We Three Come Home


JOHNNY wanted to be a garbage man in Berlin because they had such lovely garbage wagons. You could climb up on them with a ladder and open the boxes and throw in the garbage and then shut them down. They looked like gun wagons. Very tall and all beige. The schupo would make you pick up papers if you threw them in the street. That is why Berlin is so clean. You have to be clean there.

Our school was down the Margaretenstrasses, then up the Ufer to the Schell House, which looks like a fan, and over the Brücke and down the other side of Ufer and then the Genthinerstrasse. That is where Patience went with the girls. Then Johnny and I went down the Genthinerstrasse and down another street and over the street to Dorflingerstrasse, and that’s where we, Richard and Johnny, went, to the boys’ school. They would n’t let girls in our school.

Our Herr Rector was a nice man with white hair and blue eyes, and he was very nice to us. Herr Klauke was my (Richard’s) teacher. He also had white hair and brown eyes. Johnny was in the eighth class and I in the seventh. The eighth class is the lowest. Then Herr Klauke used to come on his bicycle and teach us to read German in our house. He was like a soldier and would say, ‘ Achtung, das ist nicht recht! ’ and then we would do it right. He was a very nice man.

We did never dare to be late. If we were late Herr Klauke would slap us with a stick. So we were never late.

Before Hitler came to Berlin we used to stand up when Herr Klauke came in or the Herr Rector. But when Hitler came, then we stood up and said, ‘Heil Hitler.’ And we put our right hands up. And Herr Klauke and the Herr Rector would also put their hands up and say ‘Heil Hitler.’ When we did some lessons, then the bell rang, and we marched down to the court and ate wurst that we brought with us. Then we marched up to the classes again and did some more lessons, and then the bell rang at one o’clock and we marched out into the court, and said ‘Heil Hitler,’ standing in line. Then we went home.

One day Johnny came home and asked Papa if we were Jews. Papa said, ‘No; why? ’ And Johnny said that the boys at the school had asked him if we were Jews and he said he did n’t know.

It was very sad for the Jews when Hitler came. We don’t know what Jews look like, but they said they were treating them bad in the schools. If we had Jews in our school, they did n’t treat them bad. The teachers only wanted us to learn things. And they were very angry when you did n’t write neatly and we got four lots of times because we were n’t neat writers, especially Richard.

Fraulein Witte was my (Patience’s) teacher. She was blond and wore a black dress and was very nice, except she said I laughed too much and talked in the class. But she made me write neatly, and I can write better in German than in English.

Our school had milk and chocolat for ten pfennigs. We could get that from the portier when we ate our wurst. We also had to march. Johnny was very good in school because he paid attention to orders. I was the worst because I talked. Richard was very worried if he did n’t get his homework right, because they were very strict with boys. Herr Klauke said if you did n’t do your work right in school, what would you be when you were grown up, so Richard was worried.

One day Richard was playing with a boy and this boy told him to break the glass in the fire alarm and Richard said he would n’t and then the boy said, ‘Yah! you’re afraid.’ So Richard then broke the glass. Then the boy said, ‘You’re afraid to push the button,’ so Richard pushed the button. Then Richard ran away and the Feuerwagon came and then a schupo came to our house.

Richard was there and Johnny was in the Tiergarten, so Mamma thought Johnny was killed, because the schupo said, ‘You have a son, have n’t you?’ But then he told Mamma and Papa what Richard had done and Richard said, but he was white like snow, ‘Yes, I did it.’ So the schupo said we would have to pay by the kilometre, and Papa said he hoped the Feuerwagon had n’t come from Wannsee which is far away.

Then a paper came from the ‘ Kriminal Inspektion,’ which is the jail, and it said Richard would have to go to the jail to tell about it. But Mamma went alone and left us with Ilse and Krinke and Gerhardt and Booby in the Tiergarten. But we were scared and waited there until she came back. And we talked about it. Then Mamma came back and she told all of the children that she made the schupo let Richard off because he had n’t told a lie about it. But she said the schupo said if he did it again he would have to go to jail for one year. So Richard will never do that again. And in the jail there was a boy six years old who told the schupo he had seen Richard do it. Mamma said he was the witness.

Aunt Sigrid is our very, very best friend and so is Mummy, her mamma. Aunt Sigrid is a little lady with golden hair and blue eyes and beautiful teeth. She is always smiling. She works on a newspaper in the Columbushaus on the Potsdamerplatz. Mummy had two dogs. One was very old, and so was the other. They were jealous of us. Mummy used to invite us to lunch after school and she lived in a garden and had beautiful pictures and books in her studio and beautiful chairs and tables and she made nice cakes and always gave us a present.

Aunt Sigrid loves Mamma and Mamma loves her. She is very kindhearted and cries if anybody is bad to anybody else. She helps lots of people and speaks four languages. She is also very chic and always has parties and Mamma used to go to them all the time.

Polly was a very tall lady with red hair. She could sing like a man. She was studying in Berlin to go into the opera. She said Mamma did n’t know to make soup, because she ate some of it and knew she did n’t. Mamma always made soup. We had soup all the time. We got tired of soup. Polly brought some eels to Mummy Schultz and the eels crawled out on the bus and Polly said she was mortified. We had some of the eels. Mummy Schultz made it because she used to live in Paris and knew about cooking. Mamma said she never had been able to eat eels before she came to Mummy Schultz. But she still can’t eat escargot (that’s snails). Neither can we because we have never eaten them so do not know what they taste like.

Hitler came at last to Berlin and Mamma went out and marched in the parade. We mean, she did n’t mean to march, but the crowd pushed her so she marched to get out of the crowd and nearly got choked by a schupo’s rope that they put up to keep the crowd back. Then a horse nearly killed her. Then she nearly lost her fur hat. Then a Nazi thought she was Russian, because Mamma’s hat came off of a dead Cossack, and a Nazi put his torch over and tried to burn it off her head. Then Mamma held the hat in her hand and marched and she saw Papa sitting in the Presse box while she was marching and she was mad. But she saw Von Hindenburg in the window and then saw Hitler in another window and all the people were shouting and singing ‘Horst Wessel’ and ‘Deutschland Uber Alles,’ and three men tried to stand on each other’s shoulders to give Hitler a rose on the third floor. Mamma said, ‘It sure looks as though the Nazis are here.’ And so they were. Ever after that they stayed. And all the men wore uniforms and went marching and singing on the streets, and everyone was all of a sudden very gay and singing very loud and all the time marching. And Hitler used to ride in the auto with Papa von Hindenburg, and Hitler had his hair over his one eye. But sometimes he was smiling and sometimes he was very angry-looking, and he always had his hand in the air and all the people kept shouting, ‘Heil Hitler!’

Then all the boys who were twelve years old went into the army and marched on the streets with an orchestra and carried daggers and swords and flags and marched down to the Kaiser’s palace where Hitler used to meet them. We saw that palace where the King stood on the balcony and heard his people say they did n’t want him. It was sad for him, because the German people like Kings.

Then Goebbels burned all the books and went around getting them. One day they had a parade on our street. They always came thru our street. Everybody was in that parade. The chimney sweeps were very funny. They had tall black hats on and were very jolly and were singing ‘Horst Wessel.’ Then undertakers came in the parade. And all the men in that parade were the men who work with their hands. Not soldiers or generals or ministers or anything like that. That day we were going to see the opera ‘Hansel and Gretel.’

General von Goering was a handsome man, but too fat. We went to his house on the Leipzigerstrasse and he had forty rooms, but we did n’t see them because there was a man who said he was an adjutant with a glass in his eye, who would n’t let us in, but we were in the house just the same, even if we did n’t see the rooms. We would have liked to see the lion Goering has. It is his pet. But he has too many soldiers around him. We were in the palace where he used to live. It had a marble staircase and was right in front of the Reichstag. That’s the place that burned. They said the Communists did it, and they cut off a man’s head on account of it. Mamma spoke to a soldier in front of Goering’s old palace, but the soldier was like a statue and would n’t speak, and then Mamma said, ‘Of course. He is on duty and is not allowed to speak.’ These soldiers used to stand all day long in front of von Hindenburg’s palace too, and never move. They were just like statues. We went into Hitler’s house, but he only had schupos in his place, but we could n’t see Hitler because he was very busy.

One day we were walking through the Tiergarten with Jeannie Lyons and she said she was going home and not going to her private school. And we said, ‘Why?’ and she said, ‘Because I am a Jew. But I am glad I am a Jew.’ But if Jeannie is a Jew, then Jews don’t look bad at all. Jeannie is very handsome. She has black, black hair and violet eyes. And she is very polite, and our best friend.

We do not understand why Hitler hates the Jews, because Jesus was a Jew and the Jews believe in God and say their prayers. Hitler we guess will never get out of that line he is in because he chose to be like a King, and Kings can’t ever be anything else. They have to sit on thrones all the time.

After Hitler it will go down the line with Goering and then Goebbels. These people have chosen, so they cannot change now. Hitler ought not to be so mean with the Jews on account of Jesus. Mamma was telling us the story called ‘40 Days of Musa Dagh’ and the Turks were bad to the Armenians and let little children starve and work in machine shops. And look at the way little children are treated in this world. Look at the Russian children who did n’t have anywhere to go and slept under the opera house with newspapers around them to keep them warm, and some of them were robbers, but it was n’t their fault because they were hungry. But just the same, someone very good finally gets to these children and takes them in. But it is very sad just the same. Jesus must send these people finally to these children in the world who are walking on the earth all alone and no bread to eat. But we don’t understand why Jesus allows this to happen first before the good people finally get these children.

That’s why we don’t like wars. All the children suffer then. And while children are onery most of the time to their mammas and papas they don’t mean harm to people, so people ought not to be going around killing in the wars so that children will suffer.

Before Hitler came we had beggars up the service stairs all day long. And one man came and Mamma brought him in and gave him some soup. And she asked him why he was like that and he said he used to be a gardener in a castle, but now he slept in the Tiergarten. He was n’t sad though. He smiled a lot and said things would get better for him some day.

Then a little man came and he said he did n’t want any pfennigs, but a cup of coffee. So Mamma let him in and sat him at the table and he drank two cups of coffee, and ate some potatoes. He spoke English, and he had been a sailor in the English Army. Mamma said, ‘Would you like some work? I could use some bookcases here.’ But he said, No, he was an iron worker. Mamma said, ‘Well, maybe you could make some iron bookcases.’ But he said, No, he was too old. Mamma said, ‘What do you do all day long?’ And he said, ‘I go up and down and up and down until I have eighty pfennigs, then I go to the flop house. But,’ he said, ‘I am going out in the country for the summer and work in the fields. Because a man needs some fresh air.’ Mamma said, ‘It is a long way to walk.’ And he said, ‘But the road is straight and I won’t have to go up and down stairs.’ Mamma said, ‘Come back any time for your coffee,’ so he came back two more times, and then he went away. And we said, ‘ Bon Voyage.’

Next day a man came to the door and he was crying because it was a very hot day and he cried and cried and Mamma told him to come in. And he said, ‘ I have two children and my wife is dying and I am arbeitslose.’ So he came every day or so and gave us prayerbooks and Mamma divided our rice and kasha and sugar and coffee with him. Then one day he came again and he said, ‘My wife is dead.’ So Mamma gave him four marks for a krantz — that’s a wreath for a funeral. And he said, ‘Come to the funeral. Come to the funeral. Then you will see how we arbeitslose live and get buried by the city. It is awful,’ and he howled.

So then Mamma told Frau Follmer, and Frau Follmer said, ‘You just have to go to that funeral. If I am right, then you will learn a lesson.’ So we all went over to the Alexanderplatz where he said the church and graveyard were, and we asked and asked but no one knew where that church or graveyard was. So they sent us to all the graveyards around, and we asked about the funerals, but that day nobody was dead, and they did n’t have any funerals. So Mamma went to the house where the man said he lived, and she met the portier and she said, ‘ Does Herr Schoemaker live here?’ And the portier said, ‘Yah.’ ‘And has he two children?’ and he said, ‘Yah.’ ‘And is his wife dead?’ and he said, ‘Nein.’ ‘And is he arbeitslose?’ and he said, ‘Nein.’ So Mamma said, ‘Well, der Herr Schoemaker is a schwindler,’ and then we left. So Herr Schoemaker never came back to us again.

Then Papa went to America, and then he cabled we must come, and then Mamma said we would move, and then he cabled we must n’t come, and we did n’t know what to do. Then Mamma said, ‘WE ARE COMING.’ So we had to pay some rent for nothing, because we had told the portier too soon, and we went away.


We slept on the train to BremerHaven. It was a very good train. Then in the morning we saw the boat. It was the Europa.

It was as tall as a building.

We stayed on the Europa until we got to Southampton, then we got off and got on a little train, Third Class, but no one else was with us. You could only get in from the outside. Then we got to London. But the houses before you got to London were funny. All little and all the same and every one had a garden.

When we were in London it seemed funny to hear everybody speaking English. We never knew what it was like to be in a place where everybody spoke English before.

We went to play on the Heath, but it was n’t so good as the Tiergarten. And once a boy knocked Richard down and said, ‘Oh I say, I did n’t mean to be a blighter. I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.’ We did n’t understand how they talked. Richard got up and said,

‘ Pardon.’ Then we went home, because we got tired of flying kites and the English are always walking around. Every morning Aunt Sylvia got up at ten o’clock, then she had breakfast, then we all went out for a walk. We always went the same way. Up the hill, up another hill, down the Heath, then back. It was boring. But we stopped once at the tea-room of the man who used to be in Russia with the Czars and he gave us cakes and talked to Mamma about Russia.

Then Mamma said, ‘ I am so busy in Fleet Street. Could you children go to the cinema?’ So we said, ‘Yes, certainly.’ So she showed us all the cinemas and we went while she was in Fleet Street.

Then we went to a church and a Monsieur le Curé spoke to us and said, ‘You are Scotch, are n’t you?’ But we said no, we could be Americans if we wanted to and that we were born in Paris. And he said, ‘Ah, I once was in Paris.’ Mamma said he was n’t a priest. What you call a ‘Brother.’ He remembered all the little bookstands on the Quay on the Seine and he looked very sad.

One day we went downtown with Mamma. She parked us in all the cinemas that did n’t have A on them, and we then saw for the first time Mickey Mouse and the Big Bad Wolf. We stayed to see that three times. The Silly Symphonies were gorgeous and The Three Little Pigs also.

Then one day we were walking on Fleet Street and we saw Mr. Reed who works for the London Times. He was glad to see us. He said, ‘WHAT in the world are the children doing on Fleet Street?’ Mamma said, ‘Oh, we are a close corporation, and stick together.’ We went into the Morning Post, that was down an alley. The man there was an ‘Honorable.’ That meant his father was some kind of a Lord. He said, ‘I’m so sorry, but would you please come back in half an hour?’ So we went out and Mamma parked us in Lyons’ tea-room on Fleet Street. It was in a cellar and they poured the tea out of a tank from a robinet. It was as black as ink, but they made it white with milk. Mamma said, ‘ Order what you want,’ and left us.

When she came back, she said, ‘It is a pity I did n’t take you with me. You were welcome. Mr. Russell said, “Where are the children? I sent my secretary out to get them tea.”’ Then Mamma looked at the check, and said, ‘What did you eat to make this bill so big?’ ‘Well,’we said, ‘Johnny spilled his milk two times and we ordered more, and we had four muffins apiece, and some cheese cake and some tarts.’

Then one Sunday we went downtown and while we were walking Mamma saw a picture of Stalin on the front of a newspaper. It was Papa’s picture, and they were telling a lot of lies about Stalin and Mamma was mad, because she said she hated to have Papa’s pictures illustrating lies. So she said she was going to that newspaper to make a row. Then we came to a big place and that was Houses of Parliament and we saw Big Ben and heard it like we used to hear it on the T.S.F. in Normandie. The Houses of Parliament is a place where they make the Government.

Then we saw a big church and Mamma said, ‘This is Westminster Abbey.’ ‘Abbe?’ said Johnny. ‘Yes,’ said Mamma. ‘ You know how Papa is a poor business man. He never gets any money for being smart. Well, long ago, his family came over to England with William the Conqueror, and they owned this place, but as usual they swindled his family out of it.’

Johnny believed that and said, ‘Gosh!’ And asked would we be living in it now if they had n’t swindled us. And Mamma said, ‘Yes.’ But Richard and I, Patience, did n’t believe that. It was a big church and all the Kings and Queens were buried there, and the Unknown Soldier was all alone in the middle of the floor with a fight shining down on him. Then we went in to see Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Chapel and Queen Elizabeth looked like a monkey. She was made of wax. Gosh, she was ugly.

Then we went to church and everybody was singing and Monsieur le Curé said the prayers, then everyone went out of the church except the people who were looking at the graves. Then Johnny and Richard went in and out of the pews and a man with a long black robe and a white collar came up and was very rude. And he said, ‘It is just like Americans to profane a sacred edifice like this.’ And Mamma said, ‘You could have spoken to us more politely.’ And he said, ‘I cannot be polite to Americans.’ So we started to go out of the church, and a lady came to us and said, ‘Please do not think all we English are rude. You are welcome here, and I as an Englishwoman apologize for that man.’

Another day we went to Uncle Winchie’s office by Fleet Street, and Uncle Winchie was very funny. He spoke American for us and said, ‘Shoo-ur.’ And he said, ‘You don’t say “Sal-is-bury.” You say “Souls-berry Square.”’ And he said he liked the word ‘panties’ and said he was just crazy about Americans although they were ALL, mad. Then he made his secrtry (that’s the way he pronounced it) give us tea, then he took us out to a café.

The next morning he sent a letter to Mamma and said he had to lay off work for the rest of the day to get his office in order because he was very upset, and would never be the same after the Americans had come. He was lovely to us, and so jolly.

We saw the King’s guards. They had big tall fur hats on and big shiny black boots and white velvet pants and they sat on a horse and never smiled. Then they also said, that is, the Captain said, ‘Aarh-oop!’ and then two of them whispered in each other’s ears and then some of them marched away and some of them stayed. And the one on the horse stood in the gate of the King’s yard and just stood there, all day long.

Then we went to Madame Tussaud’s place, and we went into the Chamber of Horrors, and then upstairs and saw Hitler and Dollfuss and Mussolini and all the rest in wax. The King and Queen and their family we liked best of all. They had pink cheeks and were very pretty and wore diamonds. We also saw Sleeping Beauty. In the Chamber of Horrors we saw bloody figures and figures of ladies and gentlemen who had killed people, and Mamma said, ‘Crime does n’t pay.’

Then we went to the Tower of London. We saw where Ann Boleyn had her head cut off. Were n’t they silly to cut people’s heads off in those days? In Madame Tussaud’s we saw Henry the Eighth and his six wives.

Mamma pointed out those who had their heads cut off, because he wanted to marry so many women. He seemed to only have cut off the heads of the pretty ones. Why, if he was doing it, did n’t he cut the ugly ones?

We saw the room in the Bloody Tower where those two little princes got killed because their uncle wanted to be King. We saw the dungeons where they put people to die. And we saw iron horses and all sorts of guns, and chains that they wore all over the horses, etc., etc.

We went to the King’s house then and a lot of soldiers in skirts were going in. They were the Scotch and the Irish. A boy we got talking to told us. And DID he like the King! He called the King’s son the Prince of Wyles. He spoke like that. And when he talked about the King he called him ’is Majesty, and the Prince of Wales ’is Royal ’ighness.

The soldiers went in to the King’s yard and played music for him. Our friend said they were playing the songs the King liked, and the King was sitting in his drawing-room listening to them. Then the Captain said, ‘ ARRRHooop!’ and then they all marched out and we went with them up the Pall Mall and our friend showed us the palaces of the Lord this and the Duke that. He called it ‘Dewk.’ The orchestra with the soldiers played on pipes and it went aaaa-a-eee-toodle-oo, aa-ee-toodle-ooo.

Then he showed us the Prince of Wales’s house and we went into his courtyard. He said, ‘ ’is Royal ’ighness is topping! ’ee is a dyesy.’ He meant daisy.


Then pretty soon we got on the train and we went to Southampton. And then we got on the Bremen. The man said,‘Ameer-ic-aa bound. Right.’ But first we did n’t get on the Bremen. We went on a little boat and all the people got on and then they brought up the luggage and after that was on we went out to sea. And then we saw the Bremen very high on the water and when the Bremen saw us they played the orchestra for us, and then we went over a board with curtains on the side so we would n’t fall into the ocean, and we went into a big door, and the skipper said, ‘Guten Tag,’ and so we could n’t get off this boat for five whole days.

We had to go to a man in an office and he said where we were to sleep and where we were to eat and gave us tickets. There were a lot of old ladies when we came in. They came from Cherbourg. And when they saw a lot of other old ladies, they started laughing so silly and said, ‘At last, now to God’s Country.’ We did n’t know that God had any special country until then. Then they spoke to us and said, ‘Is n’t that cute! What is that on your back?’ And we said, ‘Schulmappe.’ They said, ‘Are n’t they cute, and can you really talk German? Is n’t that just cute?’ They were silly. Mamma said it was because they had been aboard ship so long. They had been around the world.

Mamma came down to breakfast with us the first two days. She made us eat oatmeal. But then she did n’t come down to breakfast any more, so we had pickles and wurst for breakfast. They did n’t have any ice-cream for breakfast, but they gave it to us for lunch and dinner. The Kellner agreed with us that we should always have pickles on our table, and so when we came down they were always there.

Mamma bought two chairs on deck. She used one and sat there all day resting. She said if we reported every once and awhile to her so she’d know we had n’t fallen overboard we could go where we liked.

So we played in the playroom and went up and down and all over and had lots of friends. We had a lovely acrobatic bar up on top deck, and we stood on it upside down all the time.

The first day we had a terrible storm, and Patience got very sick for twenty minutes. Then Richard got sick. Then Mamma said, ‘Ah, Johnny is a skipper, he won’t get sick.’ Then I, Johnny, got sick for five minutes. Then Mamma took us all upstairs on deck in the air so we would n’t all get sick again. Everybody was in bed, and everybody who was n’t in bed sick was on deck and the stewards went around helping people to get to the rail. Mamma got sick for five minutes and said, ‘You don’t have any shame when you are seasick.’ Mamma got sick because we saw a little boat, and now we saw it and now we did n’t, and the big waves buried it. Mamma said, ‘It is a gallant little ship, so we won’t be seasick any more. Think how the people on that ship must feel.’ Then it was all nice again because we stayed in the air. They don’t run the Bremen with coal. They have oil and the ovens roar.

We had so much to eat that Mamma gained five pounds and was fat. We had tea every afternoon and the cinema. All the stewards were lovely to us and gave us three and four plates of cakes without us asking for them.

We went swimming in the pool. And everybody was very happy even when the beer glasses fell off the tables when it was stormy.

Then we saw America but it was foggy. There was a fog and the ship went Boom, boom, boom, all the time, and we stopped still for a long time. Then a little boat came and it was called the mail boat and we saw all the bags full of letters from Europe go into it. Then came another small boat that they call the cutter, and Papa was on it. We saw him because he was the only one on board who had a bald head. Then he came up the ladder and we were once more together. He looked very white and thin, and said he had been working hard. Then he said there were reporters looking for us. Reporters are people who put you in newspapers, but Mamma went into Third Class and said she did n’t want to get put in newspapers.

We saw the Statue of Liberty. It was just like the statue we saw on the Brücke in Paris only bigger. They said you could climb up into that statue’s finger and into her head.

We could n’t see the 100 étage buildings because there was a fog. Then we saw the people on the dock, and we waved to everybody so if we had any friends they could see us. Then we saw Uncle Pete and Aunt Marionette and they were dancing up and down and Uncle Pete was waving his overcoat on his stick.

Papa looked at Mamma and said, ‘Mamma, you can’t come into New York with a bandanna on your head and a sweater. You must get your good clothes on.’ So he made Mamma get our steward and he had to pull down all the luggage to get our valises, and then Mamma changed to her fox fur.

When we got off the ship it was awful. Everybody was running around like crazy people. It was all nervous. Men kept saying, ‘Here, lady, taxi,’ and ‘Where to, lady?’ And then we had to look for our luggage and it was all with everybody else’s. And Uncle Pete and Aunt Marionette and Jimmy Niles kept saying, ‘They are having a reception for you, you must hurry.’ But Mamma said, ‘ Eleven years I have been so quiet, this is a madhouse,’ and she would n’t get excited. Then Aunt Marionette took us off on a seat and Mamma went to look for the luggage with Cousin Jimmy Niles. Our lawyer Uncle Bill was there too. Even Papa was nervous and saying, ‘They’ve been waiting for you for two hours!’ and Mamma said, ‘I was n’t steering the Bremen, but I’ll fix this thing.’

So she went to a man and said she had to go to a party and could she leave the luggage there. So he said, ‘Well, let’s get the luggage right away and I ’ll pass it; nothing in it?’ Mamma said, ‘No.’ So he said, ‘Where is your slip?’ Mamma said, ’I have lost it.’ ‘ Well,’ he said, ‘ that’s too bad,’ but he gave her a paper and said she was free, and then Mamma just went up and down that dock and got the luggage with Jimmy Niles and then we went away. We got two taxis and they all kept screaming, ‘Taxi, taxi! Where to, lady? What hotel, lady ? ’ So we got out of there, but it was all so nervous, and Aunt Marionette said, ‘ Yes, that is New York. We are all jumpy.’ So then Johnny gave Mamma a key out of his pocket, and it was the key to our cabin, and Jimmy Niles had to take it back.

We went to the Iroquois hotel and all the people were waiting for us and those who could n’t wait any longer had left us a note. Mr. McBride and Mr. Schuster, they sell books, had signed their names on the letter and said they were sorry not to have seen us first time in America. But Uncle Gene Lyons and Aunt Billy his wife and Jeannie, their daughter, were there and all kinds of people. Lillian and Dorothy Gish had left us a telegram saying welcome to America and love from all, and Mr. Elmer Rice and his family had also left a telegram saying also welcome. So we were welcome to America.

Cousin Abbe Niles also came and he had never seen us before nor had Jimmy Niles, and Jimmy Niles was smiling all the time and very nice to us. Then we had ice-cream and everybody was talking. Then Dr. Marks came in and he had on some beautiful clothes and a beard that came to a point. He is a dentist and used to fix Mamma’s teeth when she was on the stage. He said we were all very nice people and he was glad to see Mamma after eleven years. He said Mamma spoke differently now and Mamma said that was because she had been speaking other languages for so long, so her voice was different now.

Then before we went to bed Papa and Jinimy Niles and our lawyer, Uncle Bill Walker, and Aunt Marionette and Uncle Pete took us over to see Bert in the Hamburger Lunch Counter, and so we said ‘hello’ to him.

Then we went to bed downstairs on the fourth floor. Mamma and Papa stayed on the seventh floor.

The portier at this hotel was black and very polite and he let us ride up and down in the lift. The femme de chambre called us ‘Honey’ and when she laughed her teeth were very white. She was also black. Can you imagine being called ‘Honey’? It is ‘miel in French and ‘honig’ in German, and it is sweet stuff you put on bread.

It was very funny in that hotel. When you looked out of the window you could n’t see the sky and everywhere were tall buildings. You could n’t see any garden and courtyard when you looked out of the window. Everywhere were tall buildings and we never in our whole lives ever saw such a place like the Empire State Building. You could stand on the street in front of it and had to be careful not to look up too much, otherwise you could break your neck. It had 100 étages. Then there was a building that was all black and had a gold top on it. People in New York must be very rich. Only in the Arabian Nights do you hear also of gold on buildings. Then we went to the Radio City and never in our whole lives had we seen anything like that cither before. It was beautiful, but we were afraid of it because it was so tall.

Then we never in our whole lives saw so many people on the streets. New York is very crowded. And no one was ever singing or marching and everyone looked angry on the streets. Mamma said that was depression. Depression is something that depresses you, then you have no job, then you must take money from the President and that makes you bashful.

Then Johnny could n’t find the King’s house, but we then found out that America has no King, but a President who is the government and he lives in a white house in Washington, D. C. Not that other Washington which is away over near Alaska.

Then can you imagine, they had trains on tracks that stood on poles up in the air. Then they had the Untergrund, but they went faster than the Untergrund in Berlin. But everything was crowded and no one said ‘Gruss Gott’ to you or ‘Gut’ Morgen’ or ‘’nabend’ or ’Heil Hitler.’ But the best thing in America was when we went under the river. You went under a tunnel and over you was the river. Can you imagine that?

Then we went over to Lillian Gish’s house with Papa and Mamma and Mr. McBride. Then we had cakes and nuts and milk at Lillian Gish’s and Mrs. Gish played puzzles with us and was always smiling so like an angel. She is very sick and sits in a chair.

Then we saw the perroquet and he fights with Dorothy Gish. Dorothy Gish still had her red dress on.

You could see all the boats from Lillian Gish’s house on the river and could also see the jail which is called Welfare Island. Lillian Gish’s house is all satin and lace and she has flowers all over. She looked the same as when she saw us in France.

Then a man also came to tea. His name was George Jean Nathan and he remembered Mamma in London. He was very, very polite and had black, black hair and black eyes, and said he hoped we would like America.

Then we went to Mr. McBride’s house and you could see all the river and all the buildings from his house. We went up and up and up on his lift. He also gave us nuts and cake. His house was like a hotel and very rich.

Then Aunt Gretchen came and she cried and laughed and cried and laughed to see Mamma because she and Mamma used to be on the stage together. Aunt Gretchen is a very pretty lady with red hair and blue eyes. Her husband, they call them that in America, not her man, was English and talked like they do in London. She had a son called Jimmie and Jimmie was very gentle and valiant.

Then Mamma said we have to get off Broadway. It was n’t what it used to be, with orange-juice and lemon-juice stands and like a carnival. And the theatres where she had been in were all different and it was dead to her, so we moved to Long Island and went over a great big bridge in a taxicab with our luggage to the Kew Gardens Inn. Then when you looked out of the window you could see a garden and they were always playing tennis, so we liked it better.

Then we went to school there for a month. The teacher was very nice. Another teacher, she was like the Herr Rector in Berlin, said, ‘But they must be obedient,’ and Mamma said, ‘They will be that because they used to slap them in Berlin if they were n’t.’ And the Frau Rector said, ‘I wish we could smack the children once in a while. They need it. Every American child needs it. They take too many liberties.’ Mamma said she meant the children were too fresh.

Eloise was a nice girl and we showed her how to read German. But some of the boys were rude. They did n’t say ‘pardon’ when there was an accident, but started to box with you and were rude. They did n’t have any manners. They were always getting mad. And they said we were silly foreigners. One boy said we were French frogs and another boy said we were Huns and Heinies. So we said, ‘Well, when we get big we won’t be Americans! See!’

Then we went over to Aunt Emma’s. She is Mamma’s sister and very gentle.

She was n’t in when we came, so we went down to her church and waited for her and when she came out she almost cried when she saw us, because she had never seen us before. Uncle Teddy, he’s her husband, was very sick and very thin. Paul and William, our cousins, were very bashful although they are big boys. So we all went to the drugstore and had ice-cream.

The drugstores in America are funny. In Berlin it is called ‘apotheke,’ and they only sell medicine. In America you can get ice-cream and candy and cigarettes and cold cream and toys and moth balls and wash cloths for the dishes and almost anything, like it was in the dolly house in Berlin. The only thing they did n’t have was dresses and shoes. You could also get medicine though. And they also had a restaurant where you could sit at a bar like in a bierstube, only in America it is all silver with a big looking-glass and the man behind it wears a funny white hat. In the bierstubes in Berlin the bar is wood instead of silver and the man does n’t wear a hat and he gets beer out of a robinet.

Andrew Niles had manners though. He did n’t get mad when there was an accident, but was valiant like Jimmie Grant, Aunt Gretchen’s boy.

Uncle Teddy had twelve rabbits in his yard, and Aunt Emma was a lovely lady, very sad but she also was valiant. So is Uncle Teddy. And Paul and William who go to high school have manners and always carried our packages and Mamma always gave them twenty-five cents to go to the cinema.

Then Aunt Emma said that ‘Alice in Wonderland ’ was playing in the cinema. So we went with her and Mamma, because that is the first book Mamma ever read to us. Well, sir, can you imagine what they had in that cinema! Robbers! And they were shooting themselves with guns and sneering and the lady was tied up with a rope! Johnny started to cry and Richard was afraid and I, Patience, hid my face, and Mamma said, ‘We shall leave this place. Imagine showing such stuff to children!’ But all the children were clapping their hands and shouting and liked it. But we stayed so we could see ‘Alice.’

They would n’t allow children in to see a cinema like that in Berlin. You could only go in when they had a sign ‘Kinder haben eintritt.’ Then you were sure there would n’t be any robbers. They would n’t let us in to see ‘King Kong’ either in Berlin.

Richard said, ‘You see, did n’t I tell you that America had lots of robbers and shooting!’ They called these robbers gangsters. It was awful! And they were shooting the schupos and the schupos were cursing and swearing and shooting back, and motor-cars that went ‘ooh-oo-ooo-ooh’ went over a cliff and it was awful. We had perspiration on our heads. But then it was over and we liked ‘Alice.’ So Mamma ever after asked, ‘Have you a gangster picture today?’ when we went into the cinema, and if there was we did n’t go in. They did n’t have any children’s theatres where they play ‘Goldilocks’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel’ or ‘Red Riding-Hood’ in Kew Gardens.

We thought it was funny about Andrew Niles. Andrew would n’t eat even ice-cream because he did n’t dare to eat between meals, and if he did n’t get the right marks in school he did n’t get his spending money. Supposing you were n’t smart enough to get the right marks in school? Gosh. Did that say you had to be punished? You should not be punished unless you don’t do the best you can. And besides some people are smarter than others. It is the way God makes you, and you can’t help it. Although Andrew was smart and always got the right marks. He was lucky. He is some kind of a cousin of ours.


Then one day Papa bought a Chrysler, which was n’t a new one, and we went over to see little Beth. She is our half-sister and has two babies and is very delicate. We said goodbye to her and then we left for Colorado in the Chrysler with Jimmy Niles.

We stopped on the way at Aunt Gretchen’s and had lunch in her garden just like she said we used to have in France, and it was boiling hot. And they all argued with Mamma and said we must n’t go down to Washington to see the President’s white house. But Mamma said, ‘Well, I want them to see the capital of this country too.’ But they argued her out because Jimmy Niles said at that time of the year you could boil an egg on the pavement. So then we did n’t go. Was it hot like in hell, although Mamma says there is n’t any such thing as hell where you burn when you die. There is only a God’s House where you go.

Then we got to a place called Delaware Water Gap but before we got there the car was always smelling and smoke was coming out of it. And it was something in the brakes and were we scared! But after three or four times, we always stopped and had the brakes fixed, but all the way to Colorado we kept smelling to see if anything was smelling.

We saw the World’s Fair at Chicago, and we saw some beefeaters and a lot of people like those in Bavaria and all sorts of European people, but everybody spoke English. And we drank for the first, time coca-cola and root beer. Boy, was THAT good!

They had a children’s theatre there also and they had chairs that came from China called ‘rickshaws.’ And a children’s railroad and we went over the Fair in a big box on a wire, but we were afraid.

Then we left Chicago and got to Iowa which they call Ioway there. We stopped in trolley-cars and freighttrains which were made up for hotels. We ate lunch in trolley-cars and everybody at these places had foxes or some kind of wild animal on a string. They were nice people and always said ‘Hello’ first to you when they saw you, like they did in Berlin say ‘Morgen’ or ‘’nabend,’ or in Paris where they said always, whether they knew you or not, ‘Bon jour, Madame.’

We had eighteen eggs for breakfast in one trolley-car and the lady there was talking to Mamma. And Mamma said, ‘It is too bad about the crops burning up. Is n’t it a pity.’ And this lady said, ‘Yes, it is a misery on the people. But the people are to blame. They have forgotten God and God is calling down a punishment on the people.’ The countess in our datcha in Russia said the same thing as this. She said the reason why Russia was like it was was also because the Russians had forgotten God. They hated God.

But everywhere the people were talking about President Roosevelt and said he was honest and doing good to the people. President Roosevelt is the government of America. But he has a hard time because the wheat in the fields and the com and the pigs and cattle are always dying and the people can’t get the money. But people in America are not afraid of President Roosevelt like the Russians are afraid of Stalin. They get as white as snow when you say ‘Stalin’ in Russia.

Then it got hotter and hotter and one day when we were going very fast and the car was n’t smelling because Papa had paid a man forty dollars to fix it, the wind blew over us and pushed our top off and it went flying dowm the road. Then we went on without the top, and it got hotter and hotter, 108°, and our radiator began boiling every ten miles and we had to put oil in the car every ten miles.

Then we stopped under some trees and there were some people there too, a man and a girl and a boy. They had all their clothes out of the back of their car and they were washing them. Papa told Mamma that these people were stranded. That means they did n’t have one penny and no gas nor no oil. So we gave them our lunch. Then Mamma had an argument with Papa and she said, ‘From now on I am going to be hard-boiled.’ So we went on. Then Mamma said to Papa, ‘Did you give those people some money?’ And Papa said, ‘ Why, no, if I had you would have been furious.’ Then Mamma said, ‘Imagine not even giving them a dollar!’ Then Papa said, ‘Well, if I had you’d have been furious, and now that I did n’t you are furious.’ So then we suddenly heard a honk and there they were behind us. They had a hitchhiker with them and that is how they got some gas. So we all went on until we came to a cowboy camp, so Papa invited them all in and said he would pay for them and see them to Denver. Mamma said, ‘I didn’t say we ought to take them on as boarders.’ But Papa said, ‘We can’t go halfway.’ So then Mamma got sick and they had to take her in to bed and she had a sunstroke.

Then we all went on to Denver and it got prettier and prettier when we saw the mountains. They had blue and purple over them and it was cold when the sun went down. And then we came to a place and we said, ‘Is this Larkspur?’ and they said, ‘No’m, twenty-five miles down.’ Then we came to another place and said, ‘Is this Larkspur?’ and they said, ‘No’m, Sedalia; Larkspur, eighteen miles.’ Then we came to another place like a village and we said, ‘Is this Larkspur?’ and they said, ‘No’m, Castle Rock; Larkspur ten more miles down thar.’ So finally we got to Larkspur and that is where we were supposed to go.

  1. In the March issue, ’I, Patience,’ with the aid of her younger brothers, told of their early days in France. They are the children of James Abbe, international press photographer. — EDITOR