Funny how despite the year or the century, private musings can be much the same in tone and expression–at least if you’re comparing your thoughts with those of a relation. I guess it’s a genetic thing. Yesterday I included an excerpt from my writings on our journey, and I think you’ll find that my grammy’s tone is much the same as my own, and, as you’ll see, of my daughters. To illustrate this, I’m including this short passage from Ruth’s diary:
Alexandria, February 8, 1908
“Arrived in Alexandria early this morning and expected to get off the steamer and on to Jaffa today, but not at all. It was quarantine for us for 32 hours, as our boat had touched at Constantinople [there was a cholera outbreak there] before it left Alexandria. Maybe we weren’t mad as hornets, but we had to make the best of it like good fellows.
“Not having heard of the quarantine, I was dressing this morning in all my clean clothes getting ready to leave the boat when a swashing big wave came in through the porthole and soaked me to the skin. The entire cabin was dripping, too, not a dry spot left. It was the last straw. I was ready to kick the bucket or anything else handy.
“I finally managed to crawl up on deck after redressing and spent the day playing bridge and reading and having my clothes dried out. Alexandria looks fascinating from the boat.”
And maybe you didn’t know that a good chunk of the book is her diary entries, which are lively, mischievous and with an immediate sense of the present. If her diary had really only been about buying lace and hanging around the American Express office, I’m not sure I would have been inspired to devise this money-sapping, mind-blowing, what-was-I-thinking! expedition. But Ruth had the voice, it called and I responded.