesday I ran into another Felstedian –Jeremy Henshaw and so when I arrived at Chelmsford (met by Chris . . . ) he was invited to the Wards for a drink—afterwards we (and another friend of Chris) went to “Carve Her Name With Pride”, a film about a British woman undercover agent during the last war.

     Wednesday Chris and I were taken by one of his friends to Newmarket for the 2,000 guineas race ($6,000) – also very enjoyable.

     “Thursday the Wards took Chris and me to Cambridge where we punted on the Cam, and went to see part of a cricket match at Fenner’s, the University Cricket Ground.

 In the English “public school” (i.e. private school) there is no formal graduation, just “Speech Day” – you just finish a term and leave. Completing the “A” levels is what qualifies you for university. I think Felsted was glad to have an ESU student who took his studies seriously, maybe that’s why they let me travel off campus.  


A normal class load was three courses, but Harvard would grant sophomore standing with only two “A” levels, so I opted for English and History, and passed them both.  Another ESU student, Phil Olsson, took three upper sixth classes and didn’t pass his “A” levels, so I was glad to have made the choice I did. As the parent and past parent of college students, I can see my Dad’s point of view in only having to pay for three college years instead of four, though an Ivy League education was about $3000 per year back then. 

            “School House.



“ May 17, 1958

“Dear Dad, 

“ Thank you for your letters etc. – all goes well.  As you probably have guessed, this week has been a busy one, what with Andrew Society,  exams, history paper, etc., and I am looking forward to relaxing for a few days and catching up on a few odd things.


“The Andrew Society was a success, I felt, and I was glad I did not try to paint the American public educational system in rosy colors; indeed, perhaps I was too critical.  But nonetheless, my talk provoked much argument and discussion, and did not fail to arouse interest….


“To top the week all off, on Thursday I went with Mick [Davies],  Richard, and two other boys to Brightlingsea, where we took a large skiff around for most of the day, as “Lora”: was not ready.  But I have been invited back, and though I haven’t committed myself as yet, think it would be very good fun  to go (Bury Expedition Day, June 26). . . . When I know that we will be definitely going out in the boat on June 26, I will get some goodies made up to take to Mrs. Davies, as Mum suggested.


“Just a few notes on dates for the rest of the term:


May 25 Whitsunday. All the OFs [Old Felstedians] come back and we are permitted to go out with them - - perhaps Colonel Gwynne-Lewis will come back.  As you know, Miss Moore [the English-Speaking Union person in charge of the English side of the exchange program] has asked me to keep “a grandfatherly eye” out for his daughter, Janet on the QE sailing [August] 21st.


June 13. Speech Day.  Even if I don’t get any prizes, I hope to be introduced to Mr. [John Hay] Whitney [the U.S. Ambassador and featured speaker] . . . [In fact, I was so introduced. He was the grandson of John Hay, after whom the library at Brown is named.]


“This brings me to another point: what about our contacts with the American Embassy in London about the Buckingham Palace Garden Party July 17? Time is short.  [Chris Gray had alerted me to this opportunity and so Dad and Uncle Dick went to work and got support from Senators Greene and Pastiore of Rhode Island and Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts, as well as from a White House aide. We acted too late, and besides, the Queen had a case of sinusitis and wasn’t able to be there herself!!]


     “6/20 “My Sunday {6/15] with the [family of Ian] Locks was very good fun – mostly relaxing, but Mrs. Locks took Ian and me out for a drive and to take a look at Waltham Abbey. . .”

June 26. Bury Expedition Day.  Probably with Davies [In fact, it was with the Davies family: “we had a wonderful breeze for sailing and it was very good fun—I wrote Mrs. Davies to thank her.”][In fact, in 2002 Karon and I had a visit with Mike Davies and he took us over to School, which was in summer recess.]


    “6/29 “Yesterday we had a VOL (no exercise) and so I went up to Chelmsford to see a comedy film “Up the Creek” (about the Navy) with David Tomlinson (whom you will remember from Dear Delinquent ) very good fun and relaxing., , ,


     “Glad to hear you are enjoying little Paul so much – it must be fun to take care of him but I hope it isn’t too strenuous.

July 7-17 A-levels.  I think I will be through A-levels by the 15th or so, having only English and History. . .[The exams were 23 ½ hours in all over a nine day period on just these two subjects.]


Also Viscount Furness has invited me to go to the House of Lords. . . 


“Finally I may go to Henley [the Royal Regatta] . . . July 2-5. . . 


“Having not heard to the contrary, I assume that the liqueurs arrived safely . .


“Yet another invitation to talk: I have been  asked to give a paper to the Historical Society – 

 some battle in American history or the like. If I find things piling up, and want something easy, I would talk on Manila Bay. . . Could you please send along my long paper on Manila Bay. . . .


“The news from France is indeed interesting; I am hoping  that de Gaulle will be able to take over and revise the constitution or even create a new one.  For 12 years France has muddled along under the 4th Republic, and nothing has been accomplished—now there must be a change. And de Gaulle is the only man in France who can make that change possible.. . . I hope that the U. S. won’t try to exert influence to stop de Gaulle; if we support the 4th Republic we will have the same trouble with France that we have had for so long. . . .”


6/6 “I have given the Bridge Society 8 packs of cards which I picked up for about $1 all told second-hand from the ESU—they sell packs used for one week at 9 d. to members.  When I learned that the Bridge Society wanted cards, I offered to get them, and when they arrived told Mr. Reeves (the faculty advisor) and J. P, Edward (the Secretary) said that I would give them to the society rather than be reimbursed.  They have bee very pleased..


On June 10, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden had its Centenary, a Gala Performance in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.  I had not thought that anyone else from school could get permission to go, but David Kemp, the School Prefect in charge of our house, was immediately enthusiastic. And so instead of getting a stall at 5 guineas, I got two amphitheatre seats at 1 ½ guineas each.  


When I went up to London, Viscount Furness gave me a tour of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and took me to lunch.  Then I went to the ESU to change for the gala but traffic was terrible, there was a London bus strike and I was 25 minutes late meeting David.  After dinner we went to the Royal Opera House.


“The evening was wonderful; - to get to our seats we had to hop over the backs [of the seats] as people were crowding the other rows.  Kemp thought this was a little “non-U” but agreed that it was sensible. As we were not in 5th row orchestra it didn’t matter.


[Two of the highlights were Maria Callas, (a famous if tempestuous diva) singing the “mad scene” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and the Royal Ballet with Dame Margot Fonteyn.]


“At the first interval I went over to the side and caught a glimpse of the Queen and the D. of E. very impressive – Kemp came with me the second time, superb.  Afterwards I wanted to see Kemp to his taxi but he insisted I wait and so I saw the Queen and the Duke go past (six feet away) in their car.”


On Sunday June 22, a classmate, Ian Locks, and I planned a trip to Ely to see the cathedral. “The original plan was for Ian to go by motorbike and I by train, but on Saturday had a flat tire.


“At that point I didn’t want to abandon the plan, and so said that I would be glad to take care of his fare up—it would be worth going anyway.  – I thought better of this later—and so we decided to hitchhike most of the way.


“We took a bus to Dunmow (that was as far as it was going), and by so doing reached the main Stortford-Colchester East-West Road, where we would have a chance of getting a lift. . . .Two rides took us to Bishop’s Stortford, a third to Newmarket, and a fourth to Ely. Between Newmarket and Ely we saw some cart horses- our driver stopped to see them, and so we had a pleasant few minutes looking at horses - - you will be interested to note that we arrived at Ely only 34 minutes after the train I had hoped to catch, and that after stopping for these horses, and having an enjoyable time meeting people on the way.


“Service was on in the cathedral; therefore we walked around the outside looking at it - - lovely.  At 12:30 we went in and looked around - - it is more Norman than the [cathedrals] we saw in the West of England. . . . 


“It had been raining since 12, and when we came out it was still doing so - -.  We had  pack lunches, but I had mentioned to Ian Saturday afternoon that I would like to give him a treat after the Sunday before [when I had visited his family]., and asked him if he wouldn’t like to have a hot lunch.  He did not refuse, and we had a very good lunch - - a glass of ordinary red wine apiece- - roast beef etc. plus coffee, all for 24/-, including tips ($1.70 apiece - - not bad) And more than anything else, we were refreshed to continue our journey, even though it was raining.


“Leaving Ely at 2:15 we walked out of the town and hitched to Cambridge- -arrived at about 3 or shortly before.  We had some time and so I took Ian around some of the colleges.  At 4:15 we took a bus out onto the Bishop’s Stortford Road - - unfortunately it was not the main one, and so after another bus we walked before getting another ride to Stortford.  Going for Stortford, we were picked up by a very distinguished looking gentleman, who knew Ian.  I was not told whom he was until later, but was introduced to him.


“He was going to Finchingfield, branching off at Dunmow, but when we got to Dunmow, he did not stop.  I didn’t know who he was, and didn’t want to make an awkward situation by piping up when I shouldn’t; so I let Ian do the arguing to try to persuade him to let us off.  He wouldn’t stop in Dunmow, nor at the crossroads where the Felsted road branches off from the Braintree Road- - took us all the way to Felsted.


“Afterwards I discovered that he was Sir John Ruggles-Brice, Bart., O.B.E., J.P., a governor of the school and Lord Lieutenant (“lef-tenant”) of Essex.  He had not been at home since Wednesday, and both Ian and I felt that he should not have taken us to Felsted- -several miles out of his way- -such a busy man.”


In the summer term (ended at the end of July) other excursions included Wimbledon and the Henley Royal Regatta (rowing) I went to Henley on July 3, arrived about 11 a.m., “in time to see one race before Harvard beat Kent by 2/3 of a length, time 6:57 for 1 and 5/16 miles”  Phil Olsson was rowing for Oundle, and “Oundle beat Radley by ¾ of a length in 7:10 . . . When I went along to his tent, Phil and I chatted for a while. . ., he gave me an extra Steward’s Enclosure ticket. . . nearer the finish line and the best anyone can do without being a member of the Leander Club or the Phyllis Court Club!!  Superb!!. . . I saw Chris Gray and Jim Evans (both from Malvern), coming through the gate. We had a reunion, and a few minutes later Phil joined us. . . It was good fun to see all of them, and although we had a thunder-and-hail storm, we had an enjoyable time.  In the afternoon, the University of Washington beat Emmanuel in the fours. We had less luck in the U. of W eight, which was defeated by the Trud Club, Leningrad (much to the amusement of my Felsted friends!)


I had been invited to an Embassy Fourth of July party, “I finally reached AUP (my housemaster) about 12 – he said the Headmaster thought I ought to go.. .So I took the 1:10 bus to Chelmsford, then to London, arriving in the West End shortly after 3.


The reception was very enjoyable--  I arrived about 5—crowds of people—4000 plus…It was a good afternoon—no rain, and very pleasant with the Air Force band playing down at the bottom of the slope running back from the house. . . Went through the receiving line when I arrived – JHW [the ambassador] remembered me, Mrs. W. said she hoped it went well (on Speech Day) – both very charming.  The house (given by Barbara Hutton) was magnificent—paintings by Van Gogh, John Singer Sargent, etc. . . A superb afternoon for me.”


From the Daily Express, July 5:“The mammoth party given by American Ambassador Mr. “Jock” Whitney and his wife yesterday afternoon to celebrate American Independence Day was certainly a Fourth of July gamble.  Lined up anxiously near the ambassador and his wife as they welcomed the 4,000 guests were more than 50 chosen escorts.


“Every time a guest came through the line and shook hands with the ambassador and his wife, the escort sprang forward, introduced himself, and smartly walked off with the guest.  But what a gamble for those escorts. How anxious they looked as each guest came through the door and how their eyes brightened up if it happened to be a pretty girl.


“Mrs. Whitney, who stood for two hours shaking hands , was joined  by her four-year-old grandson Christopher, who also insisted on shaking hands with the guests.  “It’s so good for them to learn young,” she said.


“In that case her husband must have started lessons when he was very, very young, for Mr. Whitney told me later at the American Society banquet at the Dorchester: ‘I must have shaken thousands of hands at that party.’


“And he then proceeded to shake hands with the 600 guests at the banquet.


“Then, between courses of chicken and strawberries, he led community singing – ‘Dixie,’ Daisy Bell’ and Harvard’s‘ [sic] Whiffenpoof song.’”  


[7/13] David Kemp, the leading intellectual, and close to the Common Room [faculty] says that the impression given by my trying for A-levels is very good and perhaps restores  some faith in the American educational system, even if it’s Choate. My talks to the Andrew and Modern Affairs Societies have been successful, I hope, and I am glad to have the chance to speak to the Historical Society. . . .”


. . . To go back to the school’s attitude: Kemp says that Mr. Payne understands my position, being expected to be an athlete, in spite of all efforts, physical and spiritual. . . .


[7/16, in  letter to the Massmanns, my German AFS family] : “My sister is now very well –she has a daughter, Sara.  It is a great pleasure to be twice an uncle, and my parents enjoy no end their roles as grandparents. . . .”


[/7/23, reporting on an ESU Younger Members Conference at Oxford that I had attended: “Also at the weekend were two girls who worked for the U.S. Embassy, one [in] Mr. Whitney’s office; the other in Mr. Knox’s department. . . my sponsorship [for the Royal Garden Party] was so good that if I wrote in now I would be “in like Flynn” for next year! They jokingly referred to the separate file which had been set up for my correspondence (i.e. cables, letters, etc.) . . . .


[7/26 ] Chris [Ward] and Nick Dennison came back from [the Brussels World Fair] . . . yesterday liked the British pavilion best, but saw the American and found it very good – second to the British in Chris’ estimation – 3rd to British and Dutch in Nick’s, but overwhelmingly no doubt about it being better than the propagandized Russian. . . . 


[7/31] “. . . My last few days at school were eventful – said good-bye to almost everyone I wanted to.  Stopped at the Wards en route to London and had some coffee – glad to see them before I left.. . . .


     . . . [on the 29th] In the evening Chris Gray, Mase Morfit and I saw As You Like It  at Regent’s Park in the open air – very good. . . . 


    . . . [on the 30th ] saw Laurence Olivier in the Flowering Cherry  . . . very good but the play wasn’t simple to understand. . . . 


At the end of July Chris Gray Art and I left London for Dover, headed to the Brussels World Fair. 


     [8/2] Yesterday “evening we had dinner, then went to the American Theatre in Brussels for a jazz concert (Sarah Vaughn , Sidney Bechet.)  Very good.  


     “on the train [to Brussels] we met a very nice English guy – 24 – Dave Farrington  and had an interesting conversation with him.  We said if he wanted to, look us up and much to our surprise he did.  He is a great guy, perhaps the least English of any Englishman I know - went with him to the jazz last night. . . .”


     [At the World’s Fair] we saw various country pavilions, including part of the French “very confused, and typically Gallic.” We also went to the top of the Atomium.  When I went back to our hotel in town after a couple of days at the fair, Bill Tingue and two English friends appeared, and we went out to the fair together. That evening we ate at the Japanese restaurant (with chopsticks), very good fun and not too expensive.” I also did some shopping I bought “a lace cap for Sara (please don’t tell Mydie.) Saw something of the town as well. “Hope I will be able to see Jorg – I bought a book of Flemish painters.” I also saw, in the  U. S. pavilion Walt Disney Circarama 36O degrees)


Phil Olsson picked us up in Rotterdam with a rented Opel and we drove to Hamburg-Harburg.  The Massmanns were delighted to see a crowd of young Americans. Frau Massmann later wrote “We can imagine John and his friends.  It was the nicest evening we ever had.  When John and his friends came from Brussels.  We had never seen one of them and have heard of, but we all were like a family.  Seven persons, only one bottle of wine, but so much joke.”  Phil, Chris, Art and the others went on to Scandinavia and I stayed with the Massmanns.


During my stay Jorg came and we went to the AFS Ball in Blankenese – back at 2:45 a.m.


“Jorg has not changed much – Aunt Hannelore told me today that he had been kicked out of 3 living places because he came in so late. First was in Harburg when he left 81 Alter Postweg (Oma’s letter about Christmastime 1956 elaborated on that). Then he was told to leave Europa-College, then a pension in Blankenese.  He is now in Wedel, on the other side of the city.


“We had a good talk about our 1956 trip in retrospect and there is no doubt (as Jorg implied) that such a trip now would be much more successful.  The age difference has something to do with it, but 1956, the Thompsons [a summer job I had in 1957] and ESU at Felsted have perhaps helped a great deal.  I think Jorg sensed the change . . . and we had, from that point-of-view, a very enjoyable evening.


“Today I was up at 9:30 and after lunch shortly before 12 Mr. and Mrs. Massmann, Uwe and I went off to Lubeck – quite interesting old Hanseatic town.  We had coffee at a very famous establishment – Niederegger’s, where the cakes were superb.  They are famous for marzipan. [Mom gave me a box of Niederegger marzipan candies for Christmas 2020.]


“ We had a good ride going and coming but I was somewhat short of sleep and cat-napped both ways.. . . P.. S. The Massmanns were amused and not angry at my sleeping.”


(Next day) “Uwe and I had a successful trip to Hamburg.  First, in the Harburg P. O. we bought the four Heuss stamps [for my Dad’s stamp collection]…We bought a Steiff teddy bear for Scott [Ries] and then went to lunch at a vegetarian restaurant.  Afterwards, we went watch-hunting – I bought a Dubois Swiss watch 15 jewels at 95 DM….the place to which we went was the best in Hamburg.  This can be a birthday and Christmas present combined. . . 


“After that we went on to the stamps but prices were so high (25% was nowhere near the extra charged) that I decided to buy a catalog and not get anything. . . Your instructions were quite explicit. . . .”


“Also bought my ticket . . . and in addition a berth on the boat (in 1st class as second was sold out). . . I remember August 1 in Brussels too well to wish to sit up all night. When Uwe told Mrs. M. that I had gotten a first class berth she gasped, but understood when I explained how small the actual cost was. . . .”

[next day] Yesterday Uwe started to give me some stamps, but I saw that they were not duplicates and so prevented him.  The only one I would let him give me was the 10 pf. green animal one, of which he had 4.  He likes 1 cancelled and 1 uncancelled for his collection and therefore I would only let him give me that which he had 3 or more of.”


On August 12 I left Hamburg as planned on the 3:30 train and arrived at 9:15 in London the next morning.  After calling at ESU [for mail] I took the 4 p.m. to Edinburgh, arriving there 10:40 p.m.  On the 14th I left Edinburgh for Glasgow (arriving 10:30) and went over to American Express.  No word from Bill or any sign of him – I had lunch and finally after 3 decided to go back to Edinburgh for the night thinking he was a day late (he had said to meet him in the morning).  Took a train about 4:45 and arrived in Edinburgh (at my hotel about 6).


A few minutes after I arrived there was a knock on the door and Bill walked in.  He and his two Cheltenham friends (Dave Chads and Brian Falmer) had arrived at American Express at 4, not thinking that I would have been there.  If he had thought I would actually be at American Express, he would have phoned. They tried to get me before I left (they thought I might take the 4:30 from the Central Station (near Am. Exp.) actually I was leaving from Queen Street, where I had left my bag.


Anyway, they drove pell-mell to Edinburgh and arrived just after I did. They said they would be glad to take me south (though it was somewhat crowded) and they would leave Edinburgh at 11:30 the next A.M. This sounded great to me and so I took them up on the offer. After dinner they went to the city camping site (I couldn’t very well leave my hotel).


The next a.m., the 15th, I went out and saw Edinburgh Castle and looked around the town – did only a little shopping (as I had everyone in the family well supplied with mufflers) and there was not too much time.  We drove south  (having met at the hotel on time) to the Lake District. 


Arriving at Ullswater between 4:30 and 5 we went to look up some friends of Brian’s aunt and uncle (Brian had stayed there for a couple of summers or parts of them).  Thanks to his friends we were able to get 3 beds in a lakeside chalet (Bill slept on the floor) and the use of the gas stove – very pleasant.  


On the 16th we drove through some of the Lake District and headed south so as to get a head start on our long drive to London.  We found a farmer’s field near Illeley (Yorkshire, near Leeds) and after a movie “Rooney” very funny – camped for the night. The morning of the 17th was a beautiful one with the sun shining on our campsite.  After a leisurely breakfast and packing we left (about 10) for the south – pretty scenery (more variety than Essex) and very enjoyable for a drive.  Shortly after after 4 we arrived at an Old Cheltonian’s near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire (W.S.W. of Cambridge) where Bill had stayed a couple of times.  This friend’s father ran a brewery – also one of the most famous bird farms in the country.


About 5:45 we left for Dave Chads’ house in Bracknell, Berkshire (near Windsor) where we had been invited to spend the night..  Charming family – very well off –  father is the director of a starch factory (glues, etc.) and was the one who made it possible for Bill and co. to use a car free. Today saw Windsor and Hampton Court with the other three (raining, ugh!) and Dave brought us all into London where we arrived (here at Strides) at 3:30 after stopping for mail at ESU.


All in all, the trip has been wonderfully successful – great guys all of them, and my being with them was superb fun.  Of course I did my share of the driving and and my share of the food expenses, but it has been a very inexpensive trip. . . .


At 5 (this afternoon) (it is now 5:45 – Dick Hunter [a teacher from Choate] arrived – just off the plane and invited Bill and me to drinks at the Berkeley about 7.  So we plan to go there before a movie this evening.  Everything happens so fast that it’s difficult to  record.. . . The QE docks 4 p.m. the 26th (says Bill) so perhaps it would be best to stay in N.J. or N.Y.. . . 


. . . as you may know, Bill is an excellent golfer (Choate team, and Cheltenham champion) (Ask Scotty.) Is there any possibility for him to join a club for the year around Providence (or for 4 years)?  I didn’t know what club Brown used, but I did know that the Agawam was the best club (with the best course).  What possibility do you think there would be of Bill’s being made a non-resident (or temporary) member. . . And I’m sure the Williamsons (Clem) could be of help in getting him elected . . . 


On the boat train

Aug 21, 12:05


On the 19th . . . – spent most of the a.m. at Strides, then to  ESU for mail, the bank for money – lunch near Harrod’s and some shopping – a haircut later on in the afternoon after Bill and I had visited a friend of his.  In the evening letter-writing at Strides – nothing exciting.


Oh yes.  On the 18th Bill and I went to the Berkeley at about 7 for drinks with Dick Hunter – then on to “Vertigo,” a new Alfred Hitchcock film (Jmmy Stewart, Kim Novak) not recommended for people of nervous disposition.  But an excellent film. . . 


In the afternoon I went to the Royal Mews and said good-bye to Miss Moore.  For the evening we had dates – my first since the QE.  Chris had met . . . a girl named Carey McFadden , whose father . . . is at the N. C. B. [National City Bank] here  Choate ’22, Harvard ’26, he knew Mr. Maher. There were 9 of us altogether  - saw Expresso Bongo – a light musical.  It was a really enjoyable evening – Mr. and Mrs. McFadden (whom we met before the theatre) were charming people.  


This A.M.  packed, etc. caught the 10:45 from Waterloo and so arrived here [ on the QE] . . . Chris, Tom Newton, Art Trotman and Bill Tingue are also on board. Saw “Stammers,” the 1st class steward who gave us a pass last crossing – hope he’ll do so again. . . 


It’s wonderful to be back on the QE – it’ll be great to get home.”