My Aunt Anna was the first to leave their New Jersey home, sailing on March 6, 1930 on the Mauretania with my grandfather’s brother, Mark. She was only 15. I have often wondered why they left first and why, among 6 children, Anna was chosen. I can only surmise that my two older aunts, Helen and Nancy, could not leave because the income from their job at the hosiery mill was needed, and the three boys were too young. Perhaps Anna and Mark were the scouts- going ahead of the rest in order to find a place to live.
What was it like, and how did she feel? The entries in the diary were short, but still, they were the thoughts of a young girl leaving the only home she ever knew in order to settle in a foreign land.
March 6, 1931- Friday- Sailed to Europe on the Mauretania at 6 o’clock and ate supper.
March 7 – Saturday– I got up to eat but felt very sick and vomited my breakfast and laid in bed all day.
March 8- Sunday– Laid outside on the deck but didn’tt feel so good and ate just oranges and then felt a little better.
March 9- Monday– Didn’t eat anything, the waves were terrible and weather was foggy and rainy. It was the worst day.
March 10- Tuesday– Morning at 4 o’clock, it was quiet but after it started to get worse. The weather was clear but windy and we ate supper because there was a Captian’s Party and music.
March 11- Wednesday– Didn’t eat breakfast but felt very good. Sat out on the deck all day and I had lunch- good appetite to eat. I ate everything. The Russians had a meeting protesting to get off at Plymouth instead of Southampton.
March 12- Thursday– I got up and looked out of the window and saw some light and land and water was so smooth. (about half past 5) It was pretty windy. The land we saw, I think, was Ireland. I felt very good.
March 13- Friday– We sailed and landed in France. From France we went to England at Southampton. While the boat was staying there all night, we slept on the boat.
March 14- Saturday– We started off to London on a train and then we went to the hotel and ate our lunch.
March 15-19– No entries (I wonder why??)
March 20– We were in London at a hotel.
March 21– We went on a train from London to Hull and from Hull to the boat and then at night we sailed.
March 22- We landed at Copenhagen in Denmark and walked the streets in Copenhagen and stayed there overnight on the boat.
March 23– We were in Finland and at night we went to a show and then at 11:30 o’clock we went on a train to Russia in Helsingfors.
March 24– We were in Leningrad and stayed at a hotel.
March 25– We were in Leningrad and at night we went to the museum.
My comments and further research plans: Need to see what kind of ship Maurentania was. Looks like the weather was rough. Need to look at the compostion of the passengers. Looks like there were a lot of Russians on board based upon the March 11 meeting regarding the Russians gettting off at Plymouth. What was that about? Interesting that they were able to go to the Captain’s party. I guess third-class travel really had improved. Anna must have been lonely. There were no comments about meeting up with anyone her age. Was she excited or was she frightened?