July 25 1939

Hazell Genealogy: Carol’s Generation

Before the ship docks in New York, a bit more genealogy is required!  As I have said before, Cynthia’s mother Carol was the youngest of 12, and this trip was to reunite her with sisters she had not seen for 20 years (when she had left St Vincent after the Great War and joined her husband in England with the 4-year-old Cynthia) and with her oldest brother possibly for the first time in 40 years.  

The oldest Hazell son, Arthur Hazell, (Uncle Artie) had lived in the United States all his adult life, married Josephine (Aunt Phine), had adopted Marie who married Samuel Dorman and had a daughter Bebe. They lived in Central Valley, New York.

Her sister Ethel Simmons (Aunt Ettie) had also stayed in the West Indies during WW1 with her three girls, but had joined her husband in New York soon after. Those girls, Millie, Marguerite, and Mona, had grown up on Long Island, New York, and were American.  By 1939, Millie had married Ford Pembleton and had a son, Hugh; Margs was dating Bill Jaeger who she was to marry, and Mona, like Cyn, was fancy free! 

Visiting from St. Vincent were the sisters Muriel Hazell (Auntie Moo) and Beatrice Otway (Aunt Trix or Trixie).

Visiting from England were Peggy, (whose mother Auntie Mil, and older sisters Jean and Brenda, had seen off on the train in London, and whose father, Fred Hazell, was at home in St Vincent) and Carol Ewing, with her daughter Cynthia Ewing.

There was definitely a generation divide- the siblings and spouses in their 50s and 60s (Carol, the youngest, was 45); the cousins, all girls, in their teens and 20s or early 30s, and essentially meeting each other for the first time- on July 25 1939…

Tuesday 25th July.

Awoke early. Fog horn blowing still but the sea terribly calm. To breakfast. Everyone looking so proper in landing clothes. Up on Sports Deck afterwards & talked to Nelson & Hebert. Took a few snaps. Jacob up & we all played shuffleboard. Jacob said his coat was “just like a dog” after my jacket last night, so I lent him my coat brush & we went to brush it to discover that all his luggage had been removed! Up on deck again watching lots of little boats.

Peggy & I then decided to go into 1st lunch so as not to miss anything, so we asked our steward & he fixed it. Jacob came & had coffee with us then we all went & finished packing. Jacob & I up on fore deck then and saw heaps of boats. Most terribly still and hot with a heat haze all over. Peggy joined us & then at last land appeared – little bit a time. More & more land & then in the distance the Statue of Liberty – it came closer & closer & then suddenly in the mist we saw the skyscrapers- great shadows which got clearer & clearer. Nelson came & showed us a few of the things then we began to get into the dock. Crowds of people waiting & every minute it got hotter- talk about heat waves! As the ship came along side the dock, all the hundreds of people waiting waved & shouted, but we couldn’t see anyone we knew. Peggy & Jacob & I stood on piles of rope & watched for ages until at last I saw someone that looked like Marguerite then Peggy recognized Auntie Muriel & we all got wildly excited & waved & yelled.

We then had to go down for the Immigration inspection & we got a message that the Captain said we could go through 1st class, so I said goodbye to Herbert & Harry- then a very touching farewell to my Poppa! – dear Nelson he is so kind – and to poor Jacob, who was very woebegone. Peggy meanwhile had tripped downstairs & broken the heel off her shoe, poor kid, so the steward eventually took off the other one to make them quits! I then saw Clifford & said goodbye & he gave me his card & asked me to write! After this we all rushed through to the 1st class – had to wait ages, but got at the beginning of the queue & at last Margs found us & Uncle Artie got us through quickly. Onto the dock & then such a business meeting everyone- Margs – Uncle Artie – Aunt Ettie- Auntie Muriel- Trixie & Bill Jaeger! Some reception! Then the Customs! What a mess – everything upside down & us all hot & bothered! Quite a nice Customs man who chatted when he took me to pay the tax 1$75c!! Then Peggy & Uncle Artie rushed off & we went – Margs & I in to car with the luggage & the rest in a taxi.

Everything & everyone is so American that they make me laugh. The cars all on the wrong side of the road & dashing along at a terrific rate- the policeman – just like on the films! & Broadway & 5th Avenue & everything!

It took about an hour to get to the house then we just passed out – the heat! Never seen anything like it – I nearly died! Sat around & had a drink – Tom Collins – rum – pineapple juice & ice! Then after a while dinner. After dinner Bill arrived – terribly American complete with cigars & straw hat! Then we packed in cars & went down to Jones Beach. Dark by then lay on rugs on the sand & I fell asleep. Home after a while & slept all the way. To bed. What a night – hot & felt like hell!

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