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!

July 24 1939

Cover for July 24 Programme

Monday 24th July

Rough & choppy when we got up. Peggy not in the breakfast, but the rest of us braved it – terribly hot & stuffy. Better up on deck. Peggy came up- sat about & I played games. Violently windy. Nelson & I played shuffleboard with Peggy and Mr. Pennycook! 

Up on deck after lunch. Clifford came & played with us- & talked. Had tea on deck & I tried to pinch an old Russian man’s rug! He found me in the act & came & wrapped me up in it!

Mummy & I have got an invitation from the Captain to go & have cocktails with him! We nearly passed out! All alarmed & het up! Had to get our packing done & then get all dressed up in evening clothes. At the last minute decided I must have my Angora jacket to hide my sunburnt arms – Peggy sewing and me knitting. Got it finished with one sleeve short, but it looked quite sweet! Ready much too early and had to sit & wait & wait & wait. Eventually set out & got there quite easily. The Captain on the Bridge, & the 1st Mate – Mr. Robertson met us instead- a charming man – I got on with him awfully well! The Captain popped in & shook us by the hand- a sweet little fat man – then popped out again – it was foggy & he had to be out. Then Mr. Robertson gave us Sherry & I ate asparagus tips & caviare!!! Had a most amusing time and Mr. R paid us all sorts of compliments- also about my bolero!

Down to the dinner – all hilarious! Paper hats & balloons! Got everyone to sign my menu. Finished packing then up to the lounge for dancing. Norwegian young man danced with me – called Jacob – he wrote on my menu in Norwegian & wouldn’t tell me what it was- very tormenting! Danced all evening with him & some others. An American girl pinched Clifford! Eventually found out what Jacob had written from his friend Nielsen “I have longed to flirt with you for three days”! He certainly made up for lost time! But he’s very nice & very amusing. Talked after band had gone, then Mummy & Peggy to bed & I stayed up & talked to Jacob in the lounge. Sammy came in very attached to a blonde. Wandered round & to bed eventually after experiencing a little of the Norwegian technique! He is rather a pet though.

July 23 1939

Sunday 23rd July

Up very early and met Nelson at 7:30! Steward took a crowd of us round Cabin and Tourist part of the ship. Lovely cinemas & lounges & swimming pool! Back again and had my bath & to breakfast. Up on deck and walked round & round the deck with Nancy and Peggy. Then Peggy & I dashed & got into the Service just as they were closing the door. Stood at the back all the time. Short and quite nice- sang for those in peril on the sea! Back up on deck and played games until lunchtime with Nelson. Such a joke Nelson told me- when Clifford asked if I was American he thought Nelson was my Father! Afterwards he asked a friend of Nelson’s who told Nelson about it! Now we call each other Daughter and Poppa! Then to my horror- Peggy- not knowing who the young man was – told it all to Clifford – was I embarrassed! Talked to Clifford and played games in the afternoon.

Peggy, Sammy, Poppa & Me

Simply glorious night- moon & stars & warm. All felt very excited and exhilarated! Nothing to do, but after a lot of bother started playing ‘Hearts’- Peggy & I – Clifford- Nelson- Sammy-Harry & a funny American man. Sammy made us howl & we had fun. Afterwards up on deck all of us – then all to bed – Clifford & I up on Games Deck & trotted around a bit- loving couples all over- most embracing!

July 22 1939


Saturday 22nd July

Gorgeous hot day. Spent all morning playing deck games with Nelson & other people. In the afternoon wasted time in the Cinema with landing cards & passports. No- that was yesterday – must’ve spent the afternoon playing games I suppose. Got all sunburnt and sore. Got rougher towards the end of the day. After dinner Peggy rather alarmed – Gup told us stories to take her mind off it. Sammy there too. Talked to an American girl Nancy- her Mother and Father – Father Chinese I think.

Peggy & Nancy away to bed – Sammy vanished. I talked to Nancy’s mother. Danced a little with various people – Mr. Pennycook, nice young Scotsman with a very pretty wife. Nelson took Mummy & I down to the bar for a drink. His room mate & young woman there too – quite amusing. Up to lounge again & spent to rest of the evening dancing with a young man called Clifford Lamington- English and an architect – rather nice. Asked if I was American and said I had a twang! Huh!

July 21 1939

Friday 21st July.

Nice bright day & the sea much calmer- Peggy up & feeling quite all right.  Talked to an amusing American man called Gup! Had a rash bet with him over the nationality of a girl– I bet him anything she wasn’t English- she was! He threatens to collect. Played deck games. John with another new girlfriend! This time an American girl who has lived nearly all her life in Bruges- Rosemary! Played games in the afternoon. Talked to Herbert & Harry.

Cyn and Carol on deck.

At night thought we might try the flics again with Harry & Nelson, but the same result – hot and I couldn’t see so we came out.  A Belgian singsong going on in the lounge – awful- so Nelson, Herbert, Peggy & I retired to the Smoke room and Herbert taught us a game called Hearts. Very funny – especially as he lost! Afterwards Herbert and I went on deck – pitch dark and wildly windy. I had no coat & my skirt was continually over my head! Had a very serious talk- Sammy meanwhile holding my arm most gingerly! Back & found Nelson & Peggy had been gatecrashing 1st class & had seen the Swimming Pool and all!

The Lounge

July 20 1939

Dining Saloon

Thursday 20th July.

Up & had our baths. Rather a dull day and the ship heaving around a bit. Quite a few people missing at breakfast, and some retired- Harry among them. Up a deck afterwards and violently blown about. Down to the Cinema to see Bing Crosby in “East Side of Heaven”- we had to stand at the back- two colossal fat women came & stood in front of us & it was terribly hot so we decided to go before the picture even started. Peggy not feeling too good so rushed up a deck, but she was sick. Mummy took her downstairs & John & I wandered about and wondered if we were feeling ill or not! Up on the Sports Deck & talked. After lunch up to Sports Deck again. Peggy was up feeling wobbly but we learned how to play shuffleboard and had a few games. Peggy sick again so I took her down. We sat in our cabin until dinner time then Peggy went to bed. After dinner there was dancing in the lounge- danced with red-haired man called Herbert Samuel- also John, but eventually he deserted me & danced with another young woman! Read, and then a big man I had smiled at before came and asked me to go for a drink. Down we went & found the bar was closed!! He is nice though- big & red-haired & called Nelson Crowder- a Canadian from Toronto.

For passengers not seasick!

July 19 1939

Scrapbook Title Page

Wednesday 19th July.

Up early & feeling oh, how sick! Breakfast & Poppa nearly made us late according to his custom. Such a rush getting tickets & onto the train. Found Peggy with Auntie Mil & Jean & Brenda. Hardly recognized Jean. Found seats eventually & said goodbyes & started.

One American lady in the carriage. Quite matey. Eventually too matey and gave us a long lecture on Russia! Arrived at Southampton about 10- quite a short journey. A few formalities & onto the ship- all very bewildering- luggage all over the place everyone lost- & officials dashing around. Found our cabin eventually & in it a marvellous big box of pink roses from Rowly waiting for me- the darling! We then found Peggy’s cabin- 4 berth- ours is a two berth on the outside. None of them very big though, but nicely fitted. Our luggage wasn’t in the cabin but it appeared after a while- much to our relief.

It was still quite early & the ship wasn’t sailing until 12:0- so we booked our places in the dining saloon- 2nd setting and then explored the ship- all the decks- I even tried to go on the bridge but they wouldn’t let me!- we saw a little of the cabin and tourist class but not much. Finally when the boat sailed we went up on the sports deck right at the top & waved goodbye to all the people. We then unpacked a bit & at last lunch- we were so hungrey! Ate a huge lunch & then went to the lounge & wrote cards and letters all afternoon & then had tea there. Just as we finished we arrived at Cherbourg, so we dashed up on deck and watched her coming up to the side & all the people coming on. It was lovely & sunny, but windy. We sat on the stairs & watched the sailors & people & made catty remarks. Peggy is fun. I like her. We got tired of this after a while & went & unpacked & then down to dinner. We are at a table for 6- us 3- 2 girls quiet and mousey & a most exotic American wench- all Joan Crawford- who didn’t deign to speak to us. At lunch a young man- Harry Pemberton- was in her place but he moved to another table with his pals. After dinner we went up on deck- very windy- talked to Harry P. and his friend John Tyler. Down to the lounge & listened to a band- American swing- lousy! Nothing much & at last to bed.