Who’s Going Where?

August 12, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

First of all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! Sure hope it’s been a wonderful day for you.

I received your wonderful letters of August 3rd yesterday morning and was very pleased to hear the plans for this year’s “invasion of Europe” are going so smoothly. I immediately got out my map of Europe and located the town of Seeweisen, about 85 km north of Graz in Austria. I also noted the nearby “mountain of interest” is the “Hochschwab” (2278 metres). I was reassured by your letter that the “foot paths” are provided for beginners “and the top of the Alp can be reached by this means”. Sounds like a glorious way to spend a vacation!

Strangely enough, I also received a long-awaited letter from George yesterday morning. As I had suspected, he had been away from Toronto on rotational duty since May 15th, interviewing and signing up army recruits. He says he has been terribly busy and is having quite a struggle getting his leave. However, he has been promised 30 days leave beginning immediately after Labour Day so he still hopes to make it over here after all. In any case, he is going to let me know, either by letter or telegram, near the end of this month whether or not he is definitely coming. So, I’m afraid that this point, I can’t give you a definite “yes” or “no” as to whether I’ll be able to accompany you up an Alp. However, as I said before, I’ll still be in Bonn on September 1st in any case, so come on ahead and will make our plans from here.

Incidentally, I mentioned in a recent letter to Bob and Joan your impending European jaunt and they wrote right back telling me that I was to offer you their assistance when you are in London this year. It would be nice, I think, to at least look them up while you’re there. In case you haven’t got it, their address is: 1 Upper Addison Gardens, London W.14 (that’s in Kensington) and their phone number is PARk 6776.

I’ve accumulated a grand total of 77 hours overtime during the past six weeks so as you can well imagine, I’m just about ready for my holidays too! Not too bad the last little while though since I’ve replaced Marcel Belanger in the Registry. Bill Jenkins asked me to send you his best regards.

We been having some pretty rough weather over here. Can’t complain though, because we are surely getting our share of the sunshine this year. Only trouble is just keep getting hotter and hotter all the time when – SWISH! – a big storm comes up from nowhere and blows half of Germany down! Fortunately, no damage done to my apartment with the exception of a few shingles blown off the roof and one or two big trees in the neighbourhood were deposited in the middle of the road.

Russ, could you do me a favor and bring along a LARGE bottle of Old Spice aftershave lotion next month? Would also appreciate it muchly if you could pop into the Bank of Montreal and pick me up two or three cheque books (knowing how I like to write cheques, I figure I should have a supply on hand!)

Well, I’m aiming at an early night tonight and because I still must take a bath, I’m afraid I must close this effort off for now. Hope to hear from you soon again, Russ.

Lots of love, Dave

PS: Did I mention that Mr. Towe had written to Ottawa asking whether I could get a four-year leave of absence from the department in order to attend university? Well, the answer came back last week Tuesday to the effect that they regret this is not possible. So, looks like I’ll be making a clean break from External next year if I go to Carleton. Incidentally, I’ve been “toying” with the idea of a journalism course. However, we shall see.


August 19, 1958

Dear Dad and Russ,

This won’t be much of a letter but I must tell you about a very amusing incident that occurred last night while it’s still fresh in my mind.

The phone rang about 7:30 and when I answered the operator asked me if this was Bad Godesberg 12567. I admitted it and she asked me to hold on for a moment. There was a pause then muffled instructions to “Please drop some more shillings into the phone.” Pause. “Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink, etc., etc., etc. Pause. “Go ahead please”. Pause. “Oh, you must push the button first please.” Pause. “Push the button please.” Pause. “Clink, clink, clink, etc.” Pause. “Now, push the button please.” Pause. “Please – push the button!” Pause. “CLUNK! (Rattle, rattle)”. Pause. “Hello, is that you Dave?”

You guessed it – it was Pete calling me from “a little pub (I think he said) someplace in ——-shire” (never did figure out what “shire” he said he was phoning from). However, the reason he phoned was to tell me that, because of unexpected and extremely high extra expenses involved (i.e., insurance, red tape getting out of England, etc.) he was not going to buy his car as planned previously. He is going on to Norway though (somehow) and still plans on arriving here on September 1st. But he was wondering about whether or not I was going to go to Austria with the Alpine Expedition or go to Spain with my car. Well, the answer to both those questions is “no” but the Alpine Expedition is still on – and in my car! Confused? Here’s what’s happening.

I shall drive up to Düsseldorf on September 1st around 11:30 in the morning to meet you Russ (and possibly Pete too, although he made no mention as to how or exactly when he was planning to arrive in Germany). Then, if you and Pete would be good enough to drive me up to the Wahn airport (halfway between Cologne and Bonn) on Tuesday morning September 2nd at 10:15 in the morning, the car is all yours for as long as you want it! You see, I have now decided to spend my holiday loafing in the sunshine on a sandy beach on the Balearic island of Ibiza (pronounced Ee-BEE-tha) off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. I fly from Wahn to Barcelona on September 2nd, then on September 3rd I catch a boat bound for Ibiza that leaves Barcelona at seven in the evening and arrives on the island at 8 a.m. the next morning. I shall be staying at a little village called San Antonio Abad which is described by the guide books and also by one of our German translators at the Embassy, who spent two weeks there, as “paradise”. It honestly sounds just too good to be true, with wonderful sandy bathing beaches, palm and pine trees, colourful and extremely friendly inhabitants and “better weather than anywhere else in the Balearics”. The cost of this Garden of Eden is about $3.00 a day which includes a room at a good, clean hotel and three excellent meals a day! Even I can afford that!

Must get to bed now. See you on the 1st!

Lots of love, Dave

PS: Russ, would you be good enough to bring me two bottles (plastic if available) of SKOL suntan lotion?


[It seems that George Howell was a no-show.]

Barcelona Postcard

David’s postcard from Barcelona, September 2, 1958

Sept. 2/58

Dear Dad,

This will just let you know that Russ & Pete arrived yesterday on schedule and that this morning we all went our respective ways. I just arrived Barcelona so haven’t seen much – weather is like Phnom Penh – really hot! Will write again once settled on Ibiza.



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