*This is the second post in a four-part series. To read the first post, go here.

After landing in Frankfurt and traveling to Paris, my grandmother departed for London on June 27th, 1972. She explored the city for one week and made a side trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon. By the end of the week, she loved London for its history and regalia but not for its weather or food. Her thoughts came to us in postcards and journal entries from a bygone era when family members would send letters abroad to their loved ones who were traveling, to be picked up at places like Claridge’s or through the services of American Express.

I think I knew my grandmother pretty well, but while reading her postcards now — 45 years after her trip and 15 years after her death — I find bits and pieces of information I didn’t know about her before. She experienced the same anxiety we’ve all had in learning how to navigate London’s Underground. She admired the Magna Carta at the British Museum, just like I did in 2007. She had an evident appreciation for Oxford commas, and soaking in a bathtub was one of her most cherished luxuries in life.

She was like all of us travelers — brave and bold to travel across the world, yet a little timid and unsure about what she would find on the other side. But as the world unfolds in front of her, the delight in her voice appears on the page. And one of the things I find most incredible is that when she saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, that palace was occupied by the same person who lives there today.

Long live the world’s great grandmothers!

*Click on any image to make it larger, or read the typed text below it.

London, June 28th

London, England

Postcards From My Grandmother, 1972

Hi! The Queen & I send greetings. Arrived this AM. Have my first bathtub in 10 days — a welcome sight! I soaked and soaked! England is the city of white starched curtains in every window — Paris was the city of bright geraniums on every balcony. Meet my friends tomorrow at a hotel right around the corner. They didn’t have a single for tonight. Have to learn to ride the subway — scares me, but I’ve studied maps & think I know how to do it. Love, Mom

London, June 29th

Postcards From My Grandmother, 1972

London
June 29 — Went on a tour & thoroughly enjoyed it. Saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the Cloisters at Westminster Abbey. Saw much more but there were 2 places we got out. W. Abbey holding services so we could not go in today — St. Peter’s Day. Had an excellent guide — Pam — a real authority on British history. Cloisters were fascinating — replicas of all Coronation regalia. Changing of the guard very colorful & interesting. Went to Claridge’s & got mail — hit the jackpot — 5 letters.

London, July 1st

Postcards From My Grandmother, 1972

Cold & cloudy
London
July 1 — Saturday
Went to Westminster Abbey — loved the Poet’s Corner, but still feel Notre Dame is more impressive. Went to the Cockney Pride & had Scotch eggs. I wasn’t too impressed with those. British cooking is so unimaginative! Then went to Dicken’s home & encountered no mobs of tourists. Then went to British Museum — saw the Reading Room, but enjoyed the manuscripts the most — the Magna Carta in particular.

London, England

Postcards From My Grandmother, 1972

Hi! Hit the jackpot on mail & I feel better after hearing from you. Have taken 2 tours and have seen Old Curiosity Shop & the Crown Jewels which are stunning — a 317 carat diamond, & rubies & emeralds such as I’ve never seen  before. Weather is cool, pleasant, & sunshiny. Am flying to Athens from here. Can’t afford Austria. Money is just evaporating! Cheerio Luvs, Mom

London, July 2nd & 3rd

Postcards From My Grandmother, 1972

Cold
London
July 2 — Sunday
Went to Stratford on Avon & what a delightful trip. On the way up, saw Oxford, Churchill’s grave, had coffee at the White Hart Inn  & saw the Rollright Stones (1500 B.C.) — older than Stonehenge. Had lunch at the Shakespeare Hotel (roast beef & Yorkshire pudding). Visited Shakespeare’s birthplace & Ann Hathaway’s cottage, a 12 room house with a beautiful flower garden. Cold & dreary day but the Eng. countryside is beautiful rolling land with beautiful trees.

London
July 3
Went to the bank, then rode the Underground to Herrod’s. Had lunch there and had my hair done. What a treat! Herrod’s is exclusive & expensive. Was not impressed with the toy department. Bathroom shop was fun with the flowered bathtubs.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, July 5th

Stratford-Upon-Avon, England

Postcards From My Grandmother, 1972

July 4
Yippee!
Have really enjoyed London. Saw everything, I think. Loved the changing of the guard, Mme. Tussaud’s wax works, and Stratford On Avon which we did on Sunday. Have taken in British Museum, West. Abbey, saw Churchill’s grave, 10 Downing St., Dicken’s home, Fleet St., the Tower of London, & on & on. The weather is gloomy, gray, & overcast. It is cold in the mornings. Have worn a coat every day but one. Something about icebergs in the Atlantic. Fly to Greece tomorrow. Love, Mom

Thank you for reading! To read the next post in this series, go here.

29 comments

  1. What a great idea to share these lovely souvenirs of your grandmother! I can’t help but notice that the handwriting is so similar to my late mother’s. Probably a generational thing, but it sure bring ups memories for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bonjour! Merci! I had an interesting comment on the first post in this series. Apparently the writing style is Palmer Method script — a particular way of teaching how to write cursive that was taught quite some time ago. I guess that’s why many of our grandparents seem to have similar handwriting. Thanks so much for your comment! Tour de France starts tomorrow. Yay!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Once again I am flooded with memories after reading this new post. I remember it all and how proud I was of my Mom for undertaking such an extensive adventure all alone. She was a gutsy lady and I am happy to pass on the tradition of strong Rossiter women to my own daughter, the author of this nostalgic and meaningful blog post. It is a gift like no other for me….priceless and precious. My Mom would be unbelievably moved and amazed to read it. Thank you Kelly!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Gadzooks! Right up there with goodness gracious. 🙂 My first wife and I did a tour of Europe on our way home from our Peace Corps tour in Liberia, West Africa, Kelly. We hit most of the places your grandmother visited, pretty much staying in the same kind of accommodations. I think our guide was “Europe on $10 a Day! –Curt

        Like

  3. Oh Kelly this series makes my heart melt. It reminds me of both me travelling alone in London in the seventies, and of my mum, travelling with my dad in the late sixties, and the photographs they brought home and so proudly shared with us. And of collecting “General Delivery” mail at the post office in various places around the world.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Alison! I love that this series has really sparked some memories for people — like you picking up mail from post offices around the world. What a memory! It was such a different time back then. Thanks for your comment. Hope you had a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another enjoyable read of your grandmother’s travel accounts from almost half a century ago! It’s incredible to see how some things remain the same after all those years. Look forward to what your grandmother thought of Athens. I really love this series, Kelly!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting note above about the cursive; my grandmother’s script on her postcards and letters (which I recently found in huge piles when I moved) is almost identical. Unlike your adventuresome grandma, mine rarely left the small town in Pennsylvania where she was born and lived out her days. Like her, though, she wrote and wrote about what she was up to, and I treasured those letters one last time before I parted with them. As I noted in your last post in this series, I am in serious awe of your grandmother, and I love the connection you are making here with her life and travels, and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lex! Thank you so much! How cool that you had letters from your grandmother in Pennsylvania! After doing this series and reading your comment here too, there really seems to be something special about handwritten thoughts that survive decades and generations. The content of the letters/entries/postcards may be perfectly ordinary, but the thought that goes into a written account just has some kind of magical, universal appeal. I wish I had a hundred more postcards to share!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As Lexi said, your grandma’s writing is fascinatingly neat. And I love the fact that she’s gone to Stratford, most probably to pay a visit to the Bard… Nowadays I bet a fraction of those who visit here would bother going there, electing instead to see the bleedin’ Harry Potter experience theme park.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Bard! I think you’re right. My grandmother loved English, writing, literature, words, etc. so that would make sense. I do wonder if she would have read the Harry Potter books. I think so, but she never would have gone to the theme park! Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such a cool idea, Kelly, on so many levels and for various reasons (most of which others have suggested). The postcards take me back to the days when postcards were actually sent, and I sent them home from the other side of the world…taking 10 days or so sometimes to arrive. My mother, nor anyone else in my family, is a traveler. So I’m pretty sure I’m adopted…because all I ever wanted to do was travel. And when I sent postcards home, I would write really tiny and fill the card with more than most people put in a letter…but I printed! I still print.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Badfish! Lovely to find you here! Great that you’re enjoying this series. I’m having a lot of fun with it. The subject of postcards really has provoked a lot of thoughts and memories for people, including you. Yes! Tiny printing to fit in as much as possible. Or, if I wasn’t having a great time… big flowery script and a signature to fill space. 🙂 Hope you’re doing well. I’ve been on a traveling rampage since April. Need to hop over to your blog and see what’s new. Great to hear from you!

      Like

  8. Kelly….Such a wonderful presentation that brought back so many memories of our family’s postcard era. How we communicated from our world travels before that “tweet” thing and Bitmojis! Your Grandmother probably flew over us in Kaiserslautern in 72 when we were changing Jay’s diapers! Thank you for a beautiful walk down memory lane…love POP

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Dennis! I’m having a lot of fun with this series. I wish I had more postcards! It really is pretty amazing to think that my grandmother was in Germany when all of you were there — and she wasn’t that far from you, either! A small world discovery 45 years later! WOW. By the way, I posted the third part on Friday and the final post is coming up this week. Thanks for reading!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s