Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Fabulous Females: The Last Letter on Board

I skipped the prompt for the 7th about a recipe, but I'm adding a second post about a family letter. I love this letter sent in 1927 from a transatlantic voyage.

My grandmother's sister, Mary Meeneghan, was not to be trifled with.  She was the first of eight children of Irish immigrants.  She set the pace for her siblings by graduating from high school in 1907 in Springfield, NY.  She went on to train as a nurse, and had a variety of assignments, including enlisting as an Army nurse in 1918.  She served in several U.S. hospitals, including Walter Reed in Washington, DC.

In September 1927 Mary crossed the Atlantic to France on the TSS Caledonia with nurses of the American Legion.  She wrote to her sisters at a Cooperstown address:

Dear girls,
This is my last letter on board.  We anchor tonight at ten and leave Cherbourg at 9 tomorrow—Paris at 3 p.m.  It has been a fast and furious trip.  4 a.m. I dragged to bed this morning and I slept until12.  I have a few minutes, must go down and pack so I won’t be as rushed as I was last time leaving N.Y.  It has been the shortest ten days I’ve ever known.  Saw the coast of Ireland this a.m.  I can’t imagine what land will seem like again, a week from today I’ll be steaming back again.  I am being taken to Jennie Walkers dinner in Paris on Tuesday.  This gang wants to do so much and I want to do so much; wonder if there will be time.  Of course Phelan will dash from place to place sight seeing, but I’ll try and plan for a few evening parties in Paris.  Tonight they have their final party on board.  Guess they have brought up all the champagne and scotch on board.  They stand in with every one from the Captain down.  I didn’t get the radio off, but you’ll know everything is ok.  I am picturing Ellen and Mamma real busy.  I’ll call you up when I get in New York. I often think, Gee, I’d like to telephone home and find out what’s what, how you made out about Peg, etc.  I wanted a few words with the Judge but didn’t have the chance.  I hope Caroline won’t be in New York because it interferes too much with other things I want to do.  I’d like to see Peg again before I go upstate.  I had planned to make a list and whatnot on the boat and here I haven’t done a darn thing. Will mail this in France and see you in a couple of weeks.  
Love to everyone, Mary   

Saturday p.m.

What an adventure for this small-town girl!  I wish more of her letters had been preserved.

I have a more comprehensive blog post about Mary's life here.

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